New York City is home to one of the top 10 most instragrammed places in the world – Times Square, so what better way than to kick off our New York blog series than with our top 15 favourites places to capture the city in it’s best light.
Keep scrolling to find the top spots that will fill your feed with beauty!
1. Times Square
Listed 8th on the most instagrammed places in the world, Times Square definitely makes the list of our favourite places to photograph when we’re in New York.
With over 50 million visitors annually, getting the perfect shot is by no means easy! It looks amazing during the day and at night but the colours of the signs really pop when the sky is darker. Having said this, being the centre of the city that never sleeps means this square is ALWAYS busy – especially during normal waking hours…
So here are our tips for getting an epic shot:
- Visit Times Square more than once during your stay – at least once during the day and once at night
- Try to visit the square between 7am-8am , there’s less people around
- Don’t be afraid to ask someone to take your picture! Times Square gets so busy that, in our opinion, it’s not worth setting up a Tripod….
- Get shots from different parts of the square – there’s a cool American flag sign at one end (near H&M) and the cliche red steps shot is a must
2. Top of the Rock
If you’ve visited the city before or have done any research, this stop is probably already on your NYC itinerary. Located right at the top of the Rockefeller Centre, we think you can get the best views of the city from here and it can be particularly magical at sunset where you can watch the sunset over the New Jersey horizon.
We’ve visited both during the day and at sunset, and if your priority is a less crowded view, then make sure to go first thing in the morning. We arrived for 8am (when it opens) and were definitely within the first 30/40 people up to the view point! There’s several floors so make sure to check them all out for different perspectives of the city!
3. Empire State Building
Located in central Manhattan, you will find the Empire State Building – the 51st tallest building in the world and some would say gives the best views of the rest of New York City (we prefer Top of the Rock but it’s all down to personal preference!).
We’ve only been up to the top of the Empire State Building once, as we didn’t feel it was worth doing a second time round (again, just our opinion) – having said that, it is still amazing and a must if it’s your first time in New York!
Again, be prepared for crowds because this attraction gets VERY busy!!
4. Flatiron Building
You’ll find this building at 175 Fifth Avenue. It’s shaped a little like a pizza slice and has attracted millions of photographers and artists over the years, giving the building its tourist attraction status.
There’s not much to do at the Flatiron building, but it’s worth a visit to get that shot for the gram!
5. Grand Central Terminal
When you think of New York, I’m sure this is definitely something that comes to mind. This train station in Mid-town Manhattan is not just a transportation hub, it transports you (pardon the pun) to a cultural New York experience! Combining the shopping and dining facilities with the beautiful architecture and artwork, this spot makes from some pretty amazing photos.
The station is super busy a lot of the time, but we think this makes it super special. You can really capture the hustle and bustle of New York city – watching commuters and visitors go about their travels!
6. Central Park
I’m not sure I’ve ever met anyone who doesn’t know what or where Central Park is! But if you’ve been living under a rock, it’s a large park located between upper east and upper west side Manhattan. It has loads of walking routes throughout, a lake with a boat house and even a castle!
We haven’t even scratched the surface of the park on our two visits, and i’m sure there’s plenty more to explore!
Visit on a dry (and hopefully sunny) day, you’ll be able to get some amazing shots – with the beautiful skyline in the background.
Tip: if you don’t mind walking – go further into the park, everyone tends to stop at the first section of rocks for their ‘gram’ pic. We headed a little further in and there was hardly anyone around!
7. The High Line
This was new on our itinerary as we didn’t get a chance to do it the last time we were in New York, so we made sure it was top of our list this time round!
The High Line is an old elevated railway which has been converted into a greenway where you can walk down the east side of Manhattan – taking in the sights from a different perspective.
We particularly liked the first viewing area of the High Line (just south of the Vessel) – you can see all the New York traffic going about their daily business, including traditional yellow cabs and school buses!
Also – make sure to check out the curved part of the High Line that sits between Hudson Yards and the water. We watched sunset from here and it was beautiful (albeit VERY cold!)
8. The Vessel
We actually stumbled upon this one by chance. It sits within the recently restored Hudson Yards and is really close to the start of the High Line.
The landmark looks just like a sculpture when you first look at it, but it’s actually a spiral staircase of 154 interconnecting flights of stairs! We didn’t climb the stairs but we can guess it has pretty good views of sunset as it overlooks the water.
9. One World Trade Observatory
The One World Trade Center is the main building of the rebuilt World Trade Center Complex. The building is the 7th tallest in the world and is home to the One World Observatory – the highest view point in New York.
The tickets aren’t the cheapest but we definitely think it’s worth it. You get 360degree views of the whole of New York City – including Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn.
Tip: we didn’t bother with the premium tickets as the queue moves super fast! This might be different during peak travel months!
10. The Oculus
Whilst you’re at the complex – make sure you visit the Oculus. It’s the main transportation hub for the One World Trade Center Complex.
The building is white and cannot be missed from the inside or out! The architecture is insane and makes for some pretty artsy pics!
11. NYC Street Art
Across NYC, Brooklyn and Queens you’ll see loads of street art so make sure to keep an eye out!
We even found some cool street art by the same artist that is responsible for some pretty epic street art in Rio (right by the docks)!
12. Brooklyn Bridge
This bridge connects lower Manhattan to Brooklyn and is an iconic landmark in New York City.
Both times we’ve visited the bridge we’ve always made sure to get there early to avoid the crowds. You will still cross paths with lots of New Yorkers but you’ll not meet as many tourists trying to get the same shot!
If you walk the bridge, you can get some amazing shots with the lower Manhattan skyline in the background!
13. Old Pier One
To the east side of Brooklyn Bridge, you will find a series of Piers that have been developed to create a space to stroll, exercise or simply relax.
Old Pier 1 is located just before the other renovated Pier’s and has amazing views of the New York Skyline. The wooden supports from the original pier remain, making it a cool place to get that instagrammable shot! There was hardly anyone around so it definitely beats the crowds of Brooklyn Bridge.
14. Main Street Park
This park sits right in between Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge and shows both bridges from a different perspective!
It was super quiet when we visited (early on Sunday morning). It’s away from the crowds and has an amazing backdrop, so is ideal for the perfect NYC insta shot!
15. Dumbo – Manhattan Bridge
This is our last, but probably most cliche, shot of New York. You’ve probably seen lots of people post a photo here recently – it even comes up as ‘Dumbo – Manhattan Bridge Photography Location’ when you search on Google maps!
The two building blocks frame the Manhattan Bridge, providing a great background for any insta pic! Again, this is another popular spot so we’d recommend getting here earlier.
Note: be prepared for lots of people with tripods, personal photographers etc.
Where’s your favourite insta spot in NYC?
We’ll obviously be back in New York at some point, so any recommendations for new and exciting places to visit will be much appreciated!
Even if you’re not an avid ‘grammer’, these places are still well worth a visit! They’re by no means unique, but they are so perfect for those visiting New York for the first time and give a pretty good snapshot of the city!
Adios for now,
Love Char & Mar x