11 ‘The O.C.’ Filming Locations In California That You Can Actually Visit In Real Life
Come February 22, 2019, it'll officially be 12 years since The O.C. ended its four-year run on TV. If you're as surprised as I am that we've managed to go on without the show that gave so many of us something so seemingly substantially relevant to live for, you're going to want to check out this list of The O.C. filming locations in California that you can actually visit in real life — yes, including Newport Beach. In other words, if you can't hear "Newport Beach" without imagining Alan Dale's character Caleb saying it like it's the name of an evil secret club for villains, and not the idyllic public neighborhood it actually is, this list is for you.
Independent of the hit TV show, Newport Beach, California is a beautiful place to visit, worthy of tourism thanks to its immaculate beaches, dramatic cliffs, freakishly perfect weather and all-around healthy, clean and charming community. But if you want to head to Newport Beach in search of the thrills that The Harbor School kids experienced in hopes to achieve oneness with the likes to Marissa, Summer, Seth and Ryan, you're going to want a The O.C.-inspired tour. This tour comes with all the angsty and cinematic outposts your heart can handle. Though many of the places featured on the show did not actually exist — and though much of the show was filmed in Redondo Beach, which is part of Los Angeles County and not Orange County — many did, and many of the most iconic backdrops are totally accesses so get ready to relive the glory days you only watched on TV.
Redondo Beach Pier - Redondo Beach, CA
"California, here we c-o-m-e." Though the show is supposed to take place in Newport Beach, CA, a lot of the beach scenes were filmed in Redondo Beach, CA — which, as aforementioned, is actually in Los Angeles County rather than Orange County. To relive many of the scenes in the series that take place on the boardwalk, you'll have to go to the Redondo Beach Pier.
Tony's Restaurant - Redondo Beach, CA
Tony's is a Redondo Beach, CA fixture and was featured many times as an exterior in the series. But you might remember it from the scene where Summer's dad and Marissa's mom get together to talk about dating each other. You can eat there when you visit, apparently they have great seafood and it's clear they have great sea views.
Balboa Fun Zone - Newport Beach, CA
OK, it's not the exact ferris wheel where Ryan and Marissa first kissed, but it is a year-round ferris wheel in Newport Beach. So if you want to get stuck at the top with someone you're into, this is your best bet. It's called the Balboa Fun Zone and there are other games and activities to get into, so it's definitely worth a stop.
Sea Level Restaurant & Lounge - Redondo Beach, CA
The famed Balboa Lighthouse Restaurant is no longer, but it is a real restaurant space and it's now open and running as the Sea Level Restaurant & Lounge. If you're up for some chic, dock-side dining in the spirit of Julie and Caleb, this is your dinner spot.
Redondo Beach Coffee Shop - Redondo Beach, CA
This coffee shop is a must on your The O.C. tour. On the show it was called the Pier Diner, but in real life it's called the Redondo Beach Coffee Shop. You'll recognize the yellow diner with green booth seats from the pilot episode in which Ryan punches Luke in the face. Order the pancakes, buy a gumball, revel in the nostalgia, but don't punch anyone in the face.
The Lifeguard Tower - Playa Del Rey, CA
There are a lot of scenes that take place at night at a lifeguard tower. While the show filmed in a lot of different towers (and though some were fake and built in studio sets) one of the most iconic towers, is real. The S 49 marked tower (where Marissa consoled Ryan in the Season 3 opener!) is located at GPS coordinates 33.940724, -118.442064 in Playa Del Rey.
Fisherman's Village - Marina Del Rey, CA
Though the crew hung out in the Fisherman's Village in Marina Del Rey, CA (also just outside of LA) a few times, one of the most notable reasons to visit this area is because it's where The Summer Breeze was docked. When Seth finally does sail off into the distance, it's also from this very marina.
Warner Grand Theater - San Pedro, CA
Back in Season 1 when Marissa was still bummed about Luke sleeping with her mom (understandably), Summer, Seth, and Ryan took her out for a movie to cheer her up. Only, the movie was a sad one, and they all — minus Ryan, of course — cried their eyes out. Lucky for you, The Warner Grand theater is real, and you can visit it.
Fashion Island Mall - Newport Beach, CA
Wanna shop in the mall where Summer, Seth, Marissa and Ryan got locked in after hours? Cool, it's a real mall and it's really in Newport Beach, CA. You can visit it! It's called Fashion Island and it's a great place to shop for Chrismukkah gifts.
The Shoreline Village - Long Beach, CA
This outdoor shopping area called the Shoreline Village in Long Beach, CA, served as the backdrop for a few scenes in the show, but perhaps most notably the place where Ryan and Seth took a pitstop in season one to eat pizza and talk about their love lives. In real life there are plenty of food options and lots of benches to sit on ponder love.
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino - Las Vegas, NV
Relive Caleb's bachelor party at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, where you can go bowling in your own room (if your room is the Penthouse Suite). The Vegas part of the episode was brief, but a lot happened. Most notably, Summer went all the way to Vegas to tell Seth how she felt about him, only to find him playing tonsil hockey with another babe in his suite, in the most un-Seth Cohen move, ever.