Image: "Sex and the City tour"
Seth Wenig  /  AP
Shaley Griffin of Abilene, Texas, samples a cupcake from the Magnolia Bakery while walking through Greenwich Village with fellow participants on a "Sex and the City" tour in New York.
updated 5/9/2008 3:29:22 PM ET 2008-05-09T19:29:22

Forget the Empire State Building.

Some New York tourists are eager to see the city's other landmarks: Carrie's stoop, Charlotte's gallery and that restaurant where Samantha threw a martini in a boyfriend's face.

Fans of "Sex and the City" have long arrived here eager to see the $500 shoes, the Cosmopolitan-drinking fashionistas and the glamorous serial daters for themselves. Now, with the movie follow-up to the show set to premiere later this month, a number of them are planning trips so that they can see "Sex and the City" ... in the city.

"Once we found out there was going to be a movie, we thought what a great weekend to do a girls' trip to New York City, the weekend of the premiere," said Amy Walker, a 31-year-old accountant from Minneapolis who says she has watched the entire series twice on DVD.

Along with three female friends, she's planning to relax at a spa mentioned on the show, take a "Sex and the City Hotspots" tour and see the movie on its opening weekend.

"The producers have said that New York City is the fifth lady of the show," says Lisa Blythe Perlman, a guide for the hotspots tour. "Eighty percent of the show was filmed on location."

Perlman and her colleagues bus about 1,000 tourists a week to see Carrie's stoop, check out her favorite sex-toy shop, sample her signature cocktail and eat the same cupcakes that they first spotted on the show. The tour company says it has already seen advance purchases more than double for the May 30 opening weekend.

Sex in the City Tour
Seth Wenig  /  AP
Tourists watch actress Sarah Jessica Parker, who plays the character Carrie Bradshaw, on a monitor during the "Sex and the City" tour in New York. Some tourists are eager to see the city's other landmarks: Carrie's stoop, Charlotte's gallery and that restaurant where Samantha threw a martini in a boyfriend's face.
"'Sex and the City' has been one of the all-time great commercials for the city of New York," says George Fertitta, who heads NYC & Company, the city's tourism office. "There's all of the fabric and the texture and the vibrancy of New York. ... It shows everything: from a great shopping component to a nightlife component, to a restaurant component."

Fertitta, who peppers his conversations with journalists with mentions of the show, said he was surprised on a recent visit to China when he found himself flooded by questions from local female reporters about the series.

"They look at this as a window into New York City," he said.

With its glossy shoots at parks, restaurants, nightclubs and shops around the city, the series has been something of an international ambassador for New York, showing in more than 200 countries around the world, according to HBO. About one-third of "Sex and the City Hotspots" tour-goers are from outside the United States, says On Location Tours spokeswoman Cathy Epstein.

The city is looking to capitalize on that interest. NYC & Company is launching a Web site to help visitors plan a "Sex and the City"-themed visit, and is organizing sweepstakes for such trips in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Britain and around the U.S. On Location Tours is offering an opening-night package that includes its hotspots tour, the movie, and a cocktail party.

One company is charging visitors $15,000 and up for a luxurious four-day trip based on the show. Participants in the Destination on Location tour, launching the weekend the movie opens, will dine at restaurants frequented by Carrie and her friends, visit their favorite boutiques with personal stylists and even have the option to stop for some Botox injections.

Although their visit will be less extravagant, Walker and her three friends are also planning to walk in the footsteps of Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte.

"There definitely will be some shoe shopping," she said of their upcoming getaway. "Minneapolis has the Mall of America, but it's nothing like SoHo."

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: SJP: Style, 'Sex' and success

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  1. Back for more adventure

    The ladies are back in fashion for "Sex and the City 2" as, from left, Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Samantha (Kim Cattrall) and Charlotte (Kristin Davis) take another bite out of The Big Apple -- and beyond. (New Line Productions) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Always dressed to impress

    Parker arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit celebrating the opening of "American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity" in New York on May 3, 2010. (Lucas Jackson / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Mom and the city

    Parker walks in the West Village of New York with her son James Wilkie Broderick and one of her twin daughters on April 7, 2010. (Ray Tamarra / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Hugh and her

    Parker and Hugh Grant arrive for the Britsh premiere of their movie "Did You Hear About The Morgans?" in London in December 2009. (Daniel Deme / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Why Wyoming?

    In "Did You Hear About the Morgans?" Parker and Grant play a New York couple who witness a murder and are put in witness protection in a small Wyoming town. (Columbia Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Fashion statement

    Parker sports flashy fashion as she films a scene for "Sex and the City 2" on location in New York in September 2009. (Charles Sykes / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Twinning combination

    Parker, her husband Matthew Broderick and their son, James Wilkie Broderick, pose with week-old daughters Marion Loretta Elwell Broderick, left, and Tabitha Hodge Broderick. The girls were born via a surrogate on June 22, 2009. (Robin Layton / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. At the Oscars

    Parker arrives in a flowing white gown for the 81st Academy Awards on Feb. 22, 2009. (Amy Sancetta / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Where's the mole?

    Photographs taken at the MTV Awards in June 2008 (left) and at the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in July 2008 indicate that Parker had the signature mole on her chin removed between the two events. A source close to the actress confirmed on July 17, 2008, did indeed have the procedure. (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Smart guy

    Parker co-starred with Dennis Quaid in "Smart People," a 2008 comedy-drama in which Quaid played a professor and Parker his former student. (Miramax Films) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Out to 'Launch'

    In "Failure to Launch" (2006), Parker played the dream girl of a 30-year-old slacker, played by Matthew McConaughey. (Paramount Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
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