The location: Newport Union High School.


Q. What is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. A public high school.


Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. In Newport Beach.


Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In Episode 4 (of season three), "The Last Waltz", after Marissa Cooper is expelled from The Harbor School (for shooting Trey), she is forced to attend a public high school, Newport Union High, where the rich girl doesn't quite fit in.

    Newport Union is seen often during the first half of The O.C.'s third season (including Episodes 5, 6, 8, 11 & 12), as Marissa makes new friends at her new school, including Johnny & Chili (which leads to some conflict with her Harbor friends, including Ryan). But by Episode 12, Marissa is allowed to return to the Harbor School, and eventually graduates from there.

    
Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. A real high school, but nowhere near Newport.


Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. It's actually Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, California.

    The exact address is 1401 Artesia Blvd. (at Peck Ave.), in Manhattan Beach.

    Manhattan Beach is familiar ground for The O.C.  The show is filmed at Manhattan Beach Studios. The golf course, soccer field, dance rehearsal hall and tennis courts are all next door to the studio, in the same city.

    But Mira Costa High is about a mile and a half south of the studio, and roughly the same distance (northeast) from the often-used Redondo Beach Pier.

    One thing you'll notice, if you pay attention, is that almost all of the Newport Union shots are confined to the same small part of the school's campus, near the lockers and the stairways.  I dropped by the school on a weekend, when it was closed. and parked in the school parking lot at the southwest corner of Nelson Avenue & Peck Ave.. The school was fenced and locked up, but that familiar locker/stairway area was very visible through the chain-link fence, on the west end of the school building, on the north edge of that parking lot.

    The photo of Mira Costa High to the upper right shows the south side of the school building, and the photo above shows a closer view of the locker/stairway area (at the left/west side of that building). I shot both photos in late 2006.

    Here is a map link with the exact location. And here is an aerial photo from Live Local (looking north). And here's a second aerial photo, this time looking east. (The red pin marks the filming area.)

    ( The school's swimming pool also served an O.C. filming location, but oddly enough, not as Newport Union's pool.  Click here for more details.)




Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?

    A. At first, I thought this brick building might be at South Torrance High, but once I realized that it wasn't, it was just a matter of looking at aerial photos of the few high schools in the South Bay area to narrow it down to Mira Costa, then comparing the aerial photos to screen captures from the show to determine the exact building that was used.




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THE O.C. screenshots from the show and all related characters & elements are trademarks of and © Warner Bros Entertainment Inc.
All other photos & text are Copyright © 2011-Gary Wayne and may not be used without written permission.



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