The location: The Gates to Pelican Cove.

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

    A. The guarded gates leading to the exclusive Pelican Cove neighborhood.

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

    A. In the Crystal Cove / Pelican Hill area of lower Newport Beach, at the entrance to the street leading to the Cohen home.

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. The very first episode of "The O.C.", and many episodes thereafter, when we saw cars pass through the gates. This "Pelican Cove" neighborhood contained the houses of both the Cohens and the Coopers. It's where Ryan first met Marissa, outside their houses.

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. The gate is real, but the guard booth in front is fake, (a near-clone of a real guard booth outside of the real Pelican Point neighborhood in the real Newport Beach).

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. The Cohen house and the Cooper house are both located Ocean Breeze Drive, in Malibu, CA. Ocean Breeze is a short street which curves down and ends when it meets Sea View Drive. So you might think that the gate would be at the end of Ocean Drive. But it isn't. Not quite. There is indeed a gate at the end of Ocean Breeze, but it's not the gate you see on The OC.

    Instead, just to the right (northwest) of the lower end of Ocean Breeze, you'll find another gate nearby, on Sea View Drive. That's the right one.

    Look closely at the aerial photos, and you'll notice that there is a large, circular design of pink bricks on the street just before that Sea View gate, perfectly matching the same pink circle seen on the show. The landscaping and palms also match, as does the gate's walls.

    All that is missing is the guard house. Obviously, the producers built a fake guard booth (modeled after a real guard booth in Newport Beach) and temporarily plunked it down on top of that pink brick circle on Sea View. They then tossed in a few twisted topiary trees (matching those in Newport) and voila! - The Pelican Cove gate.

    All of this is in the hills just northwest of Malibu's Point Dume, a good 80 miles away from those Crystal Cove homes shown at the start of every episode. Here's a map link.

    (It's about six miles northwest another well-known OC location, Caleb & Julie's mansion.)

    Here is an aerial photo from Live Local showing the gate in Malibu (minus the fake guard booth, of course).

    (You'll find an aerial photo of the real Newport gate, at Pelican Point, on this page.)

    [WarningThis is a private street and private homes. Do not trespass on their property,
    knock on their doors, or do anything else that might disturb the residents.

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

    A. This one had me fooled. I have driven past the real Pelican Point gate in Newport, and since it looks almost identical to the fake gate they built in Malibu, I assumed they were one and the same, and that they had simply changed the sign to read "Pelican Cove". Also, since the Malibu guard booth was temporary, and doesn't show up on aerial photos, I assumed the Sea View gate couldn't be the location. I was wrong - fooled (for once) by Hollywood's talent at rearranging reality.

    A sharp-eyed fan, Nick Kowalski, spotted something I had missed: that circle of pink brick on Sea View Drive, near the end of Ocean Breeze Drive, in Malibu, and realized what they had done. He emailed me to let me know about his discovery, and with that key, everything else fell into place - the gates, the walls, even the palm trees match perfectly. (Thanks, Nick!)

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