30 Most Instagrammable Places in NYC
January 4, 2022
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Did you really visit NYC if you didn’t post it on Instagram? Well, yes of course you did! But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be checking out all of the most Instagrammable places in NYC. I think it is safe to say that New York City is one of the most Instagrammable cities in the world. With new locations and pop-ups all of the time, plus the iconic skyline, it feels like the city is meant to be photographed!
I have lived in New York for over 25 years, and have been living in NYC for the past 5 years. Trust me when I say that I’ve has my fair share of exploring all of the most Instagrammable places in NYC – from Manhattan to Brooklyn to Queens! These locations are perfect for snapping your next shot for the ‘gram.
Despite having lived in New York (a true New York local) for over 25 years, I can never get over how incredible the Brooklyn Bridge is and visit often. No matter how many times I visit, it is still one of my
What to Know: The bridge is just over a mile long and can be crossed in approximately 25 minutes. Make sure to take your time though, appreciating the skyline views. You can start at either end, however the views walking from Brooklyn to Manhattan are more scenic in my opinion.
How to Get Here: The Brooklyn Bridge is easily accessible by subway, but which subway is going to depend on which side you’re starting at. For those starting on the Manhattan side take the 4/5/6 subway to Brooklyn Bridge – City Hall. If you’re starting the walk from the Brooklyn side you can take either the F to York Street or the A/C to High Street – Brooklyn Bridge.
Tip: The bridge gets very busy! Come at sunrise for a calmer (and truly magical) experience of the bridge.
The Flatiron Building has always been one of my favorite Instagrammable places in NYC. Constructed in 1902 right at the foot of Madison Square Park, this building is a true NYC classic.
How to Get Here: The Flatiron Building is super centrally located, with tons of nearby subway stations. The closest subway, however, is the 23rd St station which is service by the N/Q/R/W lines. Walk just a block over and you’ll find the 6 train.
Tip: Stand across the street from the building, preferably up on one of the chairs or concrete blocks, with your photographer crouching for the best angle.
Traveling on a budget? Here is a list of 10 great spots to eat under $10 in NYC!
The High Line
Not only is the High Line one of the most Instagrammable places in NYC, it is also my absolute favorite place to recommend to anyone visiting the city.
What to Know: Running just under 1.5 miles long, the High Line was originally an elevated rail line designed to reduce the number of deaths occurring from pedestrians crossing 10th Avenue. Today, the High Line is an elevated park featuring 500+ species of plants and trees, artwork, food vendors, and tons of fun activities.
How to Get Here: The High Line runs from Gansevoort St all the way to 30th St, with a number of entrances along the way. An easy way to reach the High Line is to take the A/C/E or L to 14th Street.
Tip: There are so many great photo opportunities along this elevated park. Bring a picnic along for lunch – perfect for your shot and for a nice break once you’re done shooting.
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Famous Manhattan Bridge Photo Spot in DUMBO
What to Know: DUMBO actually is quite a literal description of this spot, standing for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. The spot shown above is clearly one of the most famous, iconic NYC, however there are so many shots to get in DUMBO. Wander down left by the rocks or snap a shot from the outside seating area of the cafe for a great bridge view.
How to Get Here: The exact address of this spot is Washington St between Water St and Plymouth St. You can take the F to York Street Station or the A/C to High Street – Brooklyn Bridge Station, which is just a few minutes further.
Tip: This street is busy all the time. Try coming when it’s raining to get a unique, less crowded photoshoot opportunity.
Make sure to venture outside of Manhattan (and Brooklyn) and visit Astoria in Queens! Here’s my guide on all of the best spots!
Although the view of the Manhattan Bridge has garnered some serious fame as an Instagram hot spot over the years, Dumbo has a ton more spots to offer! A few of my favorite include right under the bridge, Pebble Beach, and the by the Brooklyn Bridge.
Tip: Arrive in Dumbo early and you can expect to have the place to yourself. During the week 8am should be fine, on the weekend I’d recommend arriving a bit earlier. Plus, you’ll be able to take advantage of the beautiful morning night. Sunset on the water is just as beautiful, but it tends to be quite crowded.
Brooklyn Bridge Park
After exploring Dumbo, continue along the path to Brooklyn Bridge Park. This park runs along the water through Dumbo, Brooklyn Heights, and Cobble Hill. During the summer months you’ll find times of locals picnicking, barbecuing, or playing a game on one of the many soccer fields or basketball courts. There is also a bike path if you are exploring the most Instagrammable places in NYC by bike.
How to Get Here: You can access Brooklyn Bridge Park from Dumbo, Brooklyn Heights, or Cobble Hill. If you’re starting in Dumbo, take the A/C to High St or the F to York St. Otherwise, take the 2/3 to Clark St or the R to Court St in Brooklyn Heights. You can also access this walkway by walking over the Brooklyn bridge, starting on the Manhattan side.
Last option? Take the local NYC ferry! On a nice day this is a beautiful, scenic way to get from Downtown Manhattan to Brooklyn.
Tip: Start your morning in Dumbo, exploring all of the most Instagrammable spots in NYC. From here, pass the Time Out Market on your left and continue straight. Make your way along the path on the water. You’ll find some of the best views of the city, with a walkable path right on the water’s edge! Once you’ve strolled about 20 minutes, you can pop over the Brooklyn Heights to continue exploring.
Shooting in Central Park deserves a full post of it’s own, as it is easily one of the most Instagrammable places in NYC, but I’ll highlight just a few of my favorite spots for you.
Most Instagrammable Places in NYC, Central Park:
Gapstow Bridge + The Pond
There are a number of great photo opportunities right here by the park entrance, making it one of the most Instagrammable places in NYC. Make your way over the bridge and around The Pond to capture the park in all its glory. The large rock by the south side of the pond offers a great view.
How to Get Here: Take the N/R/W lines to 5 Avenue Station or the F to 57 Street Station
Bow Bridge + Bethesda Fountain
Quite easily the most famous part of Central Park, this area is a must for snagging an awesome shot. If you have the time you can rent a boat from The Loeb Boathouse for just $25!
How to Get Here: Take the A/C or B to 72nd Street Station on the West side or the 6 to 68 Street Station if you’re coming from the East side.
A less crowded, more secluded pond, The Pool is the perfect spot for your autumn foliage shots.
How to Get Here: Take the A/C or B to 96th Street Station and enter via the 97th St Traverse and walk north.
What is more cliche than renting a rowboat in Central Park? Not to mention a photo in the rowboat is so Instagrammable. Surprisingly, it is quite affordable to rent the boats, by NYC standards at least. Just make sure to bring cash as you will need to leave $20 cash as a deposit, in additional to the $15 rental fee.
How to Get Here:
Looking for the cutest cafes in NYC? Check out Lauren of NY to Anywhere’s list here!
Doyers Street in Chinatown
Chinatown is definitely one of NYC’s best neighborhoods, and one of the most Instagrammable places in NYC as well. Go for the photo op, but stay for the dumplings!
What to Know: Navigating Chinatown can be a bit stressful, with street vendors trying to sell you everything from dried fish to knock of Chanel bags. Embrace the hectic nature of the area, and take time to embrace the different cultures around you.
How to Get Here: Take the subway to Canal Street Station (serviced by just about every subway line in Manhattan).
Washington Square Park
Best known for it’s famous arch, honoring George Washington, Washington Square Park is a true NYC local hangout. You’ll often find street performers, live music, sunbathers, and herds of NYU students stationed at the park on a beautiful day.
How to Get Here: You have a few options for getting to Washington Square Park. Head to West 4 St – Washing Square Station on one of many lines including the A/C/E and B/D/F or take the N/Q/R/W lines to 8 Street Station.
Tip: Arrive early to soak up the morning light in the park. Shoot uptown to capture both the fountain and the arch in your shot.
Coney Island is definitely one of the more unique options on my list of the best Instagram spots in NYC. You can relive your younger days with ferris wheels and cotton candy, plus a Nathan’s hot dog from the famous stand.
What to Know: Coney Island’s Luna Park is a NYC staple, where locals flock for some time in the sun and a carefree afternoon.
How to Get Here: Getting to Coney Island can be quite the trek, so I recommend making a day or half day trip out of it. Take the D/F or N/Q to Coney Island – Stillwell Ave Station.
Tip: Arrive early before many of the rides have opened to have time to shoot without the crowds (and cotton candy covered kids) running around. If you’re visiting during the summer then try to visit during the week for fewer crowds.
Top of the Rock
The views from the Top of the Rock are easily some of the most iconic in New York City. I’ll admit that it felt weird going for the first time as a native New Yorker. However, it is seriously one of the most Instagrammable places in NYC, during any season or time of day. It is touristy and cliche, and worth every penny to visit.
There are so many different view points at Top of the Rock to capture content, so make sure that you give yourself enough time to visit them all. While it is beautiful at any hour of the day, I recommend arriving right as they open for the fewest crowds. If you can visit midweek, even better!
What to Know: Make sure to purchase your tickets ahead of time on the Top of the Rock website.
How to Get Here: Top of the Rock is located right in the heart of midtown. It can easily be reached by subway to. the 47-50 Sts-Rockefeller Center station. B, D, F, and M trains all stop at this station. However, if these aren’t convenient for you, there are a number of other close by subways.
Tip: Book your tickets ahead of time for the first slot of the day to avoid the crowds! If this isn’t possible, try out different angles like within the different window frames.
Empire State Building
It took me a long time to visit the Empire State Building. When I first did it was because of an invite from the building to check out the new Observation deck. And let me tell you, it definitely didn’t disappoint.
If you can only choose one – Top of the Rock or the Empire State Building – I would probably choose Top of the Rock simply because you get the iconic views of the ESB in your shot! But the views of the city and One World Trade from the Empire State Building are still some of my favorite.
How to Get Here: The closest subway station to the Empire State Building is the 34th St – Herald Square Station, which is serviced with a number of lines. Some commons subway lines that stop at 34th St station include the F, D, N, Q, and R.
Tip: Similar to Top of the Rock, I definitely recommend booking an early time slot. The earlier the better – as you’ll get amazing light and avoid some of the crowds.
Gantry Plaza State Park
Having lived in Queens myself for a few years, I couldn’t resist throwing a local spot onto the list. Long Island City definitely offers the most underrated best Instagram spots in NYC to shoot at!
What to Know: This waterfront park has tons of photo opportunities, from this NYC skyline view to the Pepsi Cola sign. It is also a fun spot to spend the day with a book on a blanket by the water.
How to Get Here: Take the 7 to Vernon Blvd/Jackson Avenue Station or get adventurous and take the ferry over to the Long Island City Ferry Stop
Tip: There are tons of breweries in the area, so make sure to take some time to explore after you’re done shooting. Rockaway Brewing Company is a fun afternoon stop for a beer flight.
Okay, so “cute restaurants” isn’t exactly a location, but I didn’t think a list of the best Instagram spots in NYC was complete without a list of some of the most Insta-friendly restaurants. I’ve included three of my favorites below, as well as some information on how to get to them and what to order (since you should always order something at a restaurant if you’re going to shoot there).
Times Square is every New Yorkers worst nightmare, but there is no denying that it is the most recognizable NYC location. I included one day time shot, but if you want to do it right, I would recommend shooting at night. That way you can fully capture the lights of NYC! The bright colors and shining lights that make NYC so famous.
What to Know: Get in and get out!
How to Get Here: The majority of subway lines in NYC run right to Times Square, so you shouldn’t have any issue getting here. But please, do yourself a favor and don’t stay in Times Square as a tou
Tip: Times Square is quite literally busy all of the time. But that is part of what gives it its charm
Tacombi is actually a chain and the food here is delicious. While all of the locations across NYC have a similar cute decor, the Bleecker street location is definitely the cutest.
How to Get Here: The Tacombi location pictured above is located on Bleecker Street. Take the A/C/E or B/D/F to West 4th Street – Washington Square Park.
What to Order: Make sure to always order something if you’re snapping photos at a restaurant. All the tacos are great but the black bean and sweet potato is a personal favorite. Not hungry? The margs are a great choice as well!
Jimmy at the James Hotel Rooftop
What to Know: This rooftop is open to the public, as they have a bar and pool that you can visit. However, expect to pay the solid $25 a cocktail.
How to Get Here: Located right on the border of Soho and Chinatown, take the subway to any of the Canal St stations.
Tip: If you want to capture sunrise at the James Hotel Rooftop, you will need to book a night at the hotel. Opt for a weeknight for cheaper rates.
How to Get Here: Located on Orchard Street in the Lower East Side. This bright blue exterior is a perfect backdrop for your next ‘gram. Take the F to 2nd Avenue Station.
What to Order: Pizza, pizza, pizza. The Rockaway is a must.
Souvlaki GR is one of my favorite restaurants in NYC. It’s perfect for a casual date night because the food is delicious, the ambiance and decor are perfect, but it’s still super reasonably priced. You could eat here for under $10 USD per person.
How to Get Here: Just down the street from Pizza Beach you’ll find this Greek gem on Stanton between Ludlow and Essex. Take the F or J to Delancey St – Essex St, or just walk over from Pizza Beach.
What to Order: Cheap and delicious, make sure to try their feta cheese covered fries!
How to Get Here: Take one of the many different subway lines to Canal Street, and it is just a short walk away.
Tip: No need to book a night or grab a meal here, as the outdoor walkway is the most picturesque spot in my opinion!
Grand Central Terminal
I’ll admit that adding this one to the guide felt so weird for me to do. Growing up just 30 minutes outside of the city, I commuted through Grand Central multiple days a week. I can’t even count the amount of times that I’ve visited Grand Central, at every hour of the day (and night).
Although I’ll admit that I’ve never spent time shooting content in Grand Central myself, it is one of the most beautiful train stations in the world. Don’t forget to look up in the main hall to appreciate the constellation ceiling.
How to Get Here: Grand Central is located smack in the middle of NYC, right in Midtown East. It is just a few minute walk from Bryant Park and Times Square. Because it is one of Manhattan’s 2 central train stations, tons of subway lines connect through it.
Tip: Arrive in the middle of the day, during the middle of the week to avoid the crowds. Right before and right after work are by far the busiest times to visit Grand Central.
Want to try something fun? After you’ve had your fill exploring the great hall, head out the exit ramp towards the Oyster Bar. Go stand in one corner of this hall while a friend stands on the other side. You’ll be able to talk through the walls in a modern-day version of telephone.
What to Know: While on the pricier side, there are tons of restaurants and food stalls to grab a bite to eat in Grand Central. If you have some time to kill, I recommend checking out the xxx bar.
The Vessel in Hudson Yards
What to Know: The Vessel is a honeycomb-like structure consisting of 154 flights of steps that was first opened to the public in 2016. Unfortunately entry into upper parts of the vessel remain closed, however access to the ground-level base is free and open to the public.
Hours are 10AM-9PM Monday to Saturday and 11AM-7PM on Sundays.
How to Get Here: Take the 7 train to Hudson Yards. You won’t be able to miss it once you’re out of the subway!
Tip: Photos outside of the Vessel are just as cool, if not cooler, than the ones in it. To capture a good shot of the Vessel without the crowds, I recommend visiting early on a weekday morning.
Time Out Market Rooftop in Dumbo
What to Know: Modeled after the famous Time Out Market in Lisbon, Portugal, in 2019 NYC got a market of it’s own. It’s an amazing spot to sample tons of different cusines, as there are xx different food stalls.
How to Get Here: The exact address of this spot is Washington St between Water St and Plymouth St. You can take the F to York Street Station or the A/C to High Street – Brooklyn Bridge Station, which is just a few minutes further.
Tip: Head up to the top floor and you’ll find more dining options as well as a bar. Head to the outside deck with your food and drink for an iconic view!
Electric Lemon Rooftop
Want a different point of view of NYC’s famous vessel. Check out the Electric Lemon Rooftop.
What to Know: The Electric Lemon Hotel and Rooftop is located above the Equinox Hotel. Transparently, the food is mediocre and the service is about the same. That said, the views are absolutely incredible. I recommend skipping the restaurant and just grabbing a drink outside by the rooftop bar instead.
How to Get Here: Take the 7 train to Hudson Yards.
Tip: You don’t need a reservation to grab a drink at the bar, but it fills up quickly. Arrive early to snag a prime spot outside for sunset.
Staple Street Skybridge
What to Know: This street is a NYC classic – at least as far as photographers are concerned. The small bridge actually connects the third floors of each of these buildings. This is because the third floors of these buildings was once a hospital. Although it no longer is, the bridge remains.
How to Get Here: Head to Staple St and you won’t miss it as this road is only 2 blocks long! Take the 1/2/3 to Chambers St or the 1/2 to Franklin St. The street convenient sits between these two stations.
Tip: As per usual in NYC, head to this Instagrammable place in the morning for less crowds.
South Street Seaport’s Pier 17
What to Know: Pier 17 is one of the many pier’s along the river in Manhattan. In addition to frequent season pop-ups (winter globes, pumpkin arches), you’ll also find a number of restaurants here. In fact, there is even a music venue on Pier 17.
How to Get Here: The Pier is about an 8 minute walk from the Fulton St station and a 10 minute walk to the Wall St station. Either works depending on which line you need.
Tip: Come at sunrise to capture the gorgeous morning light over the river.
Stuyvesant Street is easily one of the most picturesque corners in the East Village, and probably all of Manhattan. There used to be a full sign pole here, but it was taken down in 2020.
How to Get Here: The closest subway line is the 6 train at the Astor Place stop. From here it is just a quick 2-3 minute walk.
The Met Cloisters
The Met Cloisters is probably the closest thing to “upstate vibes” you’re going to get without actually leaving the city. But you will need to venture pretty far north to reach the Cloisters.
What to Know: The Met Cloisters is open daily from 10-4:30pm, with the exceptions of Wednesdays when they are completely closed. You can visit the property for free, but tickets cost $25 to enter. You can find everything you need to know about planning your visit here.
How to Get Here: Take the A train to Dyckman St. This is just 2 stops past where you’ll need to hop off for the Little Red Lighthouse, so the two spots can easily be visited on the same day.
Iconic NYC Shots
In addition to all of the most Instagrammable places on this list, there are a number of iconic shots to capture in New York City. A few that I recommend include:
- Posing with a classic hot dog or pretzel stand
- With a passing or parked yellow cab (taxi)
- On a fire escape (ideally with a slice of pizza)
Brooklyn Heights Brownstones
Brooklyn Heights is one of the most charming neighborhoods in NYC. Quaint little streets with charming brownstones, this is one area that you’re not going to want to leave off of your NYC itinerary. It is the perfect place to snag some photos for Instagram.
How to Get Here: Brooklyn Heights is just South of Dumbo. You can walk from DUMBO through Brooklyn Bridge Park, right to Brooklyn Heights in just about 20 minutes. If you are visiting NYC, it likely makes sense to combine these neighborhoods in the same day.
If you arriving directly to Brooklyn Heights, you can take the 4/5 to Borough Hall, the 2/3 to Clark St, or the R to Court St. You’ll find tons of great restaurants around here that you can stop at for lunch or dinner – as well as tons of cute cafes.
Tip: Let yourself get lost on all of the little streets! It is much more enjoyable to visit on foot, then by car. The car above was from a photoshoot for Fiat, not my own.
Little Red Lighthouse (and nearby)
Despite being absolutely charming, this spot is one of the lesser known places on this list. This is because you’ll need to take the subway all the way up to 181 st, which is higher than most tourists venture.
I recommend visiting either on a hot summer day, or in the fall when the colors start to pop.
How to Get Here: Take the A train to 181 St. From here it is about a 15 minute walk to the lighthouse, which is located right on the water.
Tip: Make sure to stop at the viewpoint of the bridge on the way here! It is another one of my favorite Instagrammable places in NYC.
Other Instagrammable Places in NYC to add to your list:
- Radio City Music Hall
- The Oculus
- Sézane Storefront
- Audrey Hepburn mural in Nolita
- The Edge NYC
- ChaCha Matcha (bonus, their matcha is really delicious!)
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