Gilmore Girls Locations
Perhaps you've recently started rewatching the comedy-drama on weekend-long binge-session. After all, it is one of the shows you'd love watching while curled up under the duvet. It must have sparked the desire to look up Stars Hollow and maybe even visit the Connecticut haven.
Presented as a warm, friendly place where everyone knows each other, you are not alone if you've thought about visiting the quaint town. Sadly, Stars Hollow doesn't exist and while it was inspired by several places in the Washington Depot, you won't find Stars Hollow on any map. However, lists of real-life locations that served as Gilmore Girls film sets are worth a visit.
Unionville, a suburb in Toronto, served as the setting for the show's pilot episode. Once the show was commissioned, the rest of the episodes were filmed at the Warner Bros Entertainment lot located in Burbank, California. The WB Studios backlot is where the exterior scenes of the small town as well as Miss Patty's dance studio, Doozie’s Market, and Luke's Diner were filmed.
The opening montage includes a view of South Royalton, Vermont but the show never filmed any scenes in Windsor County. That only scratches the surface of the show's location-centric tidbits, and with fair warning about spoilers, here are some of the places where the best scenes in Gilmore Girls were shot.
Rory is often depicted grabbing a caramel macchiato from Luke's Diner, and she loves her cup of joe with an extra shot topped off with whipped cream. Unlike her on-screen persona, Alexis Bledel isn't too fond of coffee. So what was she drinking when filming those scenes you ask? Interestingly, she'd fill up on cups of Coca-Cola instead. Even more impressive, Bledel never really acted before auditioning for "Gilmore Girls" and her biggest credit before then was an appearance in Wes Anderson's "Rushmore."
Lorelai's outfit for Rory's first day at Chilton scene in Gilmore Girls
Warner Bros. Burbank Studios, CA
Lorelai mastered the art of getting right up and dusting herself off, after living through various difficulties. Even though she is only in her early 30s when we got acquainted with her, Lorelai's life experiences have given her a wealth of wisdom.
She always knows what to say and has the best advice in store for Rory. You might recall her saying the relatable statement "you have so many years and screw-ups ahead of you." Her words were reflected in her outfit choice, seen in the second episode of the first season titled "The Lorelais' First Day at Chilton."
For her daughter's first day at school, Lorelai walked down the stairs wearing cutoff jean shorts paired with a pink tie-dye shirt and boots. Sound stages located at the WB Studio lot were used to film the house interior scenes. The exterior scenes were shot on WB's French Street, where there’s a block of three-story, European-esque storefronts.
The facades of Sookie (Melissa McCarthy) and Lorelai's houses were interconnected. Giving a Gilmore Girls production location tour for the Season 5 DVD extra, McCarthy revealed that when you walked through Sookie’s foyer, all of a sudden you'd find yourself in the middle of Loreli's foyer. That's why they never showed the back view of Loreli's house.
The Warner Bros. Studio Tour is the answer to getting up close with where the magic happened. Bus 501, 222, and the PINK as well as the B LINE (RED) can get you to the WB Studios.
Rory steals a yacht scene in Gilmore Girls
Warner Bros. Studios Backlot, Burbank, CA
Moments when Rory behaved out of character, like in the fifth season episodes titled "Blame Booze and Melville" and "A House Is Not a Home," truly surprised GG fans. She convinced Logan Huntzberger (Matt Czuchry) to steal a yacht on a whim. What wasn't surprising is that her terrible decision landed her behind bars.
Feeling frustrated that things aren't exactly panning out how she'd hoped, it's understandable that Rory momentarily lost her senses but no one expected her to turn to crime. It's a scene that most fans are still wrapping their heads around but Lorelai's statement that "reality has no place in our world" sums it up.
It was amongst the scenes filmed at the WB Studios backlot. The exterior sets include everything from a Midwest town setting to a jungle lagoon. They are dressed to mirror just about any epoch of time for diverse productions.
Exploring the backlots is part of the itinerary of a WB Studio Hollywood Tour, and it allows you to walk in the footsteps of Hollywood legends. If you opt for the unguided tour option, the Metro B Line (Red) will get you to the WB Studios as well as the PINK, 222, or 501 buses.
Rory graduates scene in Gilmore Girls
The Greystone Park and Mansion, Beverly Hills, CA
Lorelai once said, “I don’t like Mondays but unfortunately, they come around eventually.” While most employed folks can relate, it also rings true to the school experience. Yet another heart-melting scene from the show was when Rory graduated from Chilton.
The season three finale episode captured the moment when Rory was named valedictorian. Given the challenges she had at that particular school, both academically and socially, and knowing how hard she worked for it, her graduation moved Lorelai, Sookie, and Luke Danes (Scott Patterson) to tears.
A few GG scenes were filmed on location, and the graduation scene was amongst them. Greystone Park and Mansion in California was the setting for Chilton Academy exterior scenes.
Dating back to the 1920s, Greystone is now a property of the city of Beverly Hills but Edward Laurence Doheny Jr. was the initial owner. As per the Friends of Greystone website, Doheny Jr. received a parcel of land as a gift from his father.
The mansion reportedly took three years to construct and cost about $3 million, which was quite a sum back in the day. To visit the Gilmore Girls filming location, hop on the 2/302 bus.
Rory and Lorelai visit Harvard scene in Gilmore Girls
Pomona College, Los Angeles, CA
Rory had long dreamed about attending Harvard University, and while she ended up going to Yale instead, she somewhat ended up there. In the second season episode titled "The Road Trip To Harvard," Lorelai and Rory visited the Ivy league school and spent the day exploring the campus.
That's when Lorelai realized that her daughter was on the path to achieving more than she had ever accomplished herself. The teary-eyed moment when Lorelai watched as Rory sat in on one of the classes remains a fan favorite. It also brings to mind Logan’s words” people can live for a hundred years without living a minute.”
UCLA served as the backdrop for the Havard scene and it was yet another instance that the show was filmed on location. For Rory's first visit to Yale, Pomona College was the filming location. Subsequent Yale scenes were shot at the WB Studios sound stages as well as the University of Southern California (USC).
To go on a tour of Pomona College, the Claremont-based Metrolink train station will get you three blocks away from the campus.
Lorelai reconnects with her parents scene in Gilmore Girls
In the show's pilot episode, Lorelai decides to let bygones be bygones and reconnect with her parents. After cutting ties with them for more than 15 years, she only does it for Rory knowing that her wealthy folks can help with the Chilton tuition.
Emily and Richard graciously agree to take care of Rory's tuition on the condition that they all meet every Friday night for dinner. The dinners give them a clean slate and the chance to rebuild their relationship. In a different episode, Rory described it by saying "every relationship is a big honking leap of faith."
Lorelai's parents, Emily Gilmore (Kelly Bishop) and Richard Gilmore (Edward Herrmann), live in Hartford, Connecticut. However, no filming took place on the East Coast, and instead, their swanky mansion was located on the Stars Hollow sound stage.
For the pilot episode, an opulent residence in Toronto was used to film the scenes at Emily and Richard's mansion. The facade was even used for Lorelai's childhood photo depicting her standing outside the house. Later episodes used the WB Studios facade modeled in the likeness of a California mansion with matching gates. See it at 61 Binscarth Road, Toronto.
Lorelai celebrates Rory getting into Chilton scene in Gilmore Girls
Mayflower Inn & Spa Sound Stage, Burbank, CA
The show's pilot episode also has a scene where Lorelai celebrates Rory's acceptance into Chilton. She shows Sookie the acceptance letter while they are at the Independence Inn Kitchen.
The wholesome scene reveals that Lorelai simply wants the best for her daughter and is inspired by Rory's achievements. Lorelai even put it in words when she told Rory, "Did you ever know that you're my hero?"
A customized WB Studios sound stage served as the backdrop for the Independence Inn scenes. Mayflower Inn deserves a healthy nod, even though it wasn't one of the Gilmore Girls filming locations, simply because it helped spark the idea for Stars Hollow.
The show’s creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino, drew inspiration from the Mayflower Inn on a visit to Washington Depot, Connecticut. Occupying 58 acres, the boutique hotel offers the best of New England living with features including beautifully landscaped gardens, woodlands, and luxurious rooms.
A visit to other Washington Depot locations that inspired other aspects of the show equally sounds like a great idea. In that case, stop by Marty's Cafe, The Hickory Stick Bookshop, and The Washington Food Market.
The behind-the-scenes locations tour must have inspired your prospects of visiting the real-life Gilmore Girls film sets. A Warner Bros.Studio Tour should definitely be on your bucket list, and the best thing about the tours is how they provide an immersive experience in terms of the filmmaking process.
However, it's worth noting that you'll only be able to access the "Gilmore Girls" sets if they are not locked for shoots at the time of your visit. The WB Studio stages have also served as the setting for other iconic productions like "Pretty Little Liars," "Friends," and "Growing Pains."
Don’t forget to stop at Binscarth Road if you’re ever in the Toronto area and, of course, Pomona College will be on your list!