From the fact that the Lian Yu is somewhere in the Pacific, we can assume that the Queen's Gambit left from the west coast of the United States.

While it is never specified, it is heavily implied that the port the Gambit left was in or very near Starling City, as Sara was shown to have been visiting home the night before the trip, and went on the trip in secret.

In City of Blood (S02E21), Felicity mentions that she moved 1000 miles from Las Vegas, presumably to go to school in Starling City.

Where is the fictional Starling City located?

  • 1
    I always thought that Star City, which Starling is based on, was the DC comics equivalent of Seattle.
    – Monty129
    Commented Dec 28, 2014 at 1:15
  • arrow.wikia.com/wiki/Starling_City
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 28, 2014 at 1:18
  • 1
    @Richard am I supposed to be looking at anything in particular there? The only thing I see about the location is the but about lake superior which didn't really match up well with events of the show.
    – phantom42
    Commented Dec 28, 2014 at 2:40
  • @phantom42 - I was referencing the airport location which seems to be very far from Seattle.
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 28, 2014 at 8:24
  • @Monty129 - That would be odd, as Ollie and Dinah moved to Seattle for a while.
    – Politank-Z
    Commented Apr 20, 2015 at 18:45

8 Answers 8


tl;dr: We don't know where it's located, and apparently, neither do the writers. We have gotten a ton of contradictory information, but based on the information we've seen and heard on screen, it's either near Chicago; or else, its near Seattle, or near San Francisco, or somewhere halfway between the two.

Unfortunately, there has never been a definitive location for Starling City, either in the Arrow TV Show, nor in the source material. Like the other DC cities, it's location has remained vague, and varied as the story demanded it.

Star City

In The Green Arrow and related comics, Star City has been explained in various places over the years. Early on, it was alternately depicted as being on the East Coast (on Massachusetts Bay) or the Great Lakes (Lake Michigan). In the past few decades, it has remained largely confined to the West Coast, where it has been seen as a substitute to both Seattle and San Francisco.

In the current DC timeline, I believe Star City is located "somewhere" on the coast of Northern California, a bit north of San Francisco itself.

The Starling City of Arrow was never depicted on the Easy Cost, but otherwise, it moves around almost as much as it's comics counterpart. In particular, there appear to be at least three conflicting locations given, based on both dialogue and explicit maps of the US shown on-screen.

Star[ling] City In The Midwest

So far, we have seen two large-scale maps of the United States with Star[ling] City's location on it. In "The Climb" (Season 3), we see a map of the United States with Starling City labelled on it, and it's clearly in the upper mid-west, somewhere in the Great Lakes Area (right around Chicago)

Starling City on a Map

In "Schism" (Season 4), we get a clearer map, showing the incoming nuclear missile. The missile was launched from Colorado, and is heading almost due east towards Star City, which is quite clearly located exactly where real-world Chicago is.

Star City on a Map

In addition, we know that Star City is roughly 600 miles from Central City, based on a number of comments about Barry running back and forth. In the comics, Central City is typically placed somewhere in the Midwestern United States, most often in Kansas City's real-world location. If we look at all the places that are roughly 600 miles from Missouri:

600 miles from Missouri

We can see that Chicago does qualify.

Star[ling] City On The West Coast

On the other hand, we have also seen a map that appears to put Star City on the West Coast:

Map of Star City in Northern California

This would make a lot of sense, since we know that Star City has a marina with access to the Pacific (The Queen's Gambit left the marina and sailed to Lian Yu, an island in the Pacific). In addition, one of the things we know about Central City in the Arrowverse is that it's on the coast of some very large body of water. We have seen multiple cases of things happening on the shore of a large bay, for example, when Barry is running Plasqitue's body out to sea before it explodes:

Barry running out to sea

That means that Central City can't be in the mid-west, and is most likely on the Pacific Coast (based on Barry's direction of travel). It's possible that it's situated on a really big river, but the overhead shots definitely look like a coastal city with barrier islands and no land on the other side of the water. If we place both cities on the Pacific Coast -- and ignore the explicit maps to the contrary -- all the pieces fall into place.

Where, exactly, on the coast the city should be is trickier. Based on that map, it looks like Star City would be somewhere on the northern coast of California. Since it's due west of a city in Utah, it could be anwhere north of San Francisco. Again, these maps are (intentionally, I suspect) hard to read, but it looks like the northern end of the mountain ranges in Utah and California, which puts Star City vaguely in the area of real-life Eureka or Crescent City.

Unfortunately, there are a number of other tidbits of evidence that put Starling City much further north, in northern Washington State:

  • In Season 1, Felicity gives Oliver coordinates to a building in the Glades (47.6097°N, 122.3331°W), which are in Seattle.
  • In Season 2, we also get one of the zip codes for Starling City, 98114, which is also within the zip code range for Seattle.
  • Felicity claims she moved "1000 miles away" to work at Queen Consolidated. Las Vegas is just about 900-ish miles from Seattle.

It's Nowhere

At this point, with the city having been conclusively placed in three totally distinct places over 5 seasons, it seems obvious that the writers are purposefully making the city's location vague. Again, this is exactly what happens to the city in the source material -- it moves wherever the plot needs it to be. This is probably the best we're going to get from the TV shows as well.

  • FYI: it's extremely difficult to tell from that map, but attempting to triangulate the position based on the locations of DC, NYC, and Mexico City seems to put Starling City roughly between Detroit and Chicago, I think...
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Apr 20, 2015 at 18:38
  • I've just the re-watched the episode where Felicity mentions Las vegas, and I believe she said her mother works there, then in a separate sentence mentions her move. Also, don't forget that the glades exists over a fault line....
    – AncientSwordRage
    Commented May 26, 2015 at 0:56
  • there's a lot of fairly shallow faults in the central US, including bits of arkansas, illinois, indiana, and missouri, so being "over a fault" doesn't narrow things down very much.
    – KutuluMike
    Commented May 26, 2015 at 1:07
  • I tried to find a map but I didn't get much luck.
    – AncientSwordRage
    Commented May 26, 2015 at 1:11
  • Just as additional info: When Amanda Waller has troops surround the city in 2x22, Lt. Pike mentions that the Army Base nearest to Star[ling] is in Monument Point (300 miles away), but since we don't really know where that is either.... [Although Mark Mardon tries to destroy it with a tsunami in Vixen 2x01, so a large enough body of water would have to be near.]
    – BMWurm
    Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 13:26

I kind of assumed that it was somewhere in British Columbia, Canada, in the general vincinity of Vancouver. In Arrow, the Queen's Gambit goes down in the East China Sea, and this location puts The Island in a direct route to China, where they were headed.

It also is within a day's drive of Seattle, where Oliver moves in the comics.


Central city is in Pennsylvania Philly to be exact Two rivers meet there which forms a waterway reminiscent of a bay.

Starling city is most likely in Detroit due to the distance of 500mi given in season 1 of the Flash which leads me to surmise the most likely location is Detroit Michigan.

  • 1
    How does a boat in a harbor located in Detroit Michigan get to the Pacific Ocean (and Lian Yu)?
    – phantom42
    Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 5:15
  • @phantom42 Across the Great Lakes, down St. Lawrence River, south along the entire East Coast, through the Gulf of Mexico, through the Panama Canal.... technically possible, but highly unlikely and prohibitively time consuming for what was still supposed to be a business trip to Hong Kong.
    – BMWurm
    Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 13:30

Here is a theory: Starling City is right next to Central City. Because they have the same building, they have to be really close to each other.

Iron Heights in Central City: Barry and Joe are visiting Henry Allen there several times. Later they put the metahumans in the Iron Heights. That is the prison of Central City.

In the Arrow, the Iron Heights is the prison of Starling City. When Malcolm Merlin is turn on the machine, the earth is shaking in the Glades, and only the Glades, because that is the plan. Destroy the Glades what is the part of Starling City. After the earth shakes, the puppet maker is free because he esaped during the earth shake, which caused damage in the prison.

So how is it possible if Central City and Starling City is far away? I was think that it is two different iron heights,when they show the prison in both series look the same.

  • 1
    OK, it now looks like you're asking a new question (about where the Iron Heights are located), although this was posted as an answer to the question of where Starling City is located. The way to ask a new question is by following the Ask Question link at the top right of the page. Meanwhile, this post is likely to get deleted if it doesn't answer the question asked.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 13:37
  • They are very close, but we do see that they are merely a train ride away (as seen whenever Felicity visits Central or Cisco & Caitlyn visit Starling). In America, it's not uncommon to have a single large prison in the middle of nowhere between 2 cities, or serving multiple counties.
    – Vogie
    Commented Apr 11, 2016 at 13:12

In Arrow 7x15, “Training Day”, a message gives coordinates to a place in Star City as 47.6119 North, 122.3301 West. In our world, that’s in downtown Seattle,

in the show, it’s in the Glades.

  • This is not the first time the show has produced coordinates from the Glades that mapped into Seattle, which would normally be pretty solid proof... if not for the on-screen maps that quite obviously put Star City near the Great Lakes :(
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Mar 19, 2019 at 22:38

If anyone here watches or pays attention to MLS pay attention to one of the last 2 episodes of season 2 when Slades army walks across a bridge you'll see Vancouver Whitecaps flags hanging from the street lamps

  • 1
    Does this mean it's near Vancouver?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented May 17, 2016 at 18:12
  • That probably means it films in Vancouver - not an unusual situation, as I recall.
    – RDFozz
    Commented Sep 20, 2018 at 16:41

Star City (Renamed to Starling City in Arrow) is located in Seattle or near Seattle. In the comics, Green Arrow moved to Seattle, so I would say Star City is very near Seattle, probably in the same state. However, in the comics the writers would change the location of the cities depending on the comics, but generally Star City is the equivalent to Seattle or very close.
Here it is a map of the DC Universe.

  • 2
    That map 1) does not appear to be canonical, 2) is about the comics verse, while the question is about the TV verse, which may place its cities differently, and 3) puts Star City in northern California, nowhere near Seattle.
    – Micah
    Commented Dec 28, 2014 at 7:15

In the episode "Burned", the temperature of the first fire was "no higher than 250 degrees". That has to be Celsius, so clearly they're in Canada, not the US.

  • Can you find a proper script or clip? Because the two transcripts I've found mention 500 degrees and 250, but do not mention celsius OR fahrenheit.
    – phantom42
    Commented Apr 11, 2016 at 16:04
  • Fires can burn far higher than 500 degrees fahrenheit, so that's not a solid cause to assume it's celsius.
    – phantom42
    Commented Apr 11, 2016 at 18:05

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