If you’re an avid watcher of various shows, then I am pretty sure you’ve wondered whether one fictional place or the other is real.
Be it Mystic Falls from The Vampire Diaries, Scranton from The Office US, Hawkins from Stranger Things, Pawnee from Parks and Recreation, or Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls—we’ve all wondered if these towns were real and if we could visit them in real life, just to experience everything like it was in our beloved TV or web series.
But unfortunately, even though most of these towns are pretty similar to real towns in the US and take inspiration from existing towns, they are fictional. Riverdale from CW’s eponymous series is no different.
According to Riverdale wiki, the fictional town is situated in Rockland County in New York, founded in 1941. The town is also home to the characters of the popular Archie comics series, which is what inspired the popular CW series.
I have always wondered how the writers (or makers) came up with such a town, and whether all of that was real. Of course, the plot of the series is not inspired by true events, but you always wonder if the streets look the same, if there’s a Pop’s Chocklit Shop or a Riverdale High School.
The town of Riverdale, as shown in the series is not a real place. The fictional town has been described to have been located in various geographical locations over the years in the comics. However, there is more than one town in the US named Riverdale.
1. Is Riverdale a real town?
Well, no. The town of Riverdale, where you’d ideally expect to see Archie and his friends is not real. Geographically, Riverdale is supposed to be in the United States. However, the exact location of such a town was not specified in the show or in the comics.
The town is said to be inspired by a bunch of real towns in the US, but it is not one real town and does not represent one particular town either. Like most other fictional towns, it is supposed to be like a state of mind or a representation of every small town.
Even though the town is fictional, the life and vibes of Riverdale are not, because it was created keeping in mind some real-life towns in the US. If you’ve lived in such a town or at least known how life is there, it is easy to relate to the incidents in the series or the comics.
Even as far as the Archie comics are concerned, the location of the fictional town has not been specified. It is said to have been inspired by the lifestyle and people of various towns in the US. For instance, the blue and gold color combination of Riverdale High is one of the most common color combinations in colleges across the US.
A shop like Pop’s Chocklit Shoppe is neither uncommon nor unrealistic. You can find such shops in almost every small town in the US. So, even if Riverdale does not exist, it actually exists. It is like a consciousness of a town rather than a town alone.
2. The Location of Riverdale According to the Series and Comics
I. In the Series
Even if the town of Riverdale is fictional if you consider the exact town as shown in the series or described in the comics, both try to provide some details about its fictional location.
According to the information in the series and certain details given by various characters, the town seems to be located somewhere near the Canadian border. In Season 1, Josie says that the Pussycats have won a Battle of the Bands competition in Rockland County. Now, Rockland County is a real place in New York state, towards the north of NYC.
But in real Rockland County, there is no town called Riverdale. Another thing that hints at Riverdale being situated near the Canadian border is Clifford Blossom’s business in Season 1. He was into smuggling drugs in the name of maple syrup across the US-Canada border. Maple syrup in reality is quite popular in New York state and, of course,
But in real Rockland County, there is no town called Riverdale. Another thing that hints at Riverdale being situated near the Canadian border is Clifford Blossom’s business in Season 1. He was into smuggling drugs in the name of maple syrup across the US-Canada border. Maple syrup in reality is quite popular in New York state and, of course, Canada.
According to FP aka Jughead’s father, the gang members at his construction site were from Montreal, which is located north of NY state. So, adding it all up, the location points to somewhere in New York state, close to the borders.
II. In the Comics
In the comics, the location of Riverdale has remained mysterious as it has kept changing. In the earliest Archie comics, Riverdale seems to be a town in The Bronx. This is a real place which you can visit today, but we can’t guarantee that it is similar to the town described in the comics.
In one of the Jackpot Comics #5, there’s an interesting panel that confirms this notion. It reads, “…the good ship ‘Peter Stuyvesant’ settles into the Hudson, as Riverdale High clambers aboard for a happy trip to Bear Mountain.” Bear Mountain is a real place, situated in Hudson Valley and is said to be an hour away from the actual Riverdale (as assumed to be in The Bronx).
However, there is more than one town called Riverdale in the US. There is a Riverdale in NY, but there is also one in New Jersey and another one in Georgia. Pretty confusing, isn’t it?
Apparently, the creators of the Archie comics, John Leonard Goldwater and Bob Montana, disagreed on the exact location of Riverdale as both took inspiration from different towns where they grew up in. As a result, the characters in the comics, the lifestyle of the town, and their nuances and quirks are all a result of their collective experience and psyche.
Goldwater usually credited Hiawatha in Kansas as the inspiration behind his characters and the life they lead in the fictional town. But Montana quoted his high school experience in Haverhill, Massachusetts as the inspiration behind many characters in the comics. So, it is clear that Riverdale is not one real town, but an amalgamation of many real-life towns.
3. Where is CW’s Riverdale shot?
If you’re here because you’re a fan of the series and want to know where exactly you can see those roads, those houses and that Pop’s Chocklit Shoppe like in the series, now it’s your turn to get your answers.
The sets of Riverdale are located in Vancouver, Canada, where the actors shoot for the series. The aerial shots of the town used are the same as the ones used for Rosewood in Pretty Little Liars. But if you want to walk through those exact lanes and visit those exact places you’ve seen in the show, Vancouver is where you’re looking for.
4. Is Pop’s Chocklit Shoppe real?
If you’re already bummed with the confusing and subjective answers and still not sure what exactly you can visit as a fan, hear me out. This time, you’ll not be disappointed. As a Riverdale fan, it is impossible to not know Pop Tate’s iconic diner and want to visit there once.
The good news is, you can!
Pop’s Chocklit Shoppe is not a real place with the same name and Pop Tate running it, but the show’s pilot was shot in a real restaurant called Rock’s Diner in British Columbia. So, you can definitely visit Rock’s Diner. It was where Riverdale was shot (even if it was just the pilot) and it is what the Chocklit Shoppe in the series is modeled after.
It is a lot like Maclaren’s Pub from How I Met Your Mother. The pub is modeled after a real-life pub which you can totally visit, and trust me, it looks exactly the same! Pop’s Chocklit Shoppe is now a part of the Riverdale sets, but Rock’s Diner is the real place it is modeled after, so I would recommend visiting the diner if you want a goosebumps fan moment!
Remember, Cole Sprouse and KJ Apa were there. As Archie and Jughead. You can actually sit at that booth. In fact, Rock’s Diner also serves milkshakes named after Riverdale characters such as Archie Shake, Jughead Shake, and Betty Shake. What more can you want?
5. Is there a Riverdale High?
Again, no. Not as we see it in the series or read in the comics. But there’s a real school of the same name in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. That is the closest you can get to Riverdale High. I am not sure if they wear blue and gold or have Josie and the Pussycats on campus, but it might be a thrill to study in a school which is actually called Riverdale High.
The creators of the comics drew inspiration from their own high school lives, so it is really not a big deal that the school mentioned in the series/comics is not real. Riverdale High is like every other school in small towns of the US just like Riverdale is the town of many towns.
It is symbolic of various small towns in the US and its people and lifestyle, so at the end, it is all real. Right from Betty’s ponytail to the Southside Serpents. They exist, in one way or the other.
6. About Riverdale
Based on a story from the popular Archies Comics, the 2017 Netflix drama Riverdale is centered on an innocent, small town of the same name.
It follows a group of high school students who are shocked by the death of a classmate, Jason Blossom. Together they unravel the secrets of Riverdale and who killed Jason.
Riverdale cast includes Archie Andrews (KJ Apa), who lives with his father, Fred (Luke Perry), who’s separated from Archie’s mother, Mary (Molly Ringwald). Archie’s best friends are Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart) and Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse).
Cole Sprouse’s grungy Jughead is the show’s narrator and school reporter who almost acts like its ‘Gossip Girl’ — documenting the characters’ lives and filling in the blanks for us.