TV & Movies

Stars Hollow From Gilmore Girls Is Not A Real Place — But You Can Still Visit It

The fictional town is based on real Connecticut towns that the show’s creator “fell in love with.”

by Rachel Paige and Jake Viswanath
Originally Published: 
'Gilmore Girls' cast members Milo Ventimiglia and Alexis Bledel in 2003.
Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images

If you didn't dream of running away to Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls as an angsty teenager, then did you have an actual adolescence? For every Gilmore Girls fan, the town of Stars Hollow, Connecticut — with its pastel-colored homes, adorable town square, and hotspots like Luke’s Diner — seemed like a mystical place. But don’t start packing your bags: Gilmore Girls’ Stars Hollow is not a real place after all. But it is based on similar small towns in Connecticut, and the series creator’s affinity for the small town fantasy.

Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino once vacationed in Washington, Connecticut, and as she told the Hartford Courant, she “fell in love with the state over the course of two days.” Specifically, she fell in love with the picturesque towns and the people who lived in them. “It was beautiful, it was magical, and it was feeling of warmth and small-town camaraderie,” Sherman-Palladino elaborted to The Deseret News in 2001. “There was a longing for that in my own life.”

Warner Bros. Pictures

She went on to visit the villages of New Milford, West Hartford, and Kent, all of which formed the basis for her small town sanctuary of Stars Hollow. Just like the real-life places she visited, the fictional town is supposedly set about 30 minutes from Hartford, where Lorelai's parents live. It’s also not too far away from Yale University, which Rory later attends.

If fans really want to travel for the Gilmore Girls experience, they can visit the towns that the creator fell in love with, or they may be able to take a visit to the actual set that Alexis Bledel and her co-stars used to film. What remains of the fictional Stars Hollow set can now be found on the Warner Bros. Studio’s back lot in Los Angeles. While you can take a tour through the area, seeing the Gilmore Girls sets are not guaranteed, depending on if they’re being used for another production. The exterior sets have been used to film later coming-of-age shows like Pretty Little Liars and Hart of Dixie, and the big musical number that opens 2011's The Muppet Movie was filmed on the Stars Hollow town square, as recognized by the iconic gazebo in the background.

It’s just a shame that Luke’s Diner isn’t a real place, because their coffee is still the stuff of legend.

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