Most Friends scenes (especially the apartments) were shot on-set at Warner Bros Studios. The real-life locations were filmed in Manhattan, New York, California, and London, England. While supposedly about a group of Manhattan friends, the Friends sitcom was shot at Stage 5 at the Warner Bros Ranch in California.
The Friends production team felt taking the show out of the set made it less funny. So they ensured only a few locations were selected for the individual shoots. Significant things like the Thanksgiving ballgame, the fountain in the opening credits (also at Warner Bros), and all the Las Vegas casino scenes have been shot on set.
While there are real NYC locations, most are used for the outer façade, like the building at 90 Bedford Street (for Monica and Rachel's apartment complex) or the Solow Building where Chandler Bing worked (no one still knows what he does for a living – may be a transponster?), and Bloomingdales where Rachel worked.
Most Friends filming locations are still there for visitors to view and click photos. Enthusiasts can also opt for the paid Friends tour at Warner Bros, where they can sit and have a cup of coffee on the famous couch at Central Perk, take a walk-through of Monica and Rachel's apartment, and play foosball in Chandler and Joey's apartment.
The series has guest appearances from many stars and industry leaders. Some notable names in the cast are Ralph Laurent (as himself), Anna Faris (whose character gives birth to Chandler and Monica's twins), Reese Witherspoon (Rachel's annoying younger sister), Alec Baldwin (Phoebe's boyfriend), Brad Pitt (founder of the 'I Hate Rachel Green' club), Winona Ryder (Rachel's sorority sister), and Bruce Willis (Rachel's boyfriend. Apart from these, there are also cameo appearances from Hugh Laurie, Dakota Fanning, Sarah Ferguson, Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, Ben Stiller, Julia Roberts, Brooke Shields, and Charlie Sheen.
Chandler in his office click-clacking the keys scene Friends
Solow Building, Manhattan, New York
Chandler takes up a job in a company in Manhattan. In this season 1, episode 15 scene, he's clacking away at his keyboard in his office cubicle when his supervisor, Ms. Tedlock (portrayed by Fritzi Burr), comes to meet him. He greets her, saying, "Ms. Tedlock, you're looking lovely today, and may I say that is a very flattering sleeve length on you." Ms. Tedlock looks confused, "Yes… Well, Mr. Kostelic would like you to stop by his office at the end of the day." Chandler gets spooked. He says, "Oh, listen, if this is about those prank memos, I had nothing to do with them – really, nothing at all." While Chandler is saying this, he starts picking up all the pranking items from his desk, like a rubber duck, a bouncy ball, and more.
Later, he meets his friends and explains that he got a promotion and is thinking of quitting. He tells them he monitors the WENUS (Weekly Estimated Net Usage Statistics) and ANUS (Annual Net Usage Statistics) and wants to do more with his life than just become the 9-5 guy working in an office.
This office where Chandler, the 'transponster' – that's not even a word – worked is the Solow Building in Manhattan. It is one of the most highly valued buildings in New York and was designed by architect Gordon Bunshaft. Visitors cannot enter the premises but can click pictures and grab a hot dog at one of the many stalls below.
Ross and Rachel waking up in the display scene in Friends
American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West, New York
This was one of the scenes in season 2, episode 15 where the Friends production team had to think a little out of the box. Ross is called to the New York Museum of Prehistoric History (where he works) to fix an issue between the display of the Australopithecus and the Homo Habilis. There's been confusion over which display is erect and not since Homo Habilis was erect, but Australopithecus was never fully erect. Chandler irritatingly retorts, "Well, maybe he was nervous!"
Ross and Rachel head out to the Museum and fix the display. Ross realizes that their date night is ruined, so he makes a romantic setting in the planetarium and woos Rachel. They get intimate and wake up the following day (sans any clothes) in the Museum display. He wakes up, kisses her shoulder, and says, "Hi." Rachel responds, "I can't believe I'm waking up next to you." As Ross looks up, he sees a bunch of school children with their teachers gaping at them through the display.
This filming location of Friends is the American Museum of Natural History at Central Park West, New York. It has everything from outer space to dinosaurs for visitors to experience. Take any bus to Central Park West and walk to the Museum to get here. Visitors would need to buy tickets to enter.
Monica gets stung by a jellyfish scene in Friends
Leo Carrillo State Beach, California
Let’s go to season 4, episode 1. Considering all the funny scenes in Friends, this one takes the cake – or rather the sting! In this hilarious scene, Monica, Joey, and Chandler are at the beach. Chandler is trying to find reasons that Monica would date him. Joey digs himself a deep hole in the sand and calls Chandler and Monica to see it. As Joey shows them both the big sandy hole he's dug, the seawater comes and spills into the hole.
As the water is receding, Monica gets stung by a jellyfish. She starts screaming, "Ow! Ow! Ow! Jellyfish sting! It hurts! It hurts!" Chandler asks, "How can we help you? You want us to take you back to the house?" Monica yelps, "It's like 2 miles! Damn the jellyfish! Damn all the jellyfish!" When Chandler suggests they do something, Joey says, "There's only one thing you can do. You're gonna have to pee on it!" When Monica thinks that gross, Joey says, "Don't blame me! I saw it on the Discovery Channel."
If you also want to get to this gorgeous beach where Monica tried a natural cure for jellyfish stings, head to the Leo Carrillo State Beach in California. To get here from LA and Santa Monica, take the CA-1 N until you reach the Beach Access Road exit. Follow the signs, and you'll reach the beautiful sandy shores.
I, Ross, take thee, Rachel scene in Friends
St. John's Churchyard, Wapping High Street, London, England
This is one of the best scenes in Friends. In season 5, episode 1, Ross is about to marry Emily at the altar in a church in London, England. He sees Rachel sitting with the rest of the guests. The priest starts the intonation, "Friends, family, we are gathered here today to celebrate the joyous union of Ross and Emily. Now Ross, repeat after me. I, Ross, take thee, Emily…." Ross repeats, "I, Ross, take thee, RACHEL…," and everyone is shocked!
Monica, Chandler, Joey, and Rachel are stunned! Phoebe, who's on the call from New York (she couldn't travel because of her pregnancy), is also surprised! Meanwhile, the audience (always in the background of the sitcom) is screaming, laughing, and whistling their approval. Ross tries to correct his mistake by saying, "Emily! Emily!" The priest turns to Emily and asks her, "Uh, Shall I go on?"
This Friends filming location is the St. John's Churchyard at Wapping High Street in London, England. This church was heavily bombed during the period of the Second World War and can offer visitors more insight than only being a Friends filming scene. To get here, catch the red line bus number 100 and get off at Stop C on Dundee Street. It's a one-minute walk to the churchyard.
Joey performing in Shutter Speed scene in Friends
Vasquez Rocks, Sierra Pelona Mountains, LA
Joey gets a big break in a leading role in a movie in season 5 called 'Shutter Speed,' which must be shot in Las Vegas. Considering how far LA is from New York, Joey takes Phoebe's cab, drives to Las Vegas, and finally ends up at the shooting location. When he reaches the set, he walks up to the director and says, "Stanley! Hey hey! Your leading man is here! Let's get to work!" Stanley looks at Joey and says unenthusiastically, "Um, slight change of plans. We've shut down." Joey is shocked and asks, "What? Why?"
Stanley shrugs (still with a straight face), "It's a money thing. We don't have any." Joey starts chuckling and says, "You're kidding, right?" and Stanley simply says, "No. It's probably just temporary. We're hoping to get some more money soon. So if you could just hang out?" Joey is stunned and sputters, "Hang out?! How long?" Stanley is still nonchalant and says maybe a week or two since he's confident people constantly invest in movies.
This sad scene in Friends was shot at the Vasquez Rocks, Sierra Pelona Mountains in Los Angeles, unlike Las Vegas mentioned in the series. These mountains were also featured in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, The Flintstones, Star Trek Into Darkness, Numb3rs, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and more. To get here, follow the CA-14 N to Agua Dulce Canyon Rd and take Exit 15. The rocks are a 6-minute drive from the exit.
Rachel and Phoebe running in the park scene in Friends
Central Park, New York
Let’s go to season 6. After Rachel and Phoebe move in together, they both want all the 'good words' while recording the welcome message on the answering machine. Rachel realizes she's getting late for her daily run in the park and invites Phoebe to go with her. Rachel says, "Oh, why don't you come with me? It'll be fun! We'll run in the park. It'll be like our first roommate-bonding thing! And there's really cute guys there." Phoebe gets excited and says, "Yeah, let's go run towards them!"
While they're in the park, Phoebe and Rachel get separated after their warm up because Phoebe has to tie her shoelaces. Rachel starts running ahead and enjoying her evening time in the park when suddenly she hears someone screaming in the background, "Come on! That's not running! Let's go-oo-ooo!!" Rachel gets extremely embarrassed and glances around to see if anyone noticed that she's with the girl screaming and running weirdly; she looks down and starts jogging again.
Visit this Friends location at Central Park, one of the most popular locations in New York City. Central Park has been in several iconic filming sequences like Bridgerton, Law and Order, Ghostbusters, The Devil's Advocate, John Wick, Spider-Man 3, Enchanted, Friends With Benefits, and more. To get to Central Park, hop onto any bus in Manhattan and get off at one of the park exits.
Without a doubt, Friends was a fabulous sitcom with a large fan following. The characters played their parts excellently, with all the scripts, locations, ups, downs, and emotional rollercoasters fitting perfectly with the lives of six friends living their lives in New York in the 90s.
Friends gave most people something to look forward to with each released season. It also received an overabundance of tears during the series finale episode, where all six friends finally say their goodbyes to the iconic apartment and move forward with their lives, loves, and children.
Friends was immortalized by the love, audience reactions, responses, and overwhelming realism the show always maintained. Since many of the issues and problems the six friends faced were familiar, from going around the US to visiting London, meeting new people, getting heartbroken, finding true meaning in relationships, and more, most audiences related exceptionally well with them and continue to do so even today.