Strap up your Manolo Blanks and run to Fifth avenue before this bus leaves!
Recently, the NYC-based team here at the Pop Insider got an inside look at the shops, drinks, and fashion from Sex and the City, joining On Location Tours for a making-of-fan tour fit for the fab four. (Cue theme song.)
On Location Tours is a company that provides in-person TV and movie tours in NYC and Boston, offering exclusive views of these cities from an air-conditioned tour bus. Knowledgable local actors host the trip, bringing lots of great energy and sharing fascinating details about the production, filming, and acting. Some of the tours offered in New York City cater to fans of The Marvelous Ms. Maisel, Gossip Girl, The Sopranos, Friends, and — of course — Sex and the City.
We began the Sex and the City Hotspots tour at the Pultizer Fountain in Midtown where the iconic Bergdorf Goodman store is located. From the moment we entered the bus, our tour guide, Melissa Rich, began offering Sex and the City facts with comedic accuracy. Rich showed us the settings of multiple well-known scenes from the show, starting with the emblematic Fifth Avenue. We got to see where some of the show’s most popular moments happened, including where Big and Carrie didn’t get married at the NY Public Library and the location of the hilarious moment when Charlotte proposed to Trey and he famously responded with, “alrighty.”
After showing us plenty of iconic moments through the comfort of the luxury bus, we were invited to step off the bus to walk to a sex shop on the Upper West Side called The Pleasure Chest. It was there where Charlotte had found the infamous Rabbit that she raved about in the episode “The Turtle and the Hare.” The shop was right around the corner from 66 Perry St., home to Carrie’s front stoop. Fans can almost smell the leftover cigarettes she smoked in the late ‘90s. Of course, we had plenty of opportunities to take photos and even headed over to Magnolia Bakery afterward to get some free cupcakes and learn a little more about the introduction of Magnolia Bakery to the show.
Throughout the tour, our guide shared plenty of corresponding facts about the production of the show. For example, did you know that even though Sex and the City takes place on the Upper East Side, it was actually filmed on the Upper West Side? Rich explained that this was due to production costs in tourist-filled areas, such as the Upper East Side. Certain scenes were filmed there, but a majority of the show was filmed in the Upper West Side or in Queens, which is where the actual interior of Carrie’s apartment was located.
Throughout the tour, we also learned more about how the production of Sex and the City aided in allowing other shows, such as Gossip Girl, to film in the city. Previously, studios would construct sets that looked like New York City, but Sex and the City was able to actually film in NYC, paving the way for future series.
Beyond what we learned during the tour, the experience itself was wildly enjoyable. Even in moments of trouble, like the bus not fitting into a turn or unforeseen traffic, Rich was still entertaining and delightfully funny. There was truly no need to go on your phone to fill the gaps. The tour guides know how to use the environment of the city, their knowledge of the show, and the people who attend to create an immersive experience for the audience. Also, the bus has a bathroom and plenty of leg space, so there’s no need to face the uncomfortable realities of the NYC bathroom crisis (if you know, you know).
While this is an adult-oriented event, On Location Tours does offer plenty of kid-friendly tours, such as the Central Park TV and Movie Tour or the New York City Rom Com Tour. During the summertime, On Location Tours holds tours every day and the tours range from 1.5-4 hours long. For reference, this tour took about 3 hours.
Toward the end of the tour, we ventured to Steve’s bar, Scout, from the show — which is actually named Onieal’s. Rich says this is the most popular part of the tour. At this bar, we enjoyed discounted cosmos (of course) and a great environment full of cheerful and fashionable Sex and the City fans.
Whether you’re a native New Yorker who wants to see their city in a new way, a tourist looking for a fun activity, or a film and television connoisseur, you’ll find something to love on this bus tour.
As Rich puts it, this and other On Location Tours are great for “people who want the ins and outs and the stuff that’s maybe a little off the beaten path and want learn about New York, but through a theme or through a favorite show. Overall, it’s a great way to explore the city in a way that isn’t typical to most tourists.”
Tickets for the Sex and the City Hotspots Tour begins at $66 for a standard ticket and range to $76 for premium seating. Fans can learn more about this experience and other On Location Tours offerings — including virtual tours! — at onlocationtours.com.