We all know that the show takes place in New York City and that it’s a walk-up apartment. But is it a legitimate apartment? And how would you rent something like it?
Right off the bat, we know a couple of things about the apartment featured in How I Met Your Mother. Here are the basics:
- It’s apartment 4C, on the fourth floor of the building. Common, but par for the course of the show.
- The apartment is a walk-up building. There is no elevator ever featured in the apartment. The gang also hangs out on the fire escape.
- The apartment is on the Upper West Side. It’s between 86th and Broadway. In the episode “Subway Wars,” we even were able to spot the official address of the home: 150 W. 85th Street.
- It has a total of five rooms. It’s a two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment with a full living room and kitchen. That’s supposed to be around 1000 square feet, canonically.
Yes, 150 W. 85th Street is a real building in the Upper West Side, but it doesn’t actually look like what you see in the show’s pans. The building exteriors you saw in the show were part of studio setups based in Los Angeles.
There were several sources of inspiration for How I Met Your Mother set. However, the biggest inspiration came from Carter Bays and Craig Thomas. Apparently, the two showrunners actually did split a small apartment of their own when they both lived in New York City.
However, there were a couple of major differences that most viewers probably wouldn’t have guessed. First, the furniture and layout of the apartment are presumably different. The bigger difference was the size of the apartment. Carter and Craig shared a significantly smaller apartment in real life.
Originally, they both wanted to keep the apartment size fairly realistic for the story’s outline. However, it became clear to camera crews and film producers alike that it wouldn’t work. If they were going to get the cameras to pan out and show the whole scene, they needed to have a larger place.
We’re going to be honest. Living in the Upper West Side is not exactly cheap. According to one group that did a study on a comparable apartment a block away, Mosby would have had to plunk down around $3800 to get something similar in the area during the final season of How I Met Your Mother.
Obviously, the price of rent has increased since then. So it’s not entirely certain if a guy like Ted would be able to afford an apartment as pretty and upscale as the one featured in the series today.
It all depends on what season you’re watching. When the series first started, one of these characters was a law student, and the other was an architect. This means that when the show first started, they would have struggled to rent the apartment—even back in 2005.
However, as the show progressed, so did their careers. By the time Ted was an actual lawyer, and his buddy remained an architect doing great work, having the apartment featured in the show would have been feasible.
Though they definitely had their heyday in the 90s, apartments like Ted Mosby’s are pretty common in New York City. The truth is that they were great about getting the general vibe of what life is like as a roommate in a small-ish New York City apartment.
The major change that people might notice these days is the rental prices. In truth, Ted Mosby would probably not be able to live in Manhattan as a law student these days. The rental prices are far too prohibitive unless they had a rent-controlled apartment.
After a couple of years, the story shifted over to a new move. Ted Mosby and his buds then found themselves in a new setting—his second apartment. This one was featured in the 7th and 8th seasons of the show.
According to the story’s lore, this isn’t actually that far away from the original apartment. This was located at 521 West 86th Street, Apartment 15. It had a very similar layout to the original one, too.
Where Did Ted Mosby Move To?
Once the entire show was done, the series ended by showing Ted, with his wife and kids, out in a small home in Westchester County. Of course, the house had its own role in the show—most strikingly as a remodeling project and as a way to hide from Hurricane Irene in 2011.
Though the series itself takes place in the Upper West Side, the characters themselves didn’t spend much time there. Almost all of the shots that you saw in the show were shot in Los Angeles.
Some of these shots were in a specially-decorated studio that was made to look like a NYC apartment or MacLaren’s Pub. Almost all the scenes were shot in Studio 22. If you were hoping to walk through the same halls as Ted and the gang, chances are you’re on the wrong coast!
Is There Really A MacLaren’s Pub?
Most fans of the Grammy-winning television show remember the pub located at the bottom of the apartment where Ted lived. It was the major setting of tons of iconic scenes in How I Met Your Mother, and many fans look for it when they decide to tour the Big Apple.
Unfortunately, there is no MacLaren’s Pub in the basement of 150 W.85th Street. In fact, there isn’t even a MacLaren’s in New York City at all. The inspiration behind MacLaren’s is a small pub called McGee’s, and yes, it’s located near the “inspo” building at 240 W. 55th Street.
It may come as a major bummer for fans to hear that most of the scenes in How I Met Your Mother either aren’t real or are in Los Angeles. However, that doesn’t mean it was entirely free of its New York City routes. Tourists and show fans can all enjoy these hotspots that actually are in the Big Apple:
- Grey’s Papaya: Yes, the gang chowed down on New York-style hot dogs here. It’s a real restaurant that can be found in the heart of Manhattan on West 70th Street. Of course, this shouldn’t be surprising. This is one restaurant that is iconic in its own right.
- The Corner Bistro: Remember when Marshall went out on his quest to find the best burger in the city? In that story arc, he stopped by the Corner Bistro to try one of their burgers. (Though, they didn’t end up being the top of the top!) You can find this near 331 W. 4th Street, and in 2008, they did get a Zagat Award for best in town. Ironic, right?
- McGee’s: As we mentioned before, it’s the original inspiration for MacLaren’s.
- Hosier Hut: This is a bit of a cop-out, but we’re going to include it anyway. There is no Hosier Hut in New York City. However, the bar it was inspired by is located in Williamsburg. It’s Ontario, just so you know.
Few shows have become as popular and well-liked as How I Met Your Mother. After winning dozens of awards and gaining the love of millions, the show became a cultural icon. But, of course, the coolest thing about it will always be that trendy apartment and the fact that it’s made to be in New York City!