Lights, Camera, Action! My TV & Movie Sites Tour

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Ever been curious to see the places where your favorite movies and television shows have been filmed? I certainty was! So I decided to go on a TV & Movie Sites Tour around Manhattan with On Location Tours. The tour was so much fun! Not only did I get to see famous locations, but I learned a lot of interesting facts about them as well. For example did you know that Times Square was completely shut down, so Tom Cruise could film a scene in “Vanilla Sky” where it appears to be deserted? That was the first and only time that has ever happened. It caused so much chaos and traffic that from now on, they are forced to use special effects to make it look like the city is empty.

Being New York, productions are constantly being filmed, so we had a lot to see. We drove around the city on an uber comfy bus, which was packed with TV’s showing TV and movie clips related to the tour. This really helped build the excitement up on the tour. It was incredibly cool to watch the clips as we drove by each location, while our tour guide was describing what was filmed there. I must admit it was a buzz picturing Will Smith standing outside of the apartment where he lived in “I Am Legend” and Spiderman climbing up Hearst Tower. There are so many locations that I walk past all the time, that I didn’t even know were used in some of my favorite films! I work right by the National Museum of the American Indian and had no idea it was the Museum used in Ghostbusters. The clips on the bus really help give you that eureka moment.

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The official “Men In Black” MIB headquarters. No alien sightings that day 😛

To keep things fresh we also got to stop along the way. The first stop was at Washington Square Park where they filmed movies such as “Enchanted”, When Harry Met Sally”, “Big Daddy” and popular TV shows such as “Blue Bloods” and “Glee”. Then we went to Soho and were given some free time and a map of different locations that we could check out such as the Dean & DeLuca where “Felicity” worked, Dash where the Kardashians work in “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” and the apartment where Demi Moore lived in “Ghost”. If you decided that you wanted to use some of that time to shop or grab food, you could of course do that instead. While checking out the Dean & DeLuca, I had to buy some treats, which I immediately scoffed on the bus.

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The infamous arch in Washington Square park

After that we stopped at Hook & Ladder which was the firehouse where they filmed “Ghostbusters”, “Hitch” and “Seinfeld”. It is actually an active firehouse, but you can take a peek inside the window and see the “Ghostbusters” sign from the movie! Then we went to the apartment building that was featured in “Friends” where Rachel, Monica and the gang lived. I was amazed by how much smaller the building looks than in the show. I guess the camera really does add ten pounds 😛 Did you know that the owner of the apartment was never paid for any of the shots of the building? Not a penny! Only if they would have had to set up lights or equipment to film the building, otherwise they are fully in their rights to film as they please. I would be pretty bitter if I owned those apartments!

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The Hook & Ladder Firehouse – Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!

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“Friends” apartment in Greenwich Village!

During the tour, I realized I wouldn’t have been able to find many of these places on my own. Most of the addresses and locations are made up, so if you want to see where the Huxtables lived in Brooklyn or the Friends apartment by Central Park, you’d be in trouble because both are in Greenwich Village! When the tour ended, we were dropped off by The Original Soup Man which was where the cast of “Seinfeld” would go for their soup in the show (except for of course Elaine “No soup for you!”), so if you are hungry after your tour you can pop in and have the soup everyone was raving about!

Thank you On Location Tours, I had so much fun and now I will enjoy re-runs of my favorite shows and movies that little bit more!

Disclaimer: Thank you to On Location Tours for providing our tour. All opinions are, as always, my own. 

25 things to do in Las Vegas besides gamble!

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When people hear of Las Vegas they usually think of gambling, nightlife and tanning, but there is much much more to do in Vegas than just that! This guide will give you great tips on other fun things to do in Vegas that makes staying there such a unique experience.

1. Ride on the roller coaster at the New York, New York Hotel. It runs outside of the hotel, so I would suggest to do this at night. You get a breathtaking view of the strip at night and an even better view from the front seat which is where we sat! This ride is not for the faint hearted!

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2. See Las Vegas from 550 feet up on the High Roller observatory ferris wheel. It is the highest observation wheel in the world! The ride around the wheel is 30 minutes and is open noon to 2am daily. This is situated behind The Flamingo hotel at the new LINQ shopping and dining complex.

3. Chill out at the Minus 5 Ice Lounge in the Mandalay Bay Hotel. This lounge is always a frosty minus 5 degrees celsius because it is entirely made of ice from the walls, to the bar, seats and even the glasses you drink out of! Thankfully you get gloves and a parka coat or faux fur coat to wear while inside. Check it out, take a seat on an ice couch and enjoy the music with an ice cold drink! 

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4. Enjoy a dinner show at Excalibur’s Tournament of Kings. Watch the kings battle each other in this fun show that has audience interaction, jousting, fireworks, singing and more! As the show is performing you get to indulge with soup, full meal (cutlery not included!), dessert and a drink. Hazzah!

5. Theres a lot to see at the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay Hotel. You can see over 2,000 animals such as sharks (what a surprise!), sting rays, giant octopus, jelly fish, endangered green sea turtles, piranhas and more! You can also book an Animal Encounter where you can watch sting rays, sea turtles or sharks being fed. It even has a Dive with Sharks program for those who are braver than me! 

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6. Swimming with dolphins at The Mirage hotel in the Dolphin Habitat. This is an expensive option, but it really is a once in a lifetime experience.

7. Play games! Instead of gambling your money away on slot and table games, you can have fun with arcade games! Excalibur’s “Fun Dungeon” , New York, New York’s “Big Apple Arcade”, Monte Carlo’s “Backstreet Arcade” and Circus, Circus’ “Midway” are some of the best arcade gaming areas to be found at the hotels. Circus, Circus also has old school carnival games such as ball throwing, balloon popping and even a dunk tank.

8.  See a show! There are a ton of shows that can fit anyones taste such as Cirque du Soleil, magic shows, concerts and comedy acts.

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9. Go on the rides at the Adventuredome Theme Park in Circus, Circus. It has everything a theme park would have for both families and thrill seekers. During the Halloween period, Adventuredome is transformed into a Halloween themed park called The Frightdome, which is always named as being one of the premier Halloween attractions to visit in the whole United States.

10. Indoor skydiving! If you aren’t brave enough to do the real thing or just want to try something new and fun, this is a great option!

11. Go on a gondola ride at The Venetian Hotel. If you haven’t had a chance to go to Venice yet, you can take a ride in a gondola which takes you through replicas of the watery streets of Venice both inside and outside of the hotel.

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12. Head to a water park for the day. If you need to cool down and take a break from the casino’s there is a Wet ‘n’ Wild only 15 minutes from the strip! It has more than 25 rides and attractions ranging from thrilling water slides to family friendly fun.

13. Eat!!! There are so many good places to in eat in Las Vegas. I haven’t had a bad meal yet! It has all varieties to fit different taste buds and price ranges.. restaurants with a view, buffets, pool side bites or just grab a gelato at The Venetian!

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14. Drive a bulldozer at the Dig This: Heavy Equipment Playground. Learn to operate heavy-duty equipment in a life-size sandbox. You can even play games such as ‘Excavator Basketball’, where you try to pick up a basketball off of a cone and place it into your tire basket. Now that is a unique experience!

15. Float around in the lazy river at the MGM Grand hotel. Even if you aren’t staying there, you can buy a pass to get in. Top tip – If you are going with a group of you and intend on staying by the pool a while it pays to get a cabana. Cabana’s are generally free as long as you spend a certain amount of money on food and drinks.

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16. If you aren’t afraid of heights you can go on the Stratosphere Tower Thrill Rides at the top of The Stratosphere hotel. Towering at 1,149 feet up, the Stratosphere Tower is the tallest freestanding observation tower in the United States. Obviously being Las Vegas the home of extremes, the question was always going to be, why not build some rides at the top of it? It has three rides.. Insanity, X-Scream and Big Shot. If you aren’t into traditional fairground rides, but still want to get your white knuckle thrills you can do the Sky Jump and leap off of it! Yikes!!!

17. Book an excursion. There are tours that take you off the strip to other places, such as the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Red Rock and even Death Valley, CA! Check out the posts linked here that I made of my experiences. I promise it will make you want to book a tour of your own!

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18. Shoot at a gun range. There are different gun options to choose from including machine guns and some pretty high caliber pistols and rifles!

19. Go zip lining off of the Rio Hotel! This is still in construction but once completed, the VooDoo Zip Line will send you flying from one end of the Rio tower to the other at almost 500 feet up!

20. Do you watch the show “Pawn Stars”? You can visit the Pawn Stars Gold and Silver Pawn Shop! If you are a fan of the show, they have autograph sessions taking place once a day during the week, however there is no set schedule because of ever changing filming times. 

21. Want to go to a lounge that really reminds you of Vegas? The Peppermill Fireside Lounge is the spot! It has neon lights, fake trees everywhere, a fire pit and great cocktails, it really is deliciously tacky and the quintessential Las Vegas experience! Their most talked about drink is the Scorpion bowl which is huge so be careful, it sneaks up on you! No wonder it was in films such a “Showgirls” and “Casino”. It also has a diner attached to it, so you can stumble over from the lounge if you need to soak up some of that alcohol!

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22. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be in a race car? No need to wonder anymore! You can experience racing by riding shotgun at speeds up to 160mph during the Richard Petty Ride Along Experience.

23. Take a rest and grab a drink with a view. There are lounges that have great views of the strip! If you are not into the club scene you can always go earlier and relax at a lounge before the craziness starts. You can relax and grab a drink or food depending on which place you go. Some nice lounges are Marquee, Voodoo and Mixx. Mixx has a sunset champagne toast. If you are there for when the sun starts to set, you get a complimentary glass of champagne and everyone does a toast together (nice touch Mandalay Bay!). For those of you who like super upscale lounges, try the Mandarin Bar at The Mandarin Oriental Hotel, it is pretty swanky and has truly breathtaking views of the strip.

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24. Visit a museum or exhibit. You can become a new CSI recruit and solve a crime at the The CSI Experience, discover the truth at the Mob Museum with interactive exhibits, check out over 250 authentic artifacts recovered from the Titanic at the Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition or go and see the the old casino signs at the Neon Museum.

25. If you visit during the holiday season, you can ice skate on the strip outside of The Venetian hotel. If you want to ice skate with a view of the strip, The Cosmopolitan hotel transforms their Boulevard Pool into a fully functioning ice skating rink. It also has fire pits where you can huddle round and enjoy s‘mores, hot chocolate and deliciously warm cocktails.

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