Early scenes in the novel take place in and around an unnamed village, later established in An Acceptable Time as being in Connecticut. The nearly 200-year-old Murry farmhouse has parallels in the Austin family series of books and in L'Engle's own Connecticut home, Crosswicks.
When Meg, Calvin and Charles Wallace travel to other planets, the ones whose names are given include the following:
- Camazotz – A planet of extreme, enforced conformity, ruled by a disembodied brain called IT. Camazotz is similar to Earth, with familiar trees such as birches, pines, and maples, an ordinary hill on which the children arrive, and a town with smokestacks, which "might have been one of any number of familiar towns". The horror of the place arises from its ordinary appearance, endlessly duplicated. Thus, the houses are "all exactly alike, small square boxes painted gray"; this characterization has been compared with "the burgeoning American suburbia" such as the post-war housing developments of Levittown, Pennsylvania. The people who live in the houses are similarly described, with "mother figures" who "all gave the appearance of being the same". Camazotz has also been compared with "an early sixties American image of life in a Communist state", a characterization partially dismissed as too glib. The name Camazotz refers to a Mayan bat god, one of L'Engle's many mythological allusions in her nomenclature. It is also stated that Camazotz is a planet that has "given in" to the Black Thing, implying that it was not always the dystopian place that it is at present.
- Ixchel – A planet of muted colors, inhabited by tall, sightless creatures with tentacles. It orbits the same sun as Camazotz. The name Ixchel refers to a Mayan jaguar goddess of medicine.
- Uriel – A planet with extremely tall mountains, an allusion to the Archangel Uriel. It is inhabited by creatures that resemble winged centaurs. It is "the third planet of the Star Malak (meaning 'angel' in Hebrew) in the spiral nebula Messier 101", which would place it at roughly 25 million light-years from Earth. The site of Mrs Whatsit's temporary transformation into one of these winged creatures, it is the place where "the guardian angels" (i.e. the Mrs W's, who are explicitly referred to as such by Calvin later in the book) "show the questers a vision of the universe that is obscured on earth."
They also stop briefly on an unnamed two-dimensional planet and on an unnamed planet in Orion's belt, the latter of which is the home of the Happy Medium.