When I tagged along on Charles’s work trip to New York City, I spent my time visiting Gossip Girl filming locations in NYC. I have lived in the city, and spent so much time in NYC that I needed a little inspiration to uncover some new-to-me things to do. I think you will enjoy this list of things to do even if you aren’t a GG super-fan.
I’ve lived in New York and I have written about New York. The city manages to feel familiar and new all at the same time. On some trips I like to go back to my favorite spots in the city, and other times I like to explore all new places. On my most recent visit I turned to Gossip Girl (which according to New York Magazine, is the “greatest show of our time“) for a bit of inspiration. I checked out restaurants mentioned in the television series, spent time in the Upper East Side, and hit up a few Gossip Girl filming locations.
Visiting Gossip Girl Filming Locations in NYC:
Top of the Rock/Empire State Building
While Gossip Girl filmed a Chuck and Blair centric scene at the top of the Empire State Building, my Mom and I opted to visit Top of the Rock instead. My reasoning was that the view of the Empire State Building is wonderful from Top of the Rock, and I preferred to have the architectural landmark in my photos. The weather was cold but the skies were clear – making it a perfect day to take in the view. We could see all the way to the Statue of Liberty.
Mom and I went on a Monday in March, so we were able to buy same day tickets and it wasn’t very crowded. You might want to book in advance – especially if you want to visit on a weekend.
Veselka, a 60 year old Ukrainian restaurant in the East Village, received many mentions throughout Gossip Girl’s six seasons as it was frequented by Dan Humphrey. Gossip Girl mentioned Veselka a few times, but they finally filmed there in season 4, when Dan following Blair and Louis there. I wasn’t sure of Dan’s ability to choose a restaurant, but my love of pierogi convinced me to check the place out. It was immediately clear that Veselka is one of those New York City establishments that takes you back in time. It doesn’t try to be cool or trendy, it’s a diner with a Ukrainian twist. It’s also considered one of the best places to get breakfast in Manhattan – a combination of the fact that they serve breakfast all day, and the fact that the food is delicious. Good call Dan Humphrey.
I ordered a blintz and an order of 4 pierogi. The server reassured me that it was a common order, even if it did seem a little odd. I was a little unsure as to what a blintz is, and I quickly learned that it is a spongey crepe filled with lightly sweetened farmer’s cheese. It was utterly delightful. There are several pierogi on the menu, and you can get an order of 4 or seven. I went with four, two of the short rib and two of the goat cheese and arugula. Other options include potato, cheese, sweet potatoes, sauerkraut, and mushrooms – and you can choose to have them boiled or fried. I had mine fried and justified that decision with the fact that I had walked 5.5 miles the day before. Fun fact: They make 3000 pierogi a day at Veselka. Is it worth going to Veselka? Absolutely. And since they are open 24 hours a day, you can go late night!
Grand Central Station
Grand Central Station is a architectural landmark and the place where Gossip Girl began. The first scenes of the series show Blake Lively’s Serena van der Woodsen returning to the city by train and being spotted in the grand main lobby. The architecture of Grand Central Station is so exceptional that it has landmark status. If you want to people watch, there are two restaurants in the upstairs balconies overlooking the rush of people below.
Another one of Gossip Girl’s most iconic scenes took place at the Campbell Apartment which is within Grand Central Station. Be warned, cocktails run $18-$25, but it’s worth the price since the space feels intimate and not touristy, and you can easily get lost in its decorative architectural details. The wood paneling, leaded glass windows, stone fireplace, and painted patterned ceiling are remarkable.
The Russian Tea Room
Most of the Gossip Girl gang: Serena, Chuck, Nate, Blair, and Georgina take down Poppy Lifton at this elegant restaurant in Midtown in the second 2 episode The Wrath of the Con.
While tea at the Carlyle Hotel wasn’t featured on the show, it is in the Upper East Side and Blair certainly drank lots of tea and had an affinity for dainty pastries so it fits within the theme. I had intended to take my mother to have tea at The Plaza, but the entire hotel was closed to the public for a week (some prince had rented it out). It was a happy accident that tea at the Carlyle was $55 compared to the $90 at The Plaza.
After tea at the Carlyle, we browsed the shops on Madison Avenue, which is a very GG thing to do, it seemed like every party was centered around some over the top event that everyone was hurrying to find a dress for. The shops in the Upper East Side tend to be less crowded than the shops in Midtown and SoHo, and they were deserted the day my Mom and I were there in March. If you really want to shop, and want assistance from salespeople, head to the Upper East Side.
Dylan’s Candy Bar
Dylan’s Candy Bar – an upscale candy shop made an appearance on Gossip Girl in season 2, and I couldn’t resist stopping at one of the shop’s locations to by gummy bears for Charles. Dylan’s Candy Bar has a massive selection, and they stock lots of hard to find vintage candies.
While I didn’t go to The Met on this trip, I can’t write a blog post about Gossip Girl filming locations in NYC without mentioning the iconic Upper East Side museum. Fun fact: They wanted to do a Met Ball episode but filming at the Met Ball proved to be too complicated. I am a huge fan of the museum and spent many hours there exploring the museum and doing research in the library when I was in grad school.
Blair loved to go to Central Park to feed the ducks. However, feeding the ducks is strictly forbidden. Bread isn’t good for the ducks, and park rangers keep an eye out to make sure people aren’t feeding the ducks. I do recommend going to Central Park, and while you are there, try to spot the mandarin duck that has moved to The Pond.
Also in Central Park, Blair and her father go ice skating together at the Wollman Rink in Season 1.
The show filmed at the Upper East Side auction house for the season three episode The Lost Boy. Blair, Chuck, a Serena attend an auction and bid against each other to buy a photograph. Sotheby’s is worth a visit since the artwork up for auction is exhibited to the public prior to auction – it’s one of my favorite free things to do in New York City.
This view of Williamsburg, Brooklyn was seen on nearly every episode of the series, the Humphrey family lived near Washington street, which has a perfect view of the Manhattan Bridge.
Let me know if you love Gossip Girl or if I missed any of your favorite Gossip Girl filming locations!
xoxo – you know you love me 😉