Are you looking for the best photo spots in NYC?
New York City can be a very photogenic place if you know where to go to. If you are into street photography you will find endless opportunities to snap photos in the City That Never Sleeps. If you enjoy taking photos of iconic buildings you will also find plenty of those in NYC to point your lens at.
But where do you go for landscape photography in NYC? That can be a bit trickier if you aren’t familiar with New York. Having lived in NYC for many years we explored the city for countless hours on foot, bike, and car. So, we’re what you might call experts in that regard.
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Best Places to Take Pictures in New York City
Here are some of the best places for cityscape and landscape photography in New York. These 12 locations are just a jumping-off point, of course. NYC is a vast metropolis and offers many sights you won’t find anywhere else in the world. We highly recommend wandering to find other great places for photographing NYC.
Ok, let’s get into it!
Top of the Empire State Building
The 86th floor of the Empire State Building offers an open-air 360-degree view of the entire city. As such it is one of the very best places to go for epic landscape photography of Midtown Manhattan. The photo above was taken during sunset hours in winter and is one of maybe 500 shots we took that day.
Tickets to the 81st floor cost around $45 USD and you should reserve online before you go. If you decide to go during winter please bundle up, as the windchill can make things very very cold if you stay up top hunting for that perfect shot.
The Empire State also has an enclosed observation deck on the 102nd floor. Your view from here extends out over almost every other building in Manhattan, and you can even see Central Park pretty well. However, you will be behind glass, making photography slightly more complicated.
Top of Rockefeller Center
The Rockefeller Center observation deck doesn’t climb quite as high as the Empire State Building. However, it is located slightly further uptown and offers a bit of a different view. If you are a completionist who wants to hunt for the very best landscape photo of NYC we recommend you visit both, if that is within your budget. If you can only afford to visit one of these locations while exploring NYC we recommend sticking with the Empire State.
Tickets cost around $40-$50 and can be purchased online or at the door. Once again, if you go during winter months, make sure to bundle up!
Rockefeller Center is a great place for iconic NYC landscape photos and for street photography in general.
While visiting Rockefeller Center you’ll find yourself in a prime location to capture street images of Rock Center and 5th Avenue. These iconic locations tend to get very crowded, but if you are patient you can absolutely snap some incredible photos.
As a bonus the iconic Radio City Music Hall and its neon sign are right down the block and around the corner on 6th Avenue.
Top of the World Trade Center
The World Trade Center is another skyscraper from which you can take incredible pictures of the city. It is located much further south in Manhattan than either the ESB or Rock Center and therefore provides better views North. With the right lens, you can capture incredible rooftop shots of Wall Street, the South Street Seaport, and Downtown Manhattan.
You can find skip-the-line tickets here. You can also visit the 9/11 Memorial Museum and marvel at its incredible architecture while you are here.
Another famous NYC landmark, the Brooklyn Bridge has appeared in more iconic NYC shots than probably any other landmark. It is also a pretty cool spot for NYC landscape photography, as it affords photographers with a zoom lens some pretty great shots. The bridge itself is also a total pleasure to photograph.
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Brooklyn Bridge Park is our next destination. If you cross the bridge from the Manhattan side into Brooklyn stopping by at the park is a natural next step. From here you can take some sweet shots of the bridge, and you will also find some really great riverside viewpoints to take wide sweeping landscape photos of Lower Manhattan from across the East River.
Have a picnic when you are done, you’ve earned it!
Central Park is home to some iconic locations, such as the Gapstow Bridge and its skyline, Strawberry Fields, and more. It is a great place to add some nature to your NYC photographs.
The park is flanked on the east side by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and on the west by the Museum of Natural History. Both museums are great places for indoor photography, as well as being two of the best museums in NYC, and the entire world.
The Flatiron Building
The historic Flatiron Building is located on 5th Avenue and 23rd Street, across the street from Madison Square Park. Shooting the building is fun in all sorts of weather conditions, and its unique shape can spark all sorts of creative shots.
The Flatiron District is also good for all sorts of street photography, as is the Garment District which is located north of the Flatiron.
Staten Island Ferry
Taking the Ferry from Manhattan to State Island is something e recommend all tourists do. It’s also a great platform to take some sweet landscape shots of Lower Manhattan, and you can also get good views of the Statue of Liberty.
The ferry is basically free, all it costs is a swipe of your MetroCard, and is absolutely worth the time and the money. You can find more info about the Staten Island Ferry here.
Crossing the Hudson River into New Jersey can afford interesting shots of large swaths of Manhattan. There is no better place to get those shots than the Hoboken Pier.
Bring a zoom lens, eat an Italian Hoagie, have a beer, and enjoy being out of the city for a few hours.
Chinatown is one of the absolute best places for street photography in NYC. It is crowded, dirty, fascinating, and quintessentially New York City. Filled with strange sights and smells, you will often find yourself trying not to step into puddles of unidentifiable goo. You can wander its twisty backstreets snapping interesting photo after interesting photo and then eat some delicious dumplings and a Hot and Sour soup for your troubles. Win-win.
Grand Central Station
Bring a fast lens for low-light photography and walk around Grand Central Station snapping crowd shots. We’ll be shocked if you don’t end up taking at least a few sweet photos in yet another of NYC’s famous and iconic locations.
And there you have it folks, 12 locations for awesome street and landscape photos in NYC. There are plenty more spots where you can find some great shots, so use your feet as you explore the city. Don’t forget to look up from time to time! A lot of NYC’s greatest architecture is located on the top of its towering buildings.
As always, happy travels, happy exploration, and we’ll see you on the road!