10 Real World Star Trek Locations You Can Visit

Because going back to the Grand Canyon really would be crazy.

Star Trek Vasquez Rocks Kirk Sean Ferrick
CBS Media Ventures / Kris Thompson

The clue's in the title. Star Trek has, by its very nature, not often been set on Earth. The 'strange new worlds' mandate of those opening monologues is the Styrofoam kitsch of an in-house alien planet, now the high-tech immersion of the ARwall. Comparatively little has been filmed on location, and that, until recently, has primarily been confined to Southern California (and not much outside of Los Angeles County), or as Wil Wheaton put it, "that sewage treatment plant that's really Starfleet Academy".

Nevertheless, when Star Trek has ventured out of the studio into the 'real world' for its TV and movie magic fakery, it has made for some of the most memorable moments in the show's history. Fresher air can mean fresh ideas. The novelty of being able to go take a look ourselves (if you don't mind flying that is) only adds to the enjoyment.

This list will focus mainly on locations in Star Trek that were used or referenced on screen as their real-world selves, with one or two (or three) exceptions to this self-imposed rule.

So, buckle up for some Tendi/Rutherford-level tourism! "Historical Bozeman" doesn't feature here, strictly speaking, but we hope you make a first contact with fun. No food or beverages on the ride!

10. The Santa Monica Pier

Star Trek Vasquez Rocks Kirk Sean Ferrick
CBS Media Ventures

Where to next if you've landed in late 20th century Southern California? How about a sun-soaked stroll by Santa Monica Pier? "And risk dermal dysplasia?" "No, thank you!" Of course, what Voyager's own Debbie Downer really meant was to send a sunburn warning to Seán in the future! (Editor's note: I really could have used this!)

The first shot of the "nice clothes, fast car, lots of money" gang — Janeway, Chakotay, Tom, and Tuvok — on Earth in Future's End (Part I) is, in fact, of them perched over the railings in front of the Looff Hippodrome, a National Historic Landmark that fronts the Santa Monica Pier, home to one carousel then another for over 100 years. In the space right beneath their feet also lies the Heal the Bay Aquarium, formerly UCLA's Ocean Discovery Center which, as only time-travel would have it, opened the year Voyager arrived in 1996.

Janeway and Chakotay branch off down the boardwalk to find Captain Braxton, who has taken a turn for the "who took my pencils" worse after a few decades with the "post-industrial barbarians". They find him next to the Hot Dog on a Stick stand. Opened in 1946 opposite 'Muscle Beach,' just down from the pier, this was the very first location of that now-famous fast food franchise.

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Jack Kiely is a writer with a PhD in French and almost certainly an unhealthy obsession with Star Trek.