Heading to NYC? Want to show off your trip on social media with awesome photos? I’ve asked locals and have wandered every corner of the city. Here’s my complete guide to the best places to take photos in New York City, complete with maps. I’ve even highlighted a few of the best places to take photos in New York City in a video.
14 of the Best places to take photos in New York City:
Stunning Skyline…and More
The new(ish) Brooklyn Waterfront offers endless photo opportunities both during the day and at night. Brooklyn Bridge Park just across the East River from lower Manhattan. It’s also right next to the Brooklyn Bridge and a lens shot away from Lady Liberty herself. With so many subjects to capture, this is one of the best places to take photos in New York City. My tip, head there at sunset, and stick around for dark. Leave your shutter open and get some reflections the East River. The old dock pilings just north of the basketball courts offer interesting foreground…day or night!
Abundance of Nature
Central Park is a wonderful place to spend a lazy afternoon, especially when the sun is out. It’s also a photographers wonderland. From romantic stone bridges crossing duck ponds, the concrete jungle jutting out over lush green trees, and John Lennon’s memorial Strawberry Fields to endless green fields, 13 dogs being walked by 1 person, and stunning fountains. There’s simply no shortage of people watching and photo taking to be had in NYC’s central park.
Most Photogenic Bridge
NYC has many bridges, but the most photogenic one is Brooklyn Bridge. The American Flags flying over the gothic towers and the symmetrical lines of the cables are beautiful on their own. Then you add the Manhattan skyline in the mix and you’ve got a picture perfect scene.
Local Secret…Two For One
While the Brooklyn Bridge is more commonly photographed, just a few blocks down, the Manhattan bridge offers a unique photo opportunity. If you go to cobblestoned Washington Street and look towards west towards the bridge, you’ll notice you’re perfectly lined up to see the Empire State Building through one of the bridge’s towers. This is a local secret and definitely one of the best places to take photos in New York City.
Sweetest Selfie Spot
Who doesn’t love love? When in NYC you must go check out Robert Indiana’s love sculpture sitting on the southeast corner of 6th Avenue and 55th Street. One of the best places to take photos in New York, perhaps not, but the sweetest spot for a selfie, ABSOLUTELY!
Coolest Indoor Shot
Countless movies and TV shows have shot epic scenes in Grand Central Station – there’s a reason why. Grand Central Station is so much more than just a travel hub…it’s an architectural beauty. Its symmetry, painted ceiling, centered gold clock, and of course it’s giant American Flag all combine for 1 incredible indoor photograph.
Iconic Public Art
New York City simply wouldn’t be what it is today without the economic influence of Wall Street. Perhaps more famous than any investment banker, the Charging Bull bronze statue is a great place to capture some iconic NYC art. Especially now that the Fearless Girl statue is staring the bull right in the eye (girl power!). If you want to be cheeky, many tourists like getting their pictures snapped with the Wall Street Bull’s balls.
Local Secret…Views from Above
I already told you about a great vantage point of the Manhattan Bridge, but now it’s time to use the bridge as your own personal drone. What I mean is, a short stroll across the bridge gets you access to stunning views of the Brooklyn Bridge over the East River, southern Manhattan, Chinatown, etc. It’s a great place to be at sunset too!
Sci Fi Stunner
One of NYC’s newest stunning buildings, the Oculus looks more like a science fiction spaceship than a mall. Interesting inside and out, the oculus offers a unique foreground if you’re looking to get shots of the Freedom Tower as well.
Best Neon Lights
Radio City Music Hall is a fun place to photograph at night once their neon signs really start to glow. Hot photo tip – shoot from a low vantage point on the sidewalk across the street and try to time it to get one of New York’s iconic yellow cabs in the foreground.
Top Tourist Spot
We’ve all seen the ball drop at midnight every New Year’s Eve from Time Square since we were children. Why not go see it in person. Truth be told, it is sort of a black hole of consumerism and clueless tourists, but offers some great photo opportunities, nonetheless.
In a city full of famous buildings, it can get overwhelming trying to capture them all. Sure, the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, One World Trade Center, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, etc. are all stunning in their own right, but nothing beats the Flatiron Building. One of the most recognizable buildings in the world, the Flatiron Building is a must for photographers visiting NYC. The best place to get a great shot of this iconic triangle building is from 5th Avenue and 25th Street. There is a long row of beautiful potted flowers on either side of the street here and an endless supply of yellow cabs offering a colorful foreground.
Most Famous New Yorker
There are plenty of famous New Yorkers, but none more famous than the Statue of Liberty. If you have a nice telephoto lens you can get some great shots of Lady Liberty from Brooklyn Bridge Park. But my personal favorite place to get a great shot of The Mother of Exiles is from the Staten Island Ferry. No need to pay expensive tourist prices to go on a boat tour around Liberty Island when you can hop on the big orange ferry for FREE. Not only does it get you awesome up close views for your photos, but it’s also a relaxing free cruise!
Top Views from the Top
Many people make the mistake of thinking that the Empire State Building is the best place to get pictures from above. However, if you’re up in the Empire State Building, your photos will be void of one of NYC’s most iconic buildings. So, to get Manhattan skyline shots from above that include the Empire State Building, head to Top of The Rock at Rockefeller Center. Since it costs a pretty penny to go up I suggest booking tickets online ahead of time. Try to get tickets for right before sunset. This way you get your full money’s worth by getting daytime, sunset, and nighttime photos from 70 floors up. Remember, Top of the Rock is one of the best places to take photos in New York, so you may have to fight the crowds to get your perfect shot.
NYC is a photographer’s playground. You can shoot from day to night and night to day in the city that never sleeps. To try and help you make the most of your time during your photo odyssey of the Big Apple, we’ve created a few routes on the maps below! Now get out there and have fun capturing the most amazing city in the world!
If you haven’t already, watch our NYC Photo Spots Video!