8.4.14 38

One Tree Hill Filming Locations Tour

While my family was vacationing in Ocean Isle, North Carolina, we decided to take a break from an afternoon of sand and sun and head up to Wilmington, North Carolina to go on a self-guided One Tree Hill filming locations tour.

Nearly all of the show was filmed there as it’s the third most popular place to film in the United States behind Los Angeles and New York. Not to mention it was well suited to be shot as small town North Carolina. I’ve been hooked on the show since the late 2000s, and my cousins, sisters, and I had been talking about making this trip together since 2009. Five years later, we were in close enough proximity—about 45 minutes down the coast—to make an afternoon of it.

Since our trip was impromptu, we didn’t spend time optimizing what order we saw each location in. We simply wrote down the addresses of the places we wanted to try and see after checking out this website and this website for ideas, and then began plugging them into the GPS as we went. We even serendipitously drove by Tree Hill Way while journeying to Peyton’s House, which is where the large studio where the interior shots of the show were filmed is. There’s lots of Tree Hill sites left on our list for future trips—most notably TRIC and Tree Hill High—but this tour was no doubt a highlight of our vacation (and it made our nightly showing that much more fun).
Intro Credits Bridge
 // 6th Street Bridge on North 6th Street and Hanover Street

Our first stop on the tour was the bridge that Lucas is dribbling across during the opening credits. We later learned it’s in a somewhat rough neighborhood and we should just  have driven by, but we walked across a few times. We were unable to see it from the angle the camera captured it as the field below was hard to reach due to overgrown shrubbery.

one tree hill bridge 1one tree hill bridge 2Karen’s Cafe + Clothes Over Bros // Corner of North Front and Grace Streets 

After the bridge, we headed to downtown Wilmington where we found Karen’s Cafe (which was turned into Clothes Over Bros for a bit there, of course). Outside, we met a tour guide who was just wrapping up his afternoon walking tour that we just missed, but was kind enough to spend some time with us. He told us that during filming, the crew put up a fake door to Karen’s Cafe under the fourth awning from the left, and then filmed the interior shots at the studio. Haley and Lucas’ mini-golf course—and where they kept their time capsule—was actually a few buildings over since this building did not have a large enough rooftop.

karens cafe 1karens cafe 2Site Where Nathan Was Thrown Through a Glass Window // 23 North Front Street

We walked with our tour guide down Front Street en route to the record store where Peyton frequented. On the way he pointed out the bar where Nathan was pushed through a window in the first episode of season five, and was subsequently told he could never play basketball again. Without the tour guide, we would have walked right by this without thinking twice. And as an added bonus the writers didn’t even plan for, Nathan’s number is located on the window of the building.

nathan glass window 1nathan glass window 2Tree Hill Record Shop // 8 Market Street

Although the inside of the Tree Hill Record Shop is now a gift store primarily devoted to One Tree Hill  and Dawson’s Creek paraphernalia, it was very cool to explore the place where Peyton first met Chris Keller, who would later wreck havoc on Nathan and Haley’s marriage. Our tour guide dropped us off here and gave us directions to the Naley Bench, which we were all geeking out about the entire walk with him.

tree hill record shop 1tree hill record shop 2Nathan + Haley “Don’t Say I Never Gave You Anything” Bench // Corner of Water and Market Streets, Last Bench Behind the Visitor’s Desk

Perhaps the most hyped stop on our self-guided tour, the families nearby us looked at us a little weird when we rolled up and started shrieking over a bench. The tour guide told us it was the last one in a row of about five, and I am glad he did as there was no plaque on it like there should be ;). Across the river just out of the picture is the USS Carolina Battleship, which, of course, is where the River Court used to stand.

naley bench 1naley bench 2Lucas and Karen’s House // 1829 Wrightsville Avenue 

Once we were done exploring the downtown area, we decided to find some of the character’s houses. Our first stop was Lucas and Karen’s house. My sister, Jennifer, was our chauffeur for the day and when we arrived, she pulled right into the driveway like we owned the place. The driveway was located right next to Lucas’ bedroom door. Even though we could see furniture inside the house as we walked to the front of the house (another sign we probably shouldn’t have parked in the driveway!), we took the risk of swinging on the porch swing, just like Lucas and Karen, and I have no regrets.

lucas house 1lucas house 2lucas house 4Brooke Davis’ House // 2314 Tattersalls Drive

When we drove up through this swanky neighborhood, we were immediately reminded why we are #TeamBrooke as her house was the bomb. We were happy to find the door is still red and the white brick looked exactly like it did on the show.

brooke house 1brooke house 2Peyton’s House // 1901 Chestnut Street 

We loved seeing Peyton’s house since one of the few episodes we watched at the beach was “Prom Night at Hater High,” where Brooke eggs Peyton’s house the afternoon before crazy Derek shows up to take Peyton captive. (Aka, we were really familiar with it even though our memories were a tad dusty about some of the other locations.) Her house is located in a very nice neighborhood, and there is a cemetery right across the street that looks like a miniature Arlington National Cemetery since all the headstones are the same and orderly.

peyton house 1peyton house 2Haley’s House // 1811 Chestnut Street 

Located just to the left of Peyton’s House is the James House where Haley lived with her parents before she married Nathan. Even though her family life was rarely shown on the show, we figured we might as well walk the 20 steps to see it since we were right there.

haley house 1haley house 2The River Court // Next to the USS Carolina 

Perhaps the most awesome/transcendental/cool/saved the best for last stop on the tour was going to the site where the River Court used to be. For us, this was such a fun moment since so many scenes took place here, and it is the most iconic set on the show. Unfortunately, they tore it down after the series ended, but now there’s a large mulch field where it used to be so it’s very easy to find. The only way we could have topped this stop? If we saw the River Court at night.

rivercourt 1rivercourt 2

Leave a Comment

38 Comments

  1. Kelly wrote:

    I am not a One Tree Hill fan but even I think this is awesome!

    Published 8.13.14
    Reply
  2. leanna wrote:

    thanks for posting this! im going to be there in 3 weeks and im planning my OTH tour! thanks for posting the addresses! this is super helpful! i can’t wait!!!!

    Published 10.3.14
    Reply
    • Katie wrote:

      I am so glad it was helpful! This is SUCH a fun tour. Let me know if you have any questions as your preparing.

      Published 10.3.14
      Reply
      • Kinsleigh wrote:

        Hey! I’m planning on visiting this in about a month and I’m wondering how you got to take pictures at the houses? Do people live there and do we ask to or do we just do it? Haha thanks!!

        Published 11.8.14
        Reply
        • Katie wrote:

          Hey Kinsleigh,

          We literally just drove to those addresses and took pictures. I think people lived in some of them, but no one appeared to be home during our visit. I am sure they are used to it! Have fun!

          xo

          Published 11.10.14
          Reply
          • Kelsie wrote:

            Hi! I am obsessed with OTH, and really want to take a trip to NC, and see all
            The filming locations. Do you think everythin-g will still be there in 2015? Such as Karens cafe/ clothes over brow? Also did you see tric or the beach house? Thank you!

            Published 11.19.14
          • Kelsie wrote:

            Clothes over bros*

            Published 11.19.14
          • Katie wrote:

            Kelsie – I think everything will definitely still be there. These are all permanent homes and shops that were just converted for the sake of the show. I did not see Tric or the Beach House, but those addresses are easy to find online!

            Published 11.19.14
  3. Abigail wrote:

    I am coming to NC this week & I am making my sister come here with me so I can look at all of these places!! I am so excited, all of my friends and I have been watching this show over and over for years. Thanks for sharing this!!

    Published 12.17.14
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    • Katie wrote:

      Hope you had fun! It truly is a fun little day trip.

      Published 1.5.15
      Reply
  4. sarah wrote:

    So i loved your blog about OTH. Do you know if they still do those tours today? I am going Saturday – Monday and want to check out all i can. Is there something you missed and look back and think ‘wish i would have done or saw this’..bc i need advice on what to see!

    Published 2.11.15
    Reply
    • Katie wrote:

      Hey Sarah,

      I am glad it was helpful! We just did a self-guided tour by finding all the addresses online. If they do an official tour, I don’t know – but I am sure a quick Google search would make it easy to find out. We wish we would have seen Trick! But we saw everything else we needed/wanted to see as evidenced by the post.

      Enjoy your trip!

      Published 2.12.15
      Reply
    • Kimberly wrote:

      They do have tours still, http://treehilltours.com/

      Published 8.23.15
      Reply
  5. Tracy Teague wrote:

    This is what I am doing this weekend!!! Been waiting forever.

    Published 5.19.15
    Reply
    • Tracy Teague wrote:

      Can you send me all the locations addresses in an email?

      Published 5.19.15
      Reply
  6. Haley Frances wrote:

    this was AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Published 6.13.15
    Reply
  7. Nicole wrote:

    I am planning to surprise my OTH obsessed daughter with a trip to NC for her birthday in August After reading about your experience I can barely contain my excitement !!!
    Thank you for sharing !

    Published 6.13.15
    Reply
  8. gio wrote:

    We should try to get the rivercourt back

    Published 8.2.15
    Reply
  9. Kayla wrote:

    hey! this post made me so excited to visit there in just a couple days. Ive googled all the addresses on the filming locations but saw some were private. were the directions to some of these places pretty much self explanatory or was it tricky to find some spots? I know I’m just looking forward to seeing the old river court, some downtown locations and the nathan and haley bench.

    Published 8.7.15
    Reply
  10. RodVignajq wrote:

    It was hard to find this article in google, but i am glad i found your interesting page.

    You deserve for much more traffic. Your niche is not so difficult to rank
    in google, there is one working method to rank, search in google for: Rotia knows how to rank

    Published 9.21.15
    Reply
  11. Pam Callaghan wrote:

    I would LOVE to go on a trip and would LOVe to see the houses and the river court that were in the tv show one tree hill., I’ve watched every season and every episode and I wish they would start filming again it’s an awesome show and I would give anything to meet the cast and crew but mostly the main characters.

    Published 11.3.15
    Reply
  12. Molly wrote:

    Thank you so much for this!!! I am going to Wilmington and I am so excited to go on the tour just my dad and I! You guys took beautiful pictures! OTH for life!!!! Much love!!!!!

    Published 1.7.16
    Reply
  13. Sara wrote:

    I just found this in my search of OTH filming locations. My best friend and I are finally planning a trip and we will be visiting Wilmington. This has been extremely helpful in planning our self-guided tour. Thank you so much for sharing. I have watched One tree hill from the very moment it debuted and it’s crazy to think I will finally be visiting where it was filmed. It breaks my heart that they took down the rivercourt. I honestly cried when I found out. I think it’s amazing that the houses remain the same since filming. We will be visiting in a month! After 13 years, I can’t believe I’m actually going!

    Published 2.3.16
    Reply
  14. Brett wrote:

    Great photos!

    Published 3.2.16
    Reply
  15. Lesley wrote:

    Amazing photos! could you share with me the main address/addresses of these spots?

    I am planning to visit during fall break!

    Thank you!x

    Published 3.12.16
    Reply
  16. Darrin wrote:

    My wife and I went back in 2012 and it was so cool to be where we watched our favorite show was made. Cool experience. Can’t wait to go back.

    Published 3.19.16
    Reply
  17. Anon. wrote:

    OMG beat TV show I have ever watched Ivr been wanting to visit and literally want to move there and find my own Nathan ??

    Published 6.1.16
    Reply
  18. Kim Johnson wrote:

    I plan on taking my three teenage OTH obsessed daughters to a surprise trip to Wilmington within the next few weeks. We will only be there for a limited time, so I want to be able to show them as much as possible. Is there a certain order that we should follow to maximize our time there. I noticed that you stopped at the bridge first, followed by downtown, then various neighborhoods. If you had it to do over, would you follow that same path. Any feedback will help and will be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    Published 6.19.16
    Reply
  19. Amy wrote:

    Is this the best order to visit everything? My daughter and I are taking a road trip and stopping here may be fun for her, but I don’t want to do a lot of backtracking.
    Thanks.

    Published 6.23.16
    Reply
  20. Georgia wrote:

    I am a huge one tree hill fan, this is so awesome!

    Published 9.27.16
    Reply
  21. Orchana wrote:

    This is awesome! Love oth!

    Published 11.24.16
    Reply
  22. Adriana wrote:

    OMG I love one tree hill and husband happens to be working in north Carolina right now and we came for the Christmas break…we ate from Houston TX and I hope and wish we can visit the river court!

    Published 12.18.16
    Reply
  23. Brittnee wrote:

    I would love to take a trip here…..im thinking about taking a trip here this summer! I love this show and it would be amazing if i could go and see this town!!

    Published 1.8.17
    Reply
  24. Mandy wrote:

    Hey! Thanks so much for posting this! MY mom and I are huge fans and plan on going over the summer, and it was really helpful to see your list! I’m not sure if I’ll let a notification for your response(in case not its mandy.2.x.2.@.aim.com without the doubts except before .com), but I was just wondering if you could possibly clarify which bench is the Naley bench?! And if it is on the Cape Fear river walk? Thank you so much, and I’m glad you enjoyed it!

    Published 3.15.17
    Reply
  25. Kris M. wrote:

    This is awesome! Thanks so much for the information! We are heading to Myrtle Beach this weekend for a cheer competition but flying in Raleigh and then driving. I am making my husband detour to the coast so we can see Wilmington. I never did watch the show when it was on – my stepdaughter did. My 16 year old watched it 2 summers ago and I would watch an episode here or there with her. Finally decided that I needed to see all 9 seasons. This was such a great show!

    Published 3.23.17
    Reply
  26. Gracie wrote:

    Oh my god I am obsessed with one tree hill. This made me so happy <33. I will 100% have to make my way down there this summer.

    Published 4.29.17
    Reply
  27. Wade Davis wrote:

    My wife and two daughters are OTH fans and I, the Dad, will be the chauffeur to Wilmington. We are vacationing in Boone , NC from Florida and I have been advised that we will be driving 7 hours out of our way to go to the home of OTH{:-) Looking at your pictures and reading your descriptions of the scenes are peeking my interest and I think I may be looking forward to it myself. Thanks for your help.

    Published 5.27.17
    Reply