New York City is a traveler’s paradise, attracting millions of visitors each year who come to marvel at its world-famous landmarks and experience the city’s vibrant energy. Yet, with so many of what seem like the best attractions in NYC, it can be difficult deciding which ones to add to your itinerary.
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That’s why we’ve created an amazing guide to explain the best landmarks of NYC. But we’ve added a little twist – we’re going to show you the best way to enjoy each, so you’ll know how to make the most of your visit. That said, let’s dive into the top landmarks that make NYC one of the most incredible cities in the world!
These are our favorite NYC Landmarks
DUMBO Historic DistrictOther Attraction in DumboAdd to myNY added
Discover the enchanting DUMBO Historic District, a gem nestled in the heart of NYC. This charming enclave was once an industrial powerhouse but has since transformed into an artistic hub. Cobblestone streets wind their way through timeless architecture, dotted with chic galleries, trendy boutiques, and mouth-watering eateries. Gaze in awe at the stunning Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges that provide a dramatic backdrop to this historic neighborhood.
How to experience DUMBO best: If you’re looking to make the most of DUMBO’s rich history and unique blend of past and present, we recommend exploring on foot. A walking tour allows you to uncover the hidden secrets and fascinating stories that make this area truly unforgettable. So, put on your walking shoes, grab a camera, and prepare to be swept off your feet by the irresistible charm of the DUMBO Historic District.
SoHo - Cast Iron Historic DistrictOther Attraction in SoHoAdd to myNY added
The next must-see NYC landmark is the stunning SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District. This area is a captivating blend of art, history, and distinctive architectural styles right in the middle of Manhattan. Wander through its famed streets, lined with majestic cast-iron buildings that house an array of galleries, designer boutiques, and mouth-watering eateries. This remarkable neighborhood is a testament to New York’s industrial past, transformed into a vibrant hub of creativity and culture.
The best way to explore the area: The SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District’s beautiful architecture, rich history, and lively culture are best explored on foot, allowing you to take in the sights and sounds of the neighborhood at your own pace. Moreover, a walking tour will give you the opportunity to see the intricate details of the cast-iron facades up close, as well as the charming cobblestone streets that contribute to the area’s unique charm.
Stone Street Historic DistrictOther Attraction in Financial DistrictAdd to myNY added
Situated in Manhattan’s Financial District is the Stone Street Historic District. This neighborhood features charming cobblestone-paved streets and instantly transports you to Old New York. Boasting a rich history dating back to the 17th century, this picturesque neighborhood is lined with beautifully preserved colonial-era buildings that house a fantastic mix of bars, restaurants, and quaint shops.
How to make the most of your visit to the Stone Street Historic District: we highly recommend joining a walking tour. This will allow you to experience the charming cobblestone-paved district in all its splendor. On the tour, you’ll learn about the area’s history and discover hidden gems that you may not have found on your own.
New York City HallBuilding in Civic CenterAdd to myNY added
New York City Hall is a famous landmark that has served as the seat of NYC’s government since 1812. This remarkable neoclassical building, found in the heart of Lower Manhattan, features a striking front with large columns and intricate details, encompassing the history and culture that have made the city.
Our tip on how to make the most of your visit: While guided tours are available for exploring the interior, we suggest admiring it from the outside for the best experience. Are you surprised? The reason for this is that New York City Hall’s impressive design and architectural beauty are best enjoyed from the exterior, where you can appreciate the stunning details at your leisure. And while you’re close, don’t forget to visit City Hall Park and take in the incredible views of the NYC skyline!
Woolworth BuildingBuilding in Financial DistrictAdd to myNY added
The Woolworth Building is an iconic skyscraper located in downtown Manhattan, NYC. Completed in 1912, it was the tallest building in the world until the completion of the Chrysler Building in 1930. The building was designed by architect Cass Gilbert and is a stunning example of neo-Gothic architecture, as it features complex details and ornate decoration.
Our insider tip: When visiting the Woolworth Building, we recommend viewing it from the outside. Visitors can take a stroll around City Hall Park and admire the building’s impressive facade and intricate carvings. If you’re lucky, you may even be able to enter the lobby, which is open to the public and features a stunning mosaic ceiling and marble walls.
Webster HallClub in East VillageAdd to myNY added
Webster Hall is a historic music venue located in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan. Completed in 1886, the venue has a rich history and has hosted some of the biggest names in music, from Elvis Presley to Madonna. It was originally built as a concert hall and has since been used for a variety of purposes, including hosting political rallies and social events and even as a recording studio. In the 1980s and 1990s, the venue became known for its wild parties and underground music scene. Today, after undergoing extensive renovations, Webster Hall continues to be a cultural landmark in NYC.
The best way to fully appreciate the rich history and lively atmosphere of Webster Hall: attend a concert! With its impressive sound system and beautiful decor, the venue provides an unforgettable musical experience that is unique to NYC. So, if you’re a music lover or just looking for a fun night out, Webster Hall is definitely worth checking out.
Governors Island Historic DistrictOther Attraction in Outside of New York CityAdd to myNY added
Governor’s Island Historic District is a 172-acre island located just off the southern tip of Manhattan. The island has a rich history dating back to the 1700s when it was used as a military base. Today, the island is home to a number of historical buildings, parks, and cultural events, making it a hidden gem in NYC. The island’s most notable landmarks include Fort Jay, a historic military fort, and Nolan Park, a collection of 19th-century officer’s homes.
The best way to experience it: If you’re planning to visit Governor’s Island Historic District, we recommend taking a guided tour. These tours are available from the National Park Service, which operates the island. They offer visitors a chance to learn about the island’s history and see its most notable landmarks up close. And once you’re done learning about the area, don’t forget to check out all the family-friendly activities that Governor’s Island has to offer!
Smallpox Hospital Roosevelt IslandBuilding in Roosevelt IslandAdd to myNY added
The Smallpox Hospital Roosevelt Island, also commonly referred to as the Renwick Ruin, is a striking Gothic Revival landmark located on the southern end of Roosevelt Island, NYC. Constructed in the mid-19th century, it was once a hospital for smallpox patients and is now an abandoned structure that remains a popular destination for history enthusiasts and photographers.
How to get the best view of the Smallpox Hospital Roosevelt Island: we suggest taking the Roosevelt Island Tramway. Not only does the tramway pass right by the hospital, but it also offers stunning views of the NYC skyline and East River. Although the ruin is currently closed to the public, visitors can take a short walk from the tramway station to explore the surrounding park, which offers a peaceful escape from the city.
Statue of LibertyBuilding in Lower ManhattanAdd to myNY added
No list of NYC landmarks is complete without the Statue of Liberty! In fact, standing at 305 feet tall, Lady Liberty is one of the most iconic and recognizable landmarks in the world. A global symbol of democracy and freedom, the statue was a gift from France to the United States in 1884 and is located on Liberty Island in the New York Harbor. A climb to the top of the statue offers panoramic views of the harbor and New York City skyline, making it a popular destination for visitors to NYC.
Recommendation: Though climbing the 377 stairs to the top is something you should try at least once, the truth is that this landmark is best viewed on a cruise. Embarking on a Landmarks Cruise around the New York Harbour offers a unique perspective on the statue and its surroundings. And the best part is that many cruise companies offer guided tours that provide historical context and interesting facts about the statue and its significance, making the experience educational and engaging.
Ellis Island Main BuildingMuseum in Lower ManhattanAdd to myNY added
The Ellis Island Main Building is a historic landmark located in the New York Harbor and is known for its significant role as the gateway to America for millions of immigrants. The building was opened in 1900 and served as the primary immigration center until 1954. Today, the building houses the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration, which tells the story of the millions of people who passed through its doors.
Insider tip: It’s estimated that about two million people visit the Ellis Island Main Building each year, making it one of the most popular landmarks in NYC. To avoid the crowds and fully appreciate the building’s architecture, we suggest checking it out from a Best of NYC Cruise around the harbor. This offers visitors a unique perspective on the building and its surroundings, as well as a look at other nearby landmarks.
Bergdorf Goodman Building (754 Fifth Avenue)Other Shopping in Midtown ManhattanAdd to myNY added
The Bergdorf Goodman Building is located at 754 Fifth Avenue and is a famed landmark in NYC known for its luxurious fashion and exquisite architecture. Finished in the late 1920s, the building has forever been a destination for high-end shopping. When visiting the Bergdorf Goodman Building, you can enjoy its beauty from the outside or explore its unique interior architectural features, such as the Art Deco-style facade and grand windows. The building is home to some of the world’s most famous fashion brands and luxury goods, making it a mecca for shoppers and fashion enthusiasts alike.
How to learn more about it: the best way to experience the Bergdorf Goodman Building is on a walking tour in the area. The building is located on Fifth Avenue, one of the most famous shopping streets in the world, and walking along this iconic street provides you with stunning views of the NYC skyline and gives you a chance to see other notable landmarks, such as Central Park and the Plaza Hotel.
Carnegie HallOther Art & Culture in Midtown ManhattanAdd to myNY added
Carnegie Hall is one of the most prestigious concert venues in the world and is renowned for its exceptional acoustics and stunning architecture. This music hall is located in Midtown Manhattan and has been a destination for music lovers since it opened in 1891.
How to experience the magic of Carnegie Hall: we highly recommend attending a concert. The hall has hosted some of the world’s most famous performers and composers, including Leonard Bernstein and Duke Ellington. So, attending a concert at Carnegie Hall not only provides you with the opportunity to enjoy world-class music in an iconic venue but it also allows you to experience the history and culture of the city.
Chrysler BuildingBuilding in Midtown ManhattanAdd to myNY added
The Chrysler Building is one of NYC’s most recognizable and beloved landmarks, renowned for its stunning Art Deco architecture. It was built in 1930 in just 18 months, which is an incredible feat given the complexity of the design and engineering challenges involved. The building was once the tallest in the world and remains an iconic feature of the New York City skyline.
How to get the best view: the grandeur and beauty of the Chrysler Building are best when viewed from the outside or from the Summit One Vanderbilt observation deck. The exterior of the building boasts intricate Art Deco design features, including the unique spire that crowns the top. Alternatively, exploring the Summit One Vanderbilt observation deck will provide you with breathtaking views of the city and give you a unique perspective on the Chrysler Building. Either way – this is a must-see NYC landmark!
Flatiron BuildingBuilding in Flatiron DistrictAdd to myNY added
The Flatiron Building is undoubtedly one of the most distinctive buildings on the NYC skyline. Completed in 1902, the building is famous for its unique triangular shape. The building’s unusual shape is due to the fact that it was constructed on a triangular plot of land, in compliance with the city’s strict building codes at the time. Thanks to its distinctive shape, it’s been featured in countless movies, TV shows, and photographs over the years and remains an essential part of the city’s cultural landscape.
The best way to explore the history of this landmark: We recommend that you explore the Flatiron Building’s history and architecture on a Flatiron District Walking Tour. This gives you the perfect opportunity to learn about the unique design elements and immerse yourself in the neighborhood’s culture and vast history.
The Gotham Hotel (The Peninsula)Hotels & Accommodations in Midtown ManhattanAdd to myNY added
There are endless lodging options in NYC, but if you’re looking for a truly unique experience, check out the Gotham Hotel. Formerly known as The Peninsula, the Gotham Hotel is a luxurious Beaux-Arts-style offering in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. The building was initially constructed in 1905 and has since undergone extensive renovations while retaining its iconic architecture. Today, the Gotham Hotel is renowned for its luxurious amenities, impeccable service, and prime location.
How to make the most of your visit: There are several ways to experience the grandeur of The Gotham Hotel. For starters, you can take a stroll past from the outside, but if you want an even closer look, step inside the elegant lobby and admire the luxurious decor and ambiance. To experience everything this NYC landmark has to offer, consider staying at The Gotham Hotel and immersing yourself in its world-class accommodations. No matter which you choose, The Gotham Hotel is sure to leave a lasting impression!
Grand Central TerminalOther Attraction in Midtown ManhattanAdd to myNY added
Grand Central Terminal is not only one of the busiest transportation hubs in the world but also one of the most famed and beautiful. With 44 platforms, it’s the largest train station in the world by number of tracks. The terminal was first opened in 1913 and has since become one of the most recognizable landmarks in New York City. This stunning building is renowned for its Beaux-Arts style architecture, grand concourse, and beautiful astronomical ceiling. The terminal is not just a transportation hub but also a destination in its own right, attracting millions of visitors each year from around the world.
To have the best experience: If you’re eager to learn everything there is to know about Grand Central Terminal and truly experience everything it has to offer, then an audio or guided tour is a must-do experience. Led by experts, these tours provide a deep dive into the terminal’s fascinating past and offer insights into its intricate design elements. Whether you’re a history buff or simply interested in exploring one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, a tour of Grand Central Terminal is an unforgettable experience!
The Knickerbocker HotelHotels & Accommodations in Theatre DistrictAdd to myNY added
Located in the heart of Times Square, the Knickerbocker Hotel is a historic landmark that has been welcoming guests for over a century. Originally built in 1904, the hotel has played an essential role in the city’s history and has been visited by some of the most famous names in entertainment, politics, and business. Its elegant Beaux-Arts architecture, stunning rooftop bar, and luxurious accommodations make it a top destination for travelers looking for a unique and unforgettable experience in New York City.
Make the best of your visit: To experience the Knickerbocker Hotel, we recommend exploring it from the outside or stepping into the lobby to take in its beautiful design features. For the ultimate experience, however, a stay at the hotel is highly recommended. As a guest, you’ll enjoy luxurious accommodations, exceptional dining options, and unparalleled views of Times Square and the New York City skyline. Regardless of which way you experience the Knickerbocker Hotel, it’s a must-visit if you’ve never been.
Empire State BuildingBuilding in Midtown ManhattanAdd to myNY added
Standing at an impressive 1,454 feet, the Empire State Building held the title of the world’s tallest building for nearly four decades. This iconic New York City attraction is a striking Art Deco masterpiece that offers breathtaking panoramic views from its observation decks.
Our recommendation: Although you can visit the building itself and ascend to the renowned decks, we also recommend experiencing its majestic presence from other observation platforms in Midtown Manhattan. By doing so, you can appreciate the Empire State Building’s imposing stature within the city’s awe-inspiring skyline. Regardless of your chosen vantage point, witnessing this remarkable landmark is an unforgettable experience for any NYC visitor.
Ambassador Theatre // Belasco Theatre // Broadhurst Theatre // Longacre Theatre // Majestic TheatreTheatre in Theatre DistrictAdd to myNY added
New York City’s vibrant theater scene is renowned worldwide, and among its jewels are the Ambassador Theatre, Belasco Theatre, Broadhurst Theatre, Longacre Theatre, and Majestic Theatre. Each of these historic venues boasts distinct architectural styles and has hosted numerous critically acclaimed Broadway shows. These theaters not only captivate audiences with their stellar performances but are also recognized for their stunning interiors, many of which have been designated as interior landmarks.
How to experience it best: Attending a Broadway show in one of these magnificent theaters is an experience like no other! The combination of world-class talent, riveting productions, and the theaters’ striking architecture creates an unforgettable evening of entertainment. So, while visiting New York City, be sure to reserve your tickets and immerse yourself in the magic and excitement of a Broadway show in one of these iconic theaters.
Metropolitan Life Insurance Company TowerBuilding in Midtown ManhattanAdd to myNY added
The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower, a historic New York City landmark, is an architectural marvel with its distinctive clock tower design. Built in 1909, it once held the title of the world’s tallest building and features a Neo-Gothic style of architecture. This iconic tower stands tall amidst the vibrant cityscape, and its storied past adds to the allure of the building.
For the best experience: we recommend admiring the MetLife Tower from Madison Square Park, where you can appreciate its grandeur while relaxing in the park’s serene setting. The juxtaposition of the tower’s architectural elegance against the lush greenery of the park creates an enchanting visual treat that you won’t soon forget.
New York Life BuildingBuilding in Midtown ManhattanAdd to myNY added
The New York Life Building, situated at 51 Madison Avenue, showcases a stunning Gothic Revival style crowned by its iconic gilded pyramid roof. Designed by the esteemed architect Cass Gilbert, this 40-story skyscraper was completed in 1928 and towers at 615 feet. This is a must-see building as it boasts an eye-catching facade embellished with intricate terra cotta carvings and ornate details.
Where to get the best view: In our previous suggestion, we recommended experiencing the MetLife Building from the tranquil setting of Madison Square Park. And with that, you can also see the New York Life Building during this visit. These two architectural wonders are situated in close proximity to one another, making it easy to experience both iconic landmarks in a single, memorable outing.
New York Public LibraryBuilding in Midtown ManhattanAdd to myNY added
The New York Public Library is a famous landmark in the heart of New York City. The building is celebrated for its grand Beaux-Arts architectural style and its significant role in fostering knowledge and culture. This majestic institution houses an extensive collection of books, manuscripts, and other treasures, making it an essential destination for bibliophiles and history enthusiasts alike.
How to have an unforgettable experience: we recommend admiring the library’s breathtaking facade from the picturesque Bryant Park. But if you’re looking to really experience this landmark, consider taking an audio guide or embarking on a self-guided tour of the library’s splendid interior to uncover its hidden gems and delve deeper into its fascinating history. By combining both experiences, you’ll gain an even more comprehensive appreciation of this remarkable New York City landmark.
New York Savings BankBuilding in ChelseaAdd to myNY added
The New York Savings Bank, located in the Meatpacking District, is a stunning landmark with a rich history. Its grand facade, featuring majestic columns and intricate carvings, is a testament to the opulence of the past.
Our tip: To fully appreciate its grandeur, we recommend admiring the bank from the outside. This will allow you to take in its magnificent architecture up close and understand the level of detail that went into its design. Alternatively, you can explore the surrounding area on a walking tour of the Meatpacking District. This will provide you with a unique perspective on the neighborhood’s history and culture, as well as an opportunity to learn more about the New York Savings Bank and its significance.
New York Times Building (Times Annex)Building in Theatre DistrictAdd to myNY added
The New York Times Building, also known as the Times Annex, is a renowned landmark in the city’s Theater District. Completed in 1913, the building boasts an impressive Beaux-Arts style facade and has been a hub for journalism and media for over a century. The building has undergone several renovations and expansions over the years but still maintains its historic charm and significance.
How to enjoy the visit best: If you want to fully appreciate the architectural and cultural significance of the New York Times Building, you should definitely consider taking a Theater District Walking Tour. This guided tour takes you through the vibrant Theater District, where you can admire the Times Annex up close and learn about its history and cultural impact. Along the way, you’ll also see other iconic landmarks, such as the famous Broadway theaters, making for a really memorable experience!
Paramount BuildingBuilding in Theatre DistrictAdd to myNY added
The Paramount Building is a historic landmark located in the heart of the Theater District in Midtown Manhattan. It was constructed in 1925 and features a distinctive Art Deco design. The building was once home to the Paramount Theatre, which hosted some of the biggest names in entertainment during the golden age of Hollywood. Today, the building is a popular destination for visitors to the city, and its gorgeous façade remains a testament to the glamor and excitement of New York’s entertainment industry.
The best way to explore this landmark: When visiting the Paramount Building, its architectural style and cultural significance are at the forefront. Therefore, we recommend exploring the Theater District on foot. The neighborhood is home to some of the world’s most famous theaters, and a walking tour is the perfect way to discover the rich history and cultural impact of this vibrant community. As you stroll through the district, you’ll have the opportunity to admire the Paramount Building up close, as well as other iconic landmarks such as the New Amsterdam Theatre and the Lyceum Theatre.
The Plaza HotelHotels & Accommodations in Midtown ManhattanAdd to myNY added
The Plaza Hotel is a beloved landmark in NYC and is considered one of the most luxurious hotels in the city. Located in the heart of Manhattan on Fifth Avenue, the hotel is known for its timeless elegance and grandeur. The Plaza has a storied history and has been the backdrop for countless movies, television shows, and events, solidifying its place as an iconic symbol of New York City.
Make the best of your visit: When in NYC, we recommend taking a stroll past the grand facade to appreciate its beauty from the outside. For a closer look, step inside the hotel’s stunning lobby and take in its ornate decor and lavish chandeliers. If you’re looking for the ultimate experience, consider staying at the hotel and immersing yourself in the luxury and history of this iconic landmark.
Rockefeller CenterBuilding in Midtown ManhattanAdd to myNY added
Rockefeller Center is a famed complex of buildings located in Midtown Manhattan, famous for its beautiful art deco architectural styles and history. The center was built in 1931 and has since become a cultural and commercial hub in the heart of New York City. From the famous Christmas tree lighting ceremony to the ice rink and the Top of the Rock observation deck, there’s plenty to see and do at Rockefeller Center.
The best way to experience Rockefeller Center: Having been to NYC many times, I can confidently tell you that the best way to experience the Rockefeller Center is through a Rockefeller Center Tour. Led by expert guides, these tours provide you with fascinating insights into the center’s history and architecture, including the famous murals and sculptures that adorn the buildings. You’ll also get exclusive access to areas of the center that are typically off-limits to the public, making for a truly memorable experience!
Theodore Roosevelt HouseMuseum in Flatiron DistrictAdd to myNY added
The Theodore Roosevelt House is a must-visit landmark for history buffs and political enthusiasts. The house was the childhood home of the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, and is located in the quaint neighborhood of Gramercy Park. The house has been beautifully preserved and is a fascinating look into the early life of one of America’s most beloved presidents.
How to learn more about the history of Theodore Roosevelt: At the very least, this is a famous landmark that you need to see from the outside one time. However, if you’d like to fully appreciate the historical significance and architectural beauty of the Theodore Roosevelt House, we recommend taking the guided tour. The tour will provide you with a fascinating glimpse into the life and times of the young Theodore Roosevelt, as well as the design elements that make the house so unique.
St. Patrick’s CathedralBuilding in Midtown ManhattanAdd to myNY added
St. Patrick’s Cathedral is one of the most significant and beautiful landmarks in NYC and is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in experiencing the city’s cultural heritage. The cathedral is an impressive example of Neo-Gothic architecture, with its soaring spires, intricate stonework, and magnificent stained-glass windows.
How to get the most of your visit: A guided or self-guided tour is the perfect way to fully appreciate the cathedral’s beauty and significance, as it provides visitors with fascinating insights into its history and architecture. During a tour of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, you’ll learn about the cathedral’s construction, which began in the mid-1800s and took over 20 years to complete. You’ll also have the opportunity to admire its stunning design features up close, such as the intricate carvings on its facade and the intricate details of its stained-glass windows.
Saks Fifth Avenue BuildingOther Shopping in Midtown ManhattanAdd to myNY added
The Saks Fifth Avenue building is a must-see destination for anyone visiting New York City. This iconic building, located on Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, is known for its impressive Art Deco architecture and its status as one of the world’s premier luxury shopping destinations.
How to enjoy your visit best: So, when in NYC, we recommend seeing it from the outside and taking a stroll along Fifth Avenue to revel in the surrounding architectural styles and energy of the city. And, of course, no trip to Saks Fifth Avenue is complete without indulging in a bit of shopping. The store is home to some of the world’s most famous fashion brands and luxury goods, and, to top it off, its lavish window displays are a sight to behold!
St. Thomas' Church and St. Thomas' Parish HouseBuilding in Midtown ManhattanAdd to myNY added
St. Thomas’ Church and Parish House are significant landmarks in New York City’s history and architecture. The church’s Gothic Revival architecture and its ornate interior have made it a beloved institution for more than 200 years. The parish house, which was added in 1907, also boasts impressive architecture and serves as an important community center.
The best way to learn more about St. Thomas’ Church: When it comes to visiting St. Thomas’ Church and St. Thomas’ Parish House, we recommend a guided or self-guided tour. Embarking on a tour allows you to explore the stunning architecture and artwork of the church, including stained glass windows and intricate wood carvings. The parish house also offers exhibits and events that showcase a closer look at the surrounding neighborhood.
Union SquarePark in GramercyOur HighlightAdd to myNY added
Union Square is a bustling public space in Manhattan that has served as a hub of political, cultural, and commercial activity for over two centuries. Originally designed in 1832 as a public gathering place, Union Square has since undergone several renovations and revitalizations, evolving into a popular destination for New Yorkers and visitors alike. The square is surrounded by historic buildings, including the renowned Decker Building and the iconic Metronome, and is home to a variety of public art installations, including the famous George Washington statue.
How to experience Union Square best: If you want to truly experience the vibrancy and diversity of Union Square, we highly recommend visiting the Union Square Greenmarket. This outdoor farmers’ market offers a wide array of fresh, locally-sourced produce, artisanal foods, and handmade crafts, making it a great stop for foodies, shoppers, and tourists. The market is open year-round and features more than 140 vendors, making it an excellent place to enjoy a leisurely stroll, sample some delicious treats, and take in the energy of one of New York City’s most beloved public spaces!
American Museum of Natural HistoryMuseum in Upper West SideAdd to myNY added
The American Museum of Natural History is one of the most famed museums in the world, and it is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to NYC. The museum boasts an incredible collection of exhibits that showcase the wonders of the natural world, including an extensive collection of dinosaur fossils, rare minerals and gems, and life-size dioramas of animals from around the globe. In addition to its impressive collection, the museum also offers a wide range of educational programs and events, making it a popular destination for families, students, and anyone interested in science and nature.
The best way to experience the museum: When it comes to visiting the American Museum of Natural History, the only real way to experience it is with a visit. With so much to see and do, it’s a good idea to prioritize the exhibits that interest you most and plan your visit accordingly. The museum offers a range of ticket options, including timed entry, which can help you avoid long lines and make the most of your time at the museum.
The Frick CollectionMuseum in Upper East SideAdd to myNY added
The Frick Collection is a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts and culture vultures in New York City. Located on the Upper East Side, the museum boasts an impressive collection of European paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts from the Renaissance through the early 20th century. The collection is housed in the elegant former residence of industrialist Henry Clay Frick, which adds to the allure of the museum.
This is how you experience it best: With more than 1,000 works of art on display, the only way to experience the Frick Collection is with a visit to the museum. Perhaps the best part is that the Frick Collection also offers guided tours and educational programs, which provide fascinating insights into the history and context of the collection.
Solomon R. Guggenheim MuseumMuseum in Upper East SideOur HighlightAdd to myNY added
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is one of the most famous museums in NYC and is renowned for its iconic spiral shape and impressive collection of modern and contemporary art. Founded in 1939, the museum is home to an array of world-class exhibitions and is a must-visit destination for art lovers and cultural enthusiasts.
How to see what Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is all about: plan a visit! From the moment you step into the stunning rotunda and gaze up at the mesmerizing skylight, you’ll be transported to a world of artistic wonder. With numerous galleries to explore and an ever-changing lineup of exhibitions, a visit to the Guggenheim promises to be an enriching experience that you won’t forget.
Metropolitan Museum of Art (The MET)Museum in Upper East SideOur HighlightAdd to myNY added
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, also known as the “Met,” is one of the most iconic landmarks in New York City and a must-see destination for art lovers from around the world. With over 2 million works of art spanning 5,000 years of history, the museum offers a unique glimpse into the world’s most diverse artistic traditions. From ancient Egyptian artifacts to contemporary masterpieces, the Met is a treasure trove of human creativity and innovation.
The best way to explore the Met: Much like every other museum on our list, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is best explored with a visit. With so much to see and explore, we suggest planning ahead and setting aside plenty of time to take in the museum’s many galleries and exhibitions. Trust me! You’ll thank us later!
Museum of the City of New YorkMuseum in Upper East SideAdd to myNY added
The Museum of the City of New York is a cultural institution dedicated to preserving and celebrating the storied history of NYC. The museum’s extensive collection of artifacts, photographs, and artwork showcases the city’s evolution over the centuries, from its early days as a Dutch colony to the modern metropolis it is today.
How to have the best experience: To explore everything the Museum of the City of New York has to offer, we recommend visiting in person and taking advantage of the guided tours and special exhibitions offered throughout the year. The museum’s knowledgeable guides provide fascinating insights into the city’s past and present, and the rotating exhibits offer a fresh perspective on different aspects of New York City life.
New York Historical Society MuseumMuseum in Upper West SideAdd to myNY added
The New-York Historical Society is one of the United States’ oldest museums and a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the history and culture of NYC. Established in 1804, the museum boasts a vast collection of artifacts, documents, and art that showcase NYC’s history and cultural heritage. From the Revolutionary War to contemporary art, the museum showcases NYC’s past, present, and future through a range of exhibits, making it a valuable resource for anyone interested in history.
How to make the most of your visit: If you’re looking to fully experience the wonders of the New-York Historical Society, we highly recommend a visit to the museum. Whether you’re a history buff or simply looking to learn more about the city’s past and present, the museum’s exhibits offer something for everyone.
Queensboro BridgeBuilding in Roosevelt IslandAdd to myNY added
The Queensboro Bridge, also known as the 59th Street Bridge, is an iconic suspension bridge that spans the East River. The bridge connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Queens and was completed in 1909. Its importance to the city’s transportation network and its status as a symbol of the city’s progress and innovation has earned it a place in the National Register of Historic Places.
The best way to explore the bridge: When in NYC, there’s no better way to experience the Queensboro Bridge than on a bicycle. The bridge’s pedestrian and bike path offers stunning views of the NYC skyline and provides a unique perspective on the bridge’s intricate design and engineering.
Apollo TheaterOther Attraction in Harlem & Washington HeightsAdd to myNY added
The Apollo Theater is a legendary music venue located in Harlem that has played a pivotal role in the history of American music. Originally opened in 1914 as a burlesque theater, the Apollo later became known for showcasing African American performers during the era of racial segregation in the United States. The venue has hosted countless iconic musicians, from Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington to James Brown and Aretha Franklin, cementing its status as a cultural landmark.
For a better experience: When in New York City, the only real way to experience the Apollo Theater is to attend a show. For those interested in catching a show, the Apollo regularly hosts concerts and events featuring a wide range of musical genres, from jazz and soul to hip hop and R&B. At the very least, we recommend taking a walking tour of Harlem that includes a stop at the venue.
Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine and the Cathedral CloseBuilding in Harlem & Washington HeightsAdd to myNY added
The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine and the Cathedral Close is one of the most impressive architectural and cultural landmarks in New York City. Completed in 1941, the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine is the world’s largest Gothic cathedral, spanning over 121,000 square feet. The cathedral is adorned with stunning works of art, including stained glass windows and ornate sculptures, and is home to one of the world’s largest pipe organs. The surrounding Cathedral Close, a beautiful park-like space, offers visitors a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city.
This is how you experience it best: Immerse yourself in the grandeur of the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine and the Cathedral Close by taking a guided tour or a self-guided tour. This will allow you to explore the cathedral’s history and cultural significance, as well as its impressive architecture and stunning works of art. Moreover, a tour of the Cathedral Close is a must-see, as it offers visitors a tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The Met CloistersOther Attraction in Outside of New York CityAdd to myNY added
The Cloisters, a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is a unique museum located in Upper Manhattan that is devoted to medieval art and architecture. The museum’s collection features over 5,000 objects, including exquisite sculptures, illuminated manuscripts, and decorative arts from the Middle Ages. The Cloisters is also famous for its beautiful gardens, which were designed to evoke the gardens of medieval monasteries.
You want to learn more about it? The Cloisters is another famous NYC landmark that’s best explored in person. Here you can stroll through the gardens and take in the tranquil atmosphere for an unforgettable experience. Inside, you can explore the museum’s collection at your own pace or opt for a guided tour to gain a deeper understanding of the art and architecture on display.
The Dyckman FarmhouseMuseum in BronxAdd to myNY added
The Dyckman House, located in Upper Manhattan, is the oldest surviving farmhouse in Manhattan, dating back to the 18th century. The house has undergone several renovations throughout the years but still maintains its original charm. Today, it serves as a museum that’s open to the public, offering a unique glimpse into what life was like in Manhattan before the city became the bustling metropolis it is today.
For the best experience: When in the city, plan an in-person visit to the Dyckman House to truly take a step back in time. They offer guided tours that are led by knowledgeable staff who will provide insight into the history of the house and the surrounding area. You can explore the house’s many rooms and learn about the Dyckman family who lived there, as well as the daily life of the early Dutch settlers in the area.
Brooklyn BridgeBuilding in DumboOur HighlightAdd to myNY added
The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most distinguishable landmarks in the city, connecting Manhattan to Brooklyn over the East River. The bridge was completed in 1883 and was the first of its kind. Its neo-Gothic style towers and suspension cables are instantly recognizable and attract millions of visitors each year. The Brooklyn Bridge has played an important role in the city’s history and continues to be a vital part of New York’s transportation infrastructure.
Our tip for the best possible experience: Though you may be tempted to simply take a car or bike ride over the Brooklyn Bridge, we recommend you take it slow and go on foot instead. Walking across the bridge offers stunning views of the New York City skyline and allows visitors to soak up the bridge’s history and design features. Along the way, you’ll encounter historic plaques, intricate carvings, and other interesting details that make the bridge a true work of art.
The Cyclone // Parachute Jump // The Wonder WheelOther Attraction in Coney Island & Brighton BeachAdd to myNY added
Coney Island is home to several iconic attractions, including The Cyclone, Parachute Jump, and The Wonder Wheel. The Cyclone is a wooden roller coaster that has been thrilling visitors since 1927 and is a designated New York City landmark. The Parachute Jump, also known as the “Eiffel Tower of Brooklyn,” is a 250-foot-tall steel structure that was originally part of a World’s Fair in 1939. The Wonder Wheel, built in 1920, is a 150-foot-tall Ferris wheel that offers stunning views of the boardwalk and the Atlantic Ocean.
Make the most of your visit: The magic of Coney Island’s attractions is best experienced by visiting in person. Take a ride on The Cyclone and feel the rush of adrenaline as you zoom around the tracks. Take a ride on The Wonder Wheel and enjoy the breathtaking views of the ocean and surrounding areas. And don’t forget to take a moment to admire the Parachute Jump and its unique design. A visit to Coney Island is an unforgettable experience that should not be missed!
Green-Wood CemeteryOther Attraction in Park SlopeAdd to myNY added
If you’re looking for a unique and peaceful destination in NYC, Green-Wood Cemetery is a must-visit landmark. Established in 1838, the cemetery is the final resting place of over half a million people, including famous figures such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Leonard Bernstein, and Louis Comfort Tiffany. But Green-Wood Cemetery is more than just a burial ground – it’s also a beautiful and historic park that offers sweeping views of the NYC skyline and is home to an impressive collection of 19th-century funerary art and architecture.
How to explore the cemetery best: If you plan to visit Green-Wood Cemetery, we highly suggest that you embark on a self-guided tour. With more than 478 acres to explore, there’s plenty to see and discover on your own. And don’t forget to pick up a map at the main entrance or download the cemetery’s app to guide you through the notable monuments, mausoleums, and sculptures.
Unisphere and Reflecting PoolBuilding in FlushingAdd to myNY added
The Unisphere and Reflecting Pool are iconic landmarks located in Queens, New York. The Unisphere, a spherical stainless steel representation of the Earth, was constructed for the 1964 New York World’s Fair and is now a symbol of Queens’ diversity and global interconnectedness. The Reflecting Pool, situated at the base of the Unisphere, provides a peaceful and reflective space for visitors to enjoy.
This is how you learn more about these landmarks: When visiting the Unisphere and Reflecting Pool, we recommend taking a walking tour. Led by knowledgeable guides, you’ll learn about the history and significance of these landmarks, as well as the surrounding Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Along the way, you’ll also see other notable sights, such as the New York State Pavilion and the Queens Museum.
Pier 57Pier in ChelseaAdd to myNY added
At Pier 57, history meets modernity in a unique and exciting way. The restored maritime industrial building is now a vibrant public space that offers visitors an array of options, including food, art, music, and hands-on environmental education, all with stunning views of the Hudson River Park. With an award-winning restoration, the pier boasts ample indoor and outdoor areas that can be enjoyed year-round.
How to make the most of your visit: The two-acre rooftop park and walkway around the perimeter of Pier 57 are open daily to the public, providing breathtaking views of the New York City skyline and New York Harbor. The pier’s new 7,400 square foot public gathering place, called the “Living Room,” offers seating and tables with extraordinary views of Little Island and Lower Manhattan. Of course, with all of these offerings, we recommend you explore Pier 57 on foot.
Radio City Music HallOther Art & Culture in Midtown ManhattanAdd to myNY added
Radio City Music Hall, also known as the “Showplace of the Nation,” is a world-famous entertainment venue located in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. Completed in 1932, this iconic theater has hosted countless concerts, movie premieres, and other cultural events over the years, cementing its place in the city’s history as a beloved landmark.
To get a truly magical experience of Radio City Music Hall: we recommend attending a concert or show. Whether you’re a fan of live music, dance performances, or Broadway-style productions, you’re sure to find something to love at this stunning venue. With its Art Deco architecture, state-of-the-art sound system, and plush seating, Radio City Music Hall offers an unforgettable entertainment experience that you don’t want to miss!
Waldorf AstoriaBuilding in Midtown ManhattanAdd to myNY added
The Waldorf Astoria is a New York City landmark that has stood the test of time. The iconic Art Deco building has played host to many of the world’s most influential figures and has been the backdrop for countless cultural events throughout the years. Its grandeur and elegance have made it one of the most recognizable and beloved buildings in the city.
How to get the best view: While visitors cannot enter the hotel due to renovations, the Waldorf Astoria can still be enjoyed from the outside. The impressive architecture and stunning details make it worth a visit, and it’s conveniently located near other must-see landmarks in Midtown Manhattan.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the most famous landmark in New York City?
The most famous landmark in New York City is arguably the Statue of Liberty, a symbol of freedom and democracy that stands on Liberty Island in the New York Harbor. This iconic statue was a gift from the people of France to the United States in 1885 and has since become a symbol of the city and the country.
How many landmarks are in NYC?
New York City is home to over 37,000 landmark properties spread across its five boroughs. These landmarks include individual buildings, historic districts, and scenic landmarks that reflect the city’s cultural and architectural history.
What does landmark status mean in NYC?
Landmark status in NYC indicates that a building, site, or area possesses significant historical, architectural, or cultural value. Designated landmarks are protected by law, which means that any alterations, demolitions, or new construction projects must be approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) to ensure they do not compromise the landmark’s character.
Who decides what becomes a landmark?
In New York City, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) is responsible for identifying, designating, and regulating landmarks. This independent agency, composed of architects, historians, and other professionals, makes decisions based on a thorough review of the property’s historical, architectural, and cultural significance.
When do they decide something is a landmark in NYC?
The decision to designate a landmark in NYC typically occurs after a thorough review process. This process begins with a proposal, which can be submitted by the public, elected officials, or the LPC staff. The LPC then conducts research, solicits public input, and holds hearings before making a final decision on the designation.
What are the NYC landmarks that should be visited for architecture lovers?
Architecture enthusiasts in New York City should explore landmarks like the Flatiron Building, Woolworth Building, Guggenheim Museum, Chrysler Building, Empire State Building, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, One World Trade Center, and the High Line, showcasing the city’s diverse architectural styles and history.
What was NYC's most iconic landmark before the Statue of Liberty?
Before the Statue of Liberty, Trinity Church was one of New York City’s most iconic landmarks. Located at the intersection of Wall Street and Broadway, this historic church has been a prominent feature of the NYC skyline since its completion in 1846. Trinity Church holds great historical significance, as figures like George Washington and Alexander Hamilton attended services there, further establishing its importance in the city’s early history.
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I'm a true New York fan! Not only have I visited the city over 25 times but also have I spent several months here at a time. On my blog I show you the best and most beautiful spots of the city, so that you have a really good time! You can also find lots of insider tips in our New York travel guide. Also check out my hotel finder for New York!