American Horror Story: you either love it or you hate it. The popular television show is filled with stunning sets, well-written characters, compelling storylines, killer filmography, and awesome performances from some pretty great actors. As Halloween fast approaches, we are even more excited that many of the storylines in American Horror Story are based on true events, which means you can visit some of the filming locations and real-life landmarks that have undoubtedly kept you up at night!
If you are lucky enough to live in the Los Angeles or New Orleans area, or are planning a vacation to either city you will be able to visit some of these deeply interesting places with dark pasts.
Many of the locations are available for night tours...if you dare!
1. Alfred Rosenheim Mansion
This you will instantly recognize as the outside of Murder House, the basis of season one of AHS. Surprisingly, this house's past is a lot less sinister. It was built in 1902 by a German-American architect/roller coaster designer and has been used as a filming location for many productions such as Spiderman, Seabiscuit, The Twilight Zone, and Six Feet Under. You used to be able to stay here for a night with 16 friends for the hefty price of $1,450 a night, but unfortunately, now you'll have to settle for taking a picture out front.
2. Briarcliff Asylum
On W. Santa Ana Blvd. in Santa Ana, California you will find the exterior of Briarcliff Asylum under its real name: the Santa Ana Courthouse. Even though the exterior shots were filmed far away from the show's New England setting, it's still pretty cool to visit this historic landmark. The spot is popular for wedding and engagement photos. If you want to visit some of the asylums that were used as inspiration for season two, head to Massachusetts to see the remains of the abandoned Danvers State Hospital or New York to see Willowbrook State School.
3. LaLaurie Haunted Mansion
Featured in AHS season three, "Coven," this mansion is already a popular tourist destination in New Orleans. Kathy Bates played the sinister character of Delphine LaLaurie, a woman who looms large in local folklore. Her house of horrors was discovered during an 1834 fire at her mansion. She disappeared after that incident and was not held accountable for her crimes. Snag a photo of this spooky building while you walk downtown.
4. Longue Vue House & Gardens
Season four "Freakshow" took place mainly on a set built for the show, but you can still visit buildings that were used to film scenes of Dandy's home. Longue Vue is actually in New Orleans, not Florida. After walking around the gorgeous grounds in search of killer clowns, head to the Camellia Grill to see the diner where many of the "freaks" often ate.
5. Buckner Mansion
Located at 1410 Jackson Avenue, New Orleans this three-story, plantation-style home was used as the exterior for Miss Robichaux's Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies from season three, "Coven". Airbnb vacation rentals are available nearby and the mansion is well-known for being allegedly haunted, so be prepared for a night of thrills if you decide to visit here.
6. Cecil Hotel
Located in Los Angeles this hotel stood in for Hotel Cortez from AHS season five. With an extremely disturbing past, it's no wonder that this hotel was used as inspiration for the show. The notorious serial killer The Night Stalker (Richard Ramirez)—who even appeared in the show—stayed at the Cecil while he was killing innocent women. The most recent death in 2013 that caught the attention of the shows creators was Canadian tourist Elisa Lam. She was a young women on vacation in L.A. who went missing while staying in the hotel. While investigating her disappearance, elevator footage surfaced that was deemed disturbing and her body was then found later in the hotel's water tank. No one knows how she got up there...or why. It is now a city landmark, and you can stay here, but it is not advised. The TripAdvisor reviews are (understandably) terrible. To visit the filming location of the exterior and interior lobby shots of Hotel Cortez, head to 617 South Olive Street in L.A. to the James Oviatt building.
7. Fort Raleigh National Historic Site
This is where the Lost Colony of Roanoke was originally established. It was the first English colony in America. In 1587, John White left to gather food and supplies from England. When he returned four years later, he found that everyone was gone. They had completely disappeared. The only clue was carved into a tree: the word "CROATOAN." The mystery of what happened to the colonists of Roanoke remains unsolved. The filming for this season actually took place in an undisclosed forest in Santa Clarita, CA, and the filmmakers constructed the entire house for the show.
8. Orpheum Theatre
Located in Los Angeles, this is where Dominic and Shelly were attacked by a gang in season six, "Roanoke". This performance venue also has a very long history. It opened in 1926 and it has hosted stars like Ella Fitzgerald, Carrie Underwood, and Sally Rand.
9. The Butchery on Main
Yes, it's an actual place you can visit. Located in Old Town Orange in Orange, California, it's a quaint little neighborhood to walk around and take photos. Only located four miles southeast of Disneyland, it's a great pit stop along the way to the "Happiest Place on Earth."
10. 1530 N. Orange Grove Ave. Los Angeles, CA
Ally and Ivy's house in season seven is far from its "Michigan" location. You can actually visit the neighborhood in Los Angeles. That's not the best part, though. If you decide to visit this set location you will also be visiting the "Haddonfield, Illinois" neighborhood used in John Carpenter's classic film Halloween. Both Ivy and Ally's house and the one across the street were seen in the Halloween movies.
11. Sepulveda Dam
Located in Van Nuys, California, the Sepulveda Dam acts as a post-apocalyptic backdrop for one of season eight’s most memorable scenes: burning the traitors at the stake. The dam was constructed to provide flood protection after the Los Angeles Flood of 1938 and has since then been used as a filming location many times over. AHS fans can visit the dam and the nature preserve that is next to it.
12. Camp Redwood
Although Camp Redwood from season nine is a fictional place, anyone who has ever gone to summer camp understands just how real it could be when a campfire ghost story goes a little too far. In fact, creator Ryan Murphy pulled inspiration from real life stories for '1984'. While you won't be able to sign up for Camp Redwood anytime soon even if you wanted to, the location where it was shot is very real and fans can go visit Franklin Canyon Park in Los Angeles, CA. The park, which spans 605 acres, is free to the public and has a network of hiking trails.