Some series cities are almost a character in their own right… but which cities are fictitious and which ones really exist? From Riverdale to Tree Hill through Rosewood or Mystic Falls, Why Watch I Now tells you about the cities seen in the series and reveals which ones you can really visit (or not !).
Ah the series cities. Some make you dream, others a little less or not at all (Riverdale cuckoo clock) and yet they are just as important as the characters. And yet, some of them don’t exist at all! So, which ones are fictional and which ones are real ? We are obviously not talking about New York, Los Angeles or Miami which, for geo-dummies, really exist!
If there’s one town you wouldn’t want to live in, it’s Riverdale. With its serial-killers and perverts filming the actions of its residents, the town where Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica and the others live is not an attractive place to live. Don’t worry, no one has to experience this on a daily basis since Riverdale doesn’t really exist or at least not as it is shown in the series. Because yes, there are actually several cities that bear the name “Riverdale” in the United States, including one in New Jersey (population 3,500), another in Utah (population over 8,400) and one in Georgia (population 15,000). As for the series with KJ Apa and Cole Sprouse? It is filmed in Vancouver, Canada. The location that is used to shoot the Pops Dinner is for example located in Mission, British Columbia, and is actually called Rocko’s Diner.
Tree Hill (Scott Brothers)
Although the title was translated into French by Les Frères Scott, the series is actually called One Tree Hill in tribute to the city where the action takes place. A completely fictional city! Indeed, there is no Tree Hill in the USA. However, the city where the series with Chad Michael Murray, Hilarie Burton or Sophia Bush were filmed really exists: it is Wilmington, North Carolina. This is where we can see in real life the bridge seen in the credits, Brooke’s house or the river court. Almost the entire series was filmed there. Wilmington was also the filming location for another cult series: Dawson. In the series with James Van Der Beek, the city was called Capeside.
Mystic Falls (The Vampire Diaries, Legacies)
Vampires don’t exist (or we don’t know about them) and therefore Mystic Falls doesn’t exist either. In the series, it’s supposed to be located in Virginia but that’s not where the real city is, which is used as a set for the shooting. If you want to feel like in The Vampire Diaries and Legacies, head to Covington, Georgia. It’s in this city of just over 13,000 souls that you can see the central square and its monument with a clock that is actually an old courthouse. Other cult places in the series include the Salvatore Mansion which was located in Atlanta but was destroyed in 2015 or the Wickery Bridge which is located in Conyers, Georgia.
In English, Newport Beach is called The O.C. for “The Orange County“, the county where the action takes place. In the series, Seth, Summer, Ryan and the others live in Newport Beach… which actually exists. Located in Orange County, California, this resort has a population of over 85,000! Even if Newport Beach does exist, it is not actually on the city’s beaches that the series was shot: for budgetary reasons, the outdoor scenes were shot closer to Los Angeles, notably on Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach and Torrance Beach.
Rosewood (Pretty Little Liars)
Aria, Hanna, Spencer, Alison and Emily went through hell in Rosewood in Pretty Little Liars. A completely fictional city! The creator confided that she was inspired by the atmosphere of the small town of Rosemont, Pennsylvania, to create the town of her series. Pretty Little Liars was shot almost entirely at the Warner Bros. studio in Burbank, near Los Angeles. A studio that you can visit and where you will find the houses of the heroines but also the high school and the church.
In Glee, the high school students who made up the New Directions lived in the city of Lima, Ohio. A city that does exist, although the writers didn’t really take the names of the local businesses to include them in the show with Lea Michele. Even though the series wasn’t shot in Lima either, Glee has had a very positive impact on the city: “A lot of people stop because they want something that says ‘Lima, Ohio’,” said the city’s tourism manager a few years ago.
Scranton (The Office)
The Office (US version) follows the lives of Dunder Mifflin employees in Scranton. A company that is fictional… but not the city where the action is supposed to take place! Scranton is located in Pennsylvania and has a population of just over 76,000. It is also the birthplace of Joe Biden, candidate for the U.S. presidential election against Donald Trump. The credits were shot in the city: John Krasinski filmed on the spot as he visited the scene after getting the role of Jim Halpert. The actor went there to meet real employees of paper companies. However, the series was not shot in Pennsylvania but in Los Angeles.
Beacon Hills (Teen Wolf)
No need to look for Beacon Hills on a map, it doesn’t exist! The town of Scott, Stiles, Lydia and the others in Teen Wolf is completely fictitious, although there is a neighborhood called Beacon Hill in Boston. In the series, Beacon Hills is supposed to be in California and the first two seasons were not shot in the western United States but in Georgia. It is from season 3 that the production moved to Los Angeles.
Monterey (Big Little Lies)
In Big Little Lies whose season 1 is currently broadcast on TF1, the heroines live in Monterey, a city that really exists. It is located about 100 miles from San Francisco, California, and has a population of just over 28,000. Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and the other stars of the series did well in and around the city, especially in Big Sur (the name given to the coast).
Outer Banks (Outer Banks)
Ok, we cheat a little bit because Outer Banks is not a city but a set of islands. Anyway, the location of the action of the series of the same name that will soon come back for a season 2 on Netflix really exists: it is located in North Carolina and stretches over 320km of coastline. In fact, it is not in the region where the shooting took place but 690km away, in South Carolina. Why is that? Because of House Bill 2, a law that forces transgender people to use public restrooms according to the sex they were born with. Aware of this discriminatory law, the platform did not want to work in the state. Instead, production moved to a location near Charleston.
At the end of June, Dark ended after three seasons. The action of the show that turned our brains upside down takes place in Winden, a very mysterious little town. The creator of the series created it and its name is not a coincidence: in German, “Winden” means to turn or wind. The shooting of the series took place in Berlin. Jonas’ house really exists even if we don’t know exactly where it is located (except that it is in the suburbs of Berlin). That said, as the Bustle site reveals, there is indeed a city called Winden in Elztal in Germany. It is located in the southwest of the country and is bordered by the Black Forest.
Storybrooke (Once Upon a Time)
In Once Upon a Time, the small town of Storybrooke was home to the fairy tale characters. A town that was obviously fictional. But if you want to immerse yourself in the universe of the series, there’s another way (in addition to redoing the seasons on Disney+): Steveston Village, in British Columbia, Canada, was used as a set for the outdoor shoots.