The location: "Chino" in East L.A.

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

    A. Ryan's former home town of Chino, and a dangerous auto yard where Ryan gets beaten up.

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 wasn't really filmed in Chino.

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. For this location of "Chino": in Episode 11 (of season 1), "The Homecoming", when Ryan delivers a car to a rough-looking auto yard/tire place (as a favor for his imprisoned brother). This is supposed to pay off his brother's debt, but the guys there decide to beat up Ryan for "interest". Fortunately, Marissa shows up behind the wheel and gives him an escape route.

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. An actual residential home, and an actual auto yard/tire place, in a bad part of town (nowhere near Chino).

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. It's not in the real Chino.

    The O.C.'s "Chino" is actually made up of several different locations around L.A., including Venice, East L.A., Lawndale and Sun Valley. These particular scenes were shot in two different places. The car delivery/tire place scenes were shot in a neighborhood known as "Lincoln Heights", in East L.A., about four miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles.

    • The scene where Ryan delivers the car to the tire place (and gets beat up) was shot at a tire place called Rodriguez Tire Shop, located at 217 N. San Fernando Road, in the Lincoln Heights section of East Los Angeles - which is just east of Dodger Stadium and just west of the 5 Freeway.

    • After Ryan & Marissa escape from the tire place (and after they visit Trey in prison), they head out of town. On one of the streets they pass as they are driving out of "Chino", they pass a building with a mural on its side bearing a message about freedom, and on that wall there is also a telephone number & painted signs for two businesses: Ray's Lock Shop (which is located at 2618 Pasadena Ave.) and Five Points Men's Clothing (at 2601 Pasadena Ave.) Both businesses are in the same "Lincoln Heights" area of east L.A.

    • Another "Chino" scene, seen in Episode 1 (the pilot episode), has Sandy driving Ryan away from "Chino" for the first time - through a bleak industrial area. This was shot around the intersection of Valley Blvd & Marianna Ave, in the same "Lincoln Heights" section of East L.A.

      Part of that driving scene was shot nearby in the 4200 block of Worth Street.

    • The "Chino Juvenile Detention Center", where Ryan ends up in jail after stealing the car, was shot athe the former Sybil Brand Institute in Monterey Park.

    • Here's a map link for the auto yard.

      [ Caution: this is not really a part of town tourists should visit. Major gang problems. ]

      (The scenes of Theresa's family Chino home, in the same episode, were filmed far from East L.A., in Lawndale.)

      "Chino" scenes in other episodes were shot in other parts of L.A., including Venice & Sun Valley.

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

    A. It was very difficult locating the tire place where Ryan got beat up delivering Trey's car. I looked for that place for ages, before finally tracking it down. Finally, after I managed to locate the Lock Shop mural in the Lincoln Heights area, I started checking the residential neighborhoods in the same area to see if I could find one of the "Chino" homes. It wasn't there. But along the way, it occurred to me to type the search word "tires" into the Live Local aerial map program. I honestly didn't expect it to work - for all I knew, it wasn't even really a tire place; it might have been a car repair shop, an auto wrecking yard, or just some alleyway that the producers decorated with tires; there are dozens of places just like that around East L.A. But to my surprise, up popped Rodriguez Tires. And when I used Live Local's "Birds-Eye" feature to take a close look at the location, not only could I see the tire place, I could also make out the unusual mural ("Pride in the Area") painted on the wall across the street (seen on the show when Marissa rescues Ryan), confirming my discovery.

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