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Ten Famous Filming Locations in New York City

Ten Famous Filming Locations in New York City

While its main home is in California, Hollywood magic can be created anywhere in the country. Even though most locations could just be built on a soundstage, there’s nothing like seeing these famous places up close to be a part of the action.

Many classic films and TV shows take place in New York City, and the Big Apple offers plenty of famous landmarks that deserve to be showcased on the big screen. See if you can recognize any of these ten places from your favorite movie or TV show.

New York City Filming Locations

Hook & Ladder Company 8 Firehouse

If you’re in the Tribeca area, you might spot a familiar firehouse along Moore Street. It belongs to Hook & Ladder Company 8, a division of the New York City Fire Department that’s been in service since 1903 (aka the “Ghostbusters Headquarters”). Movie buffs are more likely to see this firehouse on TV around Halloween since their residents are the ones you should call for ghosts.

It keeps its legacy well-known to the public, as you’ll find signs and chalk etchings of the famous Ghostbusters logo outside of it. Since it is a working firehouse, you won’t be able to go inside. However, you’re always welcome to take a selfie and let yourself feel like you’re a part of the movie.

American Museum of Natural History

A famous landmark in New York City is the American Museum of Natural History. Located on the Upper West Side, this institution holds exhibits of lifelike animal and cultural displays that teach visitors about how the world has changed over time. The museum has become more popular in recent years thanks to the “Night at the Museum” franchise, a movie series that shows what it would be like if the museum exhibits came to life.

However, most of the series wasn’t filmed at the actual museum despite popular belief. That hasn’t stopped Hollywood from making a visit, though. You can still see museum exhibits that have been featured on the big screen such as the giant sperm whale from the ending of “The Squid and the Whale” and the African mammal exhibit that was featured in scenes from “Malcolm X.”

T-Rex at the American Museum of Natural History New York |
T-Rex at the American Museum of Natural History (©AMNC/C. Chesek)

The Plaza Hotel

New York City is home to many hotels that deliver in style and luxury. One of the most popular is The Plaza, A Fairmont Managed Hotel (aka The Plaza), a hotel you can see from Central Park South. Its location on Fifth Avenue makes it prime for being the home of city elegance where only the best come to stay. You’ll most likely see this hotel on the big screen around Christmas time, as there’s one movie it’s best known for.

The Plaza is where Kevin McCallister stayed during his visit to the Big Apple in “Home Alone 2,” and most of its decor in the movie has remained the same. When you step inside its shining lobby and bedrooms fit for royalty, you’ll feel like a kid on Christmas Day too. The Plaza is also the home of the little girl Eloise from the “Eloise” series, and you’ll often find themed events, shops and rooms honoring the character during your stay.

The Plaza, A Fairmont Managed Hotel Exterior at Night New York |
Hotel Exterior at Night (Courtesy The Plaza, A Fairmont Managed Hotel)

Katz’s Delicatessen

If you’re looking for a quick bite to eat of a delicious sandwich, head down to Katz’s Delicatessen on the Lower East Side. This deli offers every type of meat you can think of, and they all come together in delicious combinations. It’s become a staple of New York City since its opening in 1888, but movie buffs know there’s more to this story than sandwiches. Romcom fans are familiar with Katz’s Deli by its most famous appearance in “When Harry Met Sally.”

The table Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan’s characters sat at still stands there today, as you’ll find a sign hanging over it telling you to “have what she’s having.” You may also recognize it from films like “Donnie Brasco” and “Enchanted,” but this 1989 film is its most popular customer.

Katz’s Delicatessen New York |
Katz’s Delicatessen (©Harry Knight)

Empire State Building

One of the most iconic New York City landmarks is the Empire State Building in Midtown South. Built in 1931, this building shines in the city every night thanks to the colored lights that often glow from the top for every occasion you can think of. It’s home to many different attractions for visitors to enjoy such as exhibits, restaurants and an observation deck to get a bird’s eye view of the city.

Due to its popularity, Hollywood has used it time and again for some of its most famous movies. The Empire State Building was a major part of “King Kong” since it includes the popular shot of the famous gorilla climbing to the top.

If you visit the building, you might also recognize it as where Buddy the Elf met his dad in the Christmas classic “Elf.” No matter where you’ve seen it, you’re bound to recognize this city icon from the big screen.

Empire State Building New York |
Empire State Building (©Kit Suman)

7B Horseshoe Bar

One of the lesser-known Hollywood hotspots in the city is 7B Horseshoe Bar in the East Village. This bar welcomes visitors with its brick exterior and bright red awning and front door. Inside, you’ll find an old-school vibe that’s sure to make you feel at home in its plush booths and intimate bar area. Thanks to this winning combination, Hollywood has called it home time and again for a variety of movies and TV shows.

The most popular film to take place there is “The Godfather Part II,” as it’s where Tony tells Frank, “Michael Corleone says hello.” Theatre fans will recognize it as where the cast of “Rent” sang the classic song “La Vie Boheme,” and it was also the bar that superhero Luke Cage owned on the Marvel series “Jessica Jones.” Whether you’re looking for a good drink or a piece of Hollywood, 7B Horseshoe Bar is the place to be.

Central Park

When you think of New York City, most people will think of Central Park. This is due to the many gardens, statues and bridges that call it home. These beautiful grounds are able to be visited all year long and host something that everyone can enjoy in every corner. It’s become a prime spot for Hollywood to visit as well, as almost every movie and TV show set in the Big Apple has filmed a scene there.

Disney fans can recognize Bethesda Fountain as the spot where Amy Adams led a musical number in “Enchanted.” Musical fans will know it as the primary setting for “Hair,” where Claude and his friends ran around and sang about the age of Aquarius. Tavern on the Green, a restaurant located inside Central Park, has also been featured in films over the years such as “Wall Street” and “Beaches.”

Bethesda Fountain at Central Park New York |
Bethesda Fountain at Central Park (©Christopher Postlewaite/NYC & Company)

Tom’s Restaurant

If you’re looking for a classic diner that you can go to with your friends, visit Tom’s Restaurant in Morningside Heights. This restaurant is a popular hotspot for Columbia University students since it’s located next to the campus. It’s the perfect place to visit when you need a quick bite of eggs, Greek salad or a cup of coffee. Once you step inside, you’ll know what TV show is tied to its history.

Tom’s Restaurant is the place where Jerry and his friends often met with one another on the classic comedy series “Seinfeld.” Its legacy with the show still stands today, as you’ll step inside to find pictures of the cast hanging on the walls. If you want to be a part of comedy history and have a great meal too, Tom’s Restaurant is the place to be.

Times Square

One of the most popular filming spots in New York City is Times Square. It’s the perfect place to shine onscreen thanks to its constantly flashing billboards and open space. The landmark has been featured in a number of movies and TV shows over the years. It is often depicted as a place for characters to look around when they visit the Big Apple for the first time.

Marvel fans will recognize it as being the sight of several action scenes in films such as “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” and “Captain America: The First Avenger.” Stars like Michael Keaton and Tom Cruise have walked through it when filming scenes for movies like “Birdman” and “Vanilla Sky.”

Times Square New York |
Times Square (©Michael Heise)