The Best Places to Take Pictures in New York City

by  Anne Roderique-Jones | Updated on Jul 18, 2023
New York City
New York City / iStock / ventdusud

One weekend or even one week is never enough time in New York City. There are thousands of popular sites and endless opportunities for fantastic photographs. So, we've created a guide to help you snap the most important eye candy during your visit. From the Top of the Rock to the Vessel at Hudson Yards, here's a guide to the most Instagrammable places to take pictures in the Big Apple.

The Oculus at the World Trade Center

Ringing in at $4 billion, the Oculus is a seriously impressive sight: The interior consists of two floors that make up the Westfield World Trade Center mall (filled with plenty of shopping and dining). Look up: The white-ripped ceiling was designed by architect Santiago Calatrava.

The Main Concourse Ceiling at Grand Central Terminal

The zodiac ceiling in the main concourse of Grand Central Terminal has 2,500 stars – some of them illuminated by LED – and 12 stunning constellations painted in gold leaf. Bonus points if you can include the Main Booth clock in your shot. 

The Guggenheim Museum

Inside or out, The Guggenheim Museum on the Upper East Side feels like it was made for Instagram. It was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Vessel at Hudson Yards

A fairly new addition to the New York City skyline, the Vessel at Hudson Yards debuted in 2019 and is made up of 154 intricately interconnecting flights of stairs with nearly 2,500 steps and 80 landings. You can no longer climb up the honeycomb structure, but you can get an excellent selfie of it from the ground.

Top of the Rock 

Skip the Empire State Building (if you're short on time and patience) and visit the Top of the Rock observatory atop Rockefeller Center, with its sleek design and incredible city vistas. 

A Frrrozen Hot Chocolate at Serendipity 3

Nope, it's not a typo; there are three Rs in Serendipity 3's famous dessert. Made famous by rom-coms, this is a classic NYC picture. 

The Cyclone at Coney Island's Luna Park

Coney Island is a dream for any photographer, but the most iconic shot is of the Cyclone at Luna Park. The wooden structure was built in 1927 and remains one of Brooklyn's most famous landmarks. 

The High Line 

This 1.45-mile-long elevated park was created on the former New York City Railroad. Today, you'll see locals and visitors strolling along the path, which is especially pretty on a sunny day. 

The NoMo Soho

This is Instagram background gold. The NoMo SoHo is not your average hotel, but more like a fashion house and art museum. The conservatory-style restaurant should not be missed. 

On the Steps of the Met

An iconic image if there ever was one, The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the largest art museum in the country. Plan your visit early to have a solo background as this is a very popular place to people watch. 

Under the Lights at Panna II

This tiny Indian restaurant in the East Village is crammed full of twinkling Christmas lights, all year long. It's a super fun and seriously cheap dinner with an incredible staff (they'll let you take all the pics you want and even pose with you). The best part? It's BYOB. 

In Front of the Billboards in Times Square

Sure, it's super touristy, but the bright and bustling streets of Times Square make for an iconic image. Early morning hours offer fewer crowds, but nighttime truly sparkles. 

The Brooklyn Bridge

We love taking NYC visitors on a stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge. The massive structure connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn, and makes for gorgeous pictures on the ground below or along the track where you'll see plenty of walkers, runners, and bikers. 

The Streets of Chinatown 

Located in Lower Manhattan and bordering the Lower East Side and Little Italy, Chinatown offers incredible photo opps (plus delicious food). Pell, Doyers, and Forsyth are all worth a stroll. 

The Main New York Public Library

The beautiful Beaux-Arts Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, most commonly known as the Main Branch or the New York Public Library, is the city's flagship library and a Midtown landmark. The iconic lions, Patience and Fortitude, flank the building offering an iconic picture. But be sure to take a spin around: The building is just as gorgeous on the inside.  

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