Your guide to the classic festive movie moments of New York City
Experience the joy of Christmas this holiday season in one of the most magical cities in the world - New York. It's the setting for some of the most iconic Christmas films to date, including Miracle on 34th Street, Home Alone 2, and Elf.
We’ve compiled a list of 8 must-see New York movie locations - sure to satisfy Christmas movie buffs, and those simply seeking a film to inspire some festive cheer. Why not use our list to enjoy your very own Christmas film tour of New York?
1. Bethesda Terrace, Central Park (Elf)
Take in architectural and cinematic grandeur when you visit the famous Bethesda Terrace in Central Park, New York. As one of the first structures to be built in Central Park, Bethesda Terrace is a popular location for people-watching, observing street performers, and enjoying the surrounding flora and fauna. Fans of the movie Elf will be delighted to know that Bethesda Terrace is the location that causes Santa to experience a rather hairy landing in his sleigh after glancing at the fountain. As long as you opt for walking rather than hitching a ride in Santa’s sleigh, you'll be able to enjoy this magical, iconic New York film location in one piece.
2. The Plaza Hotel New York (Home Alone 2)
Next stop on the Christmas film tour of New York is the Plaza Hotel on Fifth Avenue, Manhattan – often remembered as the hotel in which Kevin McCallister rents a room using his father’s credit card in ‘Home Alone 2’. Recognised as a New York landmark, the Plaza Hotel boasts the largest square footage of any luxury hotel in NYC and suite guests can enjoy 24-hour butler service. If you’d rather not rack up a $967 room service charge like Kevin in Home Alone 2, then you can opt for admiring the iconic Fifth Avenue hotel from the street.
3. Katz’s Delicatessen (When Harry Met Sally)
Serving the hungry folk of downtown New York since 1988, this famous delicatessen is celebrated for the iconic ‘Faking It’ scene from 1980’s rom-com ‘When Harry Met Sally’, starring Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal. Enjoy one of their famous hot pastrami or corned beef sandwiches, or simply snap a photo sitting in the booth where Harry met Sally. We suspect you won’t be able to refrain from ordering one of their renowned sandwiches when you feast your eyes on Katz’s menu.
4. The Seagram Building at 375 Park Avenue (Scrooged)
One of New York’s most iconic skyscrapers and the base for Frank Cross’ television station in the 1988 Christmas comedy, ‘Scrooged’, the Seagram Building at 375 Park Avenue in Manhattan is a must-see during the festive season. Complete with an elegant plaza and fountain, the Seagram Building is a bronze and glass giant where Bill Murray plays a TV network president, and modern-day Scrooge, in a darkly hilarious take on Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’. It’s also featured in underrated Christmas drama, ‘The Family Man’, as Jack Campbell’s workplace. Get into the Christmas spirit and escape the hustle and bustle in the Seagram Building’s outdoor plaza.
5. Macy’s (Miracle on 34th Street )
Walk in the footsteps of the real Santa Claus at Macy’s, one of the Big Apple’s most famous department stores, located in the heart of Manhattan. Featured in the 1947 classic ‘Miracle on 34th Street’, Macy’s is where Kris Kringle is hired to play Santa Claus and becomes an overnight sensation. Although the film is set on 34th Street, the interior scenes were actually shot at the Herald Square store at night so as not to disturb customers. Enjoy a taste of Christmas magic while buying gifts for your loved ones, and you may even catch a glimpse of Santa!
6. Serendipity 3 (Serendipity)
If you’re like Sara Thomas and share an affinity for the word ‘serendipity’ and old-school desserts, then you will just love New York’s famed restaurant, Serendipity 3. Specialising in the delicious frozen hot chocolate drinks that the two protagonists share in the film, you can share a towering dessert with a special someone this holiday season and give your taste buds a sensory film tour of New York. You can even do a little Christmas shopping in the Serendipity 3 gift shop which sells all things kitschy, from lampshade mugs to dessert-shaped cookie jars.
7. Zabar’s (You’ve Got Mail)
A New York staple, Zabar’s is a legendary family-run Upper West Side delicatessen and grocer where tensions between Joe and Kathleen – the two star-crossed protagonists in ‘You’ve Got Mail’ – come to a head during the Thanksgiving rush. When Kathleen goes to a cash-only checkout in a desperate attempt to avoid Joe, he manages to publicly embarrass her while helping her to pay for her shopping. Why not stock up on delicious coffee, cheese, bagels, or even caviar and soak up the atmosphere at this West Side landmark? Maybe you’ll have your own meet-cute!
8. Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree (Home Alone 2, Elf)
One of the most enchanting scenes you will witness in New York during the festive season is the famous Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, located in 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Allow the captivating lights and decorations to capture your attention, while you recall the scene from Home Alone 2 where Kevin is finally reunited with his mother and she exclaims: “I know you like Christmas trees and this is the biggest one around.” This iconic Christmas tree to beat all Christmas trees also appears in the film Elf – an impressive backdrop to one of their dates. Drop by any time during the holiday season to witness the impressive light display.