Friday Night Lights movie cover Movie Locations Guide

Where was Friday Night Lights filmed?

1992

About Friday Night Lights

Inspired by the non-fiction book written by H.G. “Buzz” Bissinger, the television series Friday Night Lights is about a town that lives for one night only: Friday Night. Set in the fictional town of Dillon, the Dillon High School Panthers are considered one of the best football teams in the US with a deep tradition of winning. Although the reputation of a great football high school comes with its highs, it also comes with many lows as Coach Eric Taylor soon finds out. In the first episode, the star player Jason Street is injured in the first game of the season, which for many sets the tone for how this five-season show would play out.

Spoiler Alert: Plot points of Friday Night Lights will be discussed throughout the article as we describe the various locations used in shooting many of the scenes in the show.

Friday Night Lights revolves around the small community of Dillon and how the famous Friday Night influences everyone. Friday Night Lights explores the rich character development of the high school players in the team alongside their coach Eric Taylor and his family. The team has its high points and low points throughout the five seasons, including the death of Matt Saracen’s dad in season 4, episode 5 entitled: “The Son”. Compiled with the stress that the town applies to these players, coach Eric Taylor must somehow navigate an emotionally volatile team to their next championship.

The characters are richly fleshed out with many of the players within the team receiving their own backstory compiled with extensive character development throughout the seasons as they struggle to live up to the legacy left behind by previous teams.

City Locations

Austin, Houston, Pflugerville

Location Types

American, Apartment, Diners/Coffee, House, Naturescapes, Religious, Restaurant, Retail, Schools/Colleges

Location Styles

Americana/Anywhere America, Dilapidated/Neglected, Ranch Style, School

Friday Night Lights Locations

Although there is an actual ghost town named Dillon located near Saltillo in Texas, most of the film shooting for Friday Night Lights took place in and around the Austin area. To keep it local and retain the spirit of football, many of the football scenes were shot on actual fields where the players could talk and interact with the audience hearing their lines thanks to their body mics.

Many of the locations used as Friday Night Lights film sets are easy to reach, with some of the locations showcased being schools and stadiums. The more difficult locations, however, are going to be character house locations and particular hang-out locations for these characters in the series. Several of the sets used in Friday Night Locations have changed over the years, so you might find a different look compared to what you have seen in the series. For example, the famous Diner in the show called “Aztec Burger” was a location that closed due to the heavy damage from a fire. It has since been replaced by Rudy’s “Country Store” and Bar-B-Q.

Fun Fact:

There were no rehearsals for the television series so that each scene felt more natural and because of this, the actors were given free rein over their lines and movement so that the focus was on the performance.

The Saracen house scene in Friday Night Lights

Pflugerville, Texas

The pilot episode of Friday Night Lights introduced us to the cast in the first few minutes. From the premise of what this town lives for to the locations where each character lives, Friday Night Lights showcases how personal these experiences can get. One of the characters is Matt. Matt Saracen’s house is showcased in the first episode of Friday Night Lights. When he talks with his grandmother, she notices he makes 2 sandwiches for her, but she only wants one. She then tells him that the other one is for him, after all, “You’ll be hungry, after that good ol’ practice.”

While the Saracen house featured in the Pilot episode of the series was a one-time set that was used as one of the filming locations of Friday Night Lights, the house can still be visited in person today. The house was featured in the opening credits for the rest of the season which is why it remains in memory even though the Saracens are depicted living elsewhere in later seasons.

With a lot of the filming taking place in Pflugerville, it's no surprise that this house is located within the vicinity of the city. To get to Matt Saracen’s house, you can drive along South Railroad Avenue, past the Pflugerville Fire Department, and then make a left turn to go down Walnut Street East. On your right side, you should be able to see the house that was utilized in the first episode of Friday Night Lights.

Muddy hill scene in Friday Night Lights

Kuempel Stadium

The scene in season 1 episode 3 begins with a tough loss for the Panthers due to their inflated ego. With everything seemingly going downhill for coach Eric Taylor, he decides to take it upon himself to make the chemistry between the team members happen. He does this by calling all the players one night and making them run laps up a wet and muddy hill in the middle of a thunderstorm. The player with the biggest ego, Brian “Smash” Williams does what no one expects, he brings the team together and begins to chant “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.” This iconic line became what Friday Night Lights was known for, and the day after, the team is seen on the football field working better than before.

Although the muddy hill has no specific location, the Panther’s football field can be found within Pflugerville. It’s the Kuempel Stadium, which is the stadium that belongs to the Pflugerville High School. To get to Kuempel Stadium, you can drive along West Pelican Street which will lead you to the high school as well as the field. Located nearby the stadium is a variety of eateries that is sure to keep you interested while you visit the famous Friday Night Lights filming location.

Bryan “Smash” Williams gets into college scene in Friday Night Lights

Apartment Complex, Austin, Texas

Smash, who recently injured his knee in the previous year’s playoffs begins to rekindle his love for football. With the risk of destroying a potential professional contract, Coach Eric Taylor tries his best to showcase just how good Bryan “Smash” Williams is to Texas A&M. And with everything on the line, Smash performs at his peak and manages to win a spot in their team. When he later receives a call in his apartment with all his family in the room, he tells his mother, “I’m going to college, Mom.” With that, the door to making it big in the future has just opened for Smash, and although this episode became his last appearance in the series, that being season 3, episode 4 entitled “Hello, Goodbye”, his memory stayed with fans for many years.

Bryan ``Smash” Williams' apartment is in an east Austin housing project. Located along 905 Bedford Street in Austin, it's possible to reach these apartments through public transport. To get there by bus, you can take the number 2 bus that travels along Rosewood Avenue, then walk down Bedford Street.

Tim leaves his old ways scene in Friday Night Lights

Manor, Texas

While everyone is off to pursue their dreams in the final episode of Friday Night Lights, Tim decides to leave his old ways of doing things illegally behind to start afresh on his land. With the possibility of rekindling his relationship with Tyra Collette in the near future, Tim begins to build his house on the land with his brother Billy. His part in the series ends with his words mirroring Tim and Jason Street’s quotes in the pilot episode, “Texas Forever.”

This scene was shot out in the pastoral countryside east of Austin. Although there is no specific location, there is a rough idea where the location is, and you can drive out to see it. It’s located in the city of Manor and is along Burleson Manor Road. You know you’ve reached the location since the only landmark close to it is the Xtreme Paintball paintball center that’s next to the location.

Tim tells his father to leave scene in Friday Night Lights

Weird Homes Tour house, Austin, Texas

With his father being as problematic as ever, Tim goes out of his way to try to show that his father isn’t as bad as everyone thinks he is. He goes as far as to defend his father when coach Eric accuses him of stealing a $3,000 camera from the AV room. Later, Tim finds the camera in the tool shed and with his remark of “Get out!”, kicks his dad out of the house.

The Riggins’ house is located within Austin and was as disheveled as it comes, with the house causing health problems for some of the cast members due to the mold. To get to this location, which is part of the Austin Weird Homes Tour, you can travel along Lehigh Drive which is close to Andrews Elementary School. The house should be on the left-hand side.

The bar scene in Friday Night Lights

Broken Spoke, Austin, Texas

Without his dad to help him, Tim goes back to the bar where he and his dad once played pool. The guys there know exactly what to do next when they say, “Come on fellas, let’s have some fun.” They then proceed to beat Tim until his brother and Tyra later come and save him.

This scene in episode 17 of season 1, although brief, showcased the Broken Spoke which is one of the most famous locations in Austin due to it being an iconic country music dancehall. To get to this venue used to shoot one of the many Friday Night Lights action scenes, you would have to drive along South Lamar Boulevard.

Conclusion

While the prospect of watching a drama on a small-town football team, set out in an imaginary Texas town, may not sound like an interesting idea, Friday Night Lights is one of the few exceptions. Although the show begins with an abysmal situation for Coach Eric Taylor and his team, one quality shines through that makes this show stand out from the rest: hopefulness.

Despite showing hardships that are faced by both students and coaches, as well as their families and friends, Friday Night Lights allows audiences to take a deeper dive and look at what the true price is for pursuing your dreams at any cost. The show tackles all sorts of problems that some might even claim to be ahead of its time, including the topics of race and religion, which allows the audience to feel like Friday Night Lights is more than just a show.

Although there were some problems in production, including the issue of shaky cameras due to the roaming and somewhat scriptless nature of the show, Friday Night Lights makes you feel like you’re involved in each player’s life. With characters that feel relatable and bring real-life problems and solutions into consideration, Friday Night Lights is one of those shows that you can’t just hear about, you need to experience it yourself.