NYC has some of the most iconic (and famous) landmarks, and you may already know a lot of them, but if you’re not a local, I bet some of these will be new to you, and I am so excited to share them. You can even quiz yourself to see how many you knew at the end!
As a New York local, I have compiled a list below of some of the most famous landmarks to check out in NYC. Furthermore, I have included a ton of additional links to other guides I’ve written to help plan your trip to the Big Apple!
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
- My Top 10 Favorite Famous Landmarks in NYC
- NYC Famous Landmarks
- Empire State Building
- Statue of Liberty
- Grand Central Terminal
- Times Square
- Central Park
- The Brooklyn Bridge
- One World Trade Center
- Rockefeller Center
- Chrysler Building
- The High Line
- The Vessel
- St. Patrick’s Cathedral
- Ellis Island
- Flatiron Building
- The Battery (Battery Park)
- Washington Square Park
- Stone Street
- Radio City Music Hall
- Wall Street and the Charging Bull
- 9/11 Memorial and Museum
- The Oculus
- The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)
- Top of the Rock Observation Deck
- Carnegie Hall
- Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
- The Metropolitan Museum
- Green-Wood Cemetery
- The New York Public Library
- Trinity Church
- Tips For Visiting NYC Landmarks
- NYC Famous Landmarks Wrap-up
My Top 10 Favorite Famous Landmarks in NYC
As a local New Yorker, I of course have an opinion – don’t all New Yorkers, lol. So, I want to share my favorites with you, just in case you’re trying to decide what to see first. Of course, your taste may be different than mine, which is why I made a much larger list of landmarks!
- Central Park
- The Brooklyn Bridge
- Grand Central Terminal
- The High Line
- Washington Square Park
- The Empire State Building
- The MET
- 9/11 Memorial
- The Statue of Liberty
- Rockefeller Center (during the holidays)
Read: First time in NYC? Here are my NYC Travel Tips to Know Before You Go!
NYC Famous Landmarks
Empire State Building
I believe there is no better way than starting out this list with the most iconic landmark in NYC; the Empire State Building. To be fair, you can’t visit New York without seeing the Empire State Building, and that’s not just because the building is so hard to miss!
To put it simply, this is one of the most iconic landmarks in the world, let alone New York. The Empire State Building was constructed in 1930, and in 1932, it was branded as the world‘s tallest building at an adrenaline-inducing 102 floors.
Just admiring the Empire State Building from the outside can be a surreal experience within itself, and I have done this for many years. However, visiting the actual observation deck was one of the most nostalgic experiences I’ve had in New York, which is why I recommend ascending to the top. While the views aren’t as good as some of the other observation decks, I believe the experience is worth it.
Fun Fact: It used to cost a .10 cents to visit the top of the Empire State Building
Admission: $44 – $138
Opening hours: 11 AM – 9 PM
Address: 20 W 34th St., New York, NY 10001
Statue of Liberty
A second contender in the list of the top landmarks in NYC is, none other than, the Statue of Liberty. The Statue of Liberty is another one of the most recognizable figures pretty much around the world, so if you’re visiting NYC for the first time, I am sure you have this landmark on your bucket list!
Did you know that it was actually a gift from France? It was given in 1865 as a way for France to show their support of the United States to the world. It is located on Liberty Island, so you have to take a ferry to access it, usually from Battery Park.
The ferry ride is around 20 minutes long, and you get to see great views of NYC while aboard. It goes without saying that you’ll need to book your ticket in advance as it’s unlikely you will be able to reserve tickets for your preferred time on the day.
While on Liberty Island, there is also a Statue of Liberty Museum where you can learn about the history of the statue in-depth and browse a huge selection of American heirlooms.
However, if you want to see Lady Liberty for free, you can take the Staten Island Ferry, which brings you close enough to get some nice photos.
NYC Travel Tip: I suggest going as early as possible to give yourself enough time for both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
Admission: Starting at $24.50 & includes Ellis Island
Address: Liberty Island, New York, NY 10004
Grand Central Terminal
Grand Central Terminal has been a popular filming location for many shows, including some of the most iconic scenes in Gossip Girl. However, this landmark’s popularity is mostly because of its rich history. Grand Central terminal was open to the public in February 1913 and it was quite the luxurious experience with a red carpet roll out.
Located in midtown Manhattan, Grand Central Terminal is technically a transportation hub, but it’s really so much more than that. Personally, I love visiting to admire the beautifully painted celestial ceiling and show people the Whispering Walls. They also have an excellent farmers market and some great restaurants and shops – over 65 shops, to be exact.
Considered “one of New York’s greatest architectural achievements,” it is the second most visited NYC landmark. Us locals often meet “at the clock,” however, I can also look just like a tourist marveling at the architecture. Other days, I am running to catch my train, lol.
Hours: Every day 5:15 AM – 2:00 AM
Address: 89 E 42nd Street New York, NY 10017
Another location made popular in countless movies and shows is Times Square. Times Square is so much more than just your regular intersection as I am sure you already have it pictured in your head.
Located in midtown Manhattan, walking through Times Square is on the bucket list of so many travelers. Rightly so! Each day, Times Square is lit up with thousands of screens, hustle and bustle, vendors, and street performers. I always recommend visiting both during the day and at night as they both are special in their own right! If you don’t mind crowds, I believe it is one of the best things to do in NYC at night.
You will probably also come in contact with street performers of all types. While it can be fun, they may request money if you interact with them, so be cautious of that!
As a local, I do try to avoid Times Square, but if you have never experienced Times Square, I always suggest a visit to this iconic location that sees the most people in all of New York.
Times Square Travel Tip: It’s also important to keep in mind that this area gets very busy (like very, very busy). To avoid the crowds, you’re better off visiting early in the morning.
Address: Broadway, Seventh Avenue, and 42nd Street.
Central Park is one of my favorite NYC landmarks because it’s like an escape from all the chaos around you, with over 800 acres. Plus, it is one of the best free things to do in NYC at any time of the year!
My favorite places to wander around Central Park include Bow Bridge and around the Central Park Zoo area (Gapstow Bridge). I tend to wander down a different path each time I visit, and they are all lovely – just don’t do this at night.
The conservation of the park is funded by donations, and the people of New York work hard to make sure that this space is clean and tidy. (So, make sure you do the same). The squirrels are a little on the friendly side, but don’t try petting them!
Central Park Travel Tip: I do not recommend the Horse Carriage Rides.
The Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge is another one of my favorite National Historic Landmarks in NYC; I know, I have a lot, lol. This bridge connects Dumbo Brooklyn to Lower Manhattan, and again, it is free to walk across! If you’re looking for Instagrammable places in NYC, the Brooklyn Bridge fits the bill with beautiful skyline views and aesthetically pleasing architecture.
Constructed in 1869, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world at the time. This bridge was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964, and since then, it has been featured in countless movies and shows.
Brooklyn Bridge Insider Tip: The Brooklyn Bridge is best visited just as the sun starts to set or for sunrise if you want to avoid crowds.
One World Trade Center
Also known as the Freedom Tower, this famous landmark needs little introduction. This highly anticipated building opened to the public in 2015 after the Twin Towers fell and is a must-see on any NYC travel itinerary. Standing at a shocking 1,776 feet, the One World Trade Center is known as the Western hemisphere’s tallest building.
The most popular reason to visit is for the One World Observatory located on the 100 and 102nd floors. In my honest opinion, this is my least favorite of the NYC observation decks, but it is good if you want to do something indoors, and it provides a unique view from lower Manhattan.
The observation deck offers 360° views of the Big Apple, and they say you can see 45 miles away (if you have great eyesight). Additionally, you’ll be able to spot other famous NYC landmarks, such as the Brooklyn Bridge.
Admission: $44 – $74
Hours: Everyday 9 AM – 8 PM
Address: 117 West St, New York, NY 10006
This NYC landmark is likely most famous during Christmas time for the Rockefeller Christmas Tree, but it is an awesome spot to visit year-round!
Rockefeller Center is located in midtown Manhattan and was constructed in 1939. It then became a National Historic Landmark in 1987.
Admittedly, if you visit during Christmas time in NYC, you will get to experience Rockefeller Center at its best. The iconic Rockefeller ice-skating rink combined with the beautiful Rockefeller Christmas tree is the best way to get into the festive spirit.
That being said, the summertime can be just as fun. I used to people-watch during my lunch break here all the time, and they often have free or unique events going on. Additionally, you can climb to the Top of the Rock, which is another observatory deck with 360° views of the city that I love and will get more into below.
Address: 30 Rockefeller Plz, New York, NY 10112
Onto one of New York’s other famous buildings, the Chrysler Building. I consider this building one of the most unique members of the NYC Skyline! I just love this Art Deco skyscapper. The building was dedicated a New York City landmark in 1978.
Back in 1930, this building was the tallest building in the world. It has 77 floors and is 1,046 ft high. However, this quickly changed when the Empire State Building was built.
While you can currently only check out the lobby, soon, they will have a unique observation deck for all of us to enjoy!
NYC Insider Tip: The best views of the Chrysler Building can be seen at The Summit Observation Deck – Trust me!
Admission: 405 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10174
The High Line
Although a lesser-known landmark in NYC, The High Line is still well worth a visit, especially if you’ve seen most of the other famous landmarks. In fact, I always recommend it to all my friends, and you will find I’ve included it in my 4 Days in NYC itinerary.
The High Line was originally built as a train line to deliver food to lower Manhattan, but the train line created a dangerous situation for pedestrians. So much so, that 10th Avenue (where The High Line is located) became known as “Death Avenue.”
A shocking 540 people were killed by trains during 1910 because of this avenue.
Luckily, over the next couple of years, train use in New York City began to decline rapidly, which led to New York deciding to transform this area into a location with a much better reputation.
Now, The High Line is a gorgeous elevated greenway and one of my favorite places to walk – because it gives you a unique perspective of the city, and it’s free! The gardens change with the seasons but are the most beautiful during the spring or fall.
High Line Insider Tip: For no crowds, visit in the morning and stop at Chelsea Market for snacks.
Address: There are many entrances throughout the park. It begins at Gansevoort Street.
The Vessel is one of NYC’s newer famous landmarks that has become recognizable across the globe. Built from 154 interconnecting stairs, with almost 2,500 steps, we often refer to it the honeycomb landmark.
While you can no longer climb the Vessel, the ground floor is free to access, or you can simply admire this extraordinary architecture from the outside.
It is located in Hudson Yards, which connects to the High Line and includes The Edge, another unique observation deck, and the Shed (venue space). If you’re visiting during the holidays, I highly recommend visiting for the Christmas decorations here!
Address: 20 Hudson Yards, New York, NY 10001
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
St. Patrick’s Cathedral was opened in 1879 and is considered one of the most beautiful Gothic Cathedrals in New York, and some might even say the world. I must admit, it is pretty stunning.
The Cathedral continues to be well preserved with truly beautiful stained glass windows and a grande main organ. Today, you can easily visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral. During the visit, you can participate in ceremonies and events or just admire the architecture. Plus, it is right next to Rockefeller Center.
Hours: Daily 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM
Address: 5th Ave between 50th/51st Streets, New York, NY 10022
I briefly mentioned Ellis Island before, but this famous NYC landmark deserves a line of its own. If you didn’t already know, Ellis Island was America’s largest immigration station during the years of 1892 to 1924. During that time, it saw over 12 million immigrants.
Today, the island has a museum where you can visit to learn more about this side of America’s history. You can even check the walls to see if you can spot any of your ancestors – we couldn’t find any of mine – oh well. Oh, and the views of Manhattan from here are really stunning, which I feel are seldomly mentioned.
Visiting is included with the Statue of Liberty Ferry.
Admission: Starting at $24.50
The Flat Iron Building gained its name from its unusual triangular architecture and is one of my favorite buildings to photograph when they finally remove the scaffolding!
The building itself was completed in 1902, and although it’s not one of the most popular landmarks in NYC to tourists, all the locals know, and appreciate it!
Address: 175 5th Ave At 23rd St., New York City, NY 10010-7703
The Battery (Battery Park)
Most people have heard of Battery Park, but did you know that the Battery was once a fort that was used during the Revolutionary War? This was later demolished in 1719 when the park was created into a public promenade, but still – history!
Since then, the park has seen many renovations and even more name changes. It was famously known as the Castle Garden in 1824.
Now, this lovely green space offers 25 acres, and the best thing about this park? The gorgeous New York harbor views. Seriously, just the views make this park a must-visit. Aside from that, this is a great park if you’re visiting NYC with kids. It features a Playscape and the famous SeaGlass carousel.
In 1966, the park was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, and in 2015, the park reinstated its historic name of “The Battery,” which we all know and love!
The Battery Travel Tip: This is where you can catch the Ferry for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island!
Address: 75 Battery Pl, New York, NY 10280
Washington Square Park
Washington Square Park will always be one of my favorite landmarks, and I didn’t even go to NYU. It is always so lively here, especially during the holidays and summers by the fountain. The park gained its name from the monument honoring George Washington.
Although a vibrant park today, the park does have a little bit of an eerie history. These used to be swampy grounds used for burials. Today, Washington Park is alive with a totally different kind of atmosphere. There is never a dull moment here.
From people participating in intense chess games to families walking their pups, you could stay here for hours, watching people enjoy their day. At least I could, anyway!
Address: Washington Sq Park, New York, NY 10011
Often overlooked when it comes to New York’s most popular landmarks is…Stone Street! Did you know that Stone Street is actually the oldest Street in New York City? It was built by the Dutch way back in 1624. Even just walking down this street, you can feel the history that resides here.
The street was originally just a dirt road, but in 1658 became the first cobblestone path in the city, which gave it its name, Stone Street. The street has always been known for its vibrant atmosphere. Even back in the 1600s, some of the best pubs and restaurants were located here.
Today, you’ll find tons of food and drinks here. It is a hot spot for all the finance people, so if you want to bump shoulders with any Wall Street people – they’re here.
Throughout the year, you can also enjoy celebrations on this block, such as Oktoberfest, Halloween (Fright Festival), and Saint Patrick’s Day.
Radio City Music Hall
Another historical venue and famous landmark in New York is the Radio City Music Hall. It is best known for the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular, but that’s not all that goes down here. The hall was opened in 1932 with 5,960 seats open to the public to enjoy some of New York’s best performances.
Radio City became a designated New York City landmark in 1978 and since then has seen many renovations. Did you know that the auditorium was the world’s largest when it opened?
While it was originally meant to only host performances, after a year of opening, it also started premiering movies. Since then, the hall has also hosted some of the USA’s most popular televised events, such as the Grammys and the Tony Awards.
If you love to see performances while on your trip, then this is a great activity to add to your New York itinerary!
Admission: Ticket prices vary
Opening hours: 9:30 AM – 5:30 PM
Address: 260 6th Ave, New York, NY 10020
Wall Street and the Charging Bull
Oh, Wall Street! It’s a notoriously famous NYC landmark I usually avoid as a local, but that’s ok! Wall Street is a hugely popular street located in the financial district of Lower Manhattan. To find the street, you’ll want to head to either Broadway of South Street. The street itself is eight blocks long. The reason for its popularity is because of the New York Stock Exchange, and the Charging Bull is here, or the handful of movies that feature it.
You seriously wouldn’t think that a Charging Bull Statue could be so popular, but trust me, it is. If you visit during the afternoon, there are often queues of people waiting to take a photo with the bull. I usually avoid this area, unless I am walking over to Stone Street or the Seaport, but hey, I’m a local.
But don’t let my local feelings stop you from taking your photo with the bull – I won’t judge you!
Address: Wall Street, New York City, NY 10005
9/11 Memorial and Museum
The 9/11 Memorial and Museum is one of the most famous museums in the world. Inside the museum, you can find a collection of artifacts as well as personal stories. It can feel very emotional for many – especially locals.
The memorial is free to visit, however, to access the museum, you will need to purchase tickets online. If this landmark is on your list, I recommend pairing it with the Oculus, Wall Street, the Battery, and the One World Observatory, as they are all very close to each other.
Admission: Staring at $21 (Free on Mondays from 5:30 PM – 7 PM)
Hours: 9/11 Memorial Plaza – Daily 8 AM -8 PM; 9/11 Museum – Daily except Tuesdays – 9 AM – 7 PM
Address: 180 Greenwich Street, New York, NY 10007
It would be rude not to mention the Oculus, which is also right next to the 9/11 Memorial. It was built after 9/11 and a pretty unique landmark in NYC. Similar to Grand Central, it is mainly known to be a transport hub, but it is also a mall with dozens of stores inside, including high-end stores.
They also do farmers markets during the weekends, and have a pretty popular Christmas Market. Most people are drawn here to take pictures, myself included because it is just so fun looking, and nearby other top landmarks and attractions, making it a win, win.
The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)
I mentioned the New York Stock Exchange during my Wall Street bit, but it is a Landmark that deserves its own spot!
You can find the stock exchange located in the financial district of Lower Manhattan, and is actually the world’s largest stock exchange.
While I wouldn’t necessarily suggest going out of your way to visit this landmark, if you’re nearby, it’s always fun to see. Plus, they have a really nice Christmas Tree during the holidays.
Address: 11 Wall St Ct, New York, NY 10005
Top of the Rock Observation Deck
New York is home to many Observatory decks, and the Top of the Rock is one of my favorites. It feels like I’ve said that a lot, huh? You can find this observation deck at Rockefeller Plaza, and it used to offer the best view of the Empire State Building.
Before The Summit and The Edge, this was hands down the most popular observation deck. It is still my favorite for sunset and nice days since it is outdoors. Just make sure to reserve your ticket in advance.
Admission: Start at $34
Hours: Everyday 9 AM – 11 PM
Address: 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112
Carnegie Hall was opened in 1891 and is known for its classical music shows. The building itself is an national historical landmark in NYC, but it is more off-the-beathen-path for most.
Inside the hall, you can choose to take a 60 to 75-minute tour where you will see famous areas within the hall, as well as signed photographs of performers.
Additionally, you can book tickets to watch a show at the hall. The shows are usually classical music performances or performing arts shows. You will need to book tickets ahead of time if you do want to take part in one of those.
Ticket prices can be pretty pricey, so I would only recommend doing this if you love this particular performance style.
Admission: Ticket prices vary
Hours: Monday –Saturday – 11 AM–6 PM, Sunday – 12 PM – 6 PM
Address: 57th Street and Seventh Avenue
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Speaking of famous musical venues, there is no forgetting the iconic Lincoln Center. You will definitely visit if you love the performing arts such as dance, film, theater shows, and opera.
This performing center brings artists from across the globe together to perform in front of the New York community.
If you’re more interested in history, you can take part in their 75-minute guided tour every weekday, where you can learn more about the BTS and the arts that go on inside.
While some people speculate that the name was given tribute to President Abraham Lincoln, there is no evidence to support that. It’s much more likely that it was given its name because of its location in the Lincoln Square neighborhood!
Fun Fact: Lincoln Center sees around 5 million visitors every single year.
Admission: Ticket prices vary
Opening hours: Daily 10 AM – 6 PM
Address: Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023
The Metropolitan Museum
One of my favorite museums in NYC? The MET. Even if you’re not interested in art, The Met is always worth visiting as it is an incredible landmark in NYC.
The Met is one of the most elegant museums I have ever walked into. I also most certainly reached my step count because this museum is seriously massive!
The exhibitions inside guide you through 5,000 years of history through artwork. The museum is split up into different sections, including Egyptian art, European paintings, Greek and Roman art, and so much more. I have always been a sucker for the Egyptian Art Exhibit; they have some really good stuff.
As for the museum’s history, it is the largest art museum in America. The building was built in 1870 simply because the city wanted America to have more art education. Now, people from across the globe come here to see the artwork inside.
Admittedly, the MET can get very busy. Because of this, you will want to try to visit as early as possible to avoid the crowds.
MET Insider Tip: From Spring to Fall, make sure to visit the rooftop on the 5th floor, which is included in your ticket price. It is very much still a hidden gem within the museum! Head towards European Sculpture and Decorative Arts. You know you’re going the right way when you see the Perseus Marble Statue holding Medusa’s head. Side note, it is the best-sculpted butt I’ve ever seen!
Admission: Adults are $30; Children under 12 can visit for free – NY residents pay as you wish.
Hours: Sunday – Thursday: 10 AM – 5 PM; Friday & Saturday: 10 AM – 9 PM
Address: 1000 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028
Green-Wood Cemetery was founded in 1838 and was recognized as one of America’s first rural cemeteries. I am always surprised when my other local friends tell me they have never been to this landmark, because it really is one of the most iconic cemeteries in NYC.
In my opinion, this cemetery is really more of an ‘outdoor museum,’ and they are always doing fun events here. We recently did the Nightfall Danse of Macbre, and it was so fun! Plus, the landscaping is beautiful, and many locals just come here to walk or sit by the ponds.
There are over 570,000 people who were laid to rest in this area, and a handful of them are quite famous.
These artifacts consist of artwork, drawings, photographs, and personal correspondence. While this isn’t a stereotypical New York landmark, if you are in the area, then it’s a great way to learn more about New York.
Green-Wood Cemetry Insider Tip: Right across from the Main Entrance Gate is Chilo’s, and they have great Mexican Food.
Hours: 9 AM – 5 PM Daily
Address: Green-Wood, 500 25th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11232
The New York Public Library
Book lover or not, the New York Public Library is one of the most beautiful libraries you may ever come across – at least in the States and such an iconic (and famous) landmark in NYC.
It is located right next to Bryant Park, so I suggest popping in after spending some time there, as you’ll likely be visiting the park at some point on your trip anyway. Oh, and it’s free to visit.
This library is the second-largest public library in the United States, with almost 53 million items. Today, the library hosts book clubs, exhibitions, and public talks on various cultural and societal issues. If you’re interested in attending these, you should check online to see which events are going on when you visit.
Hours: Daily 8 AM – 8 PM
Address: 476 5th Ave New York, NY 10018, New York City, NY 10018
Located on Wall Street is the iconic Trinity Church. This church brings people together from all over New York City and is still an active place of worship and a stunning landmark.
The church was built over 325 years ago and is a huge pillar in New York’s religious community. Today, the church is well known for its powerful talks and guidance. You can visit the church, but make sure to be respectful if there is a service.
Hours: 7 AM – 6 PM
Address: Broadway at Wall Street, New York City, NY 10006
Tips For Visiting NYC Landmarks
As you may have noticed, you need tickets to visit most of NYC’s famous landmarks, and if this is your first time in the city, I bet you will want to see a handful of them. I always suggest checking out the New York City Passes.
These are designed to save you money when you plan on seeing a lot of attractions. I’ve personally used the Go City Pass, as it was the most affordable at the time, but all the passes are great in general. Just see which one fits your needs, as they all offer something a little different.
NYC Famous Landmarks Wrap-up
As you can see, we have some incredible famous landmarks to add to your NYC bucket list! Below, I am also including some additional helpful guides all about NYC. Furthermore, if you have any NYC questions, feel free to comment below, and I will be happy to help!