Moving to New York City in 2018 was an actual dream come true: I had dreamt of living and working here for as long as I can remember.
I partially blame shows like Sex And The City and Friends — I mean, didn’t Carrie convince us all that New York was the best city in the world growing up?!
Yet I know my dream to live here ran deeper than that. I know this because the moment I finally landed in New York I instantly felt at home.
Now that I call this magical city home, I’m able to scope out all the top Instagram spots NYC has to offer.
New York has inspired my journey as a travel blogger and content creator in more ways than one. One of the greatest benefits of living here is that the city’s so dang photogenic. It’s hard not to fall in love with the iconic brownstones, leafy cobblestone streets and skyscraper-laden horizon as a photographer.
Capturing that singularly unique New York aesthetic is one of my favorite things to do in the city! It’s no wonder why millions of people travel here each year with one common goal: To snag the perfect NYC Instagram shot.
Luckily I’ve been able to hit all the must-see Instagrammable places in New York — as well as a few hidden gems here and there.
If you’re planning a trip to New York, here’s a list of 20 NYC Instagram spots you don’t want to miss.
If you’re tired of seeing the same photo locations and want to discover New York’s hidden gems, then download my FREE secret NYC photo guide: 12 Undiscovered IG Spots You Probably Haven’t Seen On Instagram.
NYC Instagram Spots: Most Instagrammable Places in Manhattan
Let’s break down NYC’s top Instagram spots into two boroughs: Manhattan and Brooklyn.
First, we’ll delve into the most Instagrammable spots in Manhattan, home to ever-iconic sites like Times Square, the Empire State Building and The Flatiron Building.
LOCATION: Times Square is located in Midtown at the intersection of Seventh Avenue, 42nd Street and Broadway.
HOW TO GET THERE: Times Square is easily the most accessible subway station in Manhattan, with nearly every subway line stopping there.
TIPS: Times Square is notoriously packed with tourists. For less crowded photos arrive early in the morning—but much of the charm of Times Square is the hustle and bustle of all the people in it. You’ll find the often photographed red steps at 47th Street and Seventh Avenue.
Empire State Building
LOCATION: The Empire State Building is located in Midtown, at 20 West 34th Street.
HOW TO GET THERE: Take the subway to “Herald Square” station, and the building is around the block.
TIPS: The 86th floor open-air observatory gives stunning views of the city, but the newly opened Top Deck on the 102nd floor is even higher. There’s also a live cam that lets you check on the weather.
LOCATION: The iconic Flatiron Building is located at 175 Fifth Avenue in an area named after the building: The Flatiron District.
HOW TO GET THERE: The nearest subway station is the 23rd Street station.
TIPS: There are plenty of popular restaurants in this area, including Eataly and the very first Shake Shack. For a very New York lunch, grab a burger at the charming little shack in Madison Square Park.
LOCATION: Central Park is the beating heart of Manhattan. It runs from 59th Street in the south to 110th Street in the north, and Eighth Avenue to the West to Fifth Avenue to the east.
HOW TO GET THERE: You can take the subway to Columbus Circle to enter the park from the west or Fifth Avenue station to enter from the east.
TIPS: You could easily spend an entire day roaming through the beautiful park—but if you’re short on time, these are the most Instagrammable locations in Central Park: Bethesda Terrace & Fountain, Bow Bridge, The Mall and Literary Walk, Gapstow Bridge and Hernshead. The most popular place to picnic is Sheep Meadow. Also, the further north you go, the less crowded the park becomes.
Grand Central Station
LOCATION: Grand Central is located in Midtown at 89 East 42nd Street.
HOW TO GET THERE: You can take the 4, 5, 6, 7 and S subway lines directly into the station, or enter from the street.
TIPS: Grand Central is one of the most visited places in New York. One of the top NYC Instagram spots can be found up the steps near the Apple Store inside Grand Central’s main lobby. To snap a shot with no one in it, plan to head there very early.
LOCATION: Located at the far west side of Manhattan at the newly opened Shops at Hudson Yards, The Vessel is the newest Instagram spot on this list.
HOW TO GET THERE: Take the 7 train to Hudson Yards.
TIPS: There are plenty of exciting photo opportunities outside The Vessel, but the view from inside makes it worth a visit, too. You must have a ticket to enter the structure: Same-day tickets are available for free on-site, on a first-come, first-serve basis. For more information, visit the Hudson Yards site here.
Washington Square Park
LOCATION: Washington Square Park is located in the charming Lower Manhattan neighborhood of Greenwich Village.
HOW TO GET THERE: You can take the subway to West 4th/Washington Square, 8th Street, Union Square, or Astor Place and walk on over.
TIPS: This park is very popular with New Yorkers, especially during the warmer months. Head there early in the morning to snap a photo at the arch without many people around. You also have a better chance of getting a people-free photo in the winter.
LOCATION: One of the oldest streets in New York, the famous Stuyvesant Street building can be found at the intersection with Tenth Street in Manhattan’s quirky East Village neighborhood.
HOW TO GET THERE: Take the subway to 8th Street or Astor Place stations.
TIPS: This is one of the most Instagrammable places in New York in the fall, when the vines covering the building’s facade and surrounding trees are bright gold and orange.
LOCATION: The Oculus is a transit hub and shopping mall located in the Financial District within the World Trade Center complex.
HOW TO GET THERE: Nearly every subway line has a stop in the near vicinity.
TIPS: There’s a balcony overlooking the main Oculus lobby that allows you to capture the unique architecture in a spectacular way. It’s especially popular during the holidays when the decorations are up.
Greene Street in SoHo
LOCATION: Greene Street is located in Manhattan’s chic SoHo neighborhood.
HOW TO GET THERE: Take the yellow subway lines (N, Q, R, W) to Canal Street station and walk over to Greene Street.
TIPS: This cobblestone street is the perfect quintessential SoHo aesthetic. Arrive early to get the street all for yourself.
LOCATION: Pier 34 is located on the west side of Manhattan within Hudson River Park.
HOW TO GET THERE: There are several ways to get to Pier 34, including subway lines 1, 2, 3, B, D, F, M, A, C and E. All require a bit of walking to reach the park and the pier.
TIPS: I find Pier 34 to be one of the most beautiful places to watch the sunset in Manhattan. Head here later in the day for a spectacular golden hour afternoon.
Top Of The Rock
LOCATION: The Top of the Rock observatory is located on the 70th floor of the Rockefeller Center, on 50th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. This is one of the very best Instagram spots in New York! The views are incredible.
HOW TO GET THERE: Take the B, D, F or M subway to the 47th-50th Street Rockefeller Center station. Click here for additional directions.
TIPS: Tickets are $38 and can be purchased here. Entry during sunset is $10 more, but your best bet is to get there as soon as it opens to get the sprawling New York skyline all to yourself.
Brownstones On The UES
LOCATION: Anywhere on the Upper East Side, from East 68th Street up.
HOW TO GET THERE: The Q and 6 subway trains run up the Upper East Side.
TIPS: The closer you get to the park, the more luxe the brownstones become. Wander your way through the neighborhood, and you’re sure to find that quintessential New York street lined with brownstones.
LOCATION: To the west of Washington Square Park, extending from West 14th Street to Houston Street along the Hudson River.
HOW TO GET THERE: Take the 1 subway to Christopher Street, or the A, C, E, B, D or F to West 4th Street.
TIPS: Come for brunch and stay for the Instagram photos. The adorable cobblestone streets and historic brownstones make the West Village one of the most Instagrammable neighborhoods in NYC.
Staple Street Skybridge
LOCATION: The Staple Street Skybridge is located on Staple Street between Jay and Harrison Streets in TriBeCa. The skybridge used to belong to New York Hospital but it now connects a luxury work and residential loft.
HOW TO GET THERE: The best way to get to the Staple Street Skybridge is to take the 1 subway to Franklin Street.
TIPS: The skybridge isn’t the most popular NYC Instagram spot, so you shouldn’t have an issue getting a people-less shot here.
Bonus: Gantry State Park Plaza
LOCATION: One of the prettiest State Parks in the city is located just across the East River from Manhattan, which puts it in Long Island City, Queens.
HOW TO GET THERE: The best way to get there is to take the 7 subway to Vernon Blvd.-Jackson Ave station or the G to 21st St/Jackson Avenue and walk toward the river.
TIPS: This is one of my favorite spots to watch the sunset in NYC. Although the park is quite popular with locals, you probably won’t encounter many tourists here. It’s also quite easy to get a photo with the skyline in the background even when it’s crowded, as there are so many different spots on the boardwalk to choose from.
NYC Instagram Spots: Most Instagrammable Places in Brooklyn
Now that we’ve covered the top Instagram spots in Manhattan, it’s time to head over the bridge to Brooklyn.
Brooklyn boasts its fair share of photogenic locations, including the very best views of the Manhattan skyline.
Places like Brooklyn Bridge Park and the Brooklyn Bridge are some of the most Instagrammable places in Brooklyn — and in New York as a whole.
LOCATION: The gorgeous Brooklyn Bridge is located at the tip of Manhattan near New York City Hall.
HOW TO GET THERE: Take the 4, 5 or 6 subway to Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall station; the J or Z to Chambers Street; or the R to City Hall. The pedestrian entrance can be found across from the northeast corner of City Hall Park along Centre Street.
TIPS: The Brooklyn Bridge is stunning at any hour of the day, but like other popular tourist attractions in NYC, it can get VERY crowded. The bridge is also popular with local bikers, which share the pedestrian walkway with all the tourists. For the best experience, arrive near sunrise to have the bridge for yourself.
Brooklyn Bridge Park
LOCATION: One of my all-time favorite parks in NYC, Brooklyn Bridge Park is located at 334 Furman Street on the waterfront overlooking Manhattan’s Financial District.
HOW TO GET THERE: You can get to the park by subway, bus, ferry or by walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. Learn more about the transportation options to Brooklyn Bridge Park here.
TIPS: The lighting is nicest here in the morning or near sunset. To find the most photogenic spots of the park, look for “Brooklyn Bridge Park Poles View” and “Panoramic viewpoint” on your Google Maps app.
Washington Street in DUMBO
LOCATION: This iconic view of the Manhattan Bridge can be found on Washington Street between Front and Water streets.
HOW TO GET THERE: Walking or biking over the Brooklyn Bridge is always a fun way to get to the Dumbo area. You can also take the A or C subway to High Street; the 2 or 3 train to Clark Street; or the F train to York Street.
TIPS: This is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Brooklyn. Since it’s a tiny street that’s still used by cars, it can get quite crowded and hectic during the day. The best way to truly enjoy this location is to arrive near sunrise when there’s no one around. A rainy day may also do the trick.
LOCATION: Located within Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pebble Beach is a rocky area with steps that take you down to the water’s edge.
HOW TO GET THERE: Walk north along the waterfront, past the Brooklyn Bridge and carousel. You’ll find Pebble Beach almost underneath the Manhattan Bridge.
TIPS: Head here for one of the best sunsets in NYC.
I hope this list of NYC’s top Instagram spots inspires you to visit this incredible city! Cheers to making this your most photogenic trip yet.