There are some characters who live on in our hearts long after the credits roll, and for countless people around the world, Chandler Bing was one of those characters. Matthew Perry, who portrayed Chandler for all 10 seasons of Friends, tragically passed away on October 28. His legacy of love and laughter shines on in his role and the fans he’s inspired. From October 20–January 28, 2024, Salt Lake is hosting The FRIENDS™ Experience, an immersive homage to the hit ‘90s TV show. Located at The Gateway—16 North Rio Grande—the exhibit is nestled within one of Utah’s largest shopping districts. It offers a chance to explore local entertainment and enter the larger-than-life world of Rachel, Ross, Phoebe, Joey, Monica, and Chandler. With impressive set recreations and a treasure trove of recognizable props, The FRIENDS™ Experience: The One in Salt Lake City will have fans saying, “Oh. My. Gawd!” à la Janice.
About The Exhibit
The FRIENDS™ Experience is a collaborative touring exhibit by Warner Bros. Discovery Global Themed Entertainment, Original X Productions (OGX), and Warner Bros. Television Group. The pop-up exhibit has traveled around the world and is currently operating in locations such as Ireland and Australia. Annie Dempsey, the marketing manager for The FRIENDS™ Experience, describes the exhibit as a “can’t-miss destination” for fans of the show everywhere.
The FRIENDS™ Experience in Utah is especially unique. Dempsey says, “Salt Lake City is definitely a hub of urban culture in this region, and we’ve been hearing from fans that they really wanted us to come to Utah.” The Gateway was chosen as the location for The FRIENDS™ Experience because it encompasses over a million square feet of shopping and dining set against a striking visual of the Wasatch Mountains. Underground parking is free for your first hour then moves to rates of $2 per additional hour. Several public transit options are also located nearby, such as TRAX, SLC’s light rail system, and the FrontRunner, Utah’s commuter rail train. Visitors can pair a tour of the FRIENDS exhibit with a game or concert at the nearby Delta Center event venue or stop for a bite to eat at sports bar Flanker Kitchen + Sporting Club, which is on the floor just above The FRIENDS™ Experience.
Upon entering the exhibit, fans will immediately notice displays decorated with original props and scripts, timelines of the show’s relationships, and mannequins outfitted with the characters’ signature styles. There is even a tribute to Rachel’s haircuts, with a wig replicating “The Rachel” rotating on a pedestal. However, the tour’s main draw is its recreated sets, which include the iconic opening theme couch and fountain, Chandler and Joey’s apartment, Monica’s apartment, their adjoining hallway, Ross’s stairwell, and the Central Perk Cafe. Each set has its own high-definition camera, with an attendant ready to snap pictures of your group.
Recreate the Show’s Iconic Opening
The FRIENDS™ Experience begins like every episode of the series with the eye-catching fountain where the main characters dance and jostle together onto a couch. The exhibit’s fountain is instantly recognizable with faux sprays of water tumbling over its rim and a lavish, auburn couch set up in front for fans to pose on.
Chill Out in Chandler and Joey’s Apartment
The FRIENDS™ Experience also features Chandler and Joey’s bachelor pad. The dynamic duo’s posters, CDs, and furniture are all true to the show. You can pose with the foosball table for pictures or lean back in the cushy recliners to fully understand why Joey and Chandler loved their chairs so much.
Say Cheese at Monica’s Table
Another classic set in the FRIENDS catalog is Monica and Rachel’s apartment. With its striking purple doorway and turquoise cabinets, the scene is sure to hit any fan with a wave of nostalgia. At The FRIENDS™ Experience, you are invited to sit at Monica’s table for photos or re-enact your favorite moments in the kitchen.
Visitors can even venture out through the door to the replica hallway attached to the apartment and peep around the door to recreate the famous gag of the floating heads in “The One with the Late Thanksgiving” (season 10, episode 8) when Monica and Chandler lock the gang out of the apartment, so they have to stack on top of each other to peer through the small gap in the door.
Pivot! and Pose
The FRIENDS™ Experience is also home to a recreation of the famous “Pivot!” scene from “The One with the Cop” (season 5, episode 16) where Ross desperately attempts to get a massive sofa up to his apartment with the help of Chandler and Rachel. While the trio is ultimately unsuccessful, Ross' pained shrieks of “Pivot!” are unforgettable.
Designers at The FRIENDS™ Experience have recreated the stairwell, and the infamous couch even appears stuck in the same spot. Luckily, it’s been hoisted up so you don’t have to do any heavy lifting as you take pictures or embrace the chaos of the original scene and squawk your best “Pivot!”
Take Cozy Pictures at Central Perk
Perhaps the most impressive recreation at The FRIENDS™ Experience is Central Perk. The cafe, which is instantly recognizable for its neon signs and eye-popping art, is painstakingly rendered for fans to explore. You can lounge in its velvety chairs, pretend to order coffee at the counter or raise a toast while sitting on the gang’s favorite couch. The setting feels cozy and provides a soft ambiance that really captures the sense of the original set. It’s a fantastic end to your tour as the space is steeped in nostalgia. There is even the slightest hint of bittersweetness as you retread the steps of the friends in their favorite gathering place.
Get Some Sweet Merch
The FRIENDS™ Experience Gift Shop offers an array of adorable souvenirs. From Central Perk aprons to lobster keychains and Friends-themed games, there is a good variety of knicknacks to pick from. Even if you’re not interested in splurging, the gift shop is a must-visit to pose with a recreation of Joey’s outfit from “The One Where No One’s Ready” (season 3, episode 2), where Joey escalates a feud with Chandler by putting on all of his clothes at once. Visitors can mimic Joey’s catty remark of, “Could I be wearing any more clothes?” as they appear to wear the ridiculous get-up.
Get Tickets for The FRIENDS™ Experience
Tickets for The FRIENDS™ Experience start at $26.50 plus tax, and Flexible Entry Tickets begin at $36.50 each. Regular tickets get you a scheduled time slot of 30 minutes to explore the exhibit, ensuring that the space doesn’t become overly crowded. However, you can explore longer if you wish to. Flexible passes let you enter at any time up to an hour before closing on the day of your choosing. Opening times are 12–7 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, 10 a.m.–8 p.m. on Saturdays, and 10 a.m.–7 p.m. on Sundays. All ages are welcome, but those 12 and under must be supervised by an adult. Children ages three and younger can enter for free.
Why The One in Salt Lake City?
The FRIENDS™ Experience joins a variety of unique events and attractions in SLC. Visitors can pair an iconic photoshoot in the world of FRIENDS with snapshots of Utah’s natural beauty or the capitol’s historic architecture. The exhibit may be a trip down memory lane, but a visit to The One in Salt Lake City is sure to create new memories for you and your friends.
All photos courtesy of Ashley Christenson.