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On Location: 10 Destinations that Bring You Into Your Favorite TV Shows

Travel Inspiration can come from anywhere, and one of the most common ways it occurs is when we picture ourselves in the shoes, or at least in the worlds, of our favorite fictional characters. Whether it’s a beloved book or movie, a trendy new series or a classic show that we rewatch for the comfort of familiar stories and characters, or even the guilty pleasure of reality TV, imagining ourselves “on location” with the rest of the cast is always part of the fun.

It’s no wonder that when a fabulous destination is featured in a well-loved movie or show, suddenly everyone is clamoring to book their next vacation in the spotlighted location. This was evident most recently when The Bachelor featured Tulum as the coveted end-of-season location (if you missed it, we even have a blog inspired by Tulum’s appearance on The Bachelor, Tulum or Not Tulum: THAT is the question). 

On Location

While one could make the case that the location (or for the more literary-minded, the setting) of any given story, whether it’s a movie, series or book, is always a critical aspect of the narrative, impacting everything from plot to character development to costuming, it’s also true that there are some settings so integral that the entire story wouldn’t, or even couldn’t, exist anywhere else. 

So, for the sake of narrowing down the seemingly infinite number of movie and TV locations around the world, this list will focus on TV series’ (movie locations possibly forthcoming) in which the setting is truly a central focus of the show.

Let’s Go On Location!

Locations of New and Current Series

Glen Affric

1. Series: Outlander, Location: Scotland

If you’ve been a regular around here for a while, you know that this list had to start with Outlander and Scotland (one of my own all-time favorite Inspiring Itineraries was an Outlander-Inspired tour of Scotland: The Perfect Highlands Adventure in Scotland, Outlander-Style). Although the show spans multiple countries (and centuries, for that matter), the heart of the show is the bond between Jamie and Claire, which began, and was solidified in Scotland (which basically translates to Scotland being the heart of the show as well). 

Since the show began a decade ago, Scotland has seen a marked increase in visitors, especially to Outlander-specific locations, such as Midhope Castle and Duone Castle (better known to fans as Lallybroch and Castle Leoch). With a new season of Outlander about to begin, and just one more in the works, there’s sure to be more sweeping cinematography of the famed Highlands to give us even more reason to visit Scotland!

National Park View

2. Series: Yellowstone, Location: Yellowstone National Park

Although there are more than 60 National Parks to choose from, it’s not hard to understand why creators of the hugely popular series chose Yellowstone National Park as their signature location. Yellowstone is considered the quintessential National Park for many reasons, the first of which is that Yellowstone was the very first National Park ever created in 1872. Essentially, the landscape and wildlife of Yellowstone was seen as so unique and special that explorers, artists and politicians decided to protect it long before modern land developers could even touch it. Yellowstone is home to about half of the world’s active geysers, including the famous Old Faithful Geyser, and there are also basins, hot springs, rivers, waterfalls, tons of wildlife, and Yellowstone even has its own Grand Canyon. 

Yellowstone National Park

With such incredible landscapes to film, Yellowstone (the Park) is quite literally the star of the show Yellowstone, alongside the fictional Dutton family, who are the owners of the largest ranch in Montana, and whose family drama provides the driving force of the show. Since the show Yellowstone began, tourism in Yellowstone National Park, and in Montana has markedly increased, and even the real estate market for ranches in Montana has spiked because of the show, as well. If you’ve been dreaming of living your best Rancher life, Montana and Yellowstone National Park are clearly the vacation choice for you!

Paris Photo Shoot

3. Series: Emily in Paris, Location: Paris, France

As the ubiquitous “City of Love,” Paris is easy to love all on its own, and because of its undeniable charm and air of romance, it’s inspired countless books, movies and series. Among the Parisian-inspired stories that span multiple centuries (Victor Hugo’s Hunchback of Notre Dame was written in 1831!), one recent series that stands out is Emily in Paris

An instant classic in the romantic-comedy genre, Emily in Paris romanticizes everything about life for this American in Paris (see what I did there?), from her adorable apartment in the perfect location, to her job as, quite literally, an American in Paris (sorry, I couldn’t resist), to her love life, though of course there are some bumps along that road, or where would the comedy be? At a time when so much of the world seems to be quite chaotic, Emily in Paris is the sweet escape we all need right now. And because the series is really filmed in Paris, you can actually visit specific show locations, such as Emily’s apartment building, of course, her favorite restaurant and bakery, too. A day in the life of Emily in Paris is the real-life romantic escape we all need right about now!

New York

4. Series: And Just Like That, Location: New York City

Just like its predecessor, Sex and the City, the long anticipated spin-off And Just Like That treats The City (New York City, of course), as one of the main characters of the show. Both series’ feature story lines that could only take place in New York City, from attending New York Fashion Week to navigating the New York City real estate scene, and a million “only-in-New-York” moments in between. 

Both And Just Like That and Sex and the City before it, not only celebrate and draw storylines from New York City, while filming in real-life locations all over the city, but they both also famously highlight real restaurants and retail locations, as well. For example, SATC brought Magnolia Bakery and Manolo Blahnik to stardom status, while AJLT has so far boosted the popularity of The Bar at the Baccarat Hotel and Books are Magic, among many others.

NYC

While there are a plethora of choices for NYC tours that bring you to a multitude of locations featured in both shows, it’s almost impossible to walk through New York City and NOT pass by a place that was used as a “set” at some point in either show, from walkways in Central Park to views of the Statue of Liberty from Battery Park, to the tree-lined blocks of the Upper East Side where Carrie’s beloved apartment is located. Any trip to New York City can become a tour of SATC and AJLT locations if you pay close attention to your surroundings (and have watched and rewatched all the episodes and seasons like a true fan!). 

UK

5. Series: Ted Lasso, Location: Richmond, England

True to form, Ted Lasso not only lifts up everyone around him, but also everywhere. In three short seasons, Ted Lasso became one of the most well-received and beloved series of all time, somehow bursting with positivity while at the same time tackling difficult issues like men’s mental health and parenting through divorce. And besides Ted himself, the heart of the show is of course the Greyhound team, and their home is Richmond. 

UK

Before the show, Richmond was a quintessentially quaint and charming town, nestled in the English countryside, and since Ted Lasso premiered, Richmond has…remained a quintessentially quaint and charming town, nestled in the English countryside. And that’s exactly what makes Richmond so worth visiting: it’s almost exactly the same as it’s depicted in the show. Of course, a few shops have started selling AFC Richmond gear, and there are a few people snapping selfies on the street where Ted’s apartment is, and in front of the pub Ted frequents around the corner, but overall, Richmond is still Richmond, and it feels the same as it does in the show.

Maybe it’s retained it’s small town English charm because it’s far enough from London to require at least a day trip for a proper visit (though a few nights in a little English village never hurt anyone), but whatever has kept Richmond authentic, I sure hope it lasts; since the series didn’t last as long as fans had hoped, there will likely be many Ted Lasso super-fans looking for ways to keep the feel-good vibes of the series alive by visiting Richmond!

UK

6. Series: Bridgerton, Location: Greenwich, England

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Ton: Greenwich Awaits! Although Bridgerton is set in London in the 1800s, most of modern-day London doesn’t quite emulate the same atmosphere as it did in the 19th century. However, one of London’s southeast boroughs, Greenwich, definitely captures the opulence of the Ton featured in Bridgerton, so much so that Greenwich is home to many of the show’s most distinctive locations. 

If you’re a Bridgerton fan (and really, who isn’t?), surely you’ve envisioned yourself dressed and ready for a ball straight out of a fairytale, dancing through gilded halls and magical gardens, both of which are possible as real-life experiences when you visit Greenwich (costumes are optional, depending on how you feel about spectators). A walk through the masterpiece-laden galleries of the Queen’s House, and stroll through the colonnade path outside will have you feeling like royalty in no time. And make sure you pass by Ranger’s House, the exterior of which was used for the picturesque Bridgerton residence. Who knows, maybe you’ll find your own knight in shining armor on your Bridgerton pilgrimage! 

Locations of Oldie-but-Goodie and Classic Series

NYC

7. Series: Friends, Seinfeld, Sex and the City, Location: New York City

The list of shows that have taken place in New York City is seemingly endless, but a few stand out as cult classics, even though their final episodes aired years ago. Sex and the City was already highlighted alongside And Just Like That above, but possibly even more popular than both of those may be Friends and Seinfeld

NYC

Friends-devotees will be happy to know that there are locations throughout the City that will make the world of Friends come to life: 90 Bedford Street in the West Village is the building in which the famous across-the-hall apartments were set, and where all of the exterior shots were actually filmed, Bloomingdale’s Department Store, where Rachel got her big break, is extremely accessible to visitors (shopping while there is highly encouraged), The Plaza Hotel is also open to visitors, even if you’re not staying there, so you can see where Monica and Chandler got married, and of course, the Museum of Natural History, where Ross worked, warrants a visit all on its own as one of the most famous museums in the world. And if all of these real-life locations aren’t enough to fill your Friends cup, there’s always The Friends Experience, where replicas of the original sets, from Central Perk coffeehouse to the famous apartments, are available for interaction and photos! 

NYC

If you’re more of a Seinfeld fan, you’ll be happy to know that many of the locations featured in the series over the years are real-life places you can still visit today. The recognizable corner restaurant that Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer frequent throughout the show is an actual establishment at West 112th Street and Broadway and, though it’s called Tom’s Restaurant, the neon “Restaurant” sign is the same one shown in almost every episode of the show. Even the “Soup Nazi” is based on a real soup cafe, called the “Soup Man,” located on West 55th Street near 8th Avenue. And of course, with George working for the Yankees, a visit to Yankee Stadium will definitely give serious Seinfeld vibes. 

Although fans may still be sad these classic shows have ended, New York City is keeping their legends alive and well!

Beach boardwalk

8. Series: The OC, Location: Orange County (and Los Angeles County), California

Again, if you’ve been here for a while, you know what big fans we are of The California Road Trip. Truly, there is nothing quite like a drive along the Pacific Coast Highway (obviously we have an Inspiring Itinerary featuring just that, which you can find here), but add in a Classic TV Theme to that Road Trip, and what could be better?

Though The OC premiered over twenty years ago (still don’t know how this is possible), fans can still visit some of the most featured and recognizable locations throughout the series. Of course, the show is clearly named after Orange County, and many of the locations are supposed to be in and around Newport Beach, but much of the show was actually filmed in nearby Los Angeles County at Redondo Beach.

Beach

The Redondo Beach Pier will give you all the swoony boardwalk vibes palpable in nearly every episode of The OC, while you’ll find the recognizable beachfront Lifeguard Towers at Playa Del Ray. Don’t miss a visit to the Fisherman’s Village in Marina Del Ray, where Seth’s boat, The Summer Breeze, was docked, and you can even visit the mall where Ryan and Marissa went Christmukkah shopping, which is called Fashion Island in real life. And though most of the Newport Beach scenes weren’t actually filmed there, Newport Beach is definitely worth visiting, too, since it’s clearly the inspiration for the whole show!

Texas

9. Series: Friday Night Lights, Location: Austin, Texas

Friday Night Lights was another teen-centric drama from the early 2000s in which the hometown of the main characters became a driving force of the show. Although the “hometown” in Friday Night Lights, Dillon, was actually a fictional town, the inspiration for it can clearly be found in and around Austin, Texas. 

Like the town of Dillon, many of the locations featured throughout the series were also fictional, but there are plenty of real-life stand-ins that will give you that same nostalgic feeling of real Friday night lights. If you want to catch a true high school football game in the spirit of the Dillon Panthers, Westlake High School is a great option to start with, though of course there are many high school football programs to choose from.

Texas

And if you want to go bigger, consider attending a University of Texas Longhorn game at the Royal Texas Memorial Stadium, which is an incredible experience in and of itself. Though the Alamo Freeze where Saracen worked sadly closed down, you can find a similar experience at one of the multiple Dairy Queen locations throughout Austin. Similarly, Ray’s BBQ, the hidden gem BBQ joint featured in the second season and beyond, is no longer operating, but you can get the same vibe (and more importantly, fabulous BBQ fare), from places like Johnny T’s Round Rock BBQ, Kerlin BBQ, or Brown’s Bar-B-que. 

With a little creativity, the fictional town of Dillon really can be found…but only if you have “Clear Eyes and Full Hearts”…can’t lose, right?

Philadelphia

10. Series: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

For fans of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, a visit to the City of Brotherly Love is a must! The show not only features the comedic and bright sides of life in Philadelphia, but it was also created by a born and bred Philadelphian, who also stars in the show. 

The opening credits alone offer an impressive list of locations to visit throughout the city, but these locations aren’t just used as opening highlights, most are actually featured at some point in various episodes throughout the series. Some of these locations include the Ben Franklin Bridge, South Street and Penn’s Landing, but real fans know that no Always Sunny pilgrimage would be complete without a visit to Mac’s Tavern, which isn’t the real Paddy’s Pub, but it’s the closest you can get, especially since it’s owned by the show’s creator. Of course, Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles, and Citizens Bank Park, home of the Phillies, are also great places to both watch a game and relive some of the moments experienced by the gang of Always Sunny. Spoiler Alert: depending what time of year you visit, it may not always be sunny…(yup, I just did that). 

Camera and Cityscape

Ready to Plan?

So, are you ready to visit the location of your favorite TV Series? Whether your favorite series was featured in this blog or not, I would love to help you plan the perfect On Location tour to help you relive the experiences of your favorite TV characters! Contact me today at gina@lotmv.com to get started! And of course, whether you want to visit the Highlands of Scotland like an Outlander, stroll the streets of Richmond like Ted Lasso, or plan your next adventure somewhere totally different, I will work with you to create the unique experience you’re looking for. 

 

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