Real-Life Places Your Favorite Marvel Characters Are From
Unlike the DC Comic-sphere, where heroes and villains come from fictional places like Metropolis and Gotham City, the Marvel Comics Universe features characters who could have been born right next door to you.
Your favorite Avengers, X-Men and space captains have earthly origins. Discover which character is from your neck of the woods, or plan a visit to these cool cities where your favorite Marvel superheroes are from.
Wolverine: Alberta, Canada
Wolverine is one of the most beloved X-Men (before trolls come a-knocking, the X-Men are part of the Marvel Comics Universe, if not its cinematic one).
The powerful mutant with retractable claws (portrayed in film by Hugh Jackman) was originally born James Howlett in Alberta, Canada, ostensibly to wealthy farm owners.
He adopted the name "Logan" when he discovered he was actually the product of an affair between his mother and the family's groundskeeper, Thomas Logan.
Best Things to Do in Alberta
Alberta isn't just Wolverine's home. The Canadian province touts more than 600 lakes and the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
Outdoor lovers rank Banff National Park as thebest national park in Canada. Glacier-fed Lake Louise is one of the most beautiful places you'll ever see.
In honor of their hometown (anti)hero, Albertans have long pushed for building a Wolverine statue in the province's capital city of Edmonton. Alas, that dream has yet to become reality.
Captain America: Brooklyn, New York
Genetically built to be the strongest man on Earth (giving even spacemen like Thor a run for their money), Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, is Brooklyn born and raised.
You may recall him making note of this in the 2011 film "Captain America: First Avenger," in which he remarks, "I'm just a kid from Brooklyn." And in "Captain America: Civil War," he sweetly bonds with Spider-Man (whom you'll see further down) over their shared, proud New York roots.
Best Things to Do in Brooklyn
The Borough of Brooklyn is as hot as Steve's portrayer, Chris Evans. It touts high-rise hotels and scores of restaurants offering a more hipster side to New York, with sterling views of the Manhattan skyline to boot.
You can also visit the Captain himself in the city, if not in the flesh. In 2016, in honor of the superhero's 75th anniversary, Marvel unveiled a 13-foot, bronze statue of Captain America in Brooklyn's Prospect Park.
The statue was later moved to Sunset Park in South Brooklyn, where you can still see it today.
Hulk: Dayton, Ohio
The scientist Bruce Banner became The Hulk during the testing of a gamma bomb that filled his body with radiation, causing him to transform into a rage-filled green beast when angry. But before he adopted his aggressive alter ego, he was just a kid from the American heartland of Ohio.
Interestingly, two other comic-book characters hail from the humble town of Dayton, as well, though they're not nearly as well-known as The Hulk. Tommy Glass, from the "American Vampire" series, and Black Alice, who uses her powers to fight drug dealers in Dayton, also call the city home.
Best Things to Do in Dayton
You may not want to see the "Big Guy" (played by Mark Ruffalo) angry, but you can and should enjoy his hometown of Dayton.
Nestled between Columbus and Cincinnati, Dayton is home to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Carillon Historical Park, the Dayton Art Institute and the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery.
Plenty of things to take in that don't involve gamma rays.
Phoenix: Hudson Valley, New York
One of the most beloved and complicated characters in the X-Men franchise is Jean Grey, a mutant who turns into the fantastically powerful, morally conflicted "Dark Phoenix" after returning from death and transforming like the mythical bird.
Jean's childhood was spent in upstate New York and the Hudson Valley. In the (widely panned) film "Dark Phoenix" — starring Sophie Turner (aka Sansa Stark in "Game of Thrones") — Jean visits Red Hook, New York, depicted in the film as her childhood home.
Best Things to Do in Hudson Valley
But dark as Phoenix's story is, we can't help but envy a childhood in the gorgeous Hudson Valley.
Here, a combination of foliage-rich parks and ski mountains mix with historical sites like the Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site, which shows the home of both the former president and Eleanor Roosevelt.
Nick Fury: Huntsville, Alabama
When sharing his story with Captain Marvel in her eponymous movie, the Avengers' team leader Nick Fury, played by Samuel L. Jackson, revealed he's from Huntsville, Alabama.
In response to Fury's admission on film that he's from Huntsville, Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks recently produced a video cheekily inviting the hero to visit.
"We have more defense technology than Iron Man," he said. "Our missiles are more precise than Hawkeye’s aim. Our rockets reach for the stars and soar further than Captain Marvel. Our support for national security is stronger than the vibranium in Captain America’s shield and Black Panther’s suit."
Best Things to Do in Huntsville, Alabama
This small town in northern Alabama is famously home to NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, where you can not only learn about America's space history, but experience non-gravity flight.
It also houses Redstone Arsenal, a key developer of rocket and missile technology.
Iron Man: Long Island, New York
All the way back in 2008, the "Avengers" movie franchise got its start with the introduction of playboy millionaire and brilliant engineer Tony Stark, who became Iron Man after saving his own life with the help of a high-powered suit he designed.
Played by Robert Downey Jr., the character went on to serve a crucial role in the recent "Avengers: End Game" film, creating time travel to beat Thanos.
Before he became an antihero-turned-superhero, Tony called Long Island home.
Best Things to Do in Long Island
The destination is best known for housing the Hamptons, the über-chic playground for the rich, where beaches, seafood and charming villages make for a quaint getaway on summer weekends.
Professor X: New York City, New York
Charles Francis Xavier is known not only for his telepathic and psionic powers, but for his moral integrity and leadership. These qualities help him become the leader of the X-Men, as well as its Westchester-based academy. He is a definite fan favorite of the comic canon.
But before ascending the ranks, Xavier was just a boy born in Manhattan to wealthy parents. In film, Patrick Stewart plays the older Xavier, while James McAvoy plays his younger self.
We definitely see younger Xavier enjoy the city more, but we're sure older Xavier enjoyed a night in at the theater as much as anyone else.
Best Things to Do in New York City
We could fill your head with places to see and do in New York City, where theater, dining and attractions are world-renowned.
The city is also an excellent place for superhero fans to explore, as it includes a number of filming sites from Marvel movies.
Magneto: Nuremberg, Germany
The Bavarian city of Nuremberg is charming, but it also has a dark chapter in its history. In the 1930s and '40s, the city was a Nazi stronghold.
This darkness plays a key role in the origin story of X-Men's Magneto. Born Max Eisenhardt in Nuremberg, he fled with his German-Jewish family to Warsaw, Poland, as the Nazi campaign against Jews escalated.
The film "X-Men: First Class" shows how the backdrop of Nazism shaped Magneto's powers and worldview.
Best Things to Do in Nuremberg
You can learn more about this dark chapter in history at various World War II-era sites across the city. Nuremberg is also the city where post-war crime trials were held and many Nazis convicted.
But the German city is not just defined by its most terrible moment. You can complement historical tours with walking around the medieval buildings of the old town.
If you visit during winter, make sure to go to the world-renowned Christmas market, which dates back hundreds of years.
Deadpool: Regina, Canada
Ryan Reynolds worked hard to bring "Deadpool" to the big screen. When the R-rated superhero finally debuted in 2016, Reynolds not only played the starring role, neé Wade Wilson, but cowrote the screenplay.
Maybe the actor felt connected to the character because they both hail from Canada. But while Reynolds is from Vancouver, Deadpool was born in Regina, a city in the remote province of Saskatchewan, nestled in the middle of the country.
Best Things to Do in Regina
Regina, with just over 228,000 residents, is a lakeside charmer filled with museums and outdoor activities.
Just don't go expecting to find anything related to Deadpool. In 2016, fans put together a petition to erect a statue of the character in Regina. The city's mayor responded on Facebook with a single word: "Nope."
Star-Lord: St. Charles, Missouri
Peter Quill, who prefers to go by the name "Star-Lord," may reside in outer space as the ostensible captain of "The Milano" ship (named after his childhood crush, Alyssa Milano), but he's an Earth-born American, through and through.
The character was born in St. Charles, Missouri, in 1980 to a human mother and a celestial father. One could argue his Midwest charm is what makes him such a popular figure in Marvel comic books and films.
Best Things to Do in St. Charles
Located outside of St. Louis, St. Charles is home to the Saint Louis Zoo, Missouri Botanical Garden and other Missouri River-based attractions that make it a worthy stop when not guarding the galaxy.
Spider-Man: Queens, New York
Raised by his aunt in Forest Hills, Peter Parker is a humble high school student who becomes a superhero after inheriting the powers of a radioactive spider.
Forest Hills is located in Queens, one of New York's least appreciated boroughs, but it serves to drive home how much of a regular kid Peter was before becoming Spider-Man.
Best Thing to Do in Queens
Forest Hills is mostly just a residential neighborhood, but it's right next to Flushing Meadows, where the U.S. Open tennis tournament is held and the Mets call home at Citi Field stadium.
You can also visit the Queens Botanical Garden or, in the summer, spend time at Rockaway Beach.
Marvel megafans should head to Ingram St., where Peter and his aunt live in the comic.
Black Widow: Volgograd, Russia
The Russian-born Black Widow sacrificed herself in "Avengers: End Game." As one of the original Avengers, Black Widow may be the toughest — albeit not the most powerful — female Marvel character.
But before her career as an Avenger and a spy, Natasha Romanova spent her childhood in Volograd, formerly Stalingrad.
Best Things to Do in Volgograd
If Scarlett Johansson (the actress portraying Black Widow) were to show you around Volograd, she could take you to tranquil Lake Elton and the Central Station, an architectural marvel of a railway station, among other sights.
This is the city where the World War II Battle of Stalingrad, the first major loss for the Germans during the war, took place. Fittingly, it is also home to a massive memorial complex commemorating the battle, featuring the iconic Motherland Calls sculpture.