Some '90s kids still swoon at the sound of Joey Tribbiani muttering "how you doin'," and wince with envy at the site of Rachel Green's ever-perfect blonde locks. "Friends," the iconic show that followed six best friends through young adulthood in the heart of Manhattan, occupied a huge part of our lives for a whole decade — from the first episode in 1994 to the last in 2004 — and is still a popular sitcom over a decade later. Many of us hoped that Friends was an accurate representation of what it would be like to grow up — sitting on the couches of Central Perk by day and dancing in fountains in the middle of the night — but most of us have discovered by now that adulthood just isn't as good as they made it seem. In the words of The Rembrandts, no one told us life was gonna be this way!
Many "Friends" fans don't realize that their favorite places from the show weren't shot in New York at all. Some of them, in fact, never even really existed. Disclaimer: what you are about to read could crush your dreams. Here are 20 places from Friends that fans can visit today, and somewhere you could potentially run into the old crew, too.
20 Monica's Apartment
First stop the apartment. True fans of the show know it as well as they know their own homes: the purple walls, the blue kitchen cabinets, the round and wooden kitchen table paired with mismatched chairs, and Joey and Chandler's man cave just across the hall. Can't you just picture Ross bursting through the door with his drama du jour? Monica's apartment was the foundation — the true soul — of the show, and while the interior only ever existed on a set, fans can visit the building that was used for exterior shots at 90 Bedford Street, at the corner of Grove Street in Greenwich Village.
19 Phoebe's Apartment
Fans will remember the episode titled "The One With Joey's New Brain," when Phoebe and Rachel find someone's phone in the couch at Central Perk and Phoebe tells them to pick it up at her apartment. Of course, Phoebe took over her grandmother's apartment in the West Village when she died, and in this episode, she tells the stranger over the phone it's at 5 Morton Street. This Buzzfeed contributor who took to the streets of New York on a self-guided Friends tour says it's only a four-minute walk from 90 Bedford Street, where Rachel, Monica, Chandler, and Joey lived.
18 The Pulitzer Fountain
The fountain that the six friends danced around and splashed in during the opening of each one of the program's 236 episodes is one of the most iconic symbols of the show. Unfortunately, that exact fountain is not in New York at all; rather, it was merely a prop on a soundstage in Los Angeles, where most of the show was filmed. According to NYCgo, sources have said that The Pulitzer Fountain in Midtown West's Grand Army Plaza was the inspiration behind the show's faux version, and it's visited by many Friends fanatics today.
17 The Cherry Hill Fountain
Friends enthusiasts have also been known to gather around the Cherry Hill Fountain in Central Park thinking that it's the original one, HelloGiggles says. One good look at these water-spouting structures, however, will reveal that while they are similar, they're not the same. Sadly, the original fountain lives on the Warner Brothers Ranch backlot in Burbank, California. In fact, it wasn't actually meant to look like New York City at all. The fake fountain, HelloGiggles says, sits in front of fictional "Park Boulevard," a row of picturesque building fronts which were designed to look like Boston.
16 Warner Brothers Ranch
This is the part when our childhood dreams go sloshing down the drain. While you've had more than a decade to come to terms with the fact that Friends is fake and doesn't, unfortunately, depict the reality of adulthood for most of us, still the news that most — well, almost all — of the hangout spots from the show are also fake is rather a soul-crushing. The entire show was shot at the Warner Brothers Ranch. The good news is that you can take a tour of the ranch to see the exact filming locations, and you could even catch former cast members Jen Aniston or Courteney Cox filming a blockbuster while you're there.
One place from the show that actually exists is the Bloomingdale's where Rachel gets a job as an assistant buyer after she quits her coffee shop job. With a bit of encouragement from Joey and Chandler, Rachel decides to pursue a career in fashion during the show's third season. She then becomes a personal shopper at this Bloomie's located at 1000 Third Avenue in Midtown East, Manhattan. A quick search on Google Maps, however, would reveal that the department store is a whopping one-hour walk or 30-minute Subway ride away from the building where Rachel lives on Bedford Street.
14 The American Museum Of Natural History
You might remember that Ross Geller worked as a paleontologist at the Museum of Prehistoric History for the first five seasons of the show. In fact, Joey worked there, too, as a tour guide — which we find out in the episode titled "The One With Phoebe's Uterus." Ross later gets angry with his boss at the museum (for eating his sandwich) and goes on sabbatical. Although it doesn't go by the exact same title, NYCgo says the American Museum of Natural History in Central Park is "basically [the Museum of Prehistoric History], but not in name." It's located on West 79th Street in the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
13 New York University
One memorable Friends moment is when Ross realizes the secret behind his cookie-selling success: the college munchies. In this hilarious scene, Ross sits at the table with Chandler in Monica's apartment, saying he "started hitting the N.Y.U. dorms around midnight" and was "selling cookies by the case." "They call me cookie dude," he said. After leaving his job at the Museum of Prehistoric History, Ross becomes a professor of paleontology at New York University. He even dates one of his students, Elizabeth Stevens. Today, Friends aficionados have even created a fictional Rate My Professors page for Ross Geller, and it is certainly worth a read.
12 The Plaza Hotel
In the heartwarming opening episode of season seven, the inseparable squad celebrates Monica and Chandler's engagement by toasting a glass of champagne at The Plaza Hotel. This 1907 French Châtaeu-style building has been featured in tons of famous shows and films, actually, including The Great Gatsby, Home Alone 2, Sleepless in Seattle, and The Sopranos. The 20-floor Plaza Hotel has been named a Historic Hotel of America by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and it certainly is a significant slice of history for Friends fans. It is located on the south side of Central Park, on the border of the Upper East Side, The Telegraph says.
11 Caesar's Palace
Speaking of famous hotels, Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas was a symbolic spot throughout Friends' reign, both for filming and behind-the-scenes fun. According to The Mirror, the creators of Friends were so certain that it would be a success that they took the cast out for a swanky dinner at Caesar's Palace before the pilot even aired. He allegedly told the six thespians to enjoy their "last shot at anonymity" at this dinner (which, as we all now know, was a fair statement to make). After the show became a wild success, the decision was made to have Ross and Rachel's wedding take place at Caesar's Palace "as a nod to where it all started," The Mirror says.
10 Fake Central Perk
The real sofas where Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe, Ross, and Joey sipped so much coffee, cried so many tears, and had so many laughs, was on set at Central Perk in Warner Brothers Ranch. Warner Brothers have since opened up a working replica of Central Perk at Stage 48, where Friends fans can have a cup of joe and even take some Central Perk beans home as a souvenir. A pitstop on the Warner Brothers Studio Tour, this Central Perk serves up nostalgic Friends-themed sweets, such as cookies that are decorated like the original Central Perk sofa and the unmistakable purple door from Monica's apartment.
9 Real Central Perk
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Friends' debut episode, Warner Brothers teamed up with Eight O'Clock Coffee to give fans what they really wanted: an honest-to-God, brick-and-mortar Central Perk. The Central Perk pop-up coffee shop, located at 199 Lafayette Street in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan, only ran for one month in 2014. It used the iconic storefront as well as the actual orange sofa that was used in the show, Time says. The pop-up was such a hit that rumors have surfaced just this year that the temporary coffee bar might become a permanent reality. NME reported in February 2018 that Warner Brothers have secured a copyright for a coffee shop called Central Perk which will also utilize the logo from the show.
8 The Lucille Lortel Theatre
This theatre in New York's West Village is featured several times during season three. Joey Tribbiani fans will appreciate that the Lucille Lortel Theatre where the goofball character performed in such smashing shows as Boxing Day and Freud! is a place they can visit and perhaps even see a show. If they're lucky, they might also run into a member of the old Friends gang. According to NYCgo, Matthew Perry — who played Chandler Bing in the hit show — made the US debut of his own dramedy, The End of Longing, on this stage just last year.
7 Vasquez Rocks
When Joey's big break finally comes, his pristine acting abilities land him an important role in the hit (and fictional) movie Shutter Speed. Season five sends him off to the desert to become a star, but when he gets to Vasquez Rocks State Park — just outside of Las Vegas — he finds that the production crew is already packing up. It wasn't Joey's big break after all, but still a significant subplot of the show. According to The Telegraph, this sliver of the desert has been featured in more than just Friends. You can also spot it in Austin Powers and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.
6 Chandler's Office
In the show, Chandler works as an IT procurement manager, The Telegraph says, and his office is in the Solow Building on West 57th Street. In reality, the Solow Tower does not hold offices inside, but rather 16 stories of luxury apartments. In fact, this is some of the most expensive real estate in Manhattan. Of course, you can't go inside — but why would you want to when you know you won't find Chandler sitting at his desk doing... whatever an IT procurement manager does? — but you can pop by for a look at the landmark, which has also been featured in Sex and the City, Zoolander, and Superman.
Remember "The One With The Jellyfish" episode? It's hard to forget Monica being stung by a jellyfish at the beach and Chandler urinating on it to relieve the pain. That memorable scene was filmed on the coast of Southern California at Leo Carrillo State Park. Leo Carrillo State Park includes a 1.5-mile-long beach with coastal caves and reefs bustling with activity. Friends fans who find themselves at this Malibu hangout could spot one of the stars of the show. This past June, Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox reunited in Malibu for a charity lunch hosted by Chanel.
4 London Marriott Hotel in Grosvenor Square
The iconic scene where Joey shouts the memorable words, "London, baby!" was filmed at the London Marriott Hotel in Grosvenor Square. In the two-part "The One With Ross's Wedding" fourth-season finale, the gang goes to London to celebrate Ross and Emily's wedding and while there, Joey meets Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York. The London Marriott Hotel is where Chandler and Joey "go into the map" by stepping on a three-dimensional pop-up map that Joey has on hand to navigate the city. One Friends fan recreated the moment for Bustle.
3 Trinity Square
The London episode features several notable cameos, and one of them is by Richard Branson, who sells a Union Jack hat to Joey on Trinity Square, located just across from the Tower of London landmark, The Telegraph says. British business mogul Sir Richard Branson later tweeted about his small role in the popular show, saying, "Yes I was in Friends... Do you think I made a good hat salesman?" Friends fans who are planning a trip to London need not forget to visit Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, and Big Ben, all of which were also featured in the episode.
2 Ugly Naked Guy's Apartment
Then there was the nudist who lived across the street from Monica and Rachel. What did they call him again? Oh right, Ugly Naked Guy. Ugly Naked Guy, who Phoebe claimed used to be cute, appeared on camera three times — including once with Ross, who was also naked — but was mentioned frequently in the early episodes when the ladies would peer into his apartment, which was visible from theirs. Ugly Naked Guy's apartment is now featured on virtual travel guide Roadtrippers as its own listing. It's located at 19 Grove Street, which is, of course, where Ross also lived.
1 Thompson Street
Thompson Street used to be home to the quaint and charming Moondance Diner, where Monica was forced to wear a blonde wig and rollerskates as one of the diner's waitresses. While she was working at the Moondance Diner, she met a millionaire who opened his own restaurant and made Monica the head chef. The real Moondance Diner in SoHo had a revolving moon sign and a vintage feel. It opened during the 1930s but announced that it was closing in 2007. The diner and Friends landmark has since been torn down for luxury condo block, a Friends fan site says.