Full Disclosure: Several weeks ago I met the Digital Marketing Coordinator for On Location Tours (one of the world’s largest TV show and movie Tour Companies) at a travel blogging conference in Upstate New York. After chatting, we negotiated a deal for a complimentary tour ticket of my choosing in exchange for a blog post. At the time, I had no idea of how I was going to maneuver a big New York City group tour around my blog’s theme of locally conscious and sustainable travel but one thing was for certain – I sure as hell wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to go on the Sex and the City Tour!
After all, I and every other woman born between the 80’s and early 90’s looked up to Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charolette as we fumbled our way out of our awkward teenage years and into the first stages of semi-adulthood, otherwise known as our early 20’s. Our generation turned to Sex and the City and (as horrifying as this is to admit) Cosmopolitan Magazine for dating advice just as we turned to Planned Parenthood for our sexual health #IstandwithPlannedParenthood. To sum it up, we love the show.
In hindsight, the tour was not only hilariously entertaining (as the tour guides are all badass female comedians and actresses) but it was also surprisingly informative. As it turns out, this tour is doing a lot of good for local businesses, making it one guilty pleasure that you don’t have to feel guilty about!
** Even though On Location Tours covered all expenses (thanks!) these opinions are my own**
Sex and the City (SATC) was a revolutionary show – the first of it’s kind. The show did wonders for women’s empowerment – from telling us that’s it’s ok to openly talk about sex (and god forbid, enjoy it) to reminding us that choosing not to have children is a viable option. It also revolutionized the way a TV show could be made. SATC was the first show to be filmed completely on location in New York City whereas other hit shows associated with NYC, such as Friends, were predominately filmed on TV sets in LA.
As a result, SATC provides us with tons of real life locations that we can visit and follow in the footsteps of our favorite fictional characters. In fact, some of the most memorable scenes were shot in actual businesses that are still going strong today – local businesses that you can continue to support.
In my opinion, this was one of SATC’s biggest appeals – it’s ability to accurately portray the liveliness (and at times the craziness) of Manhattan – or as my tour guide Ally so cleverly put it “New York City, she’s our 5th girl.” I mean, there’s a reason this tour continues to sell out even though the last episode aired 14 years ago (feel old? Me too).
The Sex and the City Tour with On Location Tours not only supports local businesses by bringing tour-goers into their shops, restaurants and bars but it also promotes entire neighborhoods. The tour helps to get travelers out of the popular tourist areas of Midtown,Times Square and Central Park and into the less explored neighborhoods of the West Village and the Meat Packing District (where a good majority of the scenes were filmed). Let’s spread those tourism dollars out!
Here is a list of some of the local businesses that you’ll see during the tour!
(If you don’t go inside some of these establishments while on the tour, be sure to go back and show them some love afterwards for the full Sex and the City experience!)
The upscale restaurant where Carrie and Big have their rehearsal dinner in the first film.
75 9th Avenue
Two Boots Pizza
The pizza joint that carrie and Miranda go to after Samantha drags them to the new hip restaurant “Raw” on the same night Samantha meets Smith.
201 W. 11th Street on 7th Avenue
The Pleasure Chest
The sex shop where Charolette bought her “rabbit.”
156 7th Ave South
The bakery made famous by a 30 second scene in season 3 when Carrie and Miranda sit outside the shop enjoying a cupcake. During the tour you may not have time to stop in for yourself but thankfully you’ll receive a complimentary Magnolia cupcake on the bus (on your way to visit Carrie’s apartment)
401 Bleecker Street
The Oak Room Bar inside the Plaza Hotel
This classic bar built in 1907 is the place where Samantha meets her Senior Citizen boyfriend.
5th Avenue at 10 Central Park South
The Paris Theater
Right across the street from the Plaza hotel, this small single-screen theater stands not only as the longest continually operating art cinema in the U.S. (opened in 1948) but it is also the place where Carrie catches a film on her solo date with New York City.
4 West 58th Street
Scout (actually named Onieals)
This is the real life bar owned by Steve and Aiden. The tour finishes with a stop here so that you can grab a cosmopolitan!
174 Grand Street
To top it off, before being dropped off at the end of the tour you will receive discount vouchers for several of these locations such as the Pleasure Chest, Buddakan, etc.