What do "30 Rock" and "Entourage" have in common, outside of their showbiz theme? Their settings—some of the hottest venues in New York and L.A., respectively—make for great places to visit. And what better time to venture into TV land than with the start of the fall television season? Pack your bags for a weekend of sightseeing and clubbing ... camera crew optional.
The show: Fighting the temptation to rebuild L.A. in the studio, "Entourage" prefers to use the real deal. So not only can you visit the same venues as Vince and the boys, you may even stumble across them filming.
The reality: Browse more than 60,000 books at Book Soup, where Vince picked up one of his many ladies in season three, then buy some limited-edition kicks at Undefeated, one of his favorite stores. Head to Jerry’s Famous Deli to meet your bros (and maybe even Mandy Moore, who dined here with the gang in season two); then catch a flick at Arclight Cinemas, where Vince had his first big film premier. (Don’t worry about arriving unfashionably early-the theater offers reserve seating.) After partying at Shelter Supper Club (323/654-0030) wrap up the night with a hot dog from Pink’s, open until 3 a.m. on weekend nights. Catch up with your posse the next day at Caffe Primo—where Turtle made his Craigslist connection in season four—and skim Page Six for clues about what happened to you last night.
New York City
The show: Though the sitcom is shot in Long Island City, just across the East River from Manhattan, fans of this NBC hit can make plenty of familiar stops around the namesake studios of the real 30 Rockefeller Plaza.
The reality: Start the day with a sunrise view from the Top of the Rock—it’s almost like being in the penthouse office of T.V. executive Jack Donaghy (played by Alec Baldwin). Tickets are good for a second viewing at sunset. Get a flavor for the real life of TV producers with a tour of NBC Studios and Rockefeller Center. Take your power lunch at the Rock Center Café, with views of the rink-side ice skaters; starting October 11, you can even join in the skating. But while you’re on the ice, leave the physical comedy to the professionals.
The show: John Krasinski, who plays Jim, shot the Pennsylvania Paper & Supply Company, Mulberry Street, and the “Scranton Welcomes You” sign for the show’s opening credits, all of which you can shoot, too. And even though the show is filmed on a Los Angeles soundstage, you can also visit some of the spots that the show has made famous.
The reality: In the first season, Michael (Steve Carell) attempted to hold a bonding getaway at the Lackawanna Coal Mine, and you can venture 300 feet deep into this once-active anthracite coal mine. Then head out to the real Lake Wallenpaupack, scene of season two’s infamous booze cruise, for a boat ride. Wind down at the oft-referenced Dunder-Mifflin hangout, Poor Richards; the pub features T-shirts and pint glasses with "The Office" quotation: “Ain’t no party like a Scranton party, cause a Scranton party don’t stop.” Another spot for souvenirs: the Mall at Steamtown, where Michael took his female coworkers for Women’s Appreciation Day. The mall displays the “Scranton Welcomes You” road sign and will soon have an NBC store.
The show: While the show’s not in production anymore, DVD releases have kept its rabid fans excited. And touring Baltimore Wire-style gives travelers a real flavor for it, since much of the show was filmed on city streets.
The reality: What made "The Wire’s" location choices brilliant was the authenticity of location. Yes, these places are as gritty as they seem on TV, so tread carefully. Do a daytime driving tour of places like Collington Square Park, where the East-West basketball game went down in the first season. Explore the stone path on Faith Lane and Bond Street that leads to Marlo’s Spot, an abandoned skate park with concrete jumps—the perfect perches to contemplate your next “business” move. Finish up at Bubbles’ Garage (on McAllister St. between Guilford Ave. and Hunter St.)—the second garage on the left is home to the dignified junkie-snitch.