The location: Fisherman's Village.
Q. What is it supposed to be on the show?
A. A generic
Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?
A. Newport Beach.
Q. When did we see it on the show?
A. In Episode 8 (of season one), "The Rescue", where the kids are walking together after dark, along a cobblestone walkway, after Marissa has first run away from home (because her mother, Julie, has threatened to have her hospitalized).
And we see it again in Episode 27 (of season one), "The Ties That Bind", where Seth is seen aboard his catamaran, Summer Breeze (named after Summer), talking to Ryan about sailing to Catalina. We see Seth there again, later, where he sails off to Oregon.
Also, in Episode
10 (of season one), "The Perfect Couple" (the episode where
Summer first says "I like Seth Cohen!"), there is a benefit
party thrown aboard Caleb's docked yacht at Marina Del Rey. That scene
was almost certainly shot aboard a boat docked next to Fisherman's Village
(or very close by).
Q. What is it actually in real life?
A. A nautically-themed
shopping village next to a marina.
Q. Where can I find it in real life?
A. It's known as Fisherman's Village, and it's located at the west end of Fiji Way in Marina Del Rey, right next to the marina's main channel.
With it's Cape Cod architecture, the village offers restaurants, shops, delightful views of the water and the passing boats, and an array of water-related services (such as boat rentals). In the summer, it's jammed with tourists. In the off-season, it tends to get a little empty.
(Don't confuse it with the similar Shoreline Village in Long Beach, where The OC has also filmed.)
Here is an aerial map link to show its exact location.
A. In the scene with the runaway Marissa, I thought at first that it might be Ports O'Call Village (a similar themed village in San Pedro), but the broken cobblestone walkway and the fence (separating the walkway from the boat channel) was a dead giveaway.
I've been to Fisherman's Village several times, but after recognizing the place on the DVD, I double-checked by going out to the Village and shooting a matching photo of the same walkway area. (See the photo above/right.)
As for the catamaran
scene with Seth, this is a dead giveaway, because the camera pulls back
far enough to reveal the decorative lighthouse that marks the center of
Fisherman's Village (in real life, that lighthouse sells Orange Julius).
I shot the photo below in 2006, from approximately the same place where Seth's boat was docked (looking south).
And here are a few more photos of Fisherman's Village (all copyright Gary Wayne 2006).
O.C. screenshots from the show and all related characters & elements
are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.