Escaping into fiction is easy. Be it by book or through a movie or TV, the world of fiction is hardly difficult to come by. Pick up a book, and voila — you’re somewhere else. With that being said, however, there are certain restrictions. Audiences are bound by rigid limits, meaning that escapism exists only in the imagination. But thankfully, while the place itself might be fake, the filming location (probably) isn’t.
Audiences have been falling in love with fictional locations for years. Unlike movie sets, the places that characters frequent on TV stick with viewers. They’re revisited so many times that these locations start to feel legitimate; they may as well be real places. So if you’re tired of existing in this restrictive world of non-fiction, then it’s time to explore. From fantastical locations to New York delis, there are filming locations all over the globe that’ll lend you the chance to see them up close. So, at this time, please be sure that your seat and tray are in their upright positions, and prepare to explore 16 TV Show Locations You Can Really Visit.
16. Sunnydale High (Buffy The Vampire Slayer)
If you don’t mind visiting a Hellmouth, then by all means, go right ahead. Sunnydale is bright and cheerful on the outside, but deep down, you have what is essentially a breeding ground for evil. Still, it’s by no means closed off to the public — and neither is the high school, which doubled as Slayer’s Headquarters in Buffy the Vampire Slayer until blowing up at the end of the third season.
What with it being TV magic, though, the school is still standing, which means you are free to visit. The exact location is in Torrance, California, and the actual name of the high school is Torrance High, not Sunnydale (so don’t get lost looking for a place that doesn’t even exist). Sadly, you likely won’t find any genuine horror here, aside from the minor, inadvertent horror reference to The Shining, but it’s still worth checking out if you are one with the Whedonverse.
15. The White Residence (Breaking Bad)
Most great stories don’t often start off with cancer and crystal meth, but Breaking Bad is an exception. This tragedy-wrapped-in-a-drug-war series was epic from beginning to end, but its leading character, Walter White, comes from a family as American as apple pie. Or even as American as crystal meth, for that matter. The family’s home serves as a proper reflection of their surface appearance: perfectly ordinary.
Then again, it’s safe to say that nothing is ever truly as it seems on television, and the Whites are no different. So, if you want to get a dose of some drug-induced Americana, you can visit the White residence in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Then again, that doesn’t mean you should visit, seeing as homeowner Frances Padilla deserves some privacy. But then again, this is America after all, so that’s completely up to you.
14. Murder House (American Horror Story)
American Horror Story is all about locations. Each season is dedicated to a place — an asylum, Roanoke, a coven — and its first season, Murder House, is the ultimate location in AHS lore. It’s the first in the series, which earns it a fair share of entitlement. Also, it helps that you can actually visit it in person.
This beautiful brick home has a name of its own, but it has nothing to do with death, which is most likely appreciated by local realtors. In real life, it’s the Rosenheim Mansion (named after its architect, Alfred Rosenheim), and it’s not suffering from a supernatural infestation. Or at least that’s the general assumption. If you want reenact the show’s Eternal Darkness Tour, then make sure you add this stop to your route.
13. Lallybroch (Outlander)
Time is very much of the essence in Outlander, but the same hardly applies once filming ends. When the production crew wraps up in Lallybroch, one of the locations in the show, the set doesn’t go anywhere. It doesn’t get torn down or moved, it just stays put — because it’s an actual historic location.
Midhope Castle (its actual name) is located in Abercorn, Scotland, and it’s quite a sight to behold. Simple, but spectacular. The best part about this particular location, aside from what you may already love from the show, is the fact that it’s completely open to the public. So, eager though you may be, trying to travel back in time isn’t necessary if you want to embrace the world within Outlander; it just requires a trip to the country.
12. The Spellman Residence (Sabrina The Teenage Witch)
Before Harry Potter had the world by its Pygmy Puffs, audiences were swept up in some small-screen magic in the form of Sabrina the Teenage Witch. After “explaining it all” for Nickelodeon, Melissa Joan Hart entered the Spellman residence and started magicking up some witch-based humor with her two aunts and cat. The magic is kid-friendly and safe (mostly), and the house serves as a perfect companion to the witchcraft that is whipped up on a daily basis.
Now, chances are you won’t be allowed inside if you pay the real Spellman residence a visit, but you can catch a glimpse from the street. So, if you want to check the place out in person, hop over to Freehold, New Jersey, and you’re good to go.
11. Bill Compton’s House (True Blood)
True Blood would have never worked quite as well without its southern setting, and Bill Compton’s house is proof of that. A plantation in Louisiana, this house has the exact sort of history that serves to do justice to Bill (what with him being nearly as old as the plantation itself). Over time, the show opted for a set in Hollywood over the actual location (though not by choice), but the original plantation is still standing, so if you want to get a firsthand look, that’s still an option.
Now, had the show been a bit tamer with the sort of material it was presenting, the series may never had to jump ship. Alas, that would have called for thematic changes in the show that neither the creators nor the audience would have ever been happy with. Still, if you’re in the area and want to check it the real thing down in Gloster, Louisiana, you go right ahead.
10. Woodbury (The Walking Dead)
A significant amount of people get excited about the prospect of a zombie apocalypse. In their defense, it’s not because they want the majority of the world to go extinct, but because the idea of experiencing a point-and-shoot video game in real life without the weight of mortal casualties seems enticing. Regardless, it’s safe to say that a zombie apocalypse will never happen — or at the very least, it’s not very likely.
So, if you need that zombie fix, but you’re not content with settling for video games or movies anymore, you can always visit their stomping ground in Georgia, thanks to The Walking Dead. The town of Woodbury (though not filled with any actual zombies) may not be real, but the location in which it was filmed is. Welcome to Senoia, Georgia, where the population is still very much alive.
9. The Batcave (Batman)
Audiences have seen quite a few interpretations of Bruce Wayne’s Batcave. In Tim Burton’s Batman, it’s exactly what you’d think a mech-Gothic office might look like, and in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, it gets so many facelifts and location changes that it’s sort of difficult to keep up. However, the grandaddy of them all — albeit not the most visually striking, though that’s purely subjective — is the Adam West Batcave.
Though you won’t find any of his gizmos and gadgets inside, if you visit the Hollywood Sign in California and snoop around a bit around Griffith Park, you’ll eventually happen upon Bronson Canyon. Legend has it that if you wait around long enough, you’ll hear the sound of engines revving and Adam West’s iconic laughter, though that information can neither be confirmed nor denied.
8. Dmitri’s Russian Deli (Orange Is The New Black)
Some filming locations aren’t going to be quite as mind-blowing as some, but that doesn’t make them any less exciting to visit. Orange is the New Black spends a considerable amount of time behind bars, but every so often, it drifts outside into the land of the free, where characters visit places that actually exist in real life.
One such place is Dmitri’s Russian Deli. On the show, it belongs to Red (who’s naturally proud of all the food preparation that went on behind its walls), but off camera, it’s Rosario’s Deli, and if you take a trip to Astoria, Queens, OitNB cosplayers can revel in the excitement that is taking photos at an actual filming location. But that begs the question: are there are actually any OitNB cosplayers?
Answer: Yes. Yes, there are.
7. Holsten’s Ice Cream Parlor (The Sopranos)
When The Sopranos was on TV (sorry, “it’s not TV, it’s HBO“), it had viewers by the throat. That is, it had viewers by the throat until its final episode. When The Sopranos came to an end, fans might have expected it to go out in a blaze of glory, but whatever ended up happening did so off-screen. Naturally, there is still plenty of speculation as to what actually happened, so if you’re one those fans and you need to visit the scene of the crime in person to really put yourself in the moment, head over to Bloomfield, NJ. This location is so cemented in Soprano’s history that the owners of the shop placed a reserved sign at the table where Tony and his family sit, in honor of James Gandolfini’s death.
6. 221B Baker Street (Sherlock)
Preparing for detective work seems like it could be tricky business. Case in point, Sherlock. When he’s not on the job, he’s home at 221B Baker Street. Its location already made famous by Arthur Conan Doyle’s’ original novels, the television series with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman gives the location a modern makeover (which, thankfully, works well). Sadly, you won’t be able to find Sherlock’s actual apartment, since that was a set, but you can always stand outside the building and take a look from the sidewalk. It sounds boring when you say it like that, but the exterior is just as significant as the inside. You can find the building in London at 187 North Gower Street. Just don’t be surprised if you get embroiled in a mystery while you’re there.
5. Double R Diner (Twin Peaks)
The television industry has led us into the comeback era. For the past few years especially, it’s been revisiting stories from the past and giving them the chance of a comeback; giving the series a sort of second chance. It’s happened to The X-Files, Full House, and now it’s happening to Twin Peaks. Now more than ever, the Double R Diner is the place to visit. Though the coffee may not be quite as good you might hope, this place is still a must-visit location for fans of the show.
To see it in person, make a trek out to Washington and punch 137 W North Bend Way in North Bend, Washington into Google Maps. You’ll find that the overall vibe around the diner is generally less strange than David Lynch may have led you to believe, but it’s still worth checking out.
4. The Beach/Camp (Lost)
If ever there was an excuse to go on vacation, visiting filming locations from TV shows may as well be it. Lost split viewers by the end of the series, but that’s not to say that it didn’t have everyone’s attention in the beginning. Stuck on the beach along with the other survivors, the show gives us some spectacular scenery of the island.
So, if you feel as though the only possible satisfaction you can get from the show is by enjoying yourself on one of the beaches where it was filmed, then by all means, the option is there. Police Beach in Oahu is where a hell of a lot of twisted sci-fi plot lines took place, but now it’s thankfully just a beach. The polar bears and plane wreckage have also been removed.
3. Kingsroad (Game Of Thrones)
The Kingsroad in Game of Thrones is as beautiful as it is intimidating. A location firmly established in Westeros, but still very much a part of the real world, the Kingsroad is filmed in Ireland, if you hadn’t already figured that out on the visual cues alone. So, even though you’re not likely to run into any soldiers on horseback riding throughout the area (and if you do, you should really consider calling the authorities), you’ll at least get to walk where some of the greatest GoT characters have walked.
2. Monica And Rachel’s Apartment (Friends)
New York City may seem cramped and crowded to the everyday visitor, so it’s shows like Friends that help confine characters in more intimate and homier settings (even though the square-footage is ridiculously unrealistic, especially by NYC standards). Though the apartment itself was a set, you can still check out the exterior of the apartment, which was used in quite a few cutaway shots throughout the long-running series.
Just head to the corner of Grove and Bedford (90 Bedford Street, specifically), and you’re there. Still, it’s hard to get over how much room they had in that apartment. When “your job’s a joke” and “you’re broke,” as the legendary theme song implies, having legroom in Greenwich Village makes Friends more of a fantasy series than a traditional sitcom.
1. Downton Abbey (Downton Abbey)
There’s something about old British drama that seems to get people’s attention. There’s something about their lifestyles (both upstairs and downstairs) that seems equally impressive and ridiculous. But therein lies the affection. Still, the true main character isn’t any listed on the cast, but in the title. Downton Abbey is itself the show’s crowning jewel, and if you’ve ever wondered what it would be like wandering the grounds of the show, then wonder no more.
For just a few days a year, Highclere Castle (its real name) allows the public to give the place a look. So, if you ever find yourself bored in West Berkshire, England, this location ought to keep you entertained for a while, not unlike the show itself. Just make sure not to scuff the floors — you know, for continuity’s sake.
Ever been to any of these locations? Know of any others that you think would make for a more exciting trip? Let us know in the comments!