The Most-Filmed Location In The World Is In This Major US City

Movies and TV can provide travel inspiration, and there's a certain satisfaction to seeing a place you've visited onscreen. Cities like London and Paris have appeared in numerous films, with the latter holding one of the world's most-visited museums, the Louvre. However, movies are arguably America's greatest cultural export, and given that Hollywood is situated in the U.S., it should come as no surprise that the world's most-filmed location is in a major U.S. city.

Spoiler alert: It's not in Los Angeles, where Hollywood itself is, but rather on the opposite coast. Central Park in New York City is the world's most-filmed location. Spread out over 840 acres, the park is a big green oasis in the middle of a concrete jungle. If you look at a map of Upper Manhattan, you'd see Central Park taking up the whole center, between the city's Upper West Side and Upper East Side. Even digitally, the park is a place that requires a bit of scrolling the more you zoom in on it in Google Maps.

Let's go through some of the films and TV shows where Central Park has appeared — you might be surprised at just how many there are — along with some real-life things you can do there.

Where you've seen Central Park onscreen

The cinematic history of Central Park goes back over 100 years to the first American silent film adaptation of William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" in 1908. Though the film itself is now lost, its shooting location can be found in Bethesda Terrace on the north side of the Central Park Mall. With six decades of free public performances by esteemed actors like Meryl Streep and Al Pacino, Shakespeare in the Park is an enduring tradition, hosted every summer in the park's open-air Delacorte Theater.

Since "Romeo and Juliet," Central Park has appeared in over 300 films. This includes Oscar-winning films like "The Apartment," starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine, and crowd-pleasers like "Ghostbusters," where the park becomes the site of a nighttime Terror Dog chase.

In "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York," while staying at the nearby Plaza Hotel, Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) encounters a pigeon lady in Central Park. In "Die Hard with a Vengeance," John McClane (Bruce Willis) drives a yellow cab straight through the park as a shortcut. (You'll probably want to ask your taxi driver to go around the park and avoid aiming for mimes, as McClane does.)

On TV, Central Park has appeared everywhere from "Law & Order" to "Sex and the City," while New York-set blockbusters such as "Cloverfield" and "The Avengers" have kept the park alive in the imagination of moviegoers well into the 21st century.

What to do in and around Central Park

Central Park has many well-known landmarks in and around it, including museums such as the Guggenheim, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (or "Met"). The Dakota apartment building, located across the street from the park, is listed in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. It appeared in the film "Rosemary's Baby" and is the site where John Lennon was assassinated. Fans of Lennon and The Beatles will find him memorialized nearby at Strawberry Fields in Central Park.

Within the park itself, every season is a different experience. Spring brings cherry blossoms, summer brings boating on the Lake, autumn brings colorful leaves, and winter brings ice skating at Wollman Rink. The Conservatory Garden and Central Park Zoo are open year-round, as are Belvedere Castle and Seneca Village, the latter of which is an important site with information about the area's pre-park history as a Black community.

Hikers and bird-watchers will find a shocking amount of trails to explore in the Ramble, while the famous Alice in Wonderland statue, Bow Bridge, and the Central Park Carousel will keep sightseers further preoccupied with the ABCs of Central Park travel. On a trip to New York City, you could easily spend a day or two in and around Central Park. And hey, next time you watch a movie (maybe on the plane ride home), you could very well see a place you visited in Central Park.