The location: Kirsten's Cheap Motel

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

    A. A motel.

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

    A. The location isn't mentioned.

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In Episode 3  (of the third season) "The End of Innocence".

    Kirsten (a recovering alcoholic) has been released from the Suriak rehab center, and has been staying with the conniving Charlotte. She has just received a sealed letter left to her by her dead father (Caleb).

    Fearful of reading the letter (and of going home), takes a bottle of vodka to a cheap motel room - and considers falling off the wagon.

    But (we learn later) she resists the temptation.

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. A real motel.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. It is actually the Del Aire Inn, at 4610 WImperial Highway, in Inglewood, CA. (at the southwest corner of Imperial Highway and Ramona Ave.)

    The location is only three blocks east of the Strip Club where Matt takes Ryan (in Episode 9, season 3), one block east of the Liquor Store where Kirstin buys the booze, and only a few blocks northeast of the Mini-Mart that Johnny tries to rob (in Episode 10, season 3).

    It appears that, for the third season, the O.C. producers chose a new area to film (the north Hawthorne/south Inglewood border, just south of the 105 Freeway) when they wanted to go for a grittier look...

    Here is a map link to the exact location. Here is an aerial shot of the area.

    [ Be warned that this isn't the safest part of the world - if you choose to venture there, exercise reasonable caution. ]

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

    A. This was a late tip from a fan, Geoff, who phoned the motel and confirmed that they had been filming there. The location makes perfect sense, given its close proximity to the liquor store. And Bing's aerial photos show a pretty good match. (Thanks, Geoff!)

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