The location: The Beach Walkway.

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

    A. A broad sidewalk next to the beach where people walk, jog, bicycle & skateboard.

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

    A. Along the Newport coast, probably near the Balboa pier (where you'll find a similar walkway).

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In many early episodes during season one, including Episode 5, "The Outsider" and Episode 6, "The Girlfriend". It is, for instance, where Seth & Ryan talk with the waiter from Corona about an upcoming party.

    And it's where Ryan worked at the Crab Shack restaurant (a sidewalk cafe) in the first season.


Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. A broad sidewalk next to the beach where people walk, jog, bicycle & skateboard - but it's not in Orange County.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. It is known as The Strand, and it runs right along the beach in Hermosa Beach, both north and south of the Hermosa Beach Pier. (Most of the filming took place north of the pier.)

    Hermosa Beach is just north of Redondo Beach.

    There are no cars allowed on The Strand - it's strictly for pedestrians and bicycle riders. The broad walkway is separated from the sand of the beach only by a low wall on the west side, and on the east side of the walkway you'll mainly find residential homes facing the ocean, as well as an occasional apartment house and a few small businesses (as you near the Hermosa Pier).

    Some key shots were filmed on The Strand, at the spot where it meets 15th Street, and at a small park nearby, where they fabricated The Crab Shack.

(Note the inscription on the Hermosa beach wall behind Ryan in the photo below & to the left: it reads "Fifteenth Street".)
(The pier visible in the above right photo is the Hermosa Beach Pier.)

    The Strand runs for about a mile along the beach, providing a pedestrian link between Redondo Beach (on the south) and Manhattan Beach (on the north). Each of these three cities has its own pier (the Redondo Pier being by far the largest of the three), and The Strand runs right past the base of the Hermosa Pier (which was often seen in the background in first season beach scenes).

    In front of (east of) the Hermosa Pier, you'll find the Pier Plaza (not to be confused with the small office park of the same name at the Redondo Pier), a part of the city's Pier Avenue which has been blocked off to traffic and now serves as a pedestrian-only shopping area (nothing special, just some interesting shops and a few restaurants. It's here on Pier Avenue that you'll find the shop where Trey threw a fit after a store manager asked to search his bag. It's also here that Marissa talked to Summer in Episode 5 of the first season (followed by a meeting of her and Ryan in the same location). You'll also find another O.C. location, the Sea Sprite motel, on The Strand, on the south edge of pier plaza.

    Here is a map link that will show you the location of The Strand.

    And here is a good aerial photo of The Strand walkway (courtesy of Live Local).

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

    A. I've been on The Strand many times, and it's easy to recognize. The only question was just where on The Stand they put the camera, and there were three ways to determine that. One is the position of the Hermosa Pier in the background (relative to foreground objects), another are background signs (such as the real Mermaid restaurant in pier plaza, which is visible behind Marissa when she is talking to Ryan in Episode 5 of season one), and it helps that in at least one scene, the inscription "Fifteenth Street" appears on the beach wall behind them...

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