Wilmington North Carolina 2022
There’s only One Tree Hill. And from 2004- 2012 the drama-filled little town of Tree Hill and its residents, kept viewers enthralled each week including me! It was well advertised that the new teen drama series One Tree Hill in 2004 was intended to fill the Dawson’s Creek hole in teens’ lives. But the t.v. show One Tree Hill replaced Dawson’s Creek in more ways than one. As the filming production of Dawson’s Creek rolled out of Wilmington North Carolina, One Tree Hill arrived, turning Wilmington from ‘Capeside’ into ‘Tree Hill’.
I, like many other t.v. viewers soon fell in love with Tree Hill and the Scott boys with the show’s production in Wilmington North Carolina spanning 8 years. After all, this was the place where everything was better and everything was safe (or so the saying goes!)
Fast-forward to July 2022 and despite the show being off the air for 10 years, the popularity of the show has not waned due to re-runs and the ‘Drama Queens’ podcast by Hilarie Burton-Morgan, Joy Lenz, and Sophia Bush (available wherever you download your podcasts). Armed with my Lucas Scott basketball jersey and this week’s Drama Queens Episode, we spent 48 hours in Wilmington, North Carolina aka Tree Hill searching all the key filming locations.
Undoubtedly, home of one of the most iconic spots of the series is the ‘Rivercourt’ where Lucas, Nathan, Skills, et al played basketball. The Rivercourt filming location is just next to the USS Battleship North Carolina, across Cape Fear River at USS Battleship Park, 1 Battleship Road. The actual basketball court has long since been demolished but you can clearly recognize the iconic shots from the show. I threw on my Lucas Scott jersey and did the best basketball pose anyone who is 5ft tall can manage! Go Ravens!
‘Layton’ Meeting Spot
The scene in Episode 1 where Lucas rescues Peyton after her car breaks down is what ultimately, turns all the teens of Tree Hill’s lives unto turmoil and drama. It is the catalyst for life in Tree Hill changing for these characters forever. The place where they filmed the ‘Leyton’ meeting for the first time is on a quiet road called Plantation Road, Winnabow by a large lake. hopefully, when you visit, you won’t need to call Keith Scott Motors for a tow truck, but do keep an eye out for Gators in the lake! We came across one while we were there and apparently, the spot is so popular with the Gators that an Alligator specialist had to be on sight during the filming of the scene!
‘Nayley’ Date Bench
Remember the bench where Hayley would tutor Nathan? This is located on Wilmington’s Riverwalk just next to the visitor center. This bench was such an important filming location that it has been restored with a plaque to memorialize both the show and Dawson’s Creek’s long-running series. Fans have continued to memorialize this iconic spot by signing their name and their favorite One Tree Hill Quotes onto the bench. Be sure to bring along a Sharpie pen for your visit so you can too add your names to the piece of filming history!
Peyton Sawyer’s House
The house that was used to film Peyton’s home is at 1901 Chestnut Street, Wilmington, NC 28405. The show’s production hired the use of this house for Peyton’s home until Season 5, using the interior as well as exterior for filming. While it might be fun to stand in the garden that was used for many scenes, namely when Brooke and Peyton fight over Lucas, the house is private property so photos were taken at a distance to respect the owner’s privacy.
If you want to see Hayley’s childhood home, this is filmed at the house next door to Peyton’s. As Hayley married Nathan and moved out of her parents pretty early on in the show, not many scenes were filmed here. However, Nathan and Hayley did share their first kiss outside this house.
Luca’s Scott’s House
The house used for 7 seasons as Lucas Scott’s house is located at 1829 Wrightsville Avenue, Wilmington, NC 28403. The door to Luca’s bedroom is one of the most famous filming spots for any fan but again, the current owners deeply respect their privacy so I made sure I took photos from a distance.
The first few notes of the opening credits with Lucas walking across a bridge in Tree Hill… for those of us who watched the show in real-time, this scene was the mark of the week-long wait for a new episode and immediately transported us back to Tree Hill (yes, we used to have to wait a week for a new episode- shock horror! It was the olden days LOL)
The iconic bridge from the opening credits can be found at 6th Street Bridge, near Hanover Street. Despite production using some very good camera angles, it is instantly recognizable. And if you were in any doubt, fans from all over the world have again immortalized the location of the show by writing their favorite quotes all over the bridge (time to get that sharpie out again!) I added my mark along with the many others.
Karen’s cafe was constructed for the show in a building on the Corner of Grace St. and N Front St. Later in the show, the inside was amended to house Brookes’s clothing line “Clothes over Bro’s” before being changed back again. The building is recognizable with the red details on the outside of the building.
The Dixie Grill
The Dixie Grill was used as Sam’s favorite diner in season Six.
Hells Kitchen was a bar originally built by the Dawson’s Creek crew. After Dawson’s finished, a restauranteur bought the building and turned it into a restaurant. It was later used in One Tree Hill as the ‘Swinging Donkey Bar’. We ate here for dinner one night, the Shrimp Tacos are yummy!
Tree Hill High
The outside exterior filming shots of Tree Hill High were filmed at the Joe and Barbara Schwartz Center at -610 North Front Street. The filming location is around the right side of the building towards the back so there is no need to go into the building.
This filming location, along with the Rivercourt, is one of the most famous locations for the show and a must-visit for any fan! Unfortunately. the building with the white walkway into the entrance of the High School has had refurbishments and the long walkway is no longer there. You can still see the white facade over the doors into the school but you can’t walk where the cast once did. The corridor which Lucas carries Payton out after the shooting is visible from the outside though, no need to enter as it is private property.
Record Shop- Black Cat Shoppe
Remember the Record shop where Nathan asked Hayley on their first date? And where Chris Keller works in later episodes? This shop is actually a gift shop called Black Cat Shoppe on Market Street, the main street of Old Town Wilmington. This shop is a must-visit for any Tree Hill fan as it has since been turned into a quirky gift shop selling Dawson’s Creek and One Tree Hill Memorabilia. Pick up your Keith Scott Motor’s Hoodie from here!
The red building used for Nightclub Tric is located at 1121 South Front Street. This building was used throughout most of the show as the nightclub but also, is the location where Peyton opens Red Bedroom Records.
As another location that is so iconic for fans, quotes have been written along the red brick wall from fans memorializing the location. Again, a Sharpie pen is needed at this filming spot, to add your mark to the famous building!
In the last few years, Charity Events have been held at Tric by the Friends With Benefits Charity Event group (a not-so-subtle nod to the charity event Peyton organizes with Ellie). Upcoming events are advertised at fwbcharityevents.com and if you plan ahead early enough, you could get a tour of Tric yourself!
Grace Street Church
The Methodist Church on Grace Street has been used for several weddings in the show: Keith and Jules doomed wedding, Brooke and Julian’s Wedding, and Lucas and Lindsay’s non- wedding disaster. If you walk around the side of the church, you can see the spot where they filmed Lindsay looking at Peyton’s car and realizing ‘The Comet’ is Peyton, ultimately causing her to stop her wedding to Lucas.
One Tree Hill Way
Not an actual film sight but after the success of One Tree Hill, the road running alongside EUE/ Screen Gems Studios is forever immortalized as One Tree Hill Way. The studios named the road in honor of the show and it’s the perfect photo spot for the ultimate Tree Hill fan!
More to Wilmington than Tree Hill
Being a massive American Teen Drama Fan, we of course combined our 48-hour visit to Wilmington to see famous filming locations from Dawson’s Creek. See our article on Dawsons Creek Wilmington Film Locations here
Have Your Say
Are you a major One Tree Hill Drama Queen or King? Which famous Tree Hill filming location or scene is your favorite? Let us know in the comments section below. If you have any questions about our 48hours in Tree Hill please ask in the comments section below.
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