7 Iconic TV Destinations to See in NYC

Relive Your Favorite TV Moments from Friends, Seinfeld, Sex and the City & More

Even if you’ve never been to New York City, chances are one of your favorite television shows has already transported you there, given that many of TV's most beloved programs are set right in the heart of the Big Apple. You’ll surely recognize many of the major landmarks and locations that serve as establishing shots for your fave shows, but zoom in further still and you can find yourself hot on the trail of iconic characters like Jerry Seinfeld, Carrie Bradshaw, or Rachel Green, at their on-screen apartments, workplaces, and hangouts. Here are the top seven TV filming locations to visit in New York City, so you can relive your favorite moments from the small screen, right on the scene.

  • 01 of 07
    Monk’s Café, Seinfeld, Iconic TV Destinations in NYC
    ••• Photo credit: Neville Elder / Corbis via Getty Images

    Many hilarious Seinfeld moments about nothing, on this classic “show about nothing,” took place during the inane in-booth bantering between Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer in the fictional Monk’s Café coffee shop. You’ll find the exterior of the depicted eatery, with its distinct neon signage, at Tom’s Restaurant, an old-school diner set on the corner of West 112th Street and Broadway, close to Columbia University. Just don’t expect the TV magic to continue on the inside: There’s no real-life “Larry the Cook,” of course, and the scenes for the interior shots were actually conducted on a California soundstage. (Fun fact: The diner also inspired one of singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega’s most popular songs, "Tom’s Diner.") 2880 Broadway at W. 112th St., Morningside Heights, Manhattan

  • 02 of 07

    Carrie Bradshaw’s Apartment, Sex and the City

    New York City was pretty much the fifth major character in this classic HBO romantic comedy/drama about four wild girlfriends and their shared shenanigans in the big city. While we’re led to believe that leading lady Carrie Bradshaw hung up her hat — and stilettos, tutus, etc. — at a snug apartment on the Upper East Side, in reality, the exterior scenes depicting her place were shot out front of a West Village gem of a brownstone on Perry Street. Bonus: Find the Magnolia Bakery nearby (at 401 Bleecker Street), where Miranda and Carrie shared cupcakes and conversation in one notable Sex and the City scene. 66 Perry St., btwn Bleecker & W. 4th sts., West Village, Manhattan

  • 03 of 07

    Monica, Rachel, Chandler, and Joey’s Apartment Building, Friends

    Friends Apartment Building, Iconic TV Destinations in NYC
    ••• Photo credit: Mark Mainz / Getty Images

    While the coffee shop hangout, Central Perk, from Friends is sadly nonexistent in the real world, the apartment building where four of the six “friends” from the show lived totally is. You’ll have to suspend your disbelief that Rachel’s waitressing gig or Joey’s struggling acting career could have ever actually paid the rent at this posh West Village address, but it’s still good fun to take a gander at the facade of the building at the intersection of Bedford and Grove Streets. While it served as Friends on-screen home base for so many seasons, sadly, the cast of the sitcom were never actually on-site. Instead, all shots within the make-believe apartments for Rachel and Monica — and Joey and Chandler just across the hall — were done on a soundstage before a live studio audience in LA. 90 Bedford St. at Grove St., West Village, Manhattan

  • 04 of 07

    Lotte New York Palace, Gossip Girl

    The posh residence for privileged teen Gossip Girl leads Serena van der Woodsen and Chuck Bass is actually a high-end hotel on Madison Avenue in Midtown. You’ll recognize the Lotte New York Palace’s (previously the New York Palace) courtyard exterior, which was featured as regular location to reveal drama and scheming throughout the guilty-pleasure teen-drama series. The fine-dining ground-floor eatery Villard (formerly Gilt) set the stage for several scenes, too, including one in which Serena enjoys an indulgent truffled grilled-cheese sandwich. 455 Madison Ave., btwn E. 50th & E. 51st sts., Midtown, Manhattan

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  • 05 of 07

    Café Grumpy, Girls

    Café Grumpy, Iconic TV Destinations in NYC
    ••• Photo credit: Café Grumpy

    What Central Perk was to Friends, and Monks Café to Seinfeld, Café Grumpy brought to HBO coming-of-age comedy-drama series Girls. The difference is that both exterior and interior shots of the café were filmed on location at this neighborhood coffee shop in Greenpoint, Brooklyn (the area where Hannah lives on the show), which makes regular appearances throughout the series as the workplace for both Ray and Hannah. Just keep in mind that while Café Grumpy has since gone on to sprout branches across New York City, it’s the Greenpoint original — set not too far from where Girls was filmed at Silvercup Studios in neighboring Long Island City, Queens — where the TV magic unfolded. 193 Meserole Ave., Greenpoint, Brooklyn

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    You’ll recognize scenes from Tina Fey’s satirical sitcom 30 Rock at the show’s eponymous 30 Rockefeller Plaza in Midtown, a towering Art Deco skyscraper that’s home to NBC’s real-life NYC studios. Tina’s character Liz Lemon and her band of misfit colleagues are portrayed to work on a Saturday Night Live (SNL)-style sketch comedy show dubbed TGS with Tracy Jordan. Naturally, show creator Fey pulled on her SNL alumnus status for inspiration, an easy crossover, given that both SNL and 30 Rock are actually filmed at least partially on location at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Accordingly, plenty of surrounding Rockefeller Center — a complex of 19 buildings and Rockefeller Plaza (of Christmas tree and ice-skating rink fame) — establishing shots and outdoor scenes are shown throughout the series. Just keep in mind that most of the indoor footage was filmed at Silvercup Studios in Queens. 30 Rockefeller Center, btwn W. 49th & W. 50th sts, and 5th & 6th aves., Midtown, Manhattan

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    McGee's Pub, Iconic TV Destinations in NYC
    ••• Photo credit: McGee's Pub

    Much of How I Met Your Mother’s plot was revealed via cast banter at the fictional MacLaren’s Pub, a favorite hangout for the sitcom’s quintet of characters. Said to be situated just below the apartment where several cast members are depicted to reside over the course of the show, fans may be disappointed to learn that the pub portrayed on the show was little more than a soundstage creation. Happily, it was entirely inspired by the real-life McGee’s Pub, an Irish bar and eatery located in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. McGee’s, a one-time haunt for show co-creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, back when they were writers on The Late Show, the pretend TV pub was so-named for Bays’ production assistant, Carl MacLaren. Pop in to McGee's to soak up the replicated atmosphere, and ask to order from the specially themed How I Met Your Mother menu with options like the TedMosbyIsAJerk.com wrap and “woo” wings. 240 W. 55th St., btwn Broadway & 8th Ave., Hell's Kitchen,...MORE Manhattan