I was 13 years old when Sex and the City premiered in 1998. The show was irresistible to me while growing up in suburban Ohio and dreaming of moving to New York City. I didn’t recognize myself in most of the characters, or in their Manolo Blahnik-and-cosmo-fueled adventures, but it didn’t matter. They were glamorous adults who lived and loved all over one of the greatest cities in the world. Sure, the show took liberties with geography and details, but for the most part, it was actually filmed in New York. Skip over the sex, and the original series and current reboot, And Just Like That…, are glossy love letters to the city—and its institutions both new and old.
When I finally fulfilled my dream of moving to New York, I knew I could never afford a classic six apartment on the Upper East Side like Charlotte, or a closet full of couture like Carrie. But for just $2.75, I could take the subway to almost anywhere; for less than $5, I could eat a Magnolia Bakery cupcake (the lemon bars are even better) and window shop around the West Village. This intoxicating combination of luxury and accessibility is the true beauty of New York City: You can arrive on a Port Authority bus or in a sleek black car, and—just like that—feel as if the whole world is just a MetroCard swipe away.
Here are seven of the real-life New York City filming locations featured in HBO’s And Just Like That …
1. Whitney Cafe
The Sex and the City reboot opens with a scene familiar to fans of the original HBO series: Carrie Preston (née Bradshaw) and her friends are waiting for a table at a bright and busy New York City restaurant. The restaurant, Clee, is fictional, but the scene was filmed at the Whitney Cafe located on the ground floor of the Whitney Museum of American Art. The cafe offers grab-and-go sandwiches, snacks, and drinks, but for sit-down dining—and even better views—head to the Studio Bar on the museum’s eighth floor.
2. Smith’s Bar and Restaurant
On the way to her class at Columbia University, Miranda emerges from the subway at 10:45 a.m. and tries to order a glass of chablis at Smith’s Bar and Restaurant. The real Smith’s, open for more than 60 years, is located in Hell’s Kitchen, not Morningside Heights, and doesn’t open until noon—but it’s worth braving the hordes of tourists as they return to Times Square to check out one of the best neon signs left in Midtown.
3. Lyceum Theatre
At the end of the first episode, friends and family attend a recital for the prestigious Manhattan School of Music, featuring Charlotte’s daughter, Lily. While the real school is located in Morningside Heights, exterior scenes were filmed outside of the Lyceum, a Broadway theater located in Times Square. Open since 1903, the 922-seat theater is one of the oldest continually-operating performance spaces in the city, and its exterior and interior were designated as New York City landmarks in 1974 and 1987, respectively.
4. Bethesda Terrace
In episode three, Carrie finds herself wandering the city on foot. While she’s in Central Park at Bethesda Terrace, she calls Charlotte and observes: “It’s amazing what you learn about our city when you don’t sleep. Were you aware that thousands of people jog every morning at 6 a.m. and everyone has a dog?” Bethesda Terrace, located in the southern third of the park, is home to the Angel of the Waters fountain and Loeb Boathouse (featured in the original Sex and the City series). This photogenic area is a favorite of film productions and tourists alike for good reason: Rent a rowboat and paddle by the intricate Bow Bridge (Central Park’s oldest cast-iron pedestrian bridge), or wander through the rustic, wooded Ramble for iconic city views.
5. Grant’s Tomb
“You’re the only 55-year-old sitting on the university’s steps,” Miranda tells Carrie as she joins her friend on a set of gray granite steps belonging not to Columbia, but to nearby Grant’s Tomb. Known officially as the General Grant National Memorial, the final resting place of 18th president Ulysses S. Grant and his wife, Julia, is located near Riverside Park on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The interior of the largest mausoleum in North America is currently closed, but the outdoor plaza, featuring concrete benches covered in colorful mosaics, is lovely year round.
6. Webster Hall
At the end of episode three, the gang gathers at Webster Hall to watch a stand-up show. Located in the East Village and built in 1886, the nightclub and concert venue has also hosted weddings, labor union rallies, and corporate events over the decades. A recording studio, Webster Hall Studios, produced hits from folk and rock greats including Bob Dylan, Tina Turner, and Pete Seeger. After a 2-year, 10 million-dollar-renovation, Webster Hall reopened in 2019 with a Jay-Z concert.
7. 66 Perry Street
In the first episode of the reboot, we find out that, although she’s living comfortably uptown as Mrs. Preston, Carrie still owns her walk-up brownstone apartment from the original series. By the end of the third episode, she’s back downtown, delivering the episode’s last line via classic Bradshaw voiceover: “And just like that, I walked myself home.”
Arguably the most famous (and frequent) filming location, 66 Perry Street was only used for exterior shots of Carrie either leaving or arriving home. But more than 20 years after the series debuted, the instantly-recognizable door and stoop is still a popular tourist attraction—so much so that the home’s owners have tried various methods of crowd control over the years, including stringing a chain across the steps and adding a donation box.
If you go, be respectful, snap a quick selfie, and reward yourself with a cupcake (or banana pudding) from Magnolia Bakery’s original location, located around the corner on Bleecker Street.