America’s favorite TV shows play favorites when it comes to setting – New York City is the hands-down winner. It’s by far the most popular TV sit-com backdrop, heavily exported to living room screens worldwide. Where else can visitors trace Carrie Bradshaw’s high heeled steps or lounge in a Central Park coffee shop like Rachel, Phoebe, and Monica?
New York City isn’t the only place that’s good for a laugh. Some of the funniest TV comedies paint hilarious landscapes of more offbeat parts of the USA. Go visit the real-life setting of these place-centric television hit series. Once you’ve been there, you’ll “get it”.
Geek out Silicon Valley Style in San Jose, CA
If you haven’t caught the first two seasons of HBO’s new hit series Silicon Valley, now is the time to get on board. The show follows tech geek protagonist Richard Hendricks around the entire Silicon Valley universe.
Silicon Valley is all about a very odd place. The ecosystem of startup CEOs, venture capitalists, tech geniuses, and 8-figure buyouts seems like stuff of pure fiction, but it’s really a thing. To live the experience, fly into San Jose, CA and check in at one of many San Jose hotels. From there, you can find your way to the Palo Alto neighborhood, where Erlich Bachman’s incubator residence would be found. See the sites in San Jose, and maybe you’ll run into the real-world Gavin Belson-type big shots.
Bundle Up in Fairplay, CO, Setting of South Park
The “friendly faces everywhere” from the long-running animated comedy South Park actually exists in Colorado. South Park is the name of an alpine grassland, and the small town found there is called Fairplay. It’s just as mountainous and rural as the cartoon would imply. It sits at an elevation of 10,000 feet, and it’s about an hour’s drive from Conifer, CO, where creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone grew up.
Is it worth visiting tiny Fairplay, CO just to see the real-life setting of a beloved TV comedy? Yes. Definitely. You’ll recognize the huge snow-capped mountains that hover in the background of the show. You’ll get why Stan and company where mittens and beanies with ear flaps year-round. You’ll see a small-town side to Colorado’s majestic Rocky Mountains, beyond the glamour of the ski resort towns. Take a picture of the South Park sign, buy some TV show paraphernalia from Fairplay’s main gas station, and take advantage of the mountain outdoor fun.
Dream of the 90s in Portland, OR, Setting of Portlandia
On Portlandia, sketch comedy masterminds Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen and team up to satirize every little quirk and cliché in Portland. As a magnet for hipster entrepreneurs and creative types, the city provides an endless supply of comic subject matter.
The satire isn’t lost on those who have never visited Portland, but the sketches become that much more hilarious once you’ve actually been there. Grab a bicycle and find your way around the different neighborhoods and trendy local spots. You’ll cross paths with the kinds of characters that seem to have stepped straight off the set of the show.
Photo by Larry Chen via Trover.com
This post is my first as a writer for Hipmunk and the #HipmunkCityLove series