Where do you even start with New York City? There is so much to do that you really need to live there to experience even a fraction of it. But if you're only passing through, one thing you might enjoy focusing on is visiting the famous landmarks you see in your favourite TV shows and movies. Outside of Hollywood, a great deal of shooting happens in The Big Apple. You can experience surreal out-of-body moments by going there and putting yourself in the scene. Don't forget to take a thousand selfies!
New York sitcom, rom-com and movie landmarks
Everybody has their favourite sitcom or chick flick and there are always places we'd love to go if we had the opportunity. So, if you plan to visit New York City, you absolutely must look up your favourite show or movie and see if there's a tour that goes there.
1. Grab some apple pie at Tom's Restaurant from Seinfeld
The exterior of Tom's Restaurant is infinitely familiar to Seinfeld fans because it's where many of the characters' scenes were set, though the word 'Tom's' was not visible in the name. On the show, it was called 'Monk's Café'. You can visit it at the corner of Broadway and W 112th Street. Today, it still looks the same on the outside as it did in the TV show but some minor remodelling has been done inside. Tom's is also famous for appearing in a 1978 episode of The Bionic Woman and was mentioned in Suzanne Vega's 1980s song Tom's Diner.
2. Sit where 'that' Sally sat in Katz's Delicatessen
In the history of rom-coms, one of the more provocative scenes – even if you haven't seen the movie – has been the one in When Harry Met Sally, starring Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal. The iconic line: "I'll have what she's having" came from that movie and the scene was shot in Katz's Delicatessen at 205 East Houston Street on the Lower East Side. There's even a sign indicating the table at Ryan and Crystal sat for the shoot. Also known for its world-famous, "undisputed King of New York" pastrami on rye sandwich, Katz's is a no-frills, cash-only, everybody-welcome eatery.
3. Meet your mother at McGee's NYC Restaurant & Pub
Ted, Barney and the gang from How I Met Your Mother sat in the booths at Irish pub McGee's for 9 seasons of the show, only it was known as McLaren's Pub in the hit TV series. Tourists can drop by and grab a beer any time at 240 West 55th Street. On Mondays, you can even order from a special How I Met Your Mother menu that features "Woo" wings, the "Bro Code" combo, the "Suit Up" sandwich, the "Be Awesome Instead" mac and cheese or the "Ted Mosby is a Jerk" chicken wrap!
4. Experience 1960s glamour and cocktails on the Mad Men tour
For those who can't get enough of the cool and classy Mad Men vibe, you can actually do a Mad Men Cocktails Experience tour that takes you to three different bars featured on the show. There, you'll indulge in 1960s-style cocktails. Participants are encouraged to dress in their finest 60's suit or dress to feel completely 'in character' as you sip a Tom Collins or a Manhattan. The tour operators promise that by the end of the evening, you'll have picked up some knowledge about the ad industry of the era and you'll take home a package of vintage photos of yourself and your date.
5. Say "cheese" on a Brooklyn pizza tour
Enjoy a slice or two as you take a tour of Brooklyn's most popular landmarks and pop culture sites. You'll visit Coney Island and the Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg and Verrazano-Narrows Bridges as well as the Brooklyn Army Terminal from where Elvis Presley departed for Germany in 1958. Movie buffs will adore dropping by movie locations from Saturday Night Fever, Goodfellas and The French Connection, among others.
6. Slip on your Manolos for a Cosmo at Onieals Bar
Famous as the backdrop of the hip NYC bar 'Scout' in Sex and the City, Onieals has poured countless Cosmopolitans since the TV series made them a covetable commodity among fabulous thirty-something single ladies. Located in Soho, the bar has a chequered history, dating back more than one hundred years. The building has been a speakeasy, a brothel and a gambling parlour and features a tunnel that was exploited during the Prohibition era, to deliver alcohol through the black market. You can take a self-guided walking tour of the Sex and the City sights and check out all the lush haunts of Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte.
7. Spend an evening with Jimmy Fallon at the Rockefeller Centre
30 Rockefeller Plaza is where you'll need to go for audience tickets for The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. For more than 42 years, the show had not been filmed in NYC, but since February 2014, it has been "back home", as New Yorkers are fond of saying. Here's how to request tickets – which are free – but you must plan ahead as they are in huge demand. This location is also the setting for popular sitcom 30 Rock, starring Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Jack McBrayer and Tracy Morgan however the series is mostly filmed in a studio in Long Island. As the plaza houses NBC Studios, it was also the location for Late Night with David Letterman and Late Night with Conan O'Brien and is currently where they shoot Saturday Night Live, Today and Dateline NBC.
Visiting New York City is a trip of a lifetime. Make sure you prepare yourself in advance. You can either do your own free, self-guided walking tours or you can book yourself on to tours that take you on fun, exciting journeys through some of the city's best known and beloved pop culture landmarks. Take your pick of guided tours that will put you where filming has taken place for The Sopranos, Gossip Girl, The Real Housewives of New York City, Glee and more.
You can even pretty much count on some high level celebrity spotting in New York. So pack an extra SD card for your photos because you are going to be a short-term paparazzo. Happy snapping!