New York City is home to a lot of things. Great museums and restaurants, some of the best shopping around, and must-see landmarks. It's also home to some of the best romantic comedies of all time! Every great rom-com is set in NYC. That's just a fact. It's not officially dubbed "the city of love" (that's Paris!) but it should be! The magic of a romantic comedy seems that much better when The Big Apple is the backdrop.
As Sex and the City stated, NYC is often another character in the story. In many of these romantic comedies, the city is the catalyst for a couple getting together and falling in love. There is just something special about navigating life, work, and love in the city. All of these rom-coms capture the essence of getting swept off your feet in New York. Sure, most of these films are super unrealistic. But that doesn't stop us from loving them (and basing our love life decisions on them...). Here are the very best romantic comedies set in NYC!
It makes sense that Jennifer Lopez would be one of the queens of NYC romantic comedies. She is from The Bronx! This film nails the magical quality of falling in love in the city, but it's also a bit of wish-fulfillment. A hotel maid and a candidate for the Senate fall in love as she pretends to be a wealthy socialite. We love this one because it shows that not everyone living in NYC is rich and living it up. Some are just working hard to make ends meet and trying to enjoy a bit of the splendor of the city. Plus, whether you're a maid or an heiress, finding your soulmate in NYC is always special.
Grosvenor Park Media
With a name like that, how could this movie not be on our list? New York, I Love You is presented anthology-style, comprised of eleven short films that all relate to romance in the five boroughs. This is one of those movies that has all of your favorite stars. Everyone from Bradley Cooper to Natalie Portman (who wrote and directed one of the short films!) makes an appearance! Eleven different directors are able to uniquely capture "their" New York, giving new depth to the love stories presented. The city is different for everyone, and that's made clear in this multi-layered film.
This 2018 Netflix film was hailed as a return to form for romantic comedies. The film follows two assistants trying to set up their bosses in an attempt to get them both to chill out a little bit. It works — sort of. The bosses get together, but it's clear that the two aren't mean to be together. You know who is meant to be together? The assistants! Obviously, in the end, the two assistants end up falling in love. That outcome may have been a bit obvious, but we don't watch rom-coms for the surprise factor! We watch them for the epic love stories.
Okay, so the title says it's set in Seattle. Oh, and most of the movie is set in places that aren't New York City. But trust me on this one — it's an NYC love story. When Sam's (Tom Hanks) son calls into a radio show to talk about his father missing his late wife, he's overwhelmed with the response to the on-air confessions. Women from across the country begin writing him, including Annie (Meg Ryan), a Maryland-based writer. While the two are from completely different worlds and never formally meet, Annie sends him a letter asking him to meet at the top of the Empire State Building on Valentine's Day. The rest is history — NYC history. New York City is a place so representative of love that these two flew across the country to meet there in the hopes sparks would fly!
Cher stars in this tale of love in Brooklyn Heights as an Italian-American widow just looking for some happiness. She and Nicolas Cage charismatically lead the film as two of the most dysfunctional people in NYC. Cher's Loretta is set to be married to a man she likes but doesn't necessarily love. She does end up falling in love though — with his brother! Ronny sweeps Loretta off her feet, and the two spend time at New York City hotspots like the opera. True love always comes with some insanity, and this romance is no different. But the barriers the two have to go through to get together feels true to love and true to the chaos of NYC!
Jerry Wald Productions, Inc.
This is one of the first films to immortalize New York City as a city of love. The 1957 flick tells the story of two married people who fall in love on a cruise ship. Since they're both married, they agree to meet at the Empire State Building six months later if they have ended their other relationships. Tragedy strikes and the Empire State Building meeting is put off, and the two live separate lives before meeting again long after their cruise ship love affair. But, in the end, love prevails! This film was the inspiration for Sleepless in Seattle's romantic NYC rendezvous and is one of the most celebrated romantic movies of all time. It's definitely fair to call this one of the best romantic comedies tethered to New York City!
This is definitely one of the more fanciful romantic comedies on this list! It's all about a guy who falls in love with a mermaid. Yup, that's the actual plot. But it's amazing and romantic! Plus, it truly gives new meaning to the saying "fish out of water"! Tom Hanks plays Allen, a man who encounters a mysterious mermaid girl twice on Cape Cod. The second time, the mermaid, Madison (Daryl Hannah), finds his wallet and tracks him down in NYC. She learns how to talk and "be a person" and the two, naturally, fall in love. New York City is so magical that even if you're part fish and can't speak very well, you can find love!
This Amy Schumer-fronted rom-com is all about accepting yourself for who you are. When Renee hits her head during a SoulCycle class, she wakes up believing she's drop dead gorgeous. All of her previous insecurities are gone and she becomes overwhelmingly confident as a result of her "new" appearance. Her perception of the relationships in her life change and her confidence lands her a guy who's perfect for her. Even when she hits her head again and sees herself as she truly is, Renee learns to embrace the beauty that's all her own. This isn't just a story of two people falling in love in the city, it's a story of a woman falling in love with herself. We could totally use more films like this!
Not only is this rom-com set in New York City, but it's set in New York City during Christmas. It totally gets some romantic bonus points for that! Some things are just meant to be and this film explores all the ways ~fate~ tries to bring people together. Jonathan (John Cusack) and Sara (Kate Beckinsale) meet at Bloomingdale's and find themselves instantly attracted to one another. From there, their stalled relationship spans years as the universe pushes and pulls at the two, eventually bringing them together at (where else?) Central Park. A chance meeting in the city can lead to the love of your life!
Castle Rock Entertainment
Dylan (Justin Timberlake) and Jamie (Mila Kunis) fall into the age-old trap of "friends with benefits" when they meet in New York City. Dylan moves to the city for work, knowing no one but Jamie, and the two grow close and eventually start having sex. Under the guise that it's "just sex" (yeah right!), the two obviously start having feelings for each other. Being "friends with benefits" in a city like NYC, where everything is ripe for romance, is basically impossible. The two are the quintessential modern romance. It's a tale as old as time... with a twist, of course!
Walt Disney Pictures
This is a fairy tale romance — literally! Enchanted is an homage to the Disney films all about princesses falling in love with their princes with one big twist: these fairy tale characters end up in New York City, a place where "there are no happy endings." Okay, so this one doesn't frame NYC as the happiest place in the world. But romance still thrives there! There's even a "true love's kiss" in this one, so you know the romantic overtures are strong AF. The city may be presented as a bit less magical than, say, an enchanted kingdom, but it's revealed to be an enchanting place all it's own.
This is one of the most iconic films set in NYC of all time. The film follows New York City socialite Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) as she struggles between love and money while trying to make it in the city. She's spent years scheming and manipulating men to fund her lifestyle after moving from rural Texas to bustling New York City. But when Paul (George Peppard) enters her life, feelings come into the picture for the first time. The film uses city landmarks and simple things like taxi rides to enhance the romance between Paul and Holly and invite the scenery around them into their relationship.
Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan are the reigning King and Queen of romantic comedies. This one proves their on-screen chemistry and reunites them on-screen in one of the first rom-coms to use the "internet age" as a catalyst for a relationship. The two, both independent bookstore owners in the city, find themselves encountering one another in real life without realizing they're actually email buddies. Which, LOL, that there was a time where falling in love via email was a thing! The film shows the significant ways romance began to change at the onset of the internet era.
Meg Ryan remains the grandmaster of NYC rom-coms with her third entry on this list! When Harry Met Sally begs the question "can men and women really be friends?" The answer: probably not. Over the course of twelve years, Harry (Billy Crystal) and Sally (Ryan) have a few chance encounters that test the theory if they can sustain any type of friendship without becoming romantically involved. Spoiler alert: they obviously fall deeply in love. One of the key scenes in the movie shows Sally proving how easy it is to fake an orgasm (you know the one) as the two sit in a booth at Katz's Deli, an NYC mainstay. To this day, a sign hangs above the booth they sat in during filming that says, "Where Harry met Sally... Hope you have what she had!"
Alex "Hitch" Hitchens (Will Smith) is well-known throughout New York City for his prowess in helping clueless men nab the women of their dreams. He helps to instill confidence in insecure men and, in turn, they're able to be their true selves with the women they desire. But when Hitch finds a woman he could fall for, his suave demeanor and romantic tricks seem to have no effect on her. Hitch proves that everyone needs a little help sometimes in the romance department!
Who doesn't want to be "thirty, flirty, and thriving" and living their best life in New York City?! 13-year-old Jenna wishes on her birthday to be 30, thinking that life as an adult will be less stressful and she'll be popular and successful. The next day she awakens as Jennifer Garner, working at her fave magazine and living in a dream loft. But, turns out 30 isn't so great when you don't have your BFF (and true love) by your side. Jenna and Matty (Mark Ruffalo) are one of the sweetest rom-com couples of all time — even sweeter than a bag of Razzles!
This is one of the greatest rom-coms of all time, no questions asked. Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey became one of the greatest romantic comedy duos of all time in this epic film. The two find themselves falling in love despite engaging in their relationship for work reasons (unbeknownst to the other, of course). Over the course of 10 days, Andie tries to get Ben to dump her while he's plotting to get to her to fall in love with him in the same time frame. An iconic yellow dress, a dog named Krull, and a few New York Knicks games later and the two are genuinely in love. The best romantic comedies draw you right into the romance and make you believe its real. No doubt about it that How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days does that and more!