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Iconic New York City in the Movies

Hollywood may be home to the film industry, but it’s New York City that has provided the backdrop for some of its most memorable scenes. At USA Guided NYC Bus Tours, we love the movies, too, and we feature many of these spots on our award-winning day and evening itineraries. If you’re a movie buff who’s planning a vacation to the Big Apple, here are some of the landmarks you shouldn’t miss if you want to relive your favorite celluloid moments.

You can’t write about NYC in the movies and not mention the Empire State Building. Who can forget King Kong swatting at bi-planes after he’s scaled its 102 stories? The building’s observation deck is also where Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks finally meet in 1993’s adorable romantic-comedy Sleepless in Seattle. On our day tour, we “swing by” (pun intended) Madison Square Park so that you can admire the building’s innovative Art Deco architecture and make plans for a nighttime visit to the top for expansive, glittering views of the city.

Midtown Manhattan Panorama | Top Rated Bus Tours of NYC

Speaking of Meg Ryan, she’s the queen of NYC romantic comedies. In 1989’s When Harry Met Sally, she’s the best advertisement ever made for Lower East Side institution Katz’s Delicatessen. (Make sure you have what she’s having!) Katz’s is close to Little Italy and Soho, which we ride through on our  “Big Apple in Lights” evening tour, so ask your guide to point out how to get there — and what to order alongside your football-sized pastrami sandwich. Meg also introduces us to très chic French-style Café Lalo on a date night that goes wrong in You’ve Got Mail and has a memorable jump off the Brooklyn Bridge (into the 19th-century!) in Kate and Leopold.
When we’re taking you to Central Park — itself a charming cameo in multiple films, including Enchanted and Elf — we pass 57th Street, home to Tiffany & Co. Who can forget Audrey Hepburn’s “little black dress” from the opening of Breakfast at Tiffany’s? It’s not far from the Rockefeller Center stop on our day tour, so make like Holly Golightly and admire the luxurious window displays (preferably also with a takeout danish and coffee in hand!).
Our evening NYC bus tour concludes inside one of the grandest spots in the City: Grand Central Terminal, with its lovely sea-green ceiling of stars. As you stand under the indoor night sky, try to imagine the stream of passengers literally waltzing past you, as Robin Williams’s character does in The Fisher King. (You might want to waltz over to the famous Oyster Bar later.) Or, you could channel your inner Hitchcock — pretend you’re Cary Grant in North by Northwest, trying to blend in with the hustle and bustle as you hide from the police and your would-be killers, who have framed you for murder. Who knew such a beautiful place could be so menacing?
These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to iconic movie scenes set in New York City, the best character actor ever committed to film. Visit these famous locations, along with other NYC landmarks, with USA Guided NYC Bus Tours today. You can even request a custom USA Guided “NYC in the Movies” private tour, led by our expert guides on our climate-controlled buses. It’s an offer you can’t refuse!
Sara Murphy | USA Guided Tours NY Blog Contributor