Showtime's 'City on a Hill' Was Filmed Where You'd Expect It Might Be and More

Showtime's crime drama 'City on a Hill' is set in Boston in the '90s, but what were the show's filming locations? They're pretty true to life.


Mar. 29 2021, Updated 10:50 a.m. ET

'City on a Hill' poster
Source: Showtime

You might be surprised to know the Showtime crime drama City on a Hill is based on an idea by executive producer Ben Affleck and creator Charlie McLean. 

The show is set in Boston in the 1990s and explores corruption, tribalism, and "The Boston Miracle." But is the show actually filmed in Boston? The City on a Hill filming locations weren't always what viewers might expect. 

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Here are some of the 'City on a Hill' filming locations.

The history of the city of Boston plays a large part in the show's plot, almost as though the city were also a main character. Most of the era-appropriate moments on the show are due to the production team's decision to shoot on location in, you guessed it, Boston, Mass. 

city on a hill filming
Source: Showtime
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During the show's first season, several key locations are easily recognizable, such as Beach Street, John F Fitzgerald Surface Road, and Boston City Hall. 

For the second season of the show, additional locations utilized for filming include The Massachusetts State House and exterior shots in Chinatown/The Financial District. 

For a show primarily set in Boston, the majority of the show is filmed in New York City. Steiner Studios is a film studio located in Brooklyn Navy Yard, and most of the production of the show was completed in this complex. 

To imitate Boston of the 1990s, many of the sets had to be built from scratch, spread over 20 acres and 17 sound stages. 

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kevin bacon city on hill filming location
Source: Instagram

Kevin Bacon on set in Boston.

Steiner Studios was established in 2004 and has been since hosting a variety of films such as Spider-Man 3, Men in Black 3, and Sex and the City. The studio's ability to be camouflaged into different settings is perfectly suited to City on a Hill because, unfortunately, production designers cannot rewind the clock to achieve a perfect 1990s atmosphere. 

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Parts of the show were also filmed in Westchester County, New York, which is more suburban than the city proper and made a great stand-in for Boston neighborhoods seen in the show. New Rochelle and White Plains are the two most popular locations for filming those neighborhood scenes, with appropriate time-period touch ups. 

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The show's second season utilized small businesses such as Dudley's Parkview Restaurant and the American Express Office as fronts for their sets. The last location in New York that the show is frequently filmed in includes areas of the Bronx, mostly at E 229th Street, and Staten Island, in places such as Tappan Park. 

The next time you watch City on a Hill, if you're familiar with any of the filming locations, see if you can spot the differences! With the evolution of production design and digital details, it's hard to discern fictional locations from reality. 

Attention to detail in a period-centric show is especially important, and we know the creatives behind this series are doing their absolute best!

Watch City on a Hill Sundays at 10 p.m. EST on Showtime.

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