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William McKinley High School from “Glee”

Jan 13th, 2010 | By | Category: Glee Filming Locations


My Hollywood obsession as of late is the new Fox musical dramedy Glee.  Actually, stating that I am obsessed with the series is a rather gross understatement.  To say it’s more of an all-out, withdrawal-symptom inducing addiction would be closer to the truth.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve been this enamored of a show since, dare I say it, high school when Beverly Hills, 90210  was on the air.  Let’s face it – I am ABSOLUTELY, WITHOUT A DOUBT, ONE HUNDRED PERCENT, HEAD OVER HEELS IN LOVE with Glee!   In fact, the “Sectionals” episode was so fabulous that I watched it three times in a row (not kidding!), mostly because of the big “My Life Would Suck Without You” grand finale number, which was just about the cutest thing ever – especially the kiss at the end! 🙂  To illustrate just how smitten I am with the show (and its leading man Matthew Morrison – sigh!), I’d like to share the following little anecdote with you.  This past Friday, my dad had a minor surgery in the West L.A. area and, being the nice daughter that I am, I volunteered to drive him to and from the hospital.  Well, I guess it’s true what they say about no good deed going unpunished because I later found out that Glee would be filming on location on Larchmont Boulevard that very same day.  Of all the bum luck!  🙁   Anyway, my dad’s surgery went off without a hitch and while leaving the hospital I realized that Larchmont Boulevard was (sort of) on our way home.  So – and I can’t even believe I’m about to cop to this in a public forum – I just HAD to stop by.  I mean, don’t I owe at least that much to you, dear readers?  😉  So, yes, while my dad was drugged out of his mind on anesthetic, sleeping in the passenger seat of my car right next to me, trying to recover from surgery, I drove over to Larchmont Boulevard to stalk the Glee set.  Unfortunately, because they were filming inside of a store, I couldn’t see a whole lot via a simple drive-by.  And while deciding if I should park my car – with my dad inside – to venture closer to where they were filming, my conscience got the best of me and I turned around and drove on home.  So sad!  🙁  Ironically enough, though, my mom, who is also a big “Gleek” and who knew about the filming, called me up about five minutes later to ask if I had stopped by the set.  When I told her that I just couldn’t do it because I was worried about my dad, she said, “Why??  He’ll never know the difference!”  LOL LOL LOL   As the author of the I Am A TV Junkie blog said recently of his own Glee addiction, “It’s becoming a little ridiculous.  I may have to join a support group.”  Well, if you find one, TV Junkie, please sign me up, as well!  🙂  Until that time, though, I figure if you can’t beat ‘em, stalk ‘em!  So, this weekend I headed down to Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo High School in Long Beach, which stands in for William McKinley High School on Glee. 







Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo High School is featured extensively on Glee.  In fact, according to this article, filming takes place there on a very regular basis.  The areas of the school which appear in the series include the football field, track, and bleachers, which were unfortunately completely locked up at the time;








the staff parking lot area, which is located directly in front of the gym;







and the outdoor stairwell located just to the left of the gym. (Please excuse the above photographs – the position of the sun was making it very difficult to take pictures that day.)




The Cabrillo High School location that I most wanted to stalk was the arched-over outdoor hallway where Emma and Will shared a brief chat in the episode entitled “Showmance”.  Ironically enough, that outdoor hallway can be found at the top of that very same staircase located to the left of the gym, but unfortunately, I didn’t realize that until after I got home and re-watched the episode. 🙁 


While stalking Cabrillo, I was lucky enough to run into two teachers who could NOT have been nicer and even went so far as to point out all the areas of the school used on Glee.  Both teachers I spoke with were quite amused over my excitement at seeing the Glee locales in person, especially since one of the them had yet to ever even watch the show!  I tried to explain to him that not watching a series that regularly films at his workplace is tantamount to sacrilege in my eyes, but I don’t think he much cared.  🙂   Most of the filming of Glee is relegated to the one small section of Cabrillo High’s 64-acre campus (and no, that’s not a typo, the school actually measures a whopping 64 acres!) pictured above.  The football field, staff parking lot, and gym, which are all located near the school’s main entrance just off of West Willard Street, are denoted with pink circles in the above aerial image. 


A more close-up view of the staff parking lot is pictured above.




According to the teachers I spoke with, several interior areas of the school, which I unfortunately could not stalk, are also used on Glee, including the cafeteria;


and the auditorium.  You can see interior photographs of the school here.



From what I understand, though, McKinley High’s gym is actually located on the campus of another school altogether – Helen Bernstein High School in Los Angeles.


And a little bit of Glee trivia for you – according to one of the teachers I spoke with, Cabrillo High’s real life steel drum band was featured in the series’ pilot episode in the scene pictured above.  So cool!  🙂 

Besides regular episodic filming, a photo shoot with the cast of Glee was also recently held at the school, which you can watch a behind-the-scenes video of here.  Cabrillo High School has also been featured in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, an episode of the television series Bones, and both Cheaper by the Dozen movies.

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo High School, aka William McKinley High School from Glee, is located at 2001 Santa Fe Avenue in Long Beach.  Please remember that even though Cabrillo is a “public” school, it is still considered private property.   Take good care not to trespass, especially when students are present.  If you do want to visit the school, I suggest doing so on a Saturday or Sunday, and always ask permission from a faculty member before gaining access to the property.



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  1. BabyG says:

    I didn’t even know what glee was but when they shot at in the auditorium I was able to meet all the cast. At the time I didn’t think it would be a big hit as it is today. I’m proud that my school is in it since most of the students from the school usually just watched it to see parts of our school in it. Me being the same but I got to really like the show. In one of the episodes from the first season they use the auditorium and in another seen there are students playing steel drums . Those are all my friends ! We were so excited to watch it on the big screen >.< awesomeness and Kirk is my fave. He is such a sweetheart <3

  2. kade says:

    i like cerrio unifrom skirt

  3. Cabrillo Student says:

    I’m a student at Cabrillo & they wont be filming at our auditorium anymore, since Glee would be filming in there most of the time, students do need to be in school w/ out the distraction, so they made a replica at Paramount. & Around ACCESS Freshmen, its always difficult when they are filming because of the trucks and all and we have to go around the ACCESS parking lot to get to our classes . Sooo , if u have any questions, go ahead and reply.

  4. Leilani Galoia says:

    Break the bad news to all you Gleek fans according to my dad who is the representative of Cabrillo which i too attend that school and have met the cast of Glee they will no longer use our AUDITORIUM anymore because they rebuilt the same one in Paramount so now they only get to use our Gym, and Football field plus they are gonna be filiming whenever we are on break because of the fact we all still need to go to school. My dad is Butch for all you who go to Cabrillo

  5. Aimee says:

    Thanks for this. I was very excited to see it lol.

  6. April says:

    We think alike. We love BH, 90210 and GLEE!! I just went to “McKinley High” today and I could not have been more excited!! I was able to take pictures in the archway where Emma and Will talk in the pilot episode and also on the field and on the bleachers. I will post the pics on FB so u can see them. Thanks for all the great tips!! I cannot wait to go to the bar where NPH and MM sang and the bookstore where Rachel met Jesse 🙂

  7. Anonymous Teacher says:

    We’re not really supposed to mention things like this, but Glee has actually filmed at Helen Bernstein High in Hollywood more than a couple of times. The gym is indeed ours, and so is the cafeteria actually, which they have only used once. (You’ll notice we have not seen the cafeteria except for one episode, it’s pretty hard to reserve a space like that for filming, since they need days at a time usually and students have to eat.) This summer they have also done filming for the upcoming season using our quad, which you have pictured in the last image. 🙂

  8. Eric says:

    I wonder if there is a Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo High School glee club…

    • keilani sauni says:

      no there is not .. i go there ! we do not have any type of GLEE club ! 🙂

      • Savannerzzz says:

        Do they have a Show Choir group
        Now a’ days, Glee club usually isn’t called GLee club, but Show Choir

        • BabyG says:

          No but we do have choir, steel drums , orchestra and other music classes that can be taken and they’re are always clubs being formed so you never know maybe in the future someone will establish a Glee Club

  9. Johnny says:

    They said Glee is filmed at 535 N Larchmont Bl, Los Angeles?

    • Lindsay says:

      Hi Johnny,
      Yes, the bookstore on North Larchmont was used in last week’s episode. It was the music store where Rachel met the lead singer from Vocal Adrenaline. 🙂
      Happy Stalking :),

  10. Ivan Gonzalez says:

    Well, i actually go to this school and they are filming this week! Im a gleek as well and i got the principle to sneak me on to the set to meet the cast! Its cabrillo high school by the way. if you have any questions just let me know!!!

  11. Raul Moreno says:

    And whatever you do,please be careful in that area.It has the highest crime rate in the city of Long Beach.But the BEST sandwhich place in the south bay is down the street,Santa Fe Importers!Visit the location on a Saturday,then head south and grab a great lunch!

  12. Amanda Allyn says:

    Hi Lindsay, Glee is my favorite show too! I too, haven’t felt this way since Bev Hills, 90210! We are TV kindred spiris! 🙂 I watched the pilot like 4 times! The end with them singing Don’t Stop Believing and Mr. Shooster watching still makes me teary! I LOVE it! Yes, I am dork, but just LOVE it! “Sectionals” was also one of my fave episodes so far too! And how flippin funny is Sue??? OMG! She makes me laugh!

    • Alejandra Valencia says:

      Ok, I go to Cabrillo, and it’s pretty safe. So, yeah, don’t be scared people 🙂 I’ve met Jane Lynch and Idina Menzel. it was SO cool. But please be careful around the cast and respectful of them. As in don’t walk up to them and poke their noses (I know, it’s hard to resist)

  13. Corey Ann says:

    It’s weird seeing the faux school since the HS it’s supposed to be based on is here in Canton, OH. I wish they’d filmed something here though, it’d give me a reason to stalk!

  14. Lavonna Foster says:

    LOVE THIS SHOW…buying DVD that was just released – have Glee 1 & 2 soundtrack! Def area to stalk next time.

Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. […] was no longer filming on location at Juan Cabrillo High School in Long Beach – a locale which I blogged about back in January of this year – and that producers had found a new school to stand in for the fictional William McKinley […]

  2. […] who wanted to know if I would grant him permission to use one of my stalking photographs of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo High School, aka William McKinley High School from Glee, on that evening’s episode of Saturday Night Live, […]

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