New York City is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. With millions of residents and tens of millions of tourists coming to the city each year, New York is a dynamic and culturally infused metropolis worth exploring.
If you have never been to New York City or are returning for another visit, there are a handful of landmarks and sites worth photographing on your trip. Whether you prefer to have a ground level perspective or an expansive view over the city skyline – there is bound to be the ideal photographic spot for you.
Let’s Discover the Top 10 Photo Spots in New York City:
- Top of Rockefeller Center
- Grand Central Terminal
- Flatiron Building
- Central Park
- Brooklyn Bridge
- One World Trade Center & Oculus
- Chinatown from the Manhattan Bridge
- Financial District
- The Statue of Liberty
- Times Square
1. Top of Rockefeller Center
Better known as the top of the rock, the view from Rockefeller Center is a popular spot to view the entire city of New York. The main appeal of this observation deck in contrast to other rooftop accesses is the ability to see the Empire State building immersed in the city’s skyline.
To access the top of the Rock, you will need to purchase a ticket at Rockefeller Center. The ticket price is about $40 for an adult. The ticket gives you access to the top of the observation deck which is located 70 floors up at the peak of the building. Once at the observation deck, you spend as much time as you need capturing images and taking in the beauty of the skyline.
2. Grand Central Terminal
Another icon spot worth capturing is the Grand Central Terminal. The Grand Central Terminal is located in Midtown Manhattan and is home to the larger train lines that come in and out of the city. It is also a stop on the inner-city metro lines.
To access Grand Central, all you need to do is either take the subway to this stop and exit into the station or enter from the street at the address below.
The best thing about Grand Central is that it’s always bustling with people, therefore allowing you to capture the true energy of the city. Entrance into the station is completely free. The view as shown below is the most famous point of access, but take a walk around the entire station to view the expansive, incredible architecture.
3. Flatiron Building
The Flatiron Building may be one of the most unique pieces of architectural ingenuity found in New York City. Located in the Chelsea district and bordering Madison Square Park, the Flatiron is a masterpiece of the New York City skyline.
The ground level perspective gives the building a truly massive composition as it stands tall over the pedestrians and taxis zooming underneath. The Flatiron is a great landmark to photograph during both the daytime and night as it becomes illuminated within the city during the dark.
4. Central Park
Central Park is the largest space of nature found within the concrete jungle. As one of the most frequented parks in Manhattan, Central Park is a place to relax, play and take in the weather of all seasons.
During the summer you can find children running, families picnicking and friends hosting Sunday gatherings. During the winter, the snowfall covers the park in a sheet of white as the landscape transforms into ice skating rinks and handmade snowmen. Central Park is truly a beautiful site to see and offers a small escape from the noise of the busy city.
Related Post: Best Photo Spots in Amsterdam
5. Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge is a hybrid cable-stayed suspension bridge that connects the island of Manhattan to the borough of Brooklyn as it spans across the East River. The length of the bridge is about 1.1 miles long and can be accessed by foot at the pedestrian walkway.
The Brooklyn Bridge is a true photographic site with its engineering and views of the entire city available throughout the walking path from one side to the next. The Brooklyn bridge is often a place for runners and bikers, so to obtain an unobstructed view, consider visiting at sunrise or even sunset. This will allow for some beautiful images in the golden light.
6. One World Trade Center & Oculus
The World Trade Center and Oculus station are significant monuments for the somber history they represent of New York City. As a note to those who gave their lives on 9/11, the one world trade center monument along with the Oculus station are beautiful tributes to the warriors of New York City.
The two monuments are very close in proximity and have a stunning architectural design that is visited by hundreds to thousands of people every day. The Oculus serves as a station and shopping center, while the Trade Center memorial can be visited by foot and also by roof access via purchasing a ticket.
7. Chinatown from the Manhattan Bridge
The bright colors and cultural infusion of Chinatown is a necessary area to explore when visiting New York City. One of the most distinct sectors of lower Manhattan, Chinatown is home to the growing and expanding Asian community within New York.
In addition to walking around the streets and visiting the local shops and eateries, you will need to view Chinatown from the Manhattan Bridge overpass. Accessed by the pedestrian walkway, this overview of the streets of Chinatown make for a captivating image.
Visit this location during sunset to create that soft, golden light and see how the city transforms and changes as the night falls onto the streets of New York.
8. Financial District
The Financial District is one of the most industrial areas of New York City, with tall and expansive skyscrapers that dominate Lower Manhattan. Although some may think that this sector of town isn’t the most photogenic, the cityscape makes for dynamic perspectives and unique compositions.
The skyscrapers in the Financial District are known for bouncing and reflecting strong light, making pockets of this neighborhood ideal for visually captivating imagery. Find where the light moves and follow it throughout the streets. Change your angles, perspective and create images with strong lines and deep shadows.
9. The Statue of Liberty
An iconic symbol of American life is the Statue of Liberty. Located on the New York Harbor, the copper statue was a gift to the United States by the French people. It was designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and built by Gustave Eiffel.
In order to obtain a clear and up-close view of the Statue of Liberty, you will need to take the ferry to Ellis Island. There are three forms of access to the statue – general admission, pedestal access, and crown access.
Each ticket varies in price depending on which access you prefer. For the best images of the Statue of Liberty, you will want to photograph the landmark while on the Ferry for a complete view.
10. Times Square
The final spots to photograph in New York City are the busy streets of Times Square. Times Square is unlike any of place in the entirety of New York. It is a section of town that is known for its commercial, tourism and entertainment sectors – such as the nearby Theatre District.
The best time to photograph Times Square is during the night as the billboards and neon signage take over the skyline. Whether you choose to capture your images from a ground level or bird’s eye view – this section of the city is truly one of a kind.
As you can see, there are a handful of visually unique monuments, landmarks, and neighborhoods within New York City and its surrounding boroughs.
From rooftop skylines to architectural ingenuity and the bright city lights – there is something on every corner of New York that is worth capturing.
- Have you photographed any of these spots within the Big Apple?
- Do you have any recommendations for photogenic places within New York City?
Share with us in the comments section below.
Shannon Ciricillo is photographer working with digital and film formats, she is currently based in New York City.