Who else is watching Big Little Lies on HBO? I loved the book and so far the series is just as enjoyable. It is so exciting to see it take place in my hometown. The few weeks they were here filming it was a big deal around town.
A ton of people are asking me if Monterey is really like that or if those spots/restaurants really exist so I thought I would put together a little travel guide for all things Monterey (the BLL version!). Monterey is not really like it is portrayed in the show.
I will add to this Monterey Tour of Big Little Lies Settings as new episodes are released.
MONTEREY TOUR OF BIG LITTLE LIES SETTINGS
Opening Credits: Bixby Bridge, HWY 1 Big Sur, Point Lobos, Lover’s Point, Wharf Bike Path, Coast Guard Pier
Bixby Bridge and HWY 1 are just south of Monterey and are actually no longer drivable. Due to the recent storms HWY 1 is washed out in spots and is shut down for the time. People actually have to be helicoptered in and out! They even did an airdrop of water and supplies for residents that can’t afford helicopters.
Point Lobos is an amazing hike, with stunning views and secret coves… see more on a post I did on it.
Lover’s Point is in my cover pic and it is a beautiful cove + walking path. (Another post here)
School: The outside shots are not really in Monterey but another town in Southern California!
Drive to School (the texting/driving event): Ocean View Boulevard just South of Lover’s Point. This is an easy and beautiful walk from LP. If you are connected with me on Instagram it is the same walk Louis and I do every night.
Celeste’s House is in Carmel- The Carmel Highlands to be exact. So is Renata’s… I think.
Coffee Shop on the Wharf… In real life, it was shot on a sound stage but inspired by Paluca Trattoria on the wharf.
Bar with the firepits… that isn’t a real place here in town but if you like hanging by the fire with a glass of wine try Spanish Bay or the Lodge at Pebble Beach. Or for a more laid-back vibe try Wave Street Studios or Cannery Row Brewing Co.
Beach where Ed & Nathan have their argument? Lover’s Point.
The playhouse… This looks like Carmel High but I am not 100% sure.
I have to say they did get the geography correct in the area. Planned Parenthood really is in Seaside. It hardly needs a driver to get from Monterey to there. It’s like 5 miles from the wharf and we do have Uber. ? And, Frozen on Ice really is playing in San Jose right now!
Renata’s husband’s office must be in San Jose or somewhere else. We do not have ANY high-rise buildings. The Marriott is the highest building and I don’t think it even reaches 15 floors.
The beach and hotel where Jane was attacked and running away from are in Seaside. It is called the Monterey Tides hotel. They had a nice restaurant back in the day… not sure if it is still there.
The restaurant that the teacher and Jane meet at is Forge in the Forest. It is a nice restaurant and it is super dog-friendly. They even have a menu for pups. It is one of Louis’s favorite places. Get the cookie pie!
It looks like Jane’s house is in PG or New Monterey.. but not sure. The street looks a little too nice and wide to be around here. ?
Madeline’s house is for sure not here in Monterey. We don’t allow homes to be built on the actual beach…it is some kind of zoning/coastal commission thing.
Bixby Bridge Lookout- This recently reopened but you can’t drive much farther south than that.
Jane running on cliffs – Big Sur.
Beach running with all three ladies on Del Monte Beach and Wharf trail.
Car Accident- This looks like the Coast Guard Pier parking lot.
Monterey Airport- Where Celeste picks up her husband and kids.
*Something looks weird with the Wharf restaurant. Like it’s on a soundstage and the Monterey views are kind of photoshopped in and blurred out a bit….
Celeste’s new apartment is in the Del Monte Beach neighborhood. Those are actually condos. The building she was looking at towards the end of the episode is the hotel Jane was attacked at. (I think there is some foreshadowing there. Actually, I know there is since I read the book! Wait for it because it is about to take a crazy turn.) That stretch of beach between the condo and the hotel is where Jane is seen running after the attack in the flashbacks.
The final scene- Is Garapata State Beach about 45 minutes south of Monterey. It is a BEAUTIFUL beach but always freezing so pack a nice jacket and don’t get in the water. There is a nasty undertow there. The drive-out is incredible and you will see several BLL opening credit scenes along the way.
Hope you guys enjoyed this Monterey Tour of Big Little Lies Settings! Let me know if you have any questions about any of the locations featured above!
YAY! BLL is back and so many new real Monterey spots are featured in episode 1.
The opening credits where the ladies are all walking toward the camera is in Carmel. It is a parking lot near Carmel River State Beach.
Bonnie walking on the beach at night looks like Carmel Meadows Beach.
Jane’s new apartment might look a little familiar. It is where Celeste looked for an apartment in Season 1 episode 6. The complex is real and on Del Monte Beach. There are a ton of Air BnBs there so I have no doubt you can find+rent the exact one. Celeste’s home is in Carmel Highlands. It is also real and SUPER expensive; condos go for around $800,000 and have an HOA of $1200!
My husband swears the school gym is Bay View School in New Monterey.
The little coffee shack Meryl Streep and Reese have in their first confrontation is fake. They set up a shack at Lover’s Point Beach last year. My pup and I walk there all the time and were able to visit the set when they were on a break from filming.
Jane’s job at the aquarium is a real place and a super fun spot to visit.
The house Reese shows is real and people rent it out for parties a lot.
Renata’s house looks like it could be Pebble Beach but there seem to be too many houses around it to be in this area. I’ll ask the girls at Vintage Property Management. They will know for sure! ***Update*** It is in Malibu.
The Sotheby’s Reese works at is in Pacific Grove.
Jane is dancing at Carmel State Beach or Carmel River State Beach. I think it is the latter since the parking lot the ladies have their big chat in the car is the Carmel River State Beach parking lot.
Celeste’s car accident + Bonnie’s “walking/hiking” was in Skyline Forest/ Veteran’s Park
Renata’s husband’s arrest isn’t a location here but it does look kinda like the Crossroads/Barnyard in Carmel.
Renata goes nuts on her husband and drops him off on the side of the road in Seaside/ The Old Ft Ord. Gen. Jim Moore BLVD to be exact. And, if you follow me on IG you may remember me going nuts over this b/c they closed a ton of streets around my house and I couldn’t get home and had to pee and was pregnant!
Bonnie walks onto the beach at (looks like) Carmel Meadows beach/Riberia Beach. A famous neighbor here is Betty White!
The restaurant Jane and Corey go-to for dinner is in LA but is based on a restaurant 1833 that was here during Season 1 filming. The cast and crew ate there a lot but it closed between seasons.
Their after-dinner walk is Lighthouse Ave in Monterey. The area is filled with lots of funky resale shops and quirky businesses. Some fun local and laid-back bars are also there.
The coffee/wine spot that has been in the last 3 episodes looks familiar but I think it is shot in LA and made to look like one of the many wineries in Carmel Valley.
Nothing in this episode was a new Monterey filming location.
*The pizza shop Mary Luise takes the twins to looks like Giovanni’s but I am not totally sure.
Ed is biking on the Pacific Grove bike path when Nathan runs by him. Olivia and I walk there almost every day!
The retreat is a house in Big Sur.
The scene where Celeste and Jane are talking in the back of the car and Corey is playing with the boys looks a lot like Point Lobos; same with the kayaking scene.
The beach Mary Louise is at is Del Monte Beach in Monterey. It is right next to the condos where Jane and she live.
That is the real Police Station in Carmel-by-the-Sea.
Jane and Ziggy are boogie boarding at Carmel State Beach.
The courthouse is real also. It is in Marina, CA.
Nowhere new was filmed in this episode. It looks like no hope for season 3. I HATED the cliffhanger ending! It was awesome to watch such a great show with my hometown as the sixth character. I loved that the producers incorporated so many local things like Katie’s Coldpress juices at the Cafe. And, Carmel Honey Co. a local brand started by a young teen, and several local wines were consumed by Madeline!
While not every place in the show actually exists Monterey has so many cool places to visit.
Loving this Big Little Lies settings feature? Take a look here for more of my travel + adventure favorites!