The location: Chino.

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

    A. Ryan's former home town of Chino.

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

    A. Chino, California.

    Chino is a small town located east of Los Angeles, just south of Pomona. Here is a map link to the real Chino. And a map to that city's website.

    But the show was not really filmed in Chino.

    (Chances are that the producers only chose to use the town's name because there are two well-known prisons in the city of Chino, and the original O.C. plot involved Ryan's brother going to prison for stealing a car.)

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. Many times, including:

    • First, in the pilot episode, where Ryan's brother (Trey) forces him to steal a car.


    • In Episode 11 (of season 1), "The Homecoming", where Ryan goes back to "Chino" for the first time (to do his brother a favor), and knocks on Theresa's door (he's there to pick up Treys' car from her brother). Later in that same episode, he delivers the car to a tire place in a bad neighborhood (that is supposedly also somewhere in Chino).


    • We see "Chino" again in Episode 23 (of season 1), "The Nana", when Marissa runs away from home and goes to stay at Theresa's house in "Chino", and Ryan goes there to bring her back - only to walk into Rebecca & Eddie's engagement party.


    • We see "Chino" once again in Episode 1 (of season two), "The Distance", when Ryan stays with Theresa because he believes she may be pregnant with his child.


    • "Chino" pops up again in Episode 17 (of season two), "The Brothers Grim", when Sandy & Ryan pick up Trey after he gets out of prison, and try to drop him off at a dilapidated shack in Chino.


    • And again in the Episode 18 (of season two), "The Risky Business", where Ryan and Seth must go to a dangerous neighborhood in "Chino" to retrieve an expensive glass egg, which his brother Trey has stolen.


    • And we see "Chino" once more in Episode 23 (of season two). "The O.Sea", where Ryan is tracking down Trey (to ask him about Marissa) and accidentally bumps into Theresa, and walks her to her house.


Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. Several different residential neighborhoods - in L.A. County.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. The scenes are not shot in the real Chino. The mayor of Chino assures me that the city never issued a permit for them to film in that city. (And I'm sure the citizens of Chino are not pleased with their town being depicted as an undesirable place on the show.)

    The O.C.'s "Chino" is actually made up of several different locations around L.A., including Venice, Lawndale, East L.A., Inglewood and Sun Valley.

    It seems that almost every time they shoot a new "Chino" scene, they changed neighborhoods. They didn't even bother to keep the house numbers straight from one episode to another. In "The Homecoming", Theresa's house number is 4536. In "The Distance", the house number is 2343. In "The Nana", her number is 14910. In "The O.Sea", it's a completely different street, and Theresa's house number is 4485.

    To complicate matters, the producers mostly chose small, residential, lower-income neighborhood streets, which are notoriously difficult to pinpoint. So tracking down all the locations where they filmed the "Chino" scenes was a difficult task.

    But miraculously, I did manage to find most of the supposed "Chino" locations:

    There is so much location information about "Chino" that I've divided it into the following four pages:

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

    A. Check the individual "Chino" pages (see the links above) for the answers to that question.

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