Where was Patch Adams filmed?
Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Asheville, North Carolina
House, Lofts, Hotels/Motels, Religious, School/Colleges
Dilapidated/Neglected, Hotel/Motel Style, School, Ranch Style
About Patch Adams
Patch Adams is an American drama-comedy directed by Tom Shadyac, starring Robin Williams as Patch Adams. It is based on the real-life story of Doctor Hunter “Patch” Adams and the book he and Maureen Mylandser wrote entitled Gesundheit: Good Health Is a Laughing Matter.
The movie presents the story of a man who struggles with mental illness. But instead of drowning in his sorrow and sadness, he finds a way to heal others through creativity, compassion, and laughter. Take a peek into his life and healing powers through this guide, which features several Patch Adams locations and heartwarming scenes from the movie (spoiler alert!)
The movie opens with Hunter Adams in the dark state of his life, which leads him to voluntarily admit himself to a psychiatric ward. During his brief stay at the hospital, he learns how to connect with others and discovers the healing balm of laughter, empathy, and friendship. As he said at the beginning of the film, he found the right path in the most unlikely place and with the most unlikely people.
He helps his fellow patients at the psychiatric hospital, giving him a new life purpose. Then he meets a patient who was once a prominent person and gives him the name “Patch” after patching his faulty cup. He taught him to look beyond the problem and “see what everyone else chooses not to see out of fear, conformity, and laziness.”
Now determined to see the whole world in a new way, Patch Adams enrolls as a student at Virginia Medical University. He tests his new theories by interacting with random people and patients at the university hospital, though they’re not supposed to see patients until they’re in their third year.
However, everyone does not always accept his new ways, especially the school’s Dean Walcott (Bob Gunton). Despite the opposition, Patch is eager to find ways to help people improve the quality of their life. But can he face the consequences of his defiance of the rules?
Fun fact: Patch Adams was filmed partially at Chapel Hill’s University of North Carolina. So, while filming, Robin Williams performed stand-up comedy for a few classes on campus.
Patch Adams Locations
This 1998 film was shot in different locations in Northern California. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill stood in for the fictional Virginia Medical University. It’s where Patch Adams studies medicine and meets his friends who help him build his clinic for free medical care in the movie. The cast and crew were in Chapel Hill for several weeks to shoot, and many staff, students, and locals even had roles as casting extras in the film.
So if you’ve been to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, you might recognize some Patch Adams filming locations. It includes the Winston Library, Carroll Hall, Manning Hall, Polk Place, and more. Several interior classroom scenes were also recorded on the University of Berkeley campus.
Another significant Patch Adams film set worth mentioning is the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. The filmmakers built a knoll up a hill near the Deerpark Restaurant for two months, where a decrepit house later stood for filming.
A quarter of the movie was filmed on the grounds of Biltmore Estate. And though you won’t see the mansion in the film, the gorgeous landscape, and the place’s privacy provided an ideal setting to complete the movie. A part of the Patch Adams production also took place on Elk Mountain Highway, off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Asheville.
Patch Adams was filmed partially at Chapel Hill’s University of North Carolina. So, while filming, Robin Williams performed stand-up comedy for a few classes on campus.
Patch introduces himself to Carin scene in Patch Adams
Manning Hall, UNC, Chapel Hill, NC
“Two years of studying. I thought we’d have more contact with patients, didn’t you?” Patch starts as he and Carin (Monica Potter) walk down the university steps after a lecture. One might think they’re already close at this point, but they don’t even know each other yet.
So, Patch introduces himself and goes, “You’ve just experienced a North American greeting whereby one person offers a verbal label to another as an expression of welcome and friendship.” Unfortunately for him, Carin isn’t one bit impressed or interested in talking to him.
This scene was shot in front of Manning Hall at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. If you look closely, you’ll see part of the building’s name above the glass panel door. It was built in 1923 for the law school and named after John Manning, Jr., a law school at the university.
Today, Manning Hall serves as a classroom and an administrative building. It houses the School of Information and Library Science (SILS) and has a crucial role in the school’s civil rights history. It sits on the lower quad between Carolina Hall and Murphy Hall, directly across Polk Place.
The building is open from 8 AM to 5 PM, Monday to Friday. When visiting, note that there’s no public parking near the building and specific staff members are not always available. But if you’re here for a tour, take advantage of the guided one-hour walking tour around the campus and learn about its history, tradition, and current endeavors in research.
Library scene in Patch Adams
Wilson Library, UNC, Chapel Hill, NC
“Do you know many billions of dollars are wasted on malpractice insurance?” Patch wonders while everyone in the group is immersed in their topic of study. But nobody is interested. His attempts to discuss the things he disagrees with about the system get shut down by Carin, who eventually walks out of the library.
Do you want to sit where Patch Adams and his classmates at medical school sat during one of their study group sessions? Head to Wilson Library at the University of North California at Chapel Hill. You’ll find it at the lower end of the Polk Palace, featuring a Roman dome that rises eighty-five feet over the campus’ South Quadrangle.
Wilson Library is one of the must-see Adam Patch filming locations you don’t want to miss. It was completed in 1929, and since then, this enormous limestone Beaux-Arts-style building has been capturing everyone’s attention. It is home to several special collections, including organizational records, unique and rare books, university archives, sound recordings, moving images, and other artifacts.
The library is a prominent center of research and study. It has several library spaces, including a reading area for quiet study, a gallery, a research room, and an exhibition area. It hosts some changing and permanent exhibitions showcasing items from its collections.
Numerous transit systems serve the University of North Carolina for those who want to visit and check out Wilson Library and the campus. It includes the local Chapel Hill Transit system that provides free bus service between the University, Carrboro, and Chapel Hill. Take the RU and U route, which circulates the campus every ten to fifteen minutes on weekdays. Buses and Park-and-Ride lots are also accessible, making it easy to catch a bus for class or work.
Meat Packers Convention scene in Patch Adams
Palace Hotel, 2 New Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA
At the beginning of the film, we see Patch with his newly found friend, Truman (Daniel London), attending a meat packers event. It is held at a luxury hotel with elegant interiors with sparkling chandeliers. And amid this classy venue are hilarious meat-inspired food puns you can’t miss, like ‘shanks’ for the memories, meet miss ‘meat,’ and a nice to ‘meat’ you sign greeting guests as they enter.
Some of the funny scenes in Patch Adams also took place in this setting. There’s a meat race where Patch won, and he even gives a speech at the end addressed to “pork packers, rump wrappers, and bull shippers” at the event.
Scenes at the Meat Packers Convention occurred in Palace Hotel in downtown San Francisco. It’s a legendary, historic site featuring classical-inspired modern décor and a wealth of elegant hotel amenities and services. It opened in 1875 and quickly became the city’s first luxury hotel. It was also the world’s largest luxury hotel at that time and the country’s counterpart to Europe’s grand hotels.
For over a century, Palace Hotel has become a remarkable landmark and the city’s unparalleled treasure. It’s close to other must-visit locations in downtown San Francisco, including Chinatown and Union Square, and a short walk from Montgomery St. Station in the heart of the city’s Financial District.
The old house scene in Patch Adams
Biltmore Estate, 1 Lodge St, Asheville, NC
“What is it?” Carin asks, looking at the old, shabby house in front of them. “Our new home,” Patch replies. Then, later we see Bile entering the weather-beaten shack, and as soon as he’s inside, the screen door falls off.
Eventually, the couple and other volunteers fix the place up, transforming it from a dilapidated cabin into a warm, welcoming home. It becomes a place of healing and positivity for all the patients and soon-to-be doctors in the film.
The filming location of Patch Adam featuring the old house, which they later revamped in the movie, was the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. The gorgeous view of Blue Ridge Mountain at the back of the property made it an ideal site for his humble medical clinic designed for treating those without medical insurance.
Whether you’re a movie fan or not, Biltmore Estate is a spectacular destination to explore. It’s an 8,000-acre estate featuring a historic house museum, gardens, winery, and more. It’s a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, those who want to reconnect with nature, and individuals looking to escape the city’s noise and bustle. It also offers plenty of family-friendly fun, outdoor adventures, and great opportunities for relaxation.
The best way to get to Biltmore Estate is by driving your car or reserving a rental service. They provide a complimentary shuttle service to the mansion from parking lots C, D, and E, but you’ll have to drive to the property.
The funeral scene in Patch Adams
Saint Helena Cemetery, 2461 Spring St, St Helena, CA
It’s undoubtedly one of the heartbreaking scenes in Patch Adams when Carin is murdered by one of the patients at his clinic, Larry (Douglas Roberts). Devastated and plagued with remorse, Patch bids his final goodbye at the cemetery after all the mourners have left. Standing in front of the casket, he reads a heartfelt love letter that starts, “I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where….”
This scene was filmed at St. Helena Cemetery, a twenty-five-acre cemetery in the heart of Napa Valley, CA. It was built in 1856 by William Hudson as a private cemetery. It’s a tranquil memorial park rich in local history and a place where Napa Valley’s founding members, families, and individuals are commemorated.
Visitors here are welcome daily from sunrise to sunset, but the office is open only every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The easiest and most convenient way to get to the memorial park is by driving your own car or hiring a taxi.
Graduation scene in Patch Adams
Carroll Hall, UNC, Chapel Hill, NC
After all the struggles and challenges encountered to get through medical school, Patch Adams is finally graduating. “Well, I’m happy to see you’ve finally decided to confirm,” says Dean Walcott (Bob Gunton) while handing Patch’s diploma.
But of course, Patch wouldn’t leave the stage without making people laugh. As he bows to the audience and professors, he reveals himself to be naked underneath his graduation gown.
The moviemakers built a set stage in front of Carroll Hall for the graduation scene at the end of the film. The verdant trees, lush greenery, and the majestic building served as the backdrop for the final scene, where Patch Adams did his last comedic act in front of the students, patients, and professors.
Completed in 1953, Carroll Hall was named after Dudley DeWitt Carroll. He was the first dean of the School of Commerce, later becoming the School of Business Administration. Then the building became the School of Journalism and Mass Communication site in 1999.
You don’t have to travel far if you plan to go on a filming tour and visit every Patch Adams location. Start at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and explore the campus with a knowledgeable guide or go on a self-guided walking tour. It allows you to get a glimpse of student life and discover some of the historic buildings and outdoor spaces.
While there, don’t miss the chance to see what the town of Chapel Hill has to offer. Check out the idyllic parks, coffee shops, and restaurants, and experience its impressive nightlife scene.
Then from the town, head to Biltmore Estate and soak in the beauty of nature. If you’re feeling adventurous, pick from endless tours and activities you can enjoy, from biking, bushwalking, and hiking to visiting the winery, admiring the house museum, and more.