The One in San Francisco: A Review of The "Friends" Experience
If you've ever wondered what it's like to lounge on Monica Geller's couch, strum a tune on Phoebe Buffay's guitar, or sip a steaming cup of coffee in the middle of Central Perk, The "Friends" Experience can make it happen. After establishing a permanent location in New York City in 2019 for the show's 25th anniversary, the interactive experience — created in partnership with Warner Bros. and Superfly X — opened up in seven other US cities, as well as Toronto. On Oct. 13, the experience became available in San Francisco, so I took the opportunity to check it out for myself and see if it truly lives up to '90s vibes.
What Is The "Friends" Experience?
Like the iconic TV show, the experience — which took almost eight months to design — focuses on the main cast: Monica, Rachel (Jennifer Aniston), Chandler (Matthew Perry), Joey (Matt LeBlanc), Phoebe, and Ross (David Schwimmer). "It's so much nostalgia and fun that you can't help but smile," Stacy Moscatelli, copresident and chief strategy officer of Superfly X, tells POPSUGAR. Each of the 12 rooms is themed after a different character and features real props from the show, including Monica's turkey head with sunglasses and a fez, actual scripts from before the show was called "Friends," and more. The rooms also feature TVs with highlight reels of the characters' best moments and an exclusive interview with "Friends" costume designer Debra McGuire.
The best part of the experience was finding the hilarious callbacks to the show — yep, including the hockey stick from the time Joey was trapped in the entertainment unit. From Ugly Naked Guy and Rachel's 18-page letter to a wall of Magna Doodles and a tribute to the time when Joey wore all of Chandler's clothes at once, the nostalgia levels were high.
"Across all of the experiences and all of the cities, we've had over 100 [proposals]."
After pretending to cook up a storm in Monica and Rachel's apartment — the organization is impeccable — and crossing the iconic beige and green hallway to lounge in Chandler and Joey's La-Z-Boys, I stopped by Central Perk. Stepping into the coffee shop felt like being on an actual TV set, down to the "reserved" sign on the coffee table and Gunther's golden barista setup. The New York location features 18 rooms, more exclusive props on loan from Warner Bros., and a functional Central Perk where you can order a pastry and a cup of coffee and hang out with your BFFs — or propose to your lobster like over 100 other couples have done at The "Friends" Experience.
"Across all of the experiences and all of the cities, we've had over 100 [proposals]," Moscatelli says. "Sometimes they tell us in advance and ask our team to help take a picture or make sure they can get a clean moment and a little bit of privacy. That's probably up there as one of the most special [parts of the experience] . . . In New York, we have the facade of the wedding chapel from the Vegas episode, so we hosted a wedding in the space at the chapel."
If you're looking for somewhere to unleash your inner Janice, get engaged, or just relive your favorite "Friends" moments, this is definitely the place to bring your friends with Chandler, Joey, Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, and Ross energy. See photos and find out more about the experience ahead.
How Long Does The "Friends" Experience Take?
In total, the entire experience took about 45 minutes to an hour to walk through, but you could definitely stay longer if you show up with some friends ready to re-create the show's most iconic scenes (costumes and '90s attire highly recommended).
Where Is The "Friends" Experience Located?
The "Friends" Experience had temporary runs in Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Phoenix, Washington DC, and Denver and will open in Paris in November. The experience will also be opening a permanent international location soon.
How Much Does The "Friends" Experience Cost?
Tickets for The "Friends" Experience start at $34 for adults. Seniors, students, and military personnel can also purchase tickets for a discounted price. If you don't have time to walk through the full experience or you just want to stop by to grab a gift for a major "Friends" fan in your life, the merch shop is open to the public, no ticket purchase required.