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10 Film Locations in Midtown Manhattan

10 films locations in Midtown NYC

Do you enjoy spotting where some of your favorite films or tv shows have had scenes shot when you visit a city? A ton of films have been shot in Midtown Manhattan over the years. This continues with many productions closing down streets and parks every year to make your next favorite flick.

In our research to develop a Tourist Scavenger Hunt in New York Midtown, we’ve come across much information, not only some which can only be gleaned when doing the actual scavenger hunt, but also some we wanted to share with you for your visit planning. Here are 10 film locations to see in New York Midtown.

10 film locations in Midtown Manhattan

Grand Central Terminal Grand Central Terminal

This is the principal Amtrak terminal for the city, as well as a central hub for the various metro lines crisscrossing the city. The current Beaux Arts building is the third railroad structure to stand on this site, now covering 48 acres. The original Grand Central Depot was built in 1871 by railroad tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt. The number of railroad companies quickly outgrew the Depot and in 1899 it was demolished and replaced with the six-story Grand Central Station.

Back then, trains were steam-powered. After a 1902 catastrophic collision, the decision was made to switch to modern electric trains. Again, the existing building was rebuilt to accommodate electric trains. Grand Central was no longer just a stop along a route, but the final stop. Hence, it became Grand Central Terminal, and officially opened in 1913.

The nicest feature of Grand Central Terminal is the ceiling of the grand hall, a colossal, breathtaking mural of the zodiac constellations.

Grand Central Terminal

To sum up, 49 films have used Grand Central Terminal as an important scene over the years.

  1. Grand Central Murder (1942)
  2. Spellbound (1945)
  3. The Thin Man Goes Home (1945)
  4. North by Northwest (1959)
  5. Seconds (1966)
  6. Sweet Charity (1969)
  7. The Out-of-Towners (1970)
  8. Necrology (1971)
  9. Superman (1978)
  10. A Stranger is Watching (1982)
  11. Falling in Love (1984)
  12. Midnight Run (1988)
  13. The House on Carroll Street (1988)
  14. The Cotton Club (1984)
  15. The Freshman (1990)
  16. A Shock to the System (1990)
  17. State of Grace (1990)
  18. The Fisher King (1991)
  19. The Prince of Tides (1991)
  20. Carlito’s Way (1993)
  21. Amateur (1994)
  22. Hackers (1995)
  23. One Fine Day (1996)
  24. Extreme Measures (1996)
  25. Men in Black (1997)
  26. Tadpole (2000)
  27. Men in Black II (2002)
  28. Unfaithful (2002)
  29. Bad Company (2002)
  30. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
  31. Taxi (2004)
  32. Kinsey (2004)
  33. Just My Luck (2006)
  34. Whirlygirl (2006)
  35. I Am Legend (2007)
  36. Reign over me (2007)
  37. Revolutionary Road (2008)
  38. Old Dogs (2009)
  39. The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009)
  40. The Code (2009)
  41. Duplicity (2009)
  42. The Switch (2010)
  43. Step up 3D (2010)
  44. Friends with Benefits (2011)
  45. Arthur (2011)
  46. Loosies (2012)
  47. The Avengers (2012)
  48. Greetings from Tim Buckley (2012)
  49. Broken City (2013)

NY Public LibraryNew York Public Library

Patience and Fortitude are the two majestic lions outside the main branch of the New York Public Library. They have been the institution’s mascots for more than a century.

It has been NY’s largest and busiest circulating library. It is mostly closed since August of 2017 for major renovations. You can still access the entrance which is worth a quick visit. It will reopen in early 2020.

Patience and Fortitude

Overall, 44 films had significant scenes shot here at New York Public Library:

  1. Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
  2. You’re a Big Boy Now (1966)
  3. Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)
  4. Network (1976)
  5. The Wiz (1978)
  6. Chapter Two (1979)
  7. Exposed (1983)
  8. Ghostbusters (1984)
  9. Prizzi’s Honor (1985)
  10. Off Beat (1986)
  11. Regarding Henry (1991)
  12. Sliver (1993)
  13. Quiz Show (1994)
  14. Zoya (TV 1995)
  15. Picture Perfect (1997)
  16. The Astronaut’s Wife (1999)
  17. The Thomas Crown Affair (1999)
  18. Finding Forrester (2000)
  19. Lost Souls (2000)
  20. The Devil and Daniel Webster (2001)
  21. Head Over Heels (2001)
  22. Becker (TV; 2002)
  23. Maid in Manhattan (2002)
  24. Spiderman (2002)
  25. The Time Machine (2002)
  26. 13 Going on 30 (2004)
  27. The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
  28. Shortcut to Happiness (2004)
  29. 13 Going on 30 (2004)
  30. CSI: NY (2005)
  31. Stay (2005)
  32. All My Children (2006)
  33. The Pink Panther (2006)
  34. Jumper (2007)
  35. Spiderman 3 (2007)
  36. Sex and the City: The Movie (2008)
  37. Uncertainty (2008)
  38. Salt (2010)
  39. The Adjustment Bureau (2011)
  40. Arthur (2011)
  41. Winter’s Tale (2013)
  42. 5 to 7 (2013)
  43. Oblivion (2013)
  44. A Walk Among the Tombstones (2014)

Also, the following television series also significant scenes shot here at New York Public Library:

  1. Law & Order (TV; ongoing)
  2. Smallville (TV; 2004)
  3. The Prince Pilot (TV; 2005)
  4. Queer Eye for the Straight Guy Weddings (TV; 2005)
  5. Traveler (TV; 2007)
  6. Kings (TV; 2008)
  7. Gossip Girl (TV; 2010)
  8. Who Do You Think You Are? (TV; 2010)
  9. NEWSROOM (TV;2012)
  10. Muhammad Ali (HBO/TV;2012)
  11. Person of Interest (TV, 2013)
  12. The Following (TV;2014)

Bryant Park

Bryant Park HotelBryant Park is a large park, often referred to as an oasis of green in the heart of Midtown. Find here lawns, fountains, pathways, an outdoor reading room, a ping-pong area and a Pétanque area. In winter, there is an ice-skating rink here.

It is bordered by the Bryant Park Hotel to the south (originally the American Radiator Building), and the Bank of America Tower to the north-west.

Bank of America Building

Across Ave of the Americas to the west of Bryant Park is was located Circle NYC nightclub in which scenes from How to Lose Friends & Alienate People (2008) were shot.

On the whole, 23 films filmed various scenes within Bryant Park:

  1. The World According to Garp (1982)
  2. Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993)
  3. Private Parts (1997)
  4. The Out-of-Towners (1999)
  5. End of Days (1999)
  6. Loser (2000)
  7. Head over Heels (2001)
  8. The Caveman’s Valentine (2001)
  9. Spider-Man (2002)
  10. Shortcut to Happiness (2003)
  11. Happy Hour (2003)
  12. Heights (2005)
  13. Spider-Man 3 (2007)
  14. I Think I Love My Wife (2007)
  15. Sex and the City (2008)
  16. Deception (2008)
  17. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (2010)
  18. Letters to Juliet (2010)
  19. Morning Glory (2010)
  20. Wanderlust (2012)
  21. Winter’s Tale (2014)
  22. Trainwreck (2015)
  23. Ted 2 (2015)

Also, other TV programs filmed various scenes within Bryant Park:

  1. Project Runway (2004-…)
  2. Glee (2009-2015)
  3. Person of Interest (2011-2016)
  4. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (2015)
  5. Jessica Jones (2015-)
  6. Conviction (2016-2017)

Port Authority Bus Terminal

The Port Authority Bus Terminal is the main gateway for interstate buses into Manhattan in New York City. It opened in 1950 and stands 1 block east of the Lincoln Tunnel to New Jersey. 8,000 buses and 225,000 people go through it on an average weekday through its 223 gates! 13 Subway lines also stop at the Port Authority.

To sum up, 9 films had significant scenes shot here:

  1. The Touch of Her Flesh (1967)
  2. Lusting Hours (1967)
  3. The Anderson Tapes (1971)
  4. Heroes (1977)
  5. Desperately Seeking Susan (1985)
  6. Streatwalkin’ (1985)
  7. Bad Lieutenant (1986)
  8. Keane (2004)
  9. World Trade Center (2006)

Times Square

Originally called Long Acre Square, this stretch of intersections between 42nd and 48th St has long been a major commercial hub full of restaurants, theatres, shops and office buildings.

Today it is likely full of locals and tourists here to take in that New York feeling. There are many street performers in designated zones. There are almost 50 theatres on both sides of Times Square, on 42nd St 43rd St and every street all the way up to 50th.

As a result, 38 films have prominently shown Times Square:

  1. Times TowerKing Kong (1933)
  2. The Seven Year Itch (1954)
  3. Killer’s Kiss (1955)
  4. Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
  5. Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
  6. Midnight Cowboy (1969)
  7. Cannonball (1976)
  8. Superman (1977)
  9. Annie (1982)
  10. A Chorus Line, The Movie (1985)
  11. Crocodile Dundee (1986)
  12. Batteries Not Included (1987)
  13. Big (1988)
  14. Naked in New York (1993)
  15. Jerry Maguire (1996)
  16. Conspiracy Theory (1997)
  17. Cradle Will Rock (1999)
  18. Center Stage (2000)
  19. Times BuildingVanilla Sky (2001)
  20. Perfume (2001)
  21. Sidewalks of New York (2001)
  22. Life or Something Like It (2002)
  23. Phileine zegt sorry (2003)
  24. Spider-Man 2 (2004)
  25. Closer (2004)
  26. She Hate Me (2004)
  27. When Will I Be Loved (2004)
  28. Just My Luck (2006)
  29. Enchanted (2007)
  30. BillboardsMichael Clayton (2007)
  31. Spread (2009)
  32. Whatever Works (2009)
  33. Date Night (2010)
  34. Twelve (2010)
  35. Captain America (2011)
  36. New Year’s Eve (2011)
  37. Friends with Benefits (2011)
  38. Lola Versus (2012)

Hotel Edison

Hotel EdisonBuilt in 1931, Hotel Edison has room for 1,000 guests over 26 floors and is one of the finest examples of Art Deco architecture in New York with its curved edges, bold lines, and an interior that is both elegant and bold. When the hotel opened, the lights were famously turned on by Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb. It is located on W 47th between 6th and 7th St.

Hotel Edison

Walk in to see the main lobby which is still in the original Art Deco style. There are many beautiful paintings and murals.

In any event, 3 films and TV shows had significant scenes shot here at Hotel Edison:

  1. The Godfather (1972)
  2. Bullets over Broadway (1994)
  3. Sex and the City (1998-2004)

Radio City Music Hall

Radio City Music HallThis entertainment venue is part of the Rockefeller Center in Midtown Manhattan. It is nicknamed the Showplace of the Nation. Radio City Music Hall was designated a New York City Landmark in May 1978. Originally designed by Edward Durell Stone and Donald Deskey in the Art Deco style, it opened in August 1932.

The Rockettes who put on a Christmas Spectacular here every year have been doing so since November 1932!

Overall, 5 films had scenes here at Radio City Music Hall:

  1. The Godfather (1972)
  2. My Favorite Year (1982)
  3. Radio Days (1987)
  4. Home Alone 2 (1992)
  5. Quiz Show (1994)

Rockefeller Plaza

Rockefeller Center Rockefeller Plaza houses a large fountain which turns into a skating rink in winter and several signature stores such as Cole Haan and the Lego Store.

On the whole, here are 9 films that shot scenes here in front of the fountain and golden statue of Prometheus:

  1. On the Town (1949). It is where Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly sign New York New York.
  2. Ghostbuster (1984)
  3. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
  4. Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
  5. Rockefeller PlazaPrivate Parts (1997)
  6. Autumn in New York (2000)
  7. Spider-Man (2002)
  8. Elf (2003)
  9. The Adjustment Bureau (2011)

Waldorf Astoria

Waldorf AstoriaNo hotel is as much a New York icon as the Waldorf-Astoria, built in 1931. The hotel lobby is normally well worth a visit; however, the hotel is currently closed as it undergoes a complete renovation and restoration. It should reopen by 2022.

To sum up, here are 15 films with significant scenes shot here at the Waldorf Astoria:

  1. Weekend at the Waldorf (1945)
  2. The Out-of-Towners (1970).
  3. The Great Gatsby (1974)
  4. My Favorite Year (1982)
  5. Hannah and her sisters (1986)
  6. The Godfather Part III (1990)
  7. Scent of a Woman (1992)
  8. Analyze This (1999)
  9. Serendipity (2001)
  10. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
  11. Maid in Manhattan (2002)
  12. Catch Me If You Can (2002)
  13. Alfie (2004)
  14. The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009)
  15. The Adjustment Bureau (2011)

MetLife Building

MetLife Building
By Postdlf, CC BY-SA 3.0,

This 59-story skyscraper, opened in 1930, is still referred to many New Yorkers by its original name, the Pan Am Building, named for the now non-existent airline. There aren’t many fans of the MetLife building other than the building’s landlords. That’s because its architectural school called Brutalism that uses concrete and blockish forms dwarf the regal Helmsley Building you just saw.

In addition, in the Avengers movies, the MetLife Building is transformed into the Avengers Tower.

As a result, here are 18 films in which we can clearly see the MetLife Building:

  1. Grand Slam (1967)
  2. Only When I Larf (1968)
  3. Coogan’s Bluff (1968)
  4. The French Connection (1971)
  5. Highlander (1986)
  6. Gremlins 2 (1990)
  7. Godzilla (1998)
  8. Armageddon (1998)
  9. Catch Me If You Can (2002)
  10. Knowing (2009)
  11. The Avengers (2012) – appears as Stark Tower
  12. Iron Man 3 (2013) – appears as Stark Tower
  13. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) – appears as Stark Tower
  14. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) – appears as Stark Tower
  15. Daredevil (2015-…) – appears as Stark Tower
  16. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) – appears as Stark Tower
  17. Jessica Jones (2017-…) – appears as Stark Tower
  18. Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017) – appears as Statesmen Whiskey tower

Tourist Scavenger Hunts

We invite you to try our Tourist Scavenger Hunt in New York Midtown. It is a 2.5-hour guided walking tour throughout Midtown Manhattan from Grand Central Terminal to Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and everything in between. You do it on your mobile phone (how it works).  It only costs $30 for your group (1 to 6 people). Moreover, you will enjoy seeing these film locations and much more while completing challenges and learning about Midtown’s history.

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Top 2018 travel trends on Pinterest & Scavenger Hunts (infographic)

2018 travel trends on pinterest

Pinterest for Business recently published an infographic (below) presenting its current top travel trends. Here they are as they relate to Tourist Scavenger Hunts. We thought we’d share this with you as you actually travel and don’t just dream about it.

Some Stats

  • 3 in 4 travel Pinners find useful travel pins from brands. It can provoke an unplanned trip or a visit.
  • 40+ million Americans visit travel pins a month.

Planning a trip on Pinterest

+593% There is a spike in solo adventures. That is traveling alone without friends or family.

While a Tourist Scavenger Hunt is a whole lot of fun with family and friends, it is also intended to be doable by one person. In fact, 20% of our clients do the hunt alone.

+194% Filming locations are popular among travelers wanting to see the set of their favorite shows and films.

We like to point out all film locations along our Tourist Scavenger Hunts. Of course, some cities have much more of them than others. Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia and New York have many while Paris, Quebec City, Rotterdam and Ottawa have very few.

+167% Train travel is becoming more popular, cheaper than renting a car and more practical if you remain inside a city where local transit can get you around easily. +346% enjoy River Cruises, allowing them to cover more ground.

Many of our Tourist Scavenger Hunts point out major train stations and terminals, while some point out cruise-line terminals. You can hop off the boat or train and do a scavenger hunt to discover the city in under 3 hours.

+207% share food photography, either at restaurants or cooking classes. +207% seek restaurant guides for new flavors to discover.

We point out a city’s or neighborhood’s top restaurants along all our Tourist Scavenger Hunt routes. That way you can plan where to eat during, or after your discovery walking tour.

2018 Pinterest Travel Trends

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5 film locations in Downtown L.A.

5 film locations in Downtown LA

Are you planning a visit to Los Angeles? Considering visiting the downtown / civic center area? Do you like seeing film locations when you visit? In our research to develop a Tourist Scavenger Hunt in Downtown L.A., we came across a lot of information. Some we use exclusively in the actual scavenger hunt, but other we’d like to share with you.

As part of that research, we came across many locations where film and television series have been shot publicly. You can see these locations as you do the scavenger hunt. To enumerate, here are 5 film locations in Downtown L.A.

5 film locations in Downtown L.A.

  1. Union StationUnion Station

    • Located at 800 N. Alameda St., Union Station is Los Angeles’ is the main railway station in Los Angeles and the largest railroad passenger terminal in the Western United States. Union Station opened in 1939. It not only services Amtrak but local Metrolink commuter trains and several Metro rail subway lines. It is located steps away from this historical city center, where Los Angeles was but a town way back when.
    • A number of films and TV series have significant scenes shot here at Union Station : The Dark Knight Rises, Blade Runner, Pearl Harbor, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, The Mentalist, Catch Me If You Can, Charlie’s Angel: Full Throttle, The Fabulous Baker Boys, Drag Me To Hell, 24, The Replacement Killers and X-Man 2.

  2. Pico House

    • Located across the street from Union Station around Los Angeles Plaza Park, Pico House served in the TV show The Mentalist. Built by the last Mexican Governor of Alta California before the end of the American-Mexican War, this historical landmark opened in 1869. The Pico House dates back to LA’s days as a small town in Southern California.

  3. Los Angeles Department of Water and Power

    • This building, behind the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and the Mark Taper Forum, has been featured in many films and television shows among which are Chinatown (1974) and Inception (2010).

  4. Bradbury Building

    • The Bradbury building at 304 S.Broadway isn’t very impressive on the outside. However, stepping inside the Bradbury Building lets one discover its steampunk ironwork and wood-paneled interior. Inspired by a science fiction book, construction ended in 1893. The ground floor is easily accessible. However, beyond that, access is restricted.
    • The interior has played a role in many films over the years, including some science fiction: Blade Runner (1982), Chinatown (1974), Wolf (1994), Lethal Weapon 4 (1998), Pay It Forward (200) and The Artist (2011). It has also played a central role in many television series among which include Mission Impossible (1966-73), Quantum Leap (1989), Pushing Daisies (2007), CSI NY (2010).
    • Many music videos for Heart, Janet Jackson, Earth Wind and Fire, and Genesis also feature this unique architecture.

  5. Los Angeles City Hall

    • Built in 1928, Los Angeles’ City Hall was the tallest building in the city until the 1960s.
    • Entrance is free, but there are metal detectors. You can explore on your own with the self-guided tour materials available at the information desk on the 3rd Floor. We encourage you to see the observation deck on the 27th floor for a wonderful view of the surrounding area.
    • The iconic City Hall tower has appeared as itself and stood in for other locations in dozens of TV shows and movies such as Dragnet, Gattaca, X2, The Bodyguard, Torchwood, The West Wing, Beverly Hills Cop, L.A. Confidential, Eraser, The Green Hornet, Barto, Fink, and Speed.

We invite you to try our Downtown L.A. Tourist Scavenger Hunt. It is a 2-hour guided walking tour throughout the downtown core of Los Angeles you do on your mobile phone (how it works).  It only costs $30 for your entire group. Moreover, you will enjoy seeing the sights and hidden gems you might have missed otherwise. All this while completing challenges and learning about Downtown L.A.’s history.

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5 Film locations to see in Philadelphia

5 film locations to see in Philadelphia

Do you love movies? Do you seek places where your favorite flicks were shot when you travel? There are several great film locations to see in Philadelphia.

Whether you are planning a visit Philadelphia, or if you live here but haven’t noticed these monuments to see in Philadelphia’s museum district, this list is for you.  In our research to develop a Tourist Scavenger Hunt in Philadelphia’s museum district, we’ve come across much information, some of which can only be gleaned when doing the actual scavenger hunt.

However, we also wanted to share some of that information with you for your visit planning. Here are 5 film locations to see in Philadelphia.

5 Film locations to see in Philadelphia

  1. C ity HallPhiladelphia City Hall
    • Philadelphia’s City Hall served as the backdrop to many films. It is the largest municipal building in the entire United States. Philadelphia (1993) with Tom Hanks shot many scenes outside City Hall. You will remember it also from Rocky (1976), Twelve Monkeys (1995), National Treasure (2004), Transformers 2 (2009), and Limitless (2011).
  2. Eastern State PenitentiaryEastern State Penitentiary
    • Eastern State Penitentiary opened in 1829 and was operational until 1971, located on Fairmont at Kelly Dr. Twelve Monkeys (1995) shot many scenes here as did Transformers 2 (2009).
  3. Rocky BalboaPhiladelphia Museum of Art
    • The Philadelphia Museum of Art opened in 1929 and remains the largest museum in Philadelphia. Do we need to state that Rocky (1976) had many iconic scenes shot here, namely when Rocky runs up the 72 stairs and jumps up in victory at the up? Dressed to Kill (1980) shot scenes here as well.
  4. The Franklin InstituteThe Franklin Institute
    • The Franklin Institute, opened in 1924, is as clever as its namesake. National Treasure (2004) filmed scenes here, specifically when a youth helps decipher the Silence Dogood letters written by Benjamin Franklin.
  5. Center Square
    GK tramrunner229 assumed (based on copyright claims)

    Center Square

    • Directly across 15th Street and City Hall sits Center Square where you will see a 45-foot steel Clothespin. Trading Places (1983) shot a few scenes here.

We invite you to try our Philadelphia – Museum District Tourist Scavenger Hunt. It is a 4-hour guided walking tour around Philadelphia’s museum district you do on your mobile phone (how it works).  It only costs $30 for your group. You will enjoy seeing these film locations and much more while completing challenges and learning Philadelphia’s history.