I don’t think I’d get many arguments if I said that Central Park is the most famous public park in the world. We’ve seen it on countless films and TV shows. It is the most filmed location in the world, over 350 movies have scenes shot there. That’s why many people come to Central Park to get married – because they’ve seen it on the screen. Some people who come to Central Park to get married have never visited in person, but they’ve seen it in film and TV and they just know it’s the place for them.
What follows is by no means an exhaustive list of those 350 movies. This is my list of some of the popular movies that are shot in some of the most photographed locations in Central Park for couples who come here to get married.
The Mall has featured in many New York movies. Dustin Hoffman teaches his son to ride a bike there in Kramer vs. Kramer. In a scene in Maid in Manhattan, Jennifer Lopez and Ralph Fiennes sit on one of the distinction Central Park benches. Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis walk down it in Friends with Benefits. It has featured in many more movies, such as Vanilla Sky, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Big Daddy. The kids from Glee danced and sang part of “I Love New York” on the Mall.
The Tavern on the Green is a hugely iconic New York restaurant, and was actually inoperative as a restaurant for a long time, until it was refurbished and recently re-opened in 2014. It has featured in Ghostbusters, Beaches, Hitch, Crimes and Misdemeanors, and Mr Popper’s Penguins (which also has scenes in the Central Park Zoo, of course), to name but a few. Also, an important scene in Wall Street takes place on Sheep Meadow and the nearby Tavern.
Lots of scenes in the 1984 Ghostbusters movies were filmed in Central Park. In fact, the building where Rick Moranis and Sigourney Weaver live; where the big finale happens on the roof with the demon Zuul would have been on Central Park West had it existed. You can easily see the building they altered with CGI for the film from the Lake in Central Park, and it is many couples’ wedding photos.
The Boathouse restaurant, in the heart of Central Park, is perhaps the most famous restaurant in Central Park. In an episode of Sex and the City, Carrie meets Mr. Big for lunch there. She has sworn to Miranda that she will not kiss him and while dodging his kiss, they both fall off of the restaurant terrace and into the Lake. Also, Meg Ryan has lunch with her friends there in When Harry Met Sally (not the *very* famous “I’ll have what she’s having” scene – that’s Katz’s Deli)
Harry and Sally famously take a stroll together in Central Park. As do Kermit and Miss Piggy in a newly cleaned-up and restored 1980s Central Park. So do Julia Roberts and James Franco in Eat Pray Love, and many, many more. The opening scene of the 1979 movie adaptation of Hair is shot as the dancers perform “Aquarius” all over Central Park. The North end of the park is lesser-known to tourists, but there are some lovely scenes shot around Harlem Meer in the Adam Sandler movie, Big Daddy.
When many people think of Central Park, they think of Bethesda Terrace and Fountain. Kevin evades the “Sticky Bandits” there in Home Alone 2. And, possibly the most famous wedding in Central Park, when Chuck and Blair get married in Gossip Girl, took place underneath Bethesda Terrace. It has also featured in scenes in John Wick, Elf, Sex and the City, Green Card, Godspell, Angels in America, It Could Happen to You, Law and Order, Out of Towners, Love Story and Enchanted, and many more. Lots of the 2012 movie The Avengers was of course shot in Manhattan, with some big scenes taking place on Bethesda Terrace. This area has also featured in the video game Grand Theft Auto IV.
In Léon: The Professional, Jean Reno taught Natalie Portman how to shot with a sniper rifle from rooftop of a building overlooking Central Park by Columbus Circle. Ghostbusters, Borat, Enchanted, Taxi Driver, Keeping the Faith, and Crocodile Dundee shot scenes at street level at Columbus Circle.
The Conservatory Water is a lovely open space on the east side of Central Park. I think it’s best known for being in the scene where the mouse Stuart Little sails a boat. Human visitors can also sail boats on this charming little pool. Other films, such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s and 13 going on 30 have also filmed scenes there. There’s a scene in Remember Me, where Robert Pattinson sits on the Alice in Wonderland statue that is close to the Conservatory Water.
If you stand outside the Met, on Fifth Avenue at the edge of Central Park, you’ll be where they filmed the external scenes when Pierce Brosnan stole a Monet painting in the 1990s remake of The Thomas Crown Affair. If you want to go inside, you can see where many famous movies have scenes, one iconic New York movie being When Harry Met Sally, when Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan walk through the Met’s majestic Egyptian Room.
Bow Bridge has what might be the most iconic vista of all of Central Park. From there, you can look of the Central Park Lake, with the row boats, and see the well-known shapes of the beautiful buildings on Central Park West in the background behind the trees. So many movies feature a scene filmed here, including Enchanted, Uptown Girls. Spider Man 3, Autumn in New York, Keeping the Faith and Woody Allen’s Manhattan.
Actually, just about every Woody Allen film features a scene in Central Park. Hannah and her Sisters in particular has some major scenes there.
A walk by the Lake also provides a stunning view of those same Upper West side buildings. Ben Stiller and his co-star in Night of the Museum walk past it in a scene, perhaps because the museum in the film’s title is right next to that part of Central Park.
In the south-east corner of Central Park is the lovely stone Gapstow Bridge. Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon sat on a bench with it in the background in Arbitrage. Yet another Home Alone 2 scene is filmed there – Kevin meets the woman who feds the birds there by the Pond with the bridge in the background.
The Plaza is not quite in Central Park, but it’s right next to it on Central Park South. If you are getting married in Cop Cot then you will be just a stone’s throw away, so it might be worth considering a drink there, either before or after. Macaulay Culkin stayed there in Home Alone 2. Scenes from Almost Famous, It Could Happen To You, North By Northwest, Brewster’s Millions, Crocodile Dundee, The Great Gatsby and a film about two friends scheduling their wedding son the same day, Bride Wars, along with many more, have also been filmed there.
The Wollman ice skating rink is only in Central Park during the winter, but it has featured in several films. In Serendipity John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale, meet up there at the end of the film. Love Story, Stepmom and Gossip Girl have also shot major scenes there. And of course Home Alone 2 (it would be easier to write about places in Central Park where they didn’t shoot that movie!)
I’ve almost certainly missed out lots of film and TV locations. More than 350 movies have been filmed there, making Central Park the most filmed location in the world. I have just tried to list some popular ones in lovely locations. So, if any film buffs are reading this, please feel free to add to my list in the comments. If you’d like some help planning a wedding in Central Park in any of these locations, and many more then email me. heck out lots more information on the website, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest to see lots of photos of newlywed couples in this world-famous, iconic location that you’ve seen so many times on screen.