Spotted – lonely girls or boys in New York City looking to explore the Upper East Side, and the rest of the city like they’re one of Queen B’s minions on a diabolical mission. As someone who recently binged watched their way through the entire Gossip Girl series on Netflix, I was continually intrigued by the various lavish New York City locales that all of the characters I loved, and even those I loved to hate frequented over the course of six drama-packed seasons.
Whether you’re planning an inaugural visit to The Big Apple, or you’re looking for new places to explore on your triumphant return – this is the list for you. You can follow the path of Saint Nate, Lonely Boy, Serena, Chuck Bass, or even my personal favorite mean girl and Queen B, Blair Waldorf. Readers be warned: this guide to New York City is filled with series spoilers and recommendations that are sure to make your next trip to New York completely fabulous. So strap on your designer shoes and pack some cab fare because, “Upper East Side Queens aren’t born at the top. They climb their way up in heels, no matter who they have to tread on to do it.”
30 Steps of the Met
Grab your headband and a container of yogurt and enjoy the lay of the land while you look down upon all who serve you while you sit on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the favorite lunch spot of the most popular at Constance. This is reportedly a real-life hang out for privileged NYC private school students. Don’t want to just hang out on the steps? Head on in and enjoy the art as well 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM Tuesday to Thursday and Sunday, or 930AM to 9 PM on Friday and Saturday. The Met is located at 1000 Fifth Avenue (at 82nd Street)
29 Grand Central Station
What better place to arrive in New York City than at Grand Central Station? This is where Gossip Girl Fans and Gossip Girl herself spot Serena’s less than triumphant return to the Upper East Side in the first episode of the series. Grand Central Terminal is featured in many movies and shows simply because it’s so stunning in its architecture. It really is the perfect place for S to make her big entrance. Grand Central Station is at 89 E 42nd Street.
28 The Empire Hotel
It’s somehow very fitting that Chuck Bass lives somewhere as grand as The Empire, after all, he spends most of the series struggling with what it means to carry on the Bass family legacy. When Check invests in the Empire Hotel, a real New York establishment located on 44 West 63rd Street, it becomes his home, and the backdrop for some of the best moments of Chucks’ struggles from a selfish Pinocchio into a real man who is worthy of Queen B’s love. Catering to their audiences The Empire Hotel boasts a cocktail list exclusively for fans of the show in their lounge. So pull up a seat and sip on drinks like, “XOXO”, “Lonely Boy”, or “I’m Chuck Bass”.
27 The Bethesda Terrace and Fountain
Central Park is a huge part of New York, so it’s no wonder that it’s the backdrop of many Gossip Girl moments. What’s probably most surprising is that it’s Queen B herself who spends the most time in the park. It’s only fitting that at the end of Season 6 Blair and Chuck finally get married, in a rushed ceremony while the police are in hot pursuit to question the scheming duo, they do so in the park. Want to recreate the exact moment when Chuck Bass was spotted, “losing something nobody even knew he had. His heart.”? Visit The Bethesda Terrace and Fountain in the park (at 72nd Street).
26 The Campbell Apartment
The ultimate place of Gossip Girl seduction, it’s atop the bar at the Campbell Apartment, located at 15 Vanderbilt Avenue (off of 43rd Street) where a drunken Serena hooks up with her best friend’s boyfriend, Nate Archibald. We’re guessing that liquor laws won’t allow real-life teens to lead lives of drunken debauchery whenever they want, but it’s worthy of a visit for grown-ups. Recently revamped, and now called The Campbell Bar, it’s worth taking a visit for a drink or two. Just be sure to follow their dress code and not wear shorts or a baseball cap after 4 pm.
25 Oheka Hotel and Estate
Even when the cast and crew are pretending not to be in New York, they really don’t travel that far. When Blair is licking her wounds in Tuscany, she’s really in the city. “All summer I’ve been sitting in front of my favorite Manet and reading Colette in the park, hoping that I’ll lock eyes with somebody who’s doing the same thing as me. Or feeling the same thing as I am. But alas, not effective. For all my efforts I’m heading back home with a Chuck-sized cloud above my head.” No matter where Blair says she is, she was really at Oheka Hotel and Estate, which although it’s beautiful, it’s not Tuscany. Boasted as ‘Europe in America’, you can take a Jitney to Long Island, but be prepared to pay. A night for two with their Great Gatsby package will run you $895 plus.
24 The Milan Condos
What’s the point in living as a socialite in New York City if you don’t have a fantastic view to look down at all of the commoners? The Milan Condos, specifically the penthouse suite, is the home of the van der Woodsen family. While most suites in the Milan are two bedroom spaces, the family naturally splurged on a much bigger suite, complete with three fireplaces. There are currently a number of apartments for sale in the building, which is located on 300 East 55th street, so if you have an extra three to four million dollars laying around, why not make an appointment to view a place or two!
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23 Museum of the City of New York
While New York is filled with lots of real exclusive private schools, the exteriors for Constance Billard School wasn’t really an educational institution, it’s a museum. All of the exterior shots for Constance were shot at The Museum of The City of New York (1220 Fifth Avenue, hours 10AM-6PM Tuesday to Sunday), while St. Jude School for Boys was really shot at both the museum and Synod of Bishops Russian Orthodox Church (located at 75E 93rd street). You can get your own photos outside of both establishments the next time you visit the city.
22 1136 5th Avenue (Home of Queen B)
Blair Waldorf lives in a Penthouse of a very exclusive 15-story building located at 1120 Park Avenue (on the corner of 5th Avenue and 95th Street). This building houses only 43 apartments, including hers, and was built by famed architect George F. Pelham Jr. This building has a view of Central Park, and boasts a full-time doorman with white gloves, but no real life Dorota on the inside. Recently a two bedroom in the same building sold for around 2.7 million dollars. This is the same building that Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid owned during their marriage, which sold in 2002 for 6.5 million dollars.
21 Butter Midtown
The beginning of the battle of the Queen B’s between Blair Waldorf and Jenny Humphrey plays out when Blair ends up sitting alone at the popular midtown restaurant all by herself. This is a great restaurant to check out before any New York Theatre tickets, as the staff is particularly mindful of getting customers out on time to make sure they don’t miss their curtain call. A big highlight for diners is raspberry beignets for dessert. Butter is located at 70 W 45th Street (at 6th Avenue) and you can make reservations in advance online.
20 Hampton Escape
One of the trendiest things about living in New York City is being able to afford to escape it in the blistering summer heat. While most Gossip Girl cast members don’t ride public transit, everyone rides the Hampton Jitney. You too can take a ride out to Long Island (AKA the Hamptons for as low as $25-$50). Spotted, “Chuck Bass waiting for the Jitney. A dozen roses in one hand, his heart in the other. You know what they say: A man is a good thing to come home for. But an even better thing to come home with. Ain’t karma a b*&h? We know Blair Waldorf is.”
19 The Williamsburg Loft
Even though everyone liked to make fun of Dan ‘lonely boy’ Humphrey and little J for trying to fit in on the Upper East Side with their Brooklyn area code roots, the Williamsburg loft is arguably one of the coolest regular sets on Gossip Girl. The loft is located right next to DUMBO (a borough of Brooklyn, the name is a short form of Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) on 455 Water Street (apartment 6). Monthly rentals in this building run between 5-6K per month, and to buy will cost you anywhere from 700K to 2 million.
18 Dylan’s Candy Bar
Candy shopping is a fun and cheap experience we can all enjoy. The world famous Dylan’s Candy Bar has had cameos in film and TV for years, and Gossip Girl wasn’t going to be left out of this sweet and brightly colored backdrop. With over 5,000 types of candy, this is where Vanessa and Dan go shopping for an anniversary present for the boyfriend who has everything, Nate Archibald. The two-floor shop has candy everywhere and is located at 1011 3rd Avenue.
Whenever Queen B and Serena are reconciling it’s usually over brunch. A word of wisdom on brunch from Blair herself, “Here’s my advice. Have a little faith, and if that doesn’t work, have a lot of mimosas.” Although there are several Sarabeth’s in NYC, you know these socialites are spending most of their time at the Upper East Side location, 1295 Madison Avenue. They have a legendary weekend brunch which features a Four Flowers Mimosa and a Pickled House Bloody Mary.
16 St. James Church
Blair’s ‘Royal Wedding’ to Mr. Wrong takes place at St. James’ Church. It’s here that Blair not only realizes that she’s made a terrible mistake, when she acknowledges her love for Chuck, she is publicly humiliated thanks to Gossip Girl 2.0 (AKA Georgina Sparks). It shows us everything that Blair thinks she wants, and then is beautifully contrasted with our heroine flying the coup and running away with Dan in a moment that is akin to so many of the old classic movies the unlikely couple bonded over. St. James Church is located at 865 Madison Avenue.
15 The Plaza Hotel
The Plaza Hotel is beyond most people’s budget, but worthy of a visit to the lobby. Remember the episode when Blair and Serena ditch Blair’s mom’s fashion photoshoot, and take the clothes to host a photo-worthy moment of their own, right beside Central Park? That rare moment where we get to see the softer side of the complex friendship between Blair and Serena took place outside of the Plaza Hotel (between 5th Avenue and 59th Street) in front of the water fountain, in case you want to enjoy a fashion show moment of your own.
14 The Russian Tea Room
The Russian Tea Room is a piece of New York History. With a décor that is rich and filled with New York history, it’s no wonder it’s a part of a Gossip Girl scheme that ends up getting Serena arrested. This is one of the pricier options on the list, but definitely worth dining in style like a real New York elite. Make sure you get a reservation in advance, and to have them add cherries to your tea ‘the real Russian way.’ The Russian Tea Room is located at 150 West 57th Street.
High Fashion is a must during Gossip Girl, and Little J never disappointed with her flair for drama and fashion design. Capitale boasts a lavish atmosphere and unparalleled service. No wonder it was the location of an Eleanor Waldorf Design Fashion show, you know the one where Jenny first showed off her fashion design with Serena as her model. The space was built in 1893, and is one of the premiere NYC wedding venues, located at 130 Bowery (at Grand Street).
12 Central Park Skating
It’s rare for us to see anyone beyond Nate do anything remotely athletic on Gossip Girl, which really makes you wonder how they stay in such great shape, but I digress. For a truly New York moment, we can enjoy an adorable scene where Blair skates on the ice rink in Central Park. While there are two rinks in the park, the one Queen B skates on is the Wollman Skating Rink, so you’ll need to enter the park at 59th and 6th Avenue. Skate to your heart’s content for $12 Monday – Thursday, or $19 on weekends. Don’t have skates? Rentals are nine bucks.
11 The Pond
The pond is where we see the softer side of Blair, where she’d go to feed the ducks with Darota, or where she and Serena would make a truce after one of their many feuds throughout the series. The pond is also a frequent stop along the path of Nate’s runs, either solo or with his dad “the Captain”. To locate the pond for your own picture perfect moment, or to feed the ducks (rice, oats, corn, and peas are always a safe bet) enter the park through the Southeastern Entrance off of 60th Street.
10 Vera Wang
Vera Wang makes many perfect wedding dresses, and is even featured in the show for her bridal and bridal party designs, along with a cameo from the designer herself. When Blair married Louis she was wearing an A-line dress from Vera Wang’s 2010 collection. Not to disappoint, her bridesmaids and maid of honor Serena, are also wearing Wang. At the time the bridesmaid dresses were available for less than $200 at David’s Bridal. You too can shop Vera Wang’s bridal collection by visiting the store located at 991 Madison Avenue.
9 Babycakes NYC
Thanksgiving was always a pivotal event in the plotlines of Gossip Girl, and the episode where Dan drops his dessert on the ground in front of Babycakes NYC to stop a hot mess Serena from getting hit by a car does not disappoint. Enjoy your own sweet moment at the former location of Babycakes at 248 Broome Street (at Orchard and Ludlow) which is still a bakery, only now it is a Gluten Free, Vegan, and Kosher Bakery called Erin McKenna’s Bakery. Don’t worry you can still drop your cake out front.
Every once in a while we’re reminded of Lonely Boy’s ‘lower class’ roots, no matter how much he wants to get inside the Upper East Side’s crew. Veselka is a New York City Institution that has been serving up traditional Ukrainian Food in the East Village since 1954. Just like Dan and Vanessa recommend eating the pierogis, so does everyone else. Visit Veselka yourself at 144 Second Avenue. It doesn’t matter when you want to go because you can enjoy their fine food 24 hours a day.
7 Henri Bendel
Blair’s stress dreams give us a peek into her motivations and greatest fears. You don’t need to go to Tiffany’s to relive a classic Gossip Girl Nightmare. This dream wasn’t filmed at Tiffany’s, it was filmed at Henri Bendel, a fashionable store located at 712 Fifth Avenue, that also supplies many of the outfits we see on both Serena and Blair – most notably both frenemies’ prom dresses as well as some of their best go-to accessories throughout the run of the show.
6 The Archibald Townhouse
The Archibald Townhouse is proof of the old school money of the family, and paints an interesting picture when Nate is living in the house like a poor college student after all of the family’s possessions have been repossessed. This is one of the most popular places for fans to stop for a picture, because who doesn’t love Saint Nate and all of his good intentions. The Townhouse is located at 4 E 74th Street just off of 5th Avenue.
5 The Sherry Netherland Hotel
When Georgina Sparks comes to town she’s sure to make a splash. One of her favorite places to stay is The Sherry Netherland Hotel, located at 781 5th Avenue, just outside Central Park. Perfect for being stylish or scheming, the five-star hotel has been housing New York’s elite since opening the doors in 1927. At the date of publication, rooms start at $327 if you want to splurge, or you can skip the booking and dine in the hotel restaurant, Harry Cipriani instead.
4 Barrio Chino
Gossip Girl fans know that Serena tends to get sloppy on Thanksgiving, and one year she imbibes at Barrio Chino, has recovery tacos, and runs into her then Ex, Dan Humphrey. Located at 253 Broome Street Barrio Chino, which means Chinese Hood in Spanish, incorporates Spanish and Asian Themes. They are known for their agave liquor, with each shot arriving with a ‘peppery sangria chaser’. This is one of the most affordable places to eat, featured on the show, with an advertised Yelp price range of $11- $30 per meal. Don’t forget to try the margaritas!
3 Cafe Habana
If you’ve never tried a Cuban sandwich, it’s time to make like Dan and Rufus Humphrey, enjoy some family bonding time and find out what all the fuss is about. Located in downtown Brooklyn, naturally, Café Habana offers both dine in and delivery options. The Habana Cuba Sandwich was voted the best in NYC, this, along with the business on a whole owner Sean Meenan credits to his love for the Brooklyn Community. There are several locations around NYC, and even one in Japan, but you’ll want to dine at the 757 Fulton Street one in the heart of Brooklyn, or the 17 Prince street location.
2 The Modern
The Modern is a two Michelin stars restaurant that overlooks MoMA’s Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden, with the best views in the warmer weather. Consider including a meal here after taking in some artwork. This is a very Blair approved place for a date, or to orchestrate a scheme. Known for their artistic presentation of food. Want to be sure to get in? You can make your reservations up to 28 days ahead of time, and save your cash – a meal here will cost over a hundred dollars, and that’s without beverages.
1 Gramercy Tavern
News in Upper East Side, The Gramercy Tavern is reportedly Blair’s favorite place to dine in all of New York City. Located at 42 E 20th Street, The Gramercy Tavern has fed many guests for over two decades of delectable food. Lucky Peach Magazine says, The Gramercy Tavern is, “The poster child of all that is good about American food today.” This isn’t a cheap place to eat, but may be worth the investment. Appetizers start at around 20 dollars, and entrees 30 dollars. Happy eating!
References: In Style, Road Trippers, World of Wanderlust, I am not a Stalker, Vanilla Sky Dreaming, Central Park Tours NYC, Travel on the Brain, Reel Rundown
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