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Pay It Forward movie cover Movie Locations Guide

Where was Pay It Forward filmed?


City Locations

Las Vegas, Portland, Henderson, Los Angeles, West Hollywood (USA)

Location Types

Apartments, House, Retro, Restaurants, Schools/Colleges

Location Styles

Building Dated/Retro, Dilapidated/Neglected, Desert, School

About Pay It Forward

In the 2000 hit movie Pay It Forward, 11-year-old Trevor (Haley Joel Osment) presents his classmates with a revolutionary concept – "Pay It Forward." This inspiring philosophy encourages people to shower three strangers with kindness and have them return it by doing favors for three other individuals. To prove this notion, Trevor told Mr. Simonet (Kevin Spacey), his social studies teacher, about the challenge in the class.

Directed by Mimi Leder and co-starring Helen Hunt, the romantic drama allows viewers to discover what happens when one idea passes through many hands! The premise centers on Trevor’s efforts to implement his plan, all while trying to cope with his strained family life and a challenging school environment. Despite some initial skepticism about the 'Pay It Forward’ concept, Trevor's attempts at making a better world slowly gain traction and start impacting those around him.

His mother, Arlene (Hunt), begins to turn her life around and repair their broken family. At the same time, Simonet learns how to reconnect with the people around him after years of seclusion from everyone due to his facial scars. Ultimately, this heartwarming story shows how much one person can do if they just put their mind to it.

The film generally received positive reviews from critics, many commending its heartfelt story and performance by its young stars. The movie was nominated for several awards, including Blockbuster Entertainment Awards for Favorite Actress - Drama/Romance (Helen Hunt) and Favorite Actor - Drama/Romance (Kevin Spacey).

Moreover, Haley Joel Osment has been nominated for an array of awards, including the Young Artist Award and the Online Film & Television Association's Best Youth Performance. His masterful performance in Pay it Forward earned him the Favorite Supporting Actor - Drama/Romance Award during the 2001 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards.

Pay It Forward Locations

Pay It Forward is a heartwarming movie that has left its mark on many viewers with its moral adventure story. Most scenes were shot in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Los Angeles, California, two cities renowned for their bright lights and bustling attractions. Las Vegas served as a beautiful backdrop to scenes featuring iconic hotels, casinos, and lights that line the strip.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles provided a unique setting for more intimate moments between characters due to its array of neighborhoods, such as Hollywood Hills and Venice Beach. Not only do these settings capture the vibrancy of city life, but they also provide a perfect canvas for directors to use when crafting their stories.

From the iconic St. Johns Bridge offering a breathtaking view of the city skyline to Centennial High School, Trevor's school in the film Pay It Forward, and Leilani Street, where Arlene and Trevor live, this area is a delightful blend of both urban and rural settings.

Visiting these two cities would be highly rewarding and worthwhile; they offer a unique mix of sites and sights. Additionally, if you are a fan of the Mimi Leder flick, this trip will be an even more extraordinary experience; it'll feel like traveling back in time to when the slate went down on the Pay it Forward production.

Arlene and Trevor’s House scene in Pay It Forward

210 Lailani St, Las Vegas NV, USA

When Arlene returns home after a late night of work at the club, she is shocked to find Trevor with an unfamiliar person. Unrevealed to her, Trevor brought his friend Jerry (James Caviezel) over to help him with Mr. Simonet's task. Although Arlene felt taken aback at first because she thought it was some vagabond that Trevor had invited, her emotions change as soon as she learns the truth about Jerry’s presence.

The scene in which Arlene and Trevor's house is first introduced takes place in Las Vegas, Nevada. The house is situated at 210 Lailani Street, but the actual building used for filming was demolished and replaced with a new one. It was a typical one-story suburban house that conveyed the feeling of poverty Arlene and Trevor's family were dealing with. The fact that Arlene had to take two jobs to support them only added to this atmosphere.

To get to the Pay It Forward filming location, you can walk, cycle, or take an Uber or Lyft ride there. There are also public buses running throughout town that are cheaper than other forms of travel but may take longer due to traffic and frequent stops.

Trevor’s first meeting with Mr. Simonet scene in Pay It Forward

Centennial High School, 10200 Centennial Pkwy, Las Vegas NV, USA

The Pay it Forward scene that more or less gets the story going takes place in the classroom of Eugene Simonet. He is seen giving his students a rather unusual assignment which requires them to find a practical way to make the world a better place and then put their hypotheses into action.

It is a pivotal moment in the film and centers around Trevor's character's journey to helping others through acts of kindness. Centennial High School was the setting for the school scenes, and it is located in the pulsing center of downtown, Las Vegas. The learning institution was the first high school ever to grace the cityscape, and after opening its doors in 1930, it has since provided valuable educational opportunities to local students for almost an entire century.

The high school stands on 10200 Centennial Pkwy, just off US-95, and can be accessed via I-15 or I-215, depending on where you're coming from. If you're coming from downtown Las Vegas, take US-95 northbound towards I-15 Northbound until you reach exit 40A - Centennial Pkwy westbound. Continue westbound until you reach the high school's parking area.

Arlene's casino work scene in Pay It Forward

32 Fremont Street, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

The McKinney family has been plagued by the widespread difficulties of alcohol abuse as well as physical and sexual mistreatment. Arlene, in particular, is distant from her son due to her own alcoholism and poor choices. During the day, she works at a casino on 32 Fremont Street in Las Vegas; during the night, she waitresses at a strip club. It's here that Eugene (Kevin Spacey) initially arrives to ask Arlene out on what would be their first date together.

The 'Pay It Forward' scene was set at 32 Fremont Street in Las Vegas, Nevada. This street is part of the historic Downtown area of the city, situated north of the famed Las Vegas Strip. Once renowned as the birthplace of Las Vegas in 1905, this part of the city still contains some of its original layout and character.

Getting to 32 Fremont Street is only a short walk from other popular locations like Fremont Street Experience and Four Queens Casino, as well as other downtown landmarks such as Mob Museum and Neon Museum. Those coming from further away can take Interstate 15 or US 95 South towards Downtown before exiting on 4th Street or onto Main Street/Fremont East exits. From there, head east or west on Fremont until you hit 32 Fremont Street, where you'll find plenty of parking options for your car or bike.

Eugene waits for Arlene at the restaurant scene in Pay It Forward

Plaza Hotel & Casino, 1 N Main St, Las Vegas, NV 89101, USA

The Plaza Hotel & Casino scene in Pay It Forward depicts a classic Las Vegas atmosphere. Eugene Simonet waits for Arlene while seated at a table in the middle of this bustling casino. The entire area is filled with slot machines, jackpot bells ringing out in celebration, and patrons talking and laughing over their card games and drinks.

The bright neon signs reflect off the polished marble floors and provide a spectacular backdrop to this classic Vegas setting. The Plaza Hotel & Casino is open to visitors, and it was the location of what is arguably one of the movie’s best scenes. Before the mega-resorts that now dominate Las Vegas Boulevard emerged, venues like The Plaza set Sin City apart as a destination of glitz, glamor, and gaming – where celebrities flocked to experience its alluring magic.

For the past 40 years, The Plaza Hotel & Casino has been a prominent figure in Las Vegas — not only as the world's largest hotel and casino when it opened its doors back in 1971 with 500 rooms but also for inspiring Sin City’s skyline.

From downtown Las Vegas, the establishment is a short drive or shuttle ride away, and it is located on Fremont Street, where the casino is located. Once at Fremont Street, visitors will find that The Plaza Hotel & Casino’s location makes it one of the most accessible casinos in town – look for its iconic double arch entryway!

Eugene’s Apartment scene in Pay It Forward

5316 Danville Lane, Las Vegas NV, USA

The scene where Arlene confronts Eugene about his feelings for her takes place at his apartment. Eugene tells her he is scared of his feelings, but after some thought, he ultimately accepts that he has a place in her life. The filming location of this scene was the Oasis Apartment complex at 5316 Danville Lane, Las Vegas, NV.

Built during the 1980s, the apartment building maintains an old-world charm that hasn't changed since filming took place here. Located steps away from the iconic Las Vegas Strip, it’s easy to forget that such hidden gems are close to all the pizazz of Sin City.

To find the Oasis Apartment Complex, start your journey by taking I-515 N/US-95 N toward Paradise. Once you reach I-15 S, take exit 36 and continue onto NV-594 E. You will turn on Las Vegas Blvd S and make a left onto Danville Ln until you spot the complex to your left side.

Suicidal woman on the bridge scene in Pay It Forward

St. Johns Bridge, Portland, Oregon, USA

Desperately trying to end her life, a woman climbs onto the bridge's handrail. Fortunately, Jerry appears and tries his hardest to prevent her from jumping; he owes a debt of gratitude to someone who saved his life before and takes this opportunity as an act of kindness by inviting Charlotte (the woman) for a cup of coffee.

The scene was filmed at the St. Johns Bridge in Portland, Oregon. A magnificent steel suspension bridge spanning the Willamette River for over 85 years, it remains one of Oregon's most distinguished bridges. Not only does it boast an impressive history, but its designer David B. Steinman personally labeled this bridge his favorite design among all his works.

To get to this location, visitors can take a bus or train to St. Johns Bridge station near North Lombard Street in Portland’s Northwest area. An alternative is to walk from the Cathedral Park neighborhood, which takes around 20 minutes through quiet residential streets. A boat ride that departs from Tom McCall Waterfront Park, which offers stunning views of the city skyline and scenic views of nature on either side of the Willamette River, is yet another lovely option.


Pay It Forward is an uplifting and heartfelt movie that makes its audience think about doing random, selfless acts of kindness. The performances of the actors are astounding and moving. Haley Joel Osment does a beautiful job of conveying the earnestness and empathy of a young boy eager to make the world a better place.

Kevin Spacey’s performance is also excellent, delivering his lines with the right dose of humor and compassion. Helen Hunt as Trevor's mother gives one of her most powerful performances yet; her scenes with Mr. Simonet have an electrifying energy, creating an emotional bond between both characters that resonate with viewers long after the credits roll.

This movie undoubtedly made a valuable contribution to the film industry by serving as a reminder that no matter how cynical or pessimistic we may feel about society sometimes, we can always be agents for positive change by going out of our way to do small things for others. Though some might argue that its optimistic view on life may be too idealistic or overly sentimental at times, this message still rings true today as people strive towards making the world a better place despite all its challenges and difficulties.

This film will leave you with plenty of food for thought and hopefully motivate you to look for ways to help others in your everyday life. If you are up for it, it’s even more rewarding to explore the filming locations of Pay it Forward filming, if only to set your eyes on where the magic happened.