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Where is the Friends apartment in real life? While Monica’s famous loft was supposed to be in New York City, its real location might surprise you. There are also some fun facts about all of the friends’ apartments every fan of the show should know.
Where is the Friends Apartment?
Friends remains one of the most popular shows on TV, even decades after it originally aired. One of the most iconic elements of the show is the apartments in New York City where the main characters live.
Where are the friends’ apartments in real life, though? Monica’s is a particularly popular tourist destination, one that you can actually visit.
Exterior: Greenwich Village, New York City
Usually when people are wondering, “where is the Friends apartment” they are referring to the exterior shot used for Monica’s apartment building. This building actually is located in New York City, at 90 Bedford Street and the corner of Grove Street. It’s in a neighborhood called Greenwich Village, just south of the West Village, where Friends is mainly set.
You can also see the exterior of Phoebe’s apartment just two blocks away at 5 Morton Street, also in Greenwich Village.
Interior: Warner Bros. Studios, Burbank, California
Some Friends fans may be disappointed to hear that the bulk of the show was not actually filmed in New York City.
In fact, the sets for the interiors of all of the apartments were on the opposite side of the country at a Warner Bros. Studios lot in California. This includes Monica’s apartment and Joey and Chandler’s apartment. Even the famous fountain in the show’s intro was on the Warner Bros. lot in California, not anywhere in New York City.
Of course, if you pay attention it is fairly obvious that the interior sets and exterior building shots don’t exactly line up with each other.
For example, the building in Greenwich Village used for the exterior of Monica’s apartment does not have the large, slanted window facing across the street like we see in the interior set. The typical explanation for this is that Monica’s apartment is facing the back of the building, not the street. So, “Ugly Naked Guy’s” apartment (and later Ross’s) would have to be located across some type of alley or courtyard behind Monica’s building.
Can You Visit the Friends Set?
Anyone can take pictures outside the building in Greenwich Village used for the exterior of Monica’s apartment. What about the sets for the interiors of the apartments, though? Unfortunately, as of 2023, Warner Bros. is not offering any kind of studio tour to see the actual sets. Luckily, there are other options.
An exhibit called the FRIENDS Experience has meticulously detailed recreations of the apartment sets in cities all over the world. For the authentic Friends experience, visit the exhibit in New York City. You can take pictures on the recreated sets, see real props from the show and get coffee from Central Perk.
Monica’s Apartment vs Real New York City Apartments
If you’re wondering, “where is the Friends apartment in real life”, you might also be curious about how realistic the friends’ apartments are, especially Monica’s. Many young people who are fans of the show aspire to live in a sprawling loft apartment like Monica and Rachel, but the experience in Friends isn’t always realistic.
In the show, Monica has a spacious loft-style, two-bedroom apartment with a large window in the back and even a terrace. In season one, we learn that Monica inherited this sprawling apartment from her late grandmother.
Over the years, she shares it with Phoebe, Rachel and eventually Chandler (Chandler and Joey also briefly had the apartment after winning a bet against Monica and Rachel).
Could Monica have realistically been able to afford this apartment, though? Even with a roommate, it’s hard to believe. A typical loft-style apartment in Manhattan can easily cost several thousand dollars per month, far more than Monica could conceivably afford as a chef, even with Rachel or Chandler’s help.
That doesn’t mean it’s completely impossible, though. The real-life building used for the exterior shots of Monica’s apartment is an “old law” tenement building, which could have been included in rent stabilization regulations. If Monica’s grandmother was living there for years or even decades, it’s possible that she could have had a very low rent. It’s also legally possible for Monica to inherit that rental rate when the apartment passed to her from her grandmother.
With that said, this is a drastic exception to the rule. A typical 20-something like any of the friends could not afford an apartment like Monica’s under regular circumstances. Even a studio loft apartment in the West Village can easily cost over $3,000 per month (which means the tenant would need to have an income of at least $90k to $100k per year).
What About Joey and Chandler’s Apartment?
Even though it’s right across the hall, Joey and Chandler’s apartment looks noticeably different from Monica’s. It’s definitely a more realistic representation of the type of apartment two young people could afford in New York City.
Although, with Joey’s notoriously inconsistent income as an actor, Chandler would probably need to be making a significant amount of money for them to keep a two-bedroom apartment in Greenwich Village. Of course, it’s hard to say for sure since Chandler’s job was famously never specified in the show.
Nonetheless, it is still possible that Joey and Chandler could have realistically been able to afford their apartment. The size and layout is more consistent with a lower-cost two-bedroom apartment in New York City. It’s still hard to believe they could get an affordable rental rate in Greenwich Village, but if their unit was rent stabilized like Monica’s, it’s certainly possible.
Today, two 20-somethings with incomes like Joey and Chandler’s would be more likely to live in an outer borough of New York City, such as Brooklyn. Outside of Manhattan, it would be much easier for them to afford a two-bedroom apartment like the one on the show.
Visiting the Friends Apartments in Real Life
The apartments from Friends have become pop culture icons. The buildings for the exterior shots of the apartments are located in Greenwich Village in New York City. However, the interior sets where most of the show was filmed are at a Warner Bros. Studio lot in Burbank, California. There are recreations of the sets in New York City that you can visit, though, as well as the apartment buildings in Greenwich Village.