I'm going to Sudbury this week for the Ontario Youth Summer Games. My oldest son is competing and I am taking the opportunity to do some research. One of my novels has a section that takes place in Sudbury and, so far, I've been stuck researching vicariously via the internet and maps. Now I get the opportunity to go there and see it for myself.
There is something to be said for accuracy. When you create your own little town, like I have for my series, you can build and remove whatever you want. When you use a real city or town, like Sudbury, you have to remain true to what is there. Of course, if you want to use your creative license to build an imaginary building on an empty lot that's your own perogative.
Creating a whole new world for your characters isn't always easy. I've had to map it out since more than one book takes place there. And I still make mistakes! For towns in the real world, Google Earth and Google Maps can be your best friends. (Aside from going there in person.)
Have fun playing and building new worlds as well as new characters. Look what it did for J.K. Rowling.