I Grew Up In The Real Riverdale And Here's How It Compares To The Show “Riverdale”

Story time: I was a pre-teen Archie Comics superfan.


I am now a 29-year-old Archie Comics fan (that’s me and my friend Kristin as Betty and Veronica), but these days I’m watching Riverdale instead of reading double digests. But, back in the day, my Archie Andrews fan art made it into one of the comics (I wish I had a picture for evidence!) and I ran a club called the Eichra Scimoc club (yes, that’s Archie Comics backwards, IDK why).

I also happened to grow up in a town called Riverdale in The Bronx, New York. In a classic “chicken and egg” situation, I’m not sure which came first: My family’s move to Riverdale or my obsession with Archie Comics, which — if somehow you missed it — takes place in a town called Riverdale.

Archie Comics

Here are a few points I’d like to make up front:

1. Riverdale from the comics (and TV show) is not necessarily the same neighborhood as Riverdale in the Bronx. In one of the comics, the editors said this about Riverdale’s location: “Riverdale is more of a state of mind than an actual physical location. It could be anywhere that kind people live and just have fun, like Archie and his friends. It could be in the Midwest, or along the Eastern Seaboard, or even a town in Canada, Mexico, or England.”

2. However, on the show in Season One, there’s a reference to Rockland County, which is a real county not too far from New York City.

3. Archie Comics IS based out of Mamaroneck, NY (in Westchester, which is approximately a 30-minute drive from my Riverdale) so it is fair to say that the NAME of Riverdale comes from the Riverdale I grew up in.

Okay, without further ado, here’s how the two Riverdales stack up:

Metro North, CW


They are both definitively small towns.

Samdiesel / Getty Images, CW

According to the 2010 census, the population of Real Riverdale is 48,049. It is honestly impossible to know how big Fake Riverdale is on a given day, but this Vulture article does the lord’s work in trying.


Real Riverdale is broken into North Riverdale and South Riverdale, which is reminiscent of the North and South sides of Riverdale on the show.

New York Times, CW

However, there is no real difference other than one being North and the other being South. No gang wars or elaborate backstories. It’s rather boring, tbh. Bring me FP Jones!!!!


There is a central river in both Fictional Riverdale and Real Riverdale. On the show, it’s Sweetwater River and in Real Riverdale it’s the Hudson River.

Barry Winiker / Getty Images, CW

As far as I know, no fathers who shot their sons and then had the body stashed in the Hudson River, but I could honestly be wrong. Who knows?!


So you know how Cheryl Blossom’s home is called Thornhill? I’m not saying this was intentional, but we DO have a beautiful and vast estate called Wave Hill with public gardens.

Wave Hill, CW

They both have greenhouses, but I think only one of them has a maple syrup drug front.


In Real Riverdale, there is a diner called Riverdale Diner (and a few other diner options as well) but Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe is merely a beautiful 1950’s wet dream.

Riverdale Diner, CW

I don’t THINK there are any teens running speakeasies that are attached to it, but maybe that’s because I’m not a cool teen.


Real Riverdale doesn’t have a movie theater (seriously, small town!) so I would have honestly killed for something like the Bijou.

Riverdale Cinema, CW

Fun fact: There WAS a movie theater in Real Riverdale called Riverdale Twin Cinema that closed in 1997, and the sign was up for at least a full decade after that.


While the “big” newspaper on the show is the Riverdale Register, our local paper is called the Riverdale Press.

CW, Riverdale Press

Don’t take my word on this, but I am pretty sure the editor of the Riverdale Press doesn’t double as a black-hooded serial killer by night…


And, finally, here’s a quick list of things I’m pretty sure Real Riverdale doesn’t have: Jingle Jangle, Gryphons & Gargoyles, Gargoyle King, EXTREMELY HOT teenagers, EXTREMELY HOT teenagers who are actually 20-somethings, murderous parents, a mobster named Papa Poutine, his son named Small Fry, prison fight clubs, the Red Circle, a farm that’s really a cult, Sisters of Quiet Mercy, and Miss Grundy.

TL;DR: Fake Riverdale is fun to watch, but Real Riverdale is 100x more chill.