Neptune is an fictional unincorporated town in southern California that is host to numerous prestigious families and corporations featured in Veronica Mars. It comprises a small coastal community within Balboa County (also fictional), north of San Diego. The rich live in the 90909 zip code (09ers), while the majority of the remaining citizens are quite poor by comparison. The income disparity is responsible for a high degree of class resentment within the community, as well as the majority of conflicts that occur at Neptune High.
For such a small town, a lot of high-profile murders seem to happen in Neptune. Throughout the run of the show, the town is constantly gripped by scandal, as the community gradually learns more and more about the murders of Lilly Kane, Felix Toombs, Aaron Echolls, Cyrus O'Dell and his wife Mindy, and eight students who die in a tragic bus crash along with their driver.
As an unincorporated community, Neptune falls under the jurisdiction of the sheriff of Balboa County (Don Lamb for most of the series). Keith was once sheriff, but was hounded out of office for blaming Jake Kane for Lilly's murder, deeming Keith a pariah within the community and Veronica an outcast at school.
Neptune is informally governed by a "mayor" (an honorary title traditionally reserved for the holder of the local seat on the county Board of Supervisors). In the second season, baseball team owner Woody Goodman is elected to the post and embarks on a doomed campaign to incorporate the more affluent neighborhoods of Neptune into a separate city.
Estimates of the town's population are not high; even so, Neptune still manages to have its own baseball team and stadium, prestigious colleges such as Hearst, major corporations such as Kane Software and Casablancas Enterprises, and five-star hotels like the Neptune Grand.