There’s just something about New York City that sparks excitement in just about everyone, especially photographers. Known as the city that never sleeps, you will be amazed by the flashing lights, extravagant skyscrapers and hustle and bustle of people down every street. As the most populated city in the United States, New York provides countless opportunities to capture all of the amazing sights, experiences, and people on film. Whether you’re a local or tourist, having a camera on you at all times is a necessity.
Because there is so much to do and see in the city that never sleeps, we’ve compiled a list of the 48 best photo spots in New York City. From the frequently traveled tourist locations like Times Square and Rockefeller Center to the more tranquil spots like the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, you’ll be eager to start planning your trip to the Big Apple. Display all of your memories in a personalized photo book or on this season’s Christmas cards to share with family and friends.
1. Times Square
With the countless amount of activities that Times Square has to offer, there are plenty of photo opportunities in this eclectic intersection full of entertainment. Snap pictures of the gleaming billboards or with wax figures at Madame Tussauds. You will want your camera ready at all times to capture the street performers and people dressed as famous characters as you walk down the street. There are so many things to do and see in one of the best tourist spots New York City has to offer.
2. Bethesda Fountain (Central Park)
The Bethesda Fountain is the central feature of the Terrace in Central Park. Featured in many famous movies such as Enchanted and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, the beautiful, eight-foot fountain was the only statue called for in the original design of the park. Toss in a coin and take a photo with a piece of NYC history.
3. Bow Bridge (Central Park)
This cast iron, Victorian bridge acts as a popular gathering destination for lovers. With a stunning view of Fifth Avenue and Central Park West in the background, this location is any photographers dream.
4. Literary Walk (Central Park)
Take a stroll down the only straight path in Central Park. Also known as “The Mall”, this walkway is lined with beautiful elm trees and leads to statues of literary figures such as William Shakespeare, Sir Walter Scott, and Robert Burns. Try visiting during the fall to capture photos of the walkway as the leaves turn orange and yellow.
5. Gapstow Bridge (Central Park)
This beautiful, stone bridge designed by Jacob Wrey Mould provides one of the best views of the New York City skyline. Take a photo across the pond to capture the striking reflections on the water.
6. Strawberry Fields and John Lennon tiles (Central Park)
This area of Central Park acts as a beautiful tribute to John Lennon, with “Imagine” mosaiced into the center with black and white tiles. For those looking to take photos in a more tranquil part of the park, spend time in the Strawberry Fields, which has been deemed a quiet area and is lined with beautiful plants.
7. Radio City Music Hall
No trip to New York City is complete without a stop at the Radio City Music Hall. For a really special experience, visit during the holiday season to take pictures outside the venue while the Christmas tree is lit up between the iconic neon signs. Purchase tickets to see the Rockettes kick up their heels afterwards.
8. Brooklyn Bridge
This historic landmark is one of the oldest roadway bridges in the country. Taking a stroll on the pedestrian walkway under the weblike pattern of suspension cables will make for some Instagram-worthy pictures.
9. Grand Central Station
This location has to qualify as one of the world’s most beautiful railway stations. Not only does Grand Central Station act as a transportation hub, but it offers various shopping, eating, and cultural experiences as well. You’ll want to get a good photograph of the breathtaking blue ceiling while you’re there.
10. Chrysler Building
This art-deco skyscraper is an iconic part of the city. While most of the building is leased to businesses, visitors are welcome to enter the hotel lobby and marvel at the 1,049 foot giant from the outside. Consider this a must-do on your photography checklist.
11. Statue of Liberty
This is perhaps the most iconic landmark that people associate with NYC and has been a part of the city since 1875. Take pictures of the 151-foot sculpture among the beautiful backdrop of the New York harbor.
12. One World Trade Center
The One World Trade Center is the tallest building in the Western hemisphere and was rebuilt after September 11th, bringing a sense of new hope and honor to the city. The final design was approved in 2005 and is certainly a historical place to be visited. The building has a particular gleam and reflection that you’ll need to take a photo of.
13. Staten Island
Easily accessible via the Staten Island Ferry, this southernmost borough of NYC is home to many potential photo opportunities. Snap some pictures of the various animals at the Staten Island Zoo or capture the architectural beauty of the Staten Island lighthouse.
14. Empire State Building
Ride up to the 102 Floor Observatory to witness the breathtaking 360 views that the world-famous Empire State Building has to offer. To experience this landmark with minimal crowds and the best opportunity to take photos, try visiting between 8am-10am or after 10pm.
15. Rockefeller Center
There’s so much to see and do at Rockefeller Center. Go shopping at The Concourse or participate in the NBC Studios tour. If you’re visiting during the holiday season, try snapping your Christmas card picture at the infamous ice skating rink.
16. The Unisphere
The Unisphere is a 140 foot tall metal globe located in Queens. It was commissioned at the 1964 World’s Fair as a symbol of peace through understanding. You’ll definitely want to stop here during your trip to experience this symbol of world peace.
17. Brooklyn Heights Promenade
This lovely pedestrian walkway runs between the Brooklyn Bridge and Atlantic Avenue. If you visit after sunset, take a picture of the Manhattan skyline from the Promenade and prepare to be blown away by the gorgeous city lights.
18. Columbus Circle
Located in a busy intersection of Manhattan, Columbus Circle is home to a magnificent 76-foot monument of Christopher Columbus. Great photographs can be taken of the circle from the inside of Time Warner Center.
19. Yankee Stadium
No visit to NYC is complete without a trip to Yankee Stadium. Take a tour during a nice, summer day or watch a game to get a taste of the Bronx. The best photo ops at the stadium lie at the Great Hall, the limestone exterior from outside, and the frieze that lines the stadiums roof.
20. New York Public Library
The New York Public Library is home to many historical exhibits and will provide a perfect experience for anyone looking to photograph in a calming environment. You’ll be amazed by the architecture of the Rose Main Reading Room or the giant white pillars outside.
21. Bryant Park
Bryant Park provides lots of fun activities for locals and visitors alike. Check out the park’s summer movie lineup for a chance to lay out on the grass and experience the outdoor theater. Enjoy the ice rink, carousel, overlook, and grab a coffee at Joe Coffee Company.
22. St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Whether you are religious or not, this center of culture and heritage will inspire you to capture its beauty on film. Participate in a guided tour to get an even deeper understanding of the architecture and history.
23. Flatiron Building
While the Flatiron Building is not open to the public, it’s true photo opportunities lie on the exterior. Stand at the triangular road divider where 24th merges onto Fifth Avenue to photograph this architectural masterpiece.
24. The High Line
Built on a historic freight trail line above Manhattan, the High Line has multiple features for everyone. Walk through the Chelsea Thicket, dip your feet in the water feature at the Diller – von Furstenberg Sundeck, and check out the views of the Tiffany & Co. Foundation Overlook.
25. Union Square
This important intersection is home to many unique features that the city has to offer. Check out the Rialto, New York’s first commercial theater district, the famous George Washington statue and the Greenmarket Farmers Market.
26. Greenwich Village
Greenwich Village has a lot to offer. This location is home to colorful neighborhoods and buildings, including the exterior shot of Monica, Rachel, Joey and Chandler’s apartment building from the hit show Friends. Check out the New York University campus, Washington Square Park and the various off-broadway performing arts shows.
27. Washington Square Park
There is a lot to do and see in this area of Lower Manhattan. Some of the best places to take photographs are under the Washington Arch, at the fountain, or the Garibaldi Plaza.
28. Little Italy
This cultural hub is ideal for people looking to take photos of their delicious food. Eat your way through Little Italy and indulge in brick-oven pizza, a glass of Chianti and lots of cannolis.
With its countless shops and restaurants, you’ll be exposed to many Chinese cultural traditions. Visit during February for a chance to experience the Lunar New Year parade and watch the whimsical dragon dancers make their way down the street. Capture the excitement on film at the various food markets or the Buddhist temple.
30. 9/11 Memorial
This must-see historical monument that is a true symbol of our country’s patriotism. Visit in the evening for a truly impactful experience as the names glow and the water fixtures light up.
31. The Battery
Formerly known as Battery Park, this public attraction provides a unique experience among the city’s harbor. Be sure to visit the various memorials, especially the Eagle statue at the East Coast Memorial.
32. The Metropolitan Museum of Art
With over 5,000 years of art, the Met provides a unique cultural experience for all those who enter. Some noteworthy pieces that should be on your must-see list include “Washington Crossing the Delaware” by Emanuel Leutze and “The Dance Class” by Edgar Degas. Research the available exhibits before visiting and prepare to be amazed by the galleries.
Short for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, the DUMBO is a neighborhood in the Brooklyn area and serves as New York City’s highest concentration of technology firms. The Pearl Street pocket park is a great place to snap some photographs.
34. Ellis Island
Home to the famous Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island serves as a symbol of freedom and new beginnings for all in its presence. Explore the Ellis Island Museum to learn about the history of immigrants who passed through to begin a new life in the United States.
35. Liberty State Park
Venture just slightly outside the city to northern New Jersey to experience Liberty State Park, a beautiful green sanctuary that is the perfect place to photograph the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Consider having a barbeque or take a kayak tour of the Hudson River.
While technically located in New Jersey, this city acted as an integral part of the Port of New Jersey and New York. Home of the late and great Frank Sinatra, Hoboken hosts many annual art and music festivals, so try planning a trip for the chance to photograph the excitement. Or, capture a beautiful picture overlooking the city.
37. Manhattan Bridge
This suspension bridge provides tourists and locals alike with a no-nonsense route to Soho or Chinatown. Its innovative design comes complete with a beautiful triumphal arch at the entrance of Manhattan that any photographer will appreciate.
38. St. Thomas Episcopal Church on 5th Avenue
Completed in 1914, the current center of worship provides its visitors with beautiful gothic revival architecture. The interior boasts a beautiful stained glass windows that recently underwent a $20 million restorating in 2017. Check the church’s website to see a schedule of tours and plan your visit.
39. Chelsea Market
This location is ideal for any shopaholic looking to take cute photos of their best purchases. The market encompasses an entire city block and provides some of the best shops and food marts, such as Cappone’s Salumeria and Ninth Street Espresso.
40. Museum of Modern Art
Also known as the ‘MoMA’, this museum is credited as one of the most influential places for developing and collecting modernist art. Be sure to check which galleries allow personal photography before snapping away.
41. Wall Street
Experience the ultimate hustle of New York’s financial district at Wall Street. Photograph the outside of the New York Stock Exchange, Federal Hall National Memorial and the iconic bronze Charging Bull sculpture.
42. The Oculus
Serving as the centerpiece of the World Trade Center transportation hub, the Oculus is sure to catch the eye of any passers-by. The glass and steel structure resembling a dove taking flight should be at the top of any photographer’s list. Explore the various restaurants and luxury stores inside.
43. Greene Street
This trendy, four-block path is full of activity, from boutiques to unique architecture, to its immersion within the NYU campus. Try visiting this location on a rainy day. The shiny, wet cobblestone path will add a nice element to your pictures.
44. Guggenheim Museum
Explore this popular art exhibit that has grown immensely over the last eight decades. Anyone will be inclined to take a photo of the museum’s atrium and beautiful glass ceiling.
45. Coney Island Boardwalk
You’re sure to feel like a child a heart when you visit the Coney Island Beach Boardwalk. This fun-filled area celebrates American pop culture and offers multiple summertime activities, such as the annual mermaid parade. Photograph the colorful shops and rides that line the boardwalk.
46. South Cove Park
South Cove Park is the result of the collaboration between artist Mary Miss, landscape architect Susan Child, and architect Stan Eckstut. The greenery and staircases provide a great location for portrait photos.
47. Brooklyn Botanic Garden
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden provides photo enthusiasts with 52 acres of indoor and outdoor gardens to take pictures of the beautiful blooms. Take advantage of the free admission days if you’re on a budget.
48. Gantry Plaza State Park
Located in Long Island City, this former manufacturing district and dockyard provides photographers with multiple photo opps, including the Pepsi-Cola sign, which was designated a city landmark in 2016.
New York City is a must-visit location for anyone looking to take beautiful photographs. Whether you are traveling solo, with family or with friends, you are sure to capture some exciting images. Be sure to pick out your favorites for personalized stationery or your holiday cards.