Search for your location!

Helen Bernstein High School – The New William McKinley High from “Glee”

Nov 1st, 2010 | By | Category: Glee Filming Locations


A little birdie recently told me that fave show Glee 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 High, one that is located a bit closer to Paramount Studios where the series is lensed.  So, I immediately started digging around the internet to find out exactly which school was now being used and fairly quickly came across this YouTube video which an anonymous person had taken of the cast while they were filming the Season 2 episode of the show titled “Audition”.  In the comments section, the video’s author explained that the segment had been taped at Helen Bernstein High School in Hollywood.  So, I immediately put the location high up on my “To Stalk” list and after embarking on the Paramount Tour with fellow stalker Lavonna and her friends Beth, Debbie, and Connie, who were in town visiting from Ohio a few weeks back, we all set out to stalk the new William McKinley High.

IMG_2128 IMG_2129 

Helen Bernstein High School, which was named after the former president of the Los Angeles teachers’ union who passed away in 1997, just recently opened in the fall of 2008.  The school was constructed by the award-winning Chicago-based architecture firm of Perkins+Will in order to help ease the overcrowding at both John Marshall High School in Los Feliz and Hollywood High School in Hollywood.  The four-story school, which boasts 2,000 students, sits on 12. 4 acres of land, and measures a whopping 238,492 square feet of learning space, is easily one of the largest educational institutions that I’ve ever come across in my entire life!  The place is absolutely massive, and in an interesting historical note, was built on the former site of Fox Television Center/KTTV Studios, where such iconic shows as Saved by the Bell, Maude, One Day at a Time, Diff’rent Strokes, The Facts of Life, In Living Color, The Jeffersons and the pilot episode of Family Ties were filmed.  The studio, which later changed its name to Metromedia Square, was sold to the the Los Angeles Unified School District in 2000 and just three years later it was demolished entirely to make way for the new high school.  You can read more about the construction of Helen Bernstein High here.

IMG_2130 IMG_2133

IMG_2119 IMG_2126

The area of the school that is most prominently featured on Glee is the main quad, which was the site of the New Directions’ rousing performance of “Empire State of Mind” in the “Audition” episode and the spot that I most wanted to stalk.  And even though we had waited until 4 p.m. to visit Helen Bernstein, after school was already over for the day, I wasn’t sure how amenable the staff would be to letting us onto the property.  When we explained that we were HUGE Glee fans, though, and that Lavonna and her friends were in town visiting all the way from Ohio, one of the super nice office administrators agreed to bring us over to the quad area and then allowed us to take all of the photographs of the place that we wanted!  🙂  YAY!

  ScreenShot5974 ScreenShot5980 

ScreenShot5982 ScreenShot5983

In the “Empire State of Mind” scene, the Glee kids put on a lunchtime show in order to try to entice their fellow McKinley High students to join New Directions.  And I have to say that the performance has to be one of my all-time favorites of the entire series, most likely because I absolutely love that song.  In fact, I think I like the Glee kids’ version of it even more than I do the original!  “In Neeeeew Yoooooooork . . . “


You can watch the FABULOUS “Empire State of Mind” scene by clicking above.

IMG_2122 ScreenShot5978

While we were stalking the quad, Lavonna, Beth, and I got to act out our own little mini-versions of the scene, which I was absolutely floored about. 

IMG_2121 ScreenShot5998 

And I, of course, just had to take a picture in the spot where Rachel Berry (aka Lea Michele) was sitting at the very end of the scene, although, as it turns out, I ended up sitting just a bit too far to the left.  Ironically enough, while we were snapping photographs, we spotted some Glee crew members who were onsite setting up for some filming which was going to be taking place the following day.  They did not seem all that friendly, though, so I did not attempt to talk to any of them.
ScreenShot5984 ScreenShot5986

ScreenShot5989 ScreenShot5991

All of the William McKinley High School gym scenes – even those filmed during Season 1 – take place at Helen Bernstein, as well.

ScreenShot3004 ScreenShot6008

ScreenShot3005 ScreenShot6004

As do the cafeteria scenes, but unfortunately we were not able to stalk those two areas while we were there.  You can see some fabulous interior photographs of the school here, though.

ScreenShot5987 ScreenShot5988

And, according to the YouTube video commenters, the scene in which Finn Hudson (aka Cory Monteith ) sang “Hello, I Love You” in the Season 1 episode titled “Hell-O” was also filmed at Helen Bernstein High School. 

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Glee quad

Stalk It: Helen Bernstein High School, aka the new William McKinley High School from Glee, is located at 1309 North Wilton Place in Hollywood.  Please remember that Helen Bernstein is a working high school and is not actually open to the public.  If you would like to visit it, I recommend doing so on off hours when children are not present and always, always get permission from a staff member in the main office before entering the school grounds.  The area where the Glee kids sung “Empire State of Mind” is the main quad, which is located just due east of the school’s entrance and is denoted with the pink arrows in the above aerial view.



Leave a comment »

  1. Leigh says:

    Our church uses the auditorium & a couple class rooms for church on Sunday mornings at Helen Bernstein. We showed up for church one Sunday & the quad was set up for filming. The football field had tons of trailers & the gym was set up for a commissary. So strange! My kid’s play on those stairs every Sunday before & after church. 🙂

  2. golf says:

    HI ya, Thank you so so much for sharing that. I am a huge fan of Glee from Bangkok,Thailand. I really like to see them so much. I used to be a stalker ^_^ I think I am gonna be the stalker again (for Glee!) when I go usa. I will definitely go to visit this location!. I will fly from bangkok to san diego for the Glee Tour .hope it will be fun! >.< Thank you again for the info.!!! Takecare

  3. Helen says:

    I go to this schoool 🙂 Its in hollywood, california!

  4. Mel says:

    Looks like the school has won some design awards as well!

  5. Abby says:

    l0l..uhm thats not entirely true, Glee is still filming right at this moment at Cabrillo. I go to Cabrillo, & they are filming in the small gym, & using the Football field. hahah, they had signs on the fences of the bleaches saying William McKinley athletics, & bunches of trailers in the school parking lot, in front of the small gym. Glee is mainly filmed here

  6. Jessica says:

    Thanks for sharing that. I live in Long Beach and knew that the quad in the season opener was not at Cabrillo High, but didn’t know the new location. Do you know where do they film the auditorium scenes now? At the Long Beach or Hollywood location?

  7. stephanie says:

    i went to this school and an employee was kind enough to let us in the gym =).

  8. Melissa says:

    This high school is sooo big!! But you were lucky you got to go onto the steps

  9. Lavonna says:

    That was a fun stalk…we should have asked to see other areas..I’m sure they would have let us view the gym and cafe area 😉

Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. […] Fox Television Center. Finally, Metromedia sold the land in 2000 and the studio was torn down and Helen Bernstein High School was built on the […]

  2. […] episode had been filmed at the Assistance League Playhouse in Hollywood, just a few blocks east of Helen Bernstein High School, where Glee is filmed!  So, you know what that means – in the very near future I will be making a stalking pilgrimage […]

Leave a Reply