Calling All Superfans! 12 Real-Life TV Show Locations You Can Visit on Your Next Vacay
What's a better way to spend your lazy sun-drenched Sunday afternoon than some Chinese takeout, a steady supply of caffeine, and the ghostly glow of your laptop?
Our generation has experienced television warp at an exponential rate; in just a couple decades, TV has evolved from being saturated with soap operas and sitcoms to becoming a harbor for feature entertainment. But it's not just the acting or the dialogue that makes staring at a screen for hours so engaging; it's the connection with characters and locations that make such shows come to life.
While many major films shoot on a closed sound stage, sometimes productions venture out into the real world to create movie magic. Ahead, we've compiled a list of some of the most memorable—and iconic—real life locations we've ever seen on TV. Whether it be for an Instagram photo-op or a walking tour, follow the thrills from your beloved TV shows here.
Behold: 12 locations from famous TV shows that you can actually visit.
1. Game of Thrones: The Dark Hedges
Beleaguered with death, war, and violence, the land of Westeros may not the best of places to live, but fans can dive into the fictional world for a short visit by taking a trip to Northern Ireland. Scenes of Arya's journey from King's Landing on the King's Road were filmed at The Dark Hedges, which are just as eerily beautiful in real life as they are in the show. Northern Ireland's scenic road of beech trees, known as King's Road, appears in one of Game of Thrones' typically picturesque scenes. Tourists flock there year-round for epic photo ops and a chance to encounter the famous "Grey Lady" ghost. Fun fact: the noble Stuart family planted the beech trees along the avenue all the way back in the eighteenth century.
2. Scandal: Olivia Pope's Office
This is perhaps the show's most familiar location, the one that pops up in every episode and as the decorative exterior of Olivia's crisis-management firm, Olivia Pope & Associates. The building with those familiar arching windows is actually the top floors of the Palace Theatre, located at 630 S. Broadway in Los Angeles, in the old theatre district of downtown L.A. If you're a Scandal superfan looking to get a selfie outside the building, keep in mind that the show is shot on the east side of Broadway, between 6th & 7th Streets. The Palace Theatre was built in 1911 as a vaudeville house (first called The Orpheum), and its stage saw great performers such as the Marx Brothers and Houdini. Eventually, it was turned into a movie theatre in the 1940s. Being a theatre, the venue obviously hosts events open to the public, but unfortunately the top floors remained cordoned off.
3. Mr. Robot: Evil Corp Headquarters
E Corp, known to Elliot by the derogatory name Evil Corp, is one of the largest multi-national conglomerates in the world. According to Mr. Robot, the company owns 70 percent of the global consumer credit industry, which is why society has targeted them, and why Mr. Robot recruited Elliot to help them hack into their network. What viewers might not know is that the intimidating structure is actually a real New York City high rise you can see from the streets, located at 135. E 57th St.
4. Orange Is the New Black: Astoria Park
Hardcore OITNB fans will recall even the non-prison locations of the show, including Red's speed-walking route through Astoria Park. The area where Red walks with the rich Russian wives who ultimately ditch her is near Hell Gate Bridge in Astoria Park, a beautiful and underrated N.Y.C. park where she tells the infamous "he's not an eggplant man, he's retarded" joke to humorless mob wives. The path around Hell Gate Bridge is a particularly important spot early on in Season 1.
5. Downton Abbey: Highclere Castle
Perhaps the most distinguishable—and historical—location on this list is Highclere Castle in West Berkshire, England, which serves as the primary filming location for the hit period drama Downton Abbey. Located about an hour and a half from London, many of the rooms are easily recognizable as the furniture from the set. Both the interior and exterior of Highclere are used as the site of Downton Abbey. In the show, the castle serves as the residence for the Earl of Grantham and his family. In real life, visitors are free to roam around the castle and view other rooms that have provided a backdrop for the show. While there are no guided tours, each room has someone available to answer questions. The grounds and select parts of the castle are open to the public between 60-70 days a year, so be sure to check out the website for dates and more visitor information.
6. The Vampire Diaries: The Mystic Grill
The Mystic Grill, often simply referred to as "the Grill," has been the site of numerous town events and supernatural show-downs throughout its history. Characters are often seen drinking, plotting, and fending off various supernatural entities in the restaurant (it was even blown up once). While you may not get a chance to drink bourbon with Damon Salvatore at the bar, The Grill is real—with the same name and exterior. Located in Covington, Georgia, the restaurant is known to serve up some pretty delightful fare, making it well worth a visit for fans and non-fans alike. The town itself is full of Southern charm and intriguing history that can leave any guest feeling like they don't want to leave.
7. Friends: Monica & Rachel's Apartment
Who hasn't envied the iconic Friends apartment? Every single one of the gang has lived here at some point. Monica and Rachel's unbelievably huge New York City apartment is true to life in that it really is located in Greenwich Village, as depicted in the show. The interior shots were shot on a sound stage (filmed with a live audience in tow), but the building itself is located right above the Little Owl on the corner of Grove and Bedford St. Visit to take a snapshot of your own, and while there, don't forget to stop in for a bite at the neighboring restaurant, which serves up delectable, seasonal fare. There's also a Central Perk inspired café where you can grab a coffee, pose on the orange sofa AND have your picture a replica of the iconic fountain.
8. The Walking Dead: Governor's Town
The seemingly idyllic town of Woodbury, AKA the post-apocalyptic neighborhood controlled by The Governor, is an iconic location featured in season three of the hit series. The scenes featuring Woodbury were actually filmed on Main St in Senoia, Georgia. After a casual stroll up Main Street, you can grab a slice at Matt's Smalltown Pizza or a cup of java from the Senoia Coffee & Cafe. Though it may look a bit different to fans without the makeshift gates used to keep out zombies, TWD fans will get a kick out of strolling down the familiar street.
9. Archer: Gstaad Palace
Archer and his team at the International Secret Intelligence Service (ISIS) often travel to various high-flying locations around the world. Despite being an animated series, many of the locations shown in the series are real, three-dimensional places. Although the flirtatious espionage and snowmobile chases in Season 2 are entirely fictional, the setting was based on the town and its famous Gstaad Palace Hotel. This world-famous ski resort in Switzerland is far more upscale than even Aspen, and regularly draws celebrities, royals, heads of state and the international jet set to its peaks. The luxury hotel—replete with turrets and flag—is available for guests all year. Winter activities include sled rides and skiing through the Alps, while summertime guests can enjoy horseback riding and paragliding.
10. Parks and Recreation: Pawnee City Hall
Pasadena City Hall, located at 100 North Garfield Avenue, regularly doubles as Pawnee City Hall on the popular NBC series. If you've ever seen Parks and Recreation, then you know how significant City Hall is to Leslie Knope. Viewers mostly see the interior of the building—Leslie's office and the horrific murals—but the rarely seen exterior is quite impressive. Those outside shots are actually of Pasadena City Hall in California. The building's lavish architecture, especially its crowning six-story cupola, rises 206 feet above the street.
11. Pretty Little Liars: Radley Sanitarium
Of course, all roads lead back to Radley. The menacing building that portrayed Rosewood's local mental institution during Seasons 1 through 6 (and later refurbished into an upscale boutique hotel) can be found in the Embassy Courtyard area of the lot. Many of the Liars spend time at the facility throughout the series, namely Mona, who is held there for the majority of Season 3. Fans can get whisked back to the primary setting of the Rosewood community in this charming backyard—don't worry; we won't tell A.
12. American Horror Story: Murder House
Nobody could forget the gorgeous—and insanely haunted mansion—that started it all. Officially named The Alfred Rosenheim Mansion, and located at 1120 Westchester Place, L.A., the 1908 building is better known to American Horror Story fans as the "Murder House" in which much of its first season took place. But while the fictional mansion contains a horde of homicidal ghosts who were quick to take their suffering out on any brave buyer who dared to move in, visitors will be relieved to know that the real thing is phantasm-free—and utterly stunning. Its standout feature is the main hall, which features a turreted stairwell and is lit with Tiffany stained glass windows. And the best part? Vacationers can add a little black magic to their own trip; the memorably morbid mansion is now available to rent on Airbnb.