New York City is one of the world’s most shot locations for film and TV. This is in part what has made the City the most visited place in the United States and even the world. People love hunting out and getting photos and Selfies in their favorite film and TV locations. Despite many major Tourist attractions, this is still probably one of New York’s biggest Draws. Our Guide to New York Filming Locations aims to get you to all the best spots in town so you can relive your favorite moments from the big and little screen!
Should I Take a Tour?
Not necessarily. There are plenty of tours available and some of them are pretty good. But they cater to a large group of interests and may show you or take you to places you care very little about, along with some you probably will. The point is they are in control and will only show you what is most popular and convenient.
By doing your own research and doing your own tour you get to hit the spot you really want. Yours are best suited to people who don’t do their own research. But as you have found this we can assume you probably are not that type of person! You can also tie your Movie spots in with other things rather than spending a preset amount of time traipsing around. If you find yourself near a spot just head on over. The Below map should help with this.
Below is our Map listing all our locations so you can plan tours to certain parts of the City to try and track down multiple locations at once.
Specific Films and TV Shows
Before we have a look at some of the more well-used Locations Some Films and Shows are iconic enough to Warrant their own Section. So Here are the Links to our Feature Pages to find the best Filming Locations for your favorites
We have Curated individual maps for each page too to make the locations easier to find.
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
Possibly everyone’s Favourite Christmas film and one of the most famous New York films to date. The film was shot mainly on location (When Appropriate) and is one of most people’s favorites for hunting down Movie Locations. Read the Full Article here.
Sex and The City
The Ultra popular TV series set in New York has actually surprisingly few locations to hunt down. The Key ones are Carrie’s apartment and the Magnolia Bakery (The real one, not, the multiple Franchise stores now available) and most of the other locations are just standard New York Highlights.
Easily the Best Christmas Film of the 21st Century (Remember Home Alone is nearing 30 years old…cry) This tale of the quirky Elf-Man who heads to New York to find his dad is indeed largely shot in New York City. While some scenes were shot in the North Pole (OK, Hollywood sound Stages) A lot of the outdoor scenes were really shot in New York and can be found on Our Elf Movie Spots page …under construction
This 80’s Classic was many of our childhood favorites and was shot in a gritty and old-school New York. But many of the locations are New York Classics and are still there today. Along with the ICONIC Hook and Ladder Fire House that is still there today.
We are also throwing together a page for the Ghostbusters Reboot, which was again shot partly in New York City.
Dark Night Trilogy
Set in Gotham City, The Dark Knight trilogy never pretends to be in New York. But with all the high-rise “Gothic” Architecture a film set of CGI was never going to cut it so many scenes we shot in New York City along with a good chunk in Chicago. These scenes were “smushed” together to provide a seamless Gotham City that never existed.
Unfortunately, this is a disappointing section, almost all of the program was filmed in Los Angeles, so there are very few actual locations in New York, find out what you can see here.
Miracle on 34th Street
Surprisingly little of the iconic Christmas film was shot in the City. Most of the film was either shot in Chicago or Hollywood with just a few select scenes shot in the City. And most of the Iconic scenes we just mashed into stock footage to “feel” New
Friends With Benefits
Featuring Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake this lighthearted comedy is a bit of a rom-com Spoof. And it’s this Lampooning that get’s it a page. While we like the film, it’s not a masterpiece of cinema or a box office SMASH. But it does make a point of featuring real New York landmarks and locations, and mocks other films for faking this! Filmed on Location this film does a great job of showing New York City in all its Glory.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Now you can have Breakfast at Tiffany’s…and it happens to be really good too!
Some locations are insanely Iconic and as such make an appearance in many films, others are from huge films but don’t really warrant a whole page for themselves.
The World’s most filmed location. There are over 230, and counting Films that have featured Central Park in one way or another. Here is a list of our favorites but this is most definitely not exhaustive! Filming here has gone way back to the conception of both film and the Park!
- Home Alone 2 – Lost in New York
- John Wick 1 & 2
- Marvel Avengers Universe
- Ghost Busters 1 & 2 & Remake
- Bride Wars
- 27 Dresses
- Sex in the City
- Men in Black 1,2 &3
- I am Legend
- Spiderman 3
- The Dictator
- Maid in Manhattan
- Friends With Benefits
- The Royal Tenenbaums
- Vanilla Sky
- Almost Famous
- Little Nicky
- Big Daddy
- Cruel Intentions
- The Prince of Central Park
- Stuart Little
- Die Hard with a Vengeance
- When Harry Met Sally
- Crocodile Dundee II
- Brewster’s Millions
- Desperately Seeking Susan
Hopefully, you are getting the point. This is a Snippet. We are sure to be missing many great films but simply listing over 230 Films is pretty pointless. Instead, we will look at some of the iconic locations within the park and hopefully tie them up to YOUR favorite film or TV Show.
Bethesda Terrace and Fountain
This has been in a lot of films. Of the 230 films shot in Central Park, most of them feature the Fountain and the Terrace in some way. It is after all the focal point of the park and it’s not quite Central Park unless you look out over the fountain and lake from Bethesda Terrace. Likewise, most people head here anyway as it is a beautiful and iconic location you should really check out.
Films: Home Alone 2, John Wick, John Wick 2, Elf, Friends With Benefits,
The Mall is the leafy walkway that leads up to the Bethesda Terrace and is nearly as well filmed as the fountain and terrace. Most shots of relaxing walks through the park are shot here and this is the quintessential image of the park that most filmmakers love. The benches that line the Mall are also the perfect place for a quiet conversation and the general hustle and bustle of the place helps convey the popular nature of the park.
Films: Home Alone 2, John Wick 2, Friends With Benefits,
The Lake, sometimes called central park lake is another central location and is often featured in films that head to the park. a Beautiful scenic lake featuring rowing boats and scenic pathways it’s a major draw for filmmakers. The Bow Bridge is also a big draw to the lake and is one of the most photographed bridges in the world. And rightly so. It is an architectural masterpiece and this is an obvious draw for filmmakers.
Films: Spiderman 3,
Found in the northern end of the park the path surrounding the reservoir is the perfect running/jogging track and as such is featured in many films that feature a running/jogging scene. They do know what they are doing these filmmakers!
Times Square is the most visited location in New York, and in fact the world, so it is little surprise most films and TV shows that film in the big apple at least
There are very few Iconic scenes in the square and it’s not really somewhere we suggest you head to
Films: Home Alone 2, John Wick 2, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Friends With Benefits, the Dictator, New Year’s Eve, and an awful lot more.
Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met)
The Met is a genuinely world-famous Museum and can be a big draw for filmmakers. Whenever a museum is required the go-to place is the Met especially with its dramatic exterior and its iconic temple of Dendur.
Films: Oceans 8, John Wick 2, I am Legend, When Harry met Sally, Hitch, Maid in Manhattan.
And while we are on Museums “Night in the Museum” was shot in the iconic American Museum of Natural History.
Statue of Liberty and Battery Park
While just about every film set in New York featuring the statue of liberty in some way it should be right up there. However, the reality is very few films are really filmed there. Most just use Stock Footage to show they are in New York…even when they are not! The Statue is also a big Draw for filmmakers to destroy…obviously with CGI!
Films: Day After tomorrow, Home Alone 2, Escape from New York, Ghostbusters 2, Titanic, Deep Impact, Cloverfield,
Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, Williamsburg Bridge, and Queensboro Bridge.
The 4 Big Bridges that link Manhattan to Long Island are all Iconic Landmarks and Architectural Gems in their own right and feature in many iconic New York films. Often uses in arrival scenes, like Home Alone 2 and also, like the Statue, the bridges are a favorite thing to demolish, like in The Amazing Spiderman or the Dark Night Rises.
Films: the Amazing Spider-man, Home Alone 2, Elf, Dark Knight Rises.
Grand Central Terminal
Another of New York’s Iconic landmarks and a major draw for filmmakers. New York Penn is manhattans busiest Station and in fact the busiest in America and should be the go-to location for featuring a station in a film. The exceptionally utilitarian design of Penn means they head to Grand Central instead. Leaving Penn to actually transport people around the City. We have actually only ever been to Grand Central twice with the actual intention of going somewhere!
That said, it is still a busy station and it attracts far more visitors than genuine users making it one of the world’s most visited locations. It’s easy to see why both tourists and filmmakers prefer Grand Central as its Design and architecture, including the ceiling are really breathtaking, and Penn is, to be frank, a S*** hole.
The Epic Battle Scene at the end of Marvel’s The Avengers takes place largely outside Grand Central Station. And there are important scenes from both Friends With Benefits and I Am Legend shot inside and out the Station.
Films: Carlito’s Way, Armageddon, Men in Black II, I Am Legend, Friends with Benefits, The Avengers
Macy’s Herald Square
The Worlds biggest department store is a much loved New York institution. And surprisingly features in very few films. This is mainly down to the Stores reluctance to participate in the film industry. We are not sure why as it’s fantastic publicity. Even so, some films still insist on featuring it against their will.
Elf, the insanely popular feel-good Christmas movie is set in Gimbals a Fictional Department store that is in fact Macy’s. The Original Miricle on 34th Street was shot at Macy’s in 1947. However when the film was Remade the Department store refused to be featured and hence became the fictitious Coles.
Films: Elf, Miracle on 34th Street,
New York Public Library
Another Icon of New York City the Public Library should be right at the top of your must-visit places and not least because it’s free! This makes it a prime filming location as well, Featuring in many big films. It also is another “must break” location.
Films: Day After Tomorrow, Ghostbusters, Sex and the City Movie, Oblivion, I am Legend.
Empire State Building
One of New York’s most recognizable buildings is actually not featured in too many films really. Sure it can be spotted in plenty but it’s not featured in huge numbers of films, maybe it was considered “too obvious?” It still has a starring role in many films, however. We all remember the epic explosion scene from Independence day and large parts of Elf are centered around the building. Of course, we can’t forget the legendary King Kong Scene either where the giant gorilla scaled the building with his “bow” in hand!
Films: Elf, Independence day, King Kong, Oblivion, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, Sleepless in Seattle.
The Rockefeller center’s world-famous Christmas tree and Ice Rink make the Rockefeller center a MUST-go location for any New York Christmas Film. Elf, Home Alone 2, How to be Single all head here at Christmas time. Even Miricle on 34th Street which is largely not shot in New York Still makes the effort to film at the REAL Rockefeller Center.
Films: Elf, Miracle on 34th Street, Home Alone 2, Sleepless in Seattle, Spider-man, The Adjustment Bureau, How to Be Single
St Patrick’s Cathedral.
The Cathedral largely only features as a backdrop in most of its film appearances. It does feature more prominently in Gremlins 2 where a cement-covered gremlin becomes a permanent Gargoyle on the Cathedral! Other than that it’s largely just spotted in the background.
Films: Gremlins 2: The New Batch,
Have Your Say?
We have covered all our favorite New York locations and tried to pack as many as we could in but we are happy to use our huge New York Filming location to hunt down anywhere from any film or TV Show you really want to know about? Have a favorite film you think we should write a featured article about? Or just a location you can’t quite track down (we know all about that as this is what inspired this article!) Just drop us a comment and we will add it to our page and our Maps!