‘The Vampire Diaries’ and ‘The Originals’ Filmed in Towns Less Than 20 Minutes Apart

The Vampire Diaries and The Originals were set in two different places. The Salvatore brothers called Mystic Falls, Virginia, their home, and the Mikaelson siblings built a home in New Orleans, Louisiana. But neither of the shows filmed in the states they were set in. And in fact, the towns each shows filmed in are only a 20 minute drive away from each other.

Elena and Damon in 'The Vampire Diaries' stand in front of a fireplace
Elena and Damon in ‘The Vampire Diaries’ | YouTube

Can you visit ‘The Vampire Diaries’ set?

The Vampire Diaries set was in the town of Covington, Georgia. The Lockwood mansion, Caroline Forbes’ house, Elena Gilbert’s house, and the town square with the instantly recognizable clocktower are all in Covington. Even the Mystic Grill is real, but it wasn’t at first.

When The Vampire Diaries first started filming, the Mystic Grill was a fictional restaurant. The set was built by the show, but then the town brought the restaurant to life. It’s still up and running in Covington.

Ian Somerhalder told Explore Georgia in 2017 that he loved working there.

“I love [Covington]. Not only because I’ve spent as much time in it as some residents, but also because it’s been very welcoming,” he said. “This town has given us so much love and energy.”

The Vampire Diaries pilot was filmed in Vancouver, but the rest of the series was shot in Covington (for the most part).

Did ‘The Originals’ film in New Orleans?

The Originals was set in New Orleans, but the series barely filmed there. Most of the show’s five seasons were filmed in Conyers, Georgia. Conyers and Covington are only 11.5 miles apart, about a 15 to 20 minute drive. The Originals Season 1 premiered right after The Vampire Diaries Season 5 started in 2013, so the casts were likely filming nearby around the same time every year.

In The Originals, Klaus and his siblings had built New Orleans’ French Quarter hundreds of years ago. Klaus returned to the city after the events of The Vampire Diaries to find that his protégé, Marcel, had taken over. While many of the show’s events take place in the French Quarter, the scenes weren’t actually filmed there.

The show built its own version of the neighborhood, which is what you see throughout the five seasons. But the cast and crew did pop over to New Orleans for some shoot days. In fact, the show wrapped in the city. Joseph Morgan told Us Weekly in 2018 what it was like the last day on set. He said:

“I remember sort of standing there feeling like everyone’s gone. I’m just kind of standing in New Orleans unemployed and alone. I had friends and my wife was with me as well, thank goodness. And some of the cast were with me as well, but you feel like wow. That’s it, it’s done. It’s a joy and a sadness at once, is the only way I can describe it. It’s a plethora of feelings … And then you pack up your stuff and I sort of took a last look at my dressing room that I’ve been in for five years and you think, ‘Is there anything else I can steal? No, I’ve got it all.’ And then you go. I took the name tag off the door. That’s probably worth something.”

He also took “as many” of Klaus’ signature Henleys as he could carry.

Daniel Gillies and Joseph Morgan of 'The Originals'
‘The Originals’ stars Daniel Gillies and Joseph Morgan | Smallz+Raskind/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. via Getty Images

‘The Originals’: Joseph Morgan Stole ‘as Many’ Klaus Mikaelson Costumes as He Could Carry

Where are they filming ‘Legacies’?

And then, there’s Legacies. The show is the second spinoff of The Vampire Diaries and focuses on Klaus and Hayley’s daughter, Hope Mikaelson. Caroline and Alaric’s daughters, Josie and Lizzie Saltzman, are also main characters, along with Alaric himself.

Legacies is set in the Salvatore Boarding School for the Young and Gifted in Mystic Falls. But even that isn’t in Virginia! The original Salvatore house used in The Vampire Diaries and beyond was called Glenridge Hall. It was in a town called Sandy Springs, Georgia, before being demolished in 2015. Sandy Springs is about 40 minutes away from Conyers and about 50 minutes away from Covington.

The Vampire Diaries built a replica of the house’s exterior and interiors after season 1. But Legacies now uses a mansion Kent Rock Manor in Loganville, Georgia, which is about 20 minutes away from Conyers where the rest of the show films.

Did you catch all of that? We didn’t either. TV is confusing sometimes.