Are you watching Big Little Lies season 2? If not, I calmly suggest you get your life together and start from the beginning ASAP. If so, then I bet, like me, you are losing your mind having to wait an entire week between episodes and, while watching the series, find yourself obsessing over the breathtaking setting for all the magnificent drama that’s unfolding. Here, we present our CliffsNotes guide to Monterey, California, the place Celeste, Madeline, Renata, Jane, Bonnie and now Mary Louise all call home. (Cue Michael Kiwanuka’s “Cold Little Heart.”)
Possibly the most iconic staple of the entire series, the Bixby Bridge makes many appearances throughout the show, whether during the opening credits, in the background as the moms take their kids to school, or as a transition from one scene to another. This scenic treasure is the defining landmark of Monterey and acts as an obvious metaphor throughout the series.
An inevitable moment that occurs at some point during almost every single episode is one of the Monterey Five running on the beach for one reason or another. (Some call it blowing off steam, I call it reoccurring Apple advertisements.) Regardless, these takes are filmed at Del Monte Beach, a favorite among locals since it is one of the longest stretches of sand throughout the entire community, ideal for daily fitness or an evening fire pit gathering.
There’s a lot of incredible real estate to take in throughout the show, but Celeste takes the trophy for most enviable digs. Located in the high-rolling Carmel Highlands community, her home boasts vast views of lush nature and cliffs — not to mention picturesque crashing waves — through its lust-inducing floor-to-ceiling windows.
You know the dockside coffee shop that Celeste, Madeline and Jane frequent to catch up — or, in the case of season 2, to complain about Mary Louise? It’s filmed at cozy yet popular Italian eatery Paluca Trattoria at the end of famed Old Fisherman’s Wharf. Surrounded by shops and other restaurants, the wharf is a popular destination for tourists, especially those in hopes of a whale sighting.
The place where the ladies gather after dark to discuss the biggest lie of them all — don’t worry; no spoilers here — is a hot spot called Lovers Point Park and Beach. The park facilitates many activities, including kayaking, paddleboarding, surfing and horseback riding. And thanks to its east-facing location, it’s the only beach on the West Coast where you can watch the sun rise over the ocean.