How I Met Your Mother: Where Was the TV Show Filmed?

Crafted by Craig Thomas and Carter Bays, CBS’ ‘How I Met Your Mother’ is a sitcom that follows Ted Mosby’s (Josh Radnor) adventures with single life alongside his group of friends in Manhattan, New York City. This includes the playful Barney Stinson, news reporter Robin Scherbatsky, and the couple duo of Marshall Eriksen, and Lily Aldrin. Set within a frame story where a future Ted (Bob Saget), in 2030, is reminiscing and recounting his past to his two children Luke and Penny, the show delves into how Ted met the eponymous “mother” mentioned in the title.

Set in New York City’s bustling Manhattan district, the show frequents back and forth between Ted’s apartment on the Upper West Side and their regular haunt, MacLaren’s, the Irish pub situated in the basement of their building. It is loosely inspired by Thomas and Bays’ friendship while living in New York. The world inhabited by Ted’s posse is a reflection of how they had to split an apartment when living together in the city. With its meteoric appeal to audiences and fans alike, the filming locations of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ are an interesting discussion.

How I Met Your Mother Filming Locations

Though the world of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ would have us believe in its New York City fantasy, sequences for the show are actually filmed in a studio in Los Angeles, California. Creators Craig Thomas and Carter Bays wanted to bring the reality of their experiences as roommates in New York into the show, but during production, they found it unfeasible to stick to this path. Instead, they redecorated the interiors of a Los Angeles-based soundstage to make it look like a New York City apartment or the MacLaren’s pub. In addition, the team also filmed certain scenes in New York to provide a more authentic backdrop for the viewers to believe in.

Los Angeles, California

‘How I Met Your Mother’ was extensively filmed in the sprawling city of Los Angeles in Southern California. The creators recorded a large chunk of the show in Stage 22 of the 20th Century Studios at 10201 West Pico Boulevard in Century City. Initially, Thomas and Bays wanted to film the apartment scenes in a real New York City apartment – like the one they had to share while working as writers on ‘Late Show with David Letterman.’ However, the problem of size limited their ability to shoot on location. While trying to be realistic about how small the apartment should be in real life, they found it created challenges for their camera crews.

The production team realized there wasn’t enough room to pan out and show the scene in its entirety, which is what they wanted. So, needing a larger space they had to abandon their plans of shooting on-site. From scenes depicting Ted’s apartment on the Upper West Side to MacLaren’s pub, the production team recreated all the interiors from scratch within a closed-off environment. Later in the series, Ted ends up moving away from his original apartment. In seasons 7 and 8, he starts living in another apartment with a similar layout to the one he has left behind.

The second apartment is situated quite close to his original place. According to the show’s lore, it’s location is 521 West 86th Street, Apartment 15. However, the interiors of Ted’s residence were constructed in the aforementioned studio. The MacLaren’s Pub in ‘How I Met Your Mother’ is perhaps one of the most iconic locations in sitcom history. Warm and full of life, it’s where Ted and his friends constantly hang out while getting involved in one misadventure after the other. However, there is no MacLaren’s pub in New York City, let alone 150 West 85th Street, which is where it should be located according to the show. Instead, scenes set within the infamous pub were shot in the same production complex.

According to reports, CBS Studio Center, also known as Radford Studio Center, is also one of the sites that was utilized to bring the show to life. It is located at 4024 Radford Avenue in the Studio City district in the San Fernando Valley area of the City of Angels. In all likelihood, the production team must have utilized several areas across the city for the purpose of shooting.

New York City, New York

While it may be disappointing to some that ‘How I Met Your Mother’ doesn’t feature many scenes in its real-life setting, the show isn’t entirely devoid of New York City scenes. The MacLaren’s pub in the series, which we’ve established doesn’t exist, is inspired by another NYC locale, McGee’s Bar, located at 240 West 55th Street. The show even used it as a basis for the Irish pub regularly featured in the show. Various scenes for MacLaren’s were filmed in this location to instill a deeper connection to the show’s roots in New York City and Thomas and Bays’ past experiences.

Fans of the show will also recognize other iconic New York City landmarks within episodes. In one of them, Ted is seen running through Central Park while searching for Stella’s daughter on Valentine’s Day. That sequence was actually lensed on location, nestled between Manhattan’s Upper West Side and Upper East Side neighborhoods. In another episode, Ted and his gang of friends take a trip to the Empire State Building with Robin’s sister, Katie. The cast and crew visited the historic 102-story skyscraper at 20 West 34th Street in the Midtown South neighborhood of Manhattan to lens the sequence.

The Corner Bistro on 331 West 4th Street makes an appearance when Marshall goes on a quest to find the best burger joint in the city. It’s an epic journey that culminates in a sweet and charming moment that deepens the bond between the group. The gang can also be found dining at Grey’s Papaya, which is a real restaurant on West 70th Street. Nothing gets more New York than watching them devour the hot dogs served there.

Read more: Best How I Met Your Mother Episodes, Ranked