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Does The Town Of South Park Actually Exist In Real Life?

Plenty of TV shows are set in locations that are just as memorable as the characters. Whether they're fictional locales like Springfield or Star's Hollow, or whether they're based on real-life places like "Sex and the City's" New York City, a TV show's setting can often become a "character" itself.

That's the case with South Park, the small Colorado town where "South Park" is set. A lot has happened in, and to, South Park over the show's 25 year history. The town has been destroyed and rebuilt countless times. It's in the national news for one controversy or another practically every week. And even though the show's theme song says that South Parkers are "humble folks without temptation," in actuality they're some of the most endearing oddballs on TV.

For creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, South Park is everything they love (and find strange about) their home state. "South Park, to us, was always the place where you'd talk about UFO sightings. It was just this weird place at the time where not many people lived," Trey Parker told Colorado Governor Jared Polis in August 2022. "It was the place we'd always talk about weird things happening, and we would go drive around and look for the government base, which we never found (via Westword)."

Obviously, the South Park we see on the show is a fictionalized version of a small town. But is there an actual town of South Park in Colorado? The answer is a bit complicated.

South Park isn't a real place, but it's based on several places in Colorado

If you look on a modern map for a Colorado town called "South Park," you won't find it. However, both current and historical places held that name. Today, "South Park" is the name of a valley within Park County, Colorado. It's also the name of a National Heritage Area that was dedicated in 2009 and encompasses most of Park County.

In terms of layout and visual look, the town that comes closest to resembling the fictional South Park is Fairplay, the seat of Park County. Fairplay was actually called "South Park City" in the 1860's. Today, it's home to a museum that's also called "South Park City." It was assembled in the 1950's and has more than 40 historical buildings (via Colorado.com).

Fairplay is the home to the real-life Stark's Pond, a location that's been featured in many episodes of the sitcom. Other landmarks on the sitcom are from other nearby Colorado towns. Cartman's favorite Mexican restaurant Casa Bonita actually exists in Lakewood, Colorado. Parker and Stone purchased the restaurant in 2021 (via The Hollywood Reporter).

However, as "South Park" revealed in the Season 22 episode "The Scoots," the town of Fairplay also exists within the fictional world of the show–it's seen on a map alongside South Park and many actual Colorado towns like Eagle, Colorado City, and Idaho Springs (via the South Park wiki). So, if fictional South Park is based on Fairplay, what is fictional Fairplay like? It's probably best not to think too hard about it.