Grey's Anatomy Locations
Although Grey’s Anatomy is almost entirely set in Seattle, Washington, very little of the series is actually shot there. In the earlier seasons, there were more filming locations in Seattle, however as the show went on, more and more sets were built on the sound stages in Los Angeles.
In fact, many prominent sets are all based in LA, pretending to be Seattle. Every single interior shot of Seattle Grace (later Grace Sloan Memorial), was in a set that was created in the studios in LA. They couldn’t take over a real hospital after all, could they?
The only hospital related shot in the show that’s not based in these studios is the exterior entrance of the hospital, which is the Veterans Hospital in the North Hills area of LA.
Of course, the Grey’s Anatomy production team does head up to Seattle each season to shoot cityscape scenes as well as any footage that includes the hospital’s helipad. After all, LA has a distinct skyline that you definitely wouldn’t be able to pass off as Seattle!
All in all, the production team of Grey’s Anatomy does a pretty amazing job of making Los Angeles look and feel like Seattle, not just on a one-off basis, but consistently for almost 20 years! Incredible.
I’m your person scene in Grey's Anatomy
McMurphy’s Restaurant and Tavern
If there’s one phrase that fans the world over recognize as Grey’s Anatomy, it’s the infamous “I’m your person”. It’s said numerous times between Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and Cristina (Sandra Oh) as a mark of their friendship, but the first time is in the season two opener at Joe’s Bar.
Joe’s is the place where our doctors let loose after a stressful day at work, so it’s used a lot during the show.
In the earlier seasons of the show, Joe’s Bar was actually McMurphy’s Restaurant and Tavern in Pasadena, CA. However, when it closed down, rather than switch up the location, the Grey’s Anatomy production team built a direct replica of Joe’s at the studios. Pretty amazing, right?
Although McMurphy’s has closed, you can still find eateries and bars around the site at 72 North Fair Oaks Avenue. You can get there pretty easily via the Metro L Line (Gold) or using a whole host of different bus lines that pass close by.
The plane crash scene in Grey's Anatomy
Big Bear Lake
Okay, this is about to get emotional. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. In an episode and a scene in season 8 that is stuck in the mind of every person that’s ever watched it, we see a lot of our favorite characters either die, get injured, and/or suffer some major trauma.
That’s right, it’s the plane crash episode. Going down in Grey’s Anatomy lore as one of the best episodes of the entire show, this is the scene where we see little Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh) die, holding hands with Mark Sloane (Eric Dane), the unlikely boyfriend.
Mark doesn’t want to admit what’s actually happening, he thinks he can help get her free, help her survive, but her medical knowledge tells her that it’s not going to end well for her. In the end, she stops him spiraling, saying:
“Mark, I’m dying”. Wow.
This iconic Grey’s Anatomy scene was filmed at Big Bear Lake in California, which is home to a super popular ski and mountain biking resort. So, if you like your holidays on the active side and want to check out a major Grey’s Anatomy filming location at the same time, this is the place for you!
As it’s out in the mountains, unfortunately, public transport is few and far between, so your best bet is loading up your car and making it a road trip.
Lexie confronts Alex scene in Grey's Anatomy
Comstock Street in Queen Anne
So, Meredith’s house, or the intern house as it’s sometimes referred to, is one of the most used filming locations after the hospital sets. It’s where our main characters decompress, with pretty much the whole gang living there at one point or another.
As it’s a kind of boarding house for new and old doctors, sometimes there can be a personality clash. This is pretty apparent when both Lexie and Alex (Justin Chambers) are living there, with very different ways of handling things.
After Alex gets annoyed with Lexie at work, he refuses to get her a beer at home when she asks politely. This soon snowballs into a rant for Lexie about how Alex needs to sort his issues and not take things out on her. This culminates in her shouting:
"I am a nice person!". Really, she is.
Meredith’s house or the intern house, is one of the few real-life filming locations that are in Seattle. You can find it at 303 Comstock Street, in Queen Anne, Seattle.
If you’re traveling by bus, the house is a couple of blocks away from both the number 2 and number 29 lines.
Cristina leaves Seattle scene in Grey's Anatomy
Los Feliz's Prospect Studios
Why is it that Cristina gets some of the best, most iconic lines in the entire show? We love you, Sandra Oh!
In season 3, when Cristina gets offered a dream position in Switzerland and following a pretty terrible personal time, she decides to leave Seattle and Meredith with it. In their emotional goodbye scene, she reminds her that her career and dreams are just as important as her husband, Derek’s (Patrick Dempsey).
“He's very dreamy, but he is not the sun, you are,” Cristina said.
This, like many of the key scenes in Grey’s Anatomy, took place within Seattle Grace Hospital. As there are plenty of similar rooms and operating theatres that need to be used season after season, the production team opted to use Los Feliz's Prospect Studios in LA.
This way, the team could build all the sets and have them identical, time and time again, without having to take over a real hospital and design the sets around what's already there. Smart, right?
The Loz Feliz Prospect Studios are obviously still a working studio lot, so it’s not always open for visitors, but if you want to do a bit of star-spotting, you can always hang around the gates. There are a lot of great eateries and coffee shops to set up shop in.
The 182 bus stops right outside the gate, so if you’re looking to catch a glimpse of your Grey’s Anatomy favorites, you can do just that.
The abortion fight scene in Grey's Anatomy
Okay, so this show has no shortage of tumultuous relationships and general love-based drama, but when it came to fiery, complex relationships, Cristina and Owen (Kevin McKidd) probably took the top spot.
In this massively emotionally charged scene from season 7, Cristina comes home to explain that she’s booked an appointment to have her pregnancy terminated, something that Owen definitely didn’t want to hear.
She explains this and before he can say anything she says, “I cannot talk about it anymore, I need to lie down, I feel like crap”.
Unfortunately, this is not the kind of thing you can say and walk out on. It turns into a huge fight and ultimately it’s the beginning of the end for this major Grey’s Anatomy couple.
Cristina and Owen’s firehouse is the thing of interior design dreams for many fans, and you can find the closed down Fire Station in the Skid Row area of Los Angeles. Specifically, they lived in Fire Station 23, which can be found at 225 E. 5th Street.
If you’re traveling by bus the 18, 53, 62 and 720 lines all pass super close to the Fire Station.
The dream house scene in Grey's Anatomy
Pacific Northwest Nature Trails
Despite all the drama and medical scenes, Grey’s Anatomy has an absolute heart of gold. In fact, this particular scene from season 4 melted hearts and set unrealistic relationship goals for a whole generation of us.
The candle dream house scene is one of the most famous scenes in the entire show. Meredith and Derek go out to a plot of land with a floorplan, laid out in candles. This is the dream house that Derek is going to build for Meredith.
Previously they were in a fight, but Meredith realizes it was more about the stress of this surprise and is completely incredulous over what Derek has done.
She starts quoting things that he’s said in the past back to him. Most iconically, “I believe we can be extraordinary together, rather than ordinary apart”.
Although due to certain plot points and circumstances, the house doesn’t fully become realized as the pair’s dream home, you can visit the site of the candle layout at Poo Poo Point outside Seattle.
Here you can stand on the hill and take in the iconic view that was going to be Meredith’s kitchen window view, all while enjoying the best of what the Pacific Northwest nature trails have to offer.
As it’s out of the way, you’re going to have to drive, but there is a designated parking lot at the trailhead.
All in all, there’s a reason why Grey’s Anatomy has been going for as long as it has, and has been so successful. Not only for its lead actors but as a springboard for many members of the crew and showrunner, Shonda Rhimes.
Whether we’ll still find ourselves treading the halls of Grace Sloan memorial in another 15 years or so, only time will tell, but we’ll definitely be along for the ride.