10 Famous TV Locations You Can Visit In Real Life


In honor of Friends‘ 20th anniversary, Central Perk — complete with its massive couch — is about to become a reality this fall in SoHo. While the coffee shop will only be temporary, however, there are plenty of TV landmarks that remain long after the camera crews leave. Here’s a collection of famous locations from rural Washington to the south of England that aren’t a Hollywood backlot.

The Twin Peaks Diner

Though all interior scenes were filmed on a soundstage after the pilot and the diner’s was completely remodeled after a 2000 fire, Twede’s (formerly the Mar-T) is the real life source of Agent Cooper’s “damn fine cup of coffee.” Located in North Bend, Washington, it’s better known to longtime Twin Peaks fans as the R&R, owned by Rashida Jones’s mom Norma Jennings.

The Seinfeld Diner

Keeping with the diner theme, George, Jerry, and Elaine’s preferred hangout — its facade, at least — is a fully operational restaurant in Manhattan’s Morningside Heights. The interior scenes weren’t shot on location, but an establishing shot of Tom’s appeared in countless episodes of the sitcom, explaining why tourists still stand in the middle of traffic on 112th Street to get a picture. I happen to live two blocks away from Tom’s, and can attest to the quality of its (overpriced) milkshakes.

The Sopranos Ice Cream Parlor

You know that maddeningly ambiguous finale scene? The one that’s currently provoked an Internet shitstorm because Vox said David Chase said Tony’s not dead but Vulture said David Chase said that’s not true? Well, the magic happened at one Holsten’s Ice Cream in Bloomfield, New Jersey. The Sopranos was filmed at a mix of New York studios and North Jersey locations, but it seems fitting the series ended on the left side of the Hudson.

The Downton Abbey Castle

On Downton Abbey, it’s the home of the Earl of Grantham; in real life, Highclere Castle belongs to the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon. A little more than an hour’s drive from London, the house is open to visitors just 60-70 days a year (the Earl and Countess still live there full-time). Earlier this month, though, Christie’s auctioned off the chance to stay there overnight, with bids starting at the low, low price of about $16,000. For charity!

Magnolia Bakery

Sex and the City name-dropped enough New York City locations for a dozen of these lists, but Magnolia — also ground zero for the red velvet cupcake bonanza of the mid-aughts — got perhaps the biggest boost from its appearance on the HBO sitcom. Former Flavorwire literary editor Jason Diamond once worked there as a “cupcake bouncer” to fend off the crowds of would-be Carrie Bradshaws.

Café Grumpy

A small chain of New York coffee shops, and also the day job of one Hannah Horvath. Before Ray splits to start his own place (fictional, unlike Grumpy), the two of them work the Greenpoint location, which now plays the same central role in Girls tours of New York that Magnolia once did in Sex and the City ones.

The Banana Stand…’s Location

Arrested Development‘s signature small business is no longer touring the country as a publicity stunt, but Southern California residents can stop by the distinctive light house in Marina Del Rey’s Fisherman’s Village. Fans will have to go elsewhere for their frozen fruit vendors-cum-cash hideaways.

Portlandia‘s Feminist Bookstore

A volunteer-run, nonprofit, feminist library and bookstore that’s considerably friendlier than Women and Women First, In Other Words proves that Portlandia doesn’t stray too far from the reality of its lovably bougie namesake city. Unlike on the show, however, we’re pretty sure you can point your finger inside the store without the owner seeing a penis.

Don Draper’s Childhood Whorehouse

Somewhat surprisingly for a show obsessed with accuracy, Mad Men isn’t shot in New York, but Los Angeles. Just like Mad Men‘s Time-Life building isn’t in the actual Time-Life Building, the center of Dick Whitman’s childhood trauma isn’t really in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Located in the Angelino Heights neighborhood, the Victorian home was on the market just last year.

Louie‘s Comedy Club

As the show’s opening credits demonstrate, the Comedy Cellar is just a short walk from the Washington Square subway stop in the West Village. The small basement club is Louie’s home base and the site of Louie’s many, many stand-up scenes, all of which are shot in front of a live audience. Fun fact: said audience isn’t told in advance about the filming, or even that the comedian they’re about to see is Louis freaking CK.