New York City is iconic in itself, but many know of only a couple of the famous New York landmarks. New York City is where iconic landmarks stand as timeless symbols of grandeur and aspiration. In this bustling metropolis, each landmark tells a captivating story. Each landmark is a part of the city’s history and culture.
The majestic Empire State Building proudly pierces the skyline. The Statue of Liberty extends her torch of hope to the world. These landmarks are more than just architectural marvels; they embody the very soul of New York.
Join us as we share with you these extraordinary New York City landmarks. We will uncover the heart and allure of the Big Apple.
Famous New York Landmarks
When you arrive in New York City for the first time, you immediately understand what it means to be in the New York State of Mind. There is something about that feeling.
There is an energy that exudes “New York” that cannot be explained. If you know, then you know. The same can be said for the famous New York Landmarks.
We’re going to share the landmarks that are the epitome of New York. Some may seem like a tourist trap. If you don’t visit these landmarks, were you ever really in The Big Apple?
Empire State Building: A Symbol of Greatness
The Empire State Building, soaring 1,454 feet above New York, stands as a marvel of history and engineering. Built during the Great Depression, its iconic Art Deco design captures the city’s essence. The setbacks and spire create an elegant silhouette that defines the New York skyline. Yet, the view from the 86th-floor observatory truly takes your breath away.
The panorama spans the Hudson River to the Statue of Liberty, encapsulating the city’s grandeur. As a symbol of greatness, the Empire State Building inspires dreamers and achievers worldwide. It remains a must-visit landmark. It offers an unforgettable experience that lets you touch the sky and understand why New York is the city that never sleeps.
Of course, you cannot miss the King Kong exhibit. You can get your photo taken with the big guy himself. In case you have been living under a rock, King Kong is the first film that The Empire State Building ever showed up in. It is THE most famous, hence being at the top of our list of famous New York landmarks.
Skip the line with this Empire State Building Observatory Ticket.
Statue of Liberty: A Beacon of Hope
The Statue of Liberty stands tall as a beacon of hope, symbolizing freedom and liberty. A gift from France to the United States in 1886, it represents the enduring friendship between nations. Designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, the statue’s majestic figure holds a torch of enlightenment and a tablet of law. She embodies the principles of democracy.
Visitors can experience its significance firsthand by climbing to the crown, offering a breathtaking view of New York Harbor and the city skyline. For centuries, the Statue of Liberty has welcomed immigrants seeking a better life. She serves as a symbol of hope and opportunity. Her message of freedom continues to inspire. We are reminded of the values that unite humanity and the power of embracing diversity.
A short ferry ride from Liberty Island is Ellis Island where you can visit the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration. As you stand in the Statue of Liberty’s shadow, you feel an overwhelming sense of pride and gratitude for the freedom it represents.
Central Park: An Oasis in the Concrete Jungle
Nestled amidst the towering skyscrapers of Manhattan, Central Park stands as a lush oasis, offering solace to weary city dwellers. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, it was meticulously planned to provide an escape from the bustling urban landscape. Spread across 843 acres, Central Park offers a plethora of attractions and recreational activities for visitors.
You may not consider Central Park to be on the list of famous New York landmarks, but it is truly iconic to the city. You can sit in the grass or take a stroll and forget the crazy hustle-bustle going on outside of the park.
A great way of seeing more of the park than you can on foot is with a Central Park Bike Tour.
From serene lakes and meandering pathways to vibrant gardens and open fields, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. The iconic Bow Bridge, the charming Bethesda Terrace, and the enchanting Conservatory Garden are among the park’s highlights.
Of course, one cannot miss Strawberry Fields, near The Dakota where John Lennon lived and was sadly killed in 1980. This area of Central Park was dedicated to the memory of Lennon. Whether you’re in the mood for a leisurely stroll, a scenic bike ride, a relaxing picnic, or a serene boat ride on the lake, Central Park welcomes you with open arms, inviting you to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature amid the city’s chaos.
Brooklyn Bridge: Connecting Boroughs and History
The Brooklyn Bridge, an engineering marvel and historic landmark, holds a special place in the heart of New York. Completed in 1883, it was a feat of engineering ingenuity, becoming one of the world’s first steel-wire suspension bridges. Its construction marked a turning point in urban development, connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn for the first time.
The bridge’s iconic Gothic arches and intricate cable design add to its allure. As you traverse its span on foot or by car, the breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline and the East River unfold before you. Beyond its architectural significance, the Brooklyn Bridge has played a crucial role in the city’s growth and identity.
It continues to serve as a lifeline, uniting the boroughs and welcoming millions of travelers, offering not only a passage but a glimpse into the rich history and spirit of New York. If you are staying in the Financial District, it is an easy cab ride over to the bridge. Be sure to walk across it. It’s truly a bucket list moment!
The Brooklyn Bridge and Dumbo district walking tour is a great way to experience this landmark.
Grand Central Terminal: An Architectural Marvel
Grand Central Terminal, an architectural masterpiece, stands as a testament to New York’s grandeur and elegance. Its majestic Beaux-Arts design captivates with soaring ceilings, intricate moldings, and opulent chandeliers.
Since its opening in 1913, Grand Central Station has served as a bustling transportation hub, connecting millions of commuters and tourists alike. Today, it remains a vital nexus, seamlessly facilitating the movement of travelers through its vast network of trains and subways.
Notable features include the awe-inspiring celestial-themed mural adorning the main concourse’s ceiling, portraying constellations in golden hues. Moreover, the iconic four-sided clock has become an emblematic meeting point for New Yorkers and visitors alike.
As one of the busiest and most splendid train stations globally, Grand Central Station not only serves as a gateway to the city but also stands as a living testament to New York’s architectural legacy.
You can peruse the station yourself, or grab an organized Grand Central Tour with special access.
Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Cultural Journey
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a treasure trove of cultural wonders that beckons art enthusiasts from all corners of the world. This iconic museum houses an extensive and diverse collection, spanning various civilizations and periods. From ancient Egyptian artifacts to Renaissance masterpieces, the Met offers an enchanting journey through human history and creativity.
Marvel at the grandeur of European paintings, immerse yourself in Asian artistry, and admire the intricacies of African sculptures. Among the must-see exhibits are the serene beauty of Monet’s Water Lilies, the enigmatic smile of the Egyptian mummy, and the grandeur of the Temple of Dendur.
Each artwork whispers its story, inviting you to explore the depths of human expression and imagination. A visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art is an unforgettable cultural odyssey, where the essence of humanity is captured in brushstrokes, sculptures, and artifacts, inspiring all who pass through its hallowed halls.
You will need to plan several days though. It is nearly impossible to get through the entire museum in just one day. Of course, “The Met” is mostly known for where the Met Gala or Met Ball is held on the first Monday of May each year.
One World Trade Center Observatory: Touching the Sky
The One World Observatory stands as a poignant tribute to 9/11, embodying resilience and hope. Ascending to the top of the One World Trade Center is an emotional experience, with interactive exhibits sharing powerful stories of survival and unity.
Reaching the observation deck unveils awe-inspiring views of New York City’s skyline. From this vantage point, the metropolis pulses with life, reminding us of its indomitable spirit. The Observatory is not just about views; it’s a journey of remembrance and inspiration, urging us to cherish life and embrace hope amidst adversity.
As we touch the sky, we honor the memory of those lost, and our hearts are lifted with the knowledge that from darkness, a city and its people can rise again.
We are often asked if it is scary or sad visiting One World Observatory due to the 9/11 tragedy. The presentation of the tour is truly a positive one. It is a celebration of New York City. Even though it is not among the world’s most famous landmarks in history, it is making its way to the top of the list.
Radio City Music Hall- Home of The Rockettes
Growing up as a huge fan of the film, Annie, I (shannon) have always known about Radio City Music Hall. Who can forget Daddy Warbucks taking Annie to see The Rockettes perform? What a dream!
When in New York City, you absolutely must visit this iconic theater. You can take a Radio City Music Hall Tour with Rockette Meet and Greet! You can also just stand outside for the ultimate photo opportunity. Radio City Music Hall is technically part of Rockefeller Center, so be sure to check that out while you are there, too.
The theater was designated a New York City Landmark, officially, in 1978.
New York City Public Library- One for the History Books
This New York public library is one of the only libraries in the world that is a wedding destination. More so these days thanks to the film, Sex in the City. The steps going into the main branch on Fifth Avenue are just an architectural show-stopper. It was built in the Beaux-Arts design.
Thanks to some pretty rich guys, Andrew Carnegie, John Jacob Astor, and Samuel J. Tilden, this library exists and it is massive. If you are not a New York City resident, you cannot check out a book, but you can venture inside to stare at the gorgeous detailed design throughout the library.
The Flatiron Building- The Three Street Building
You may have seen this uniquely shaped building while visiting New York City and not known what it was. We can promise that it got your attention though. The Flatiron Building, once the Fuller Building, is on the list of National Historic Landmarks.
You may have heard of the Flatiron District of New York City. If you have been to the famous Eataly in Manhattan, you were standing outside of the Flatiron.
The building got its name due to its triangular shape. Overlooking it, it looks like an iron that you iron your clothes with. The building is at the triangular block formed by Fifth Avenue, Broadway, and East 22nd Street. It was built in 1902 on a triangle parcel of land, designed by Chicago architect Daniel Burnham. Brilliant!
Times Square- The Most Famous Square in the World
Come on! You didn’t think we’d leave off Times Square, did you? Times Square is the busiest, most lively area in New York City. Located in Midtown Manhattan, it is the center of all things commercial, lights, and entertainment.
If for some reason you are in New York City and cannot find it, well, venture toward 7th Avenue and Broadway. On your way to the exact spot though, you will know where you are. You can find just about any type of food you want, any time of day.
Of course, be on alert because the folks who like to dress up as the bootleg Elmo, and the really jacked-up looking Big Bird, hang out in this area. They want you to pay them for photos and they can spot a tourist from a mile away. So, be cool folks. Just be cool.
Be sure to head over toHell’s Kitchen, just a beat off of Times Square near the Theater District, and fulfill your taste bud’s dream at Restaurant Row in NYC.
Our Journey Through the Famous New York Landmarks
We are always in awe of the city’s rich history and enduring allure. Each landmark has left an indelible mark on the landscape and the hearts of its people. There are so many other places we want you to make sure you visit that did not make this list. We did have to limit them since these are the most famous landmarks.
Be sure to head to the New York Stock Exchange in the Financial District. Get a photo with the Charging Bull. The bull is a bronze sculpture that stands on Broadway just north of Bowling Green. It always has a line of people in front of it. Apparently, running the bronze testicles brings you good luck. We wouldn’t know. We did touch the Charging Bull, on his side. Does that count?
Let’s not forget a visit early one morning to The Flower District in New York City! There is just so much to do and see!
From historic symbols of freedom to architectural marvels, these sites stand as testaments to human ingenuity and creativity. They have defined the city’s identity and continue to inspire visitors and locals alike.
We hope this exploration of famous New York landmarks has fueled your desire to experience these timeless icons firsthand. It is truly one of our favorite cities. Let the spirit of New York and its remarkable landmarks continue to captivate you as much as it does us. We are amazed each time we explore this dynamic and vibrant city.
More New York City Adventures?
If you are interested in learning more about our New York City adventures, read more of our collective NYC adventure blog posts here.
Of course, if you are limited in time, you can always take the New York City Bus Tour and hit many highlights of the city. This way, you can always plan to return to see more of the Big Apple! This bus tour will take you around areas like Chinatown, Little Italy, and more!
If you are looking for a place to stay in NYC, check out our favorite hotel, Club Quarters World Trade Center.
FAQs | Frequently Asked Questions
There are over 30,000 designated landmarks in the city. The State of New York has laws that protect the history of the city. Therefore, when a landmark reaches the status of an official landmark, this protects the integrity of the property.
If you simply want to visit these landmarks, take a photo, and not take in all that each has to offer, you could do it in a couple of days. That is if you are really moving with the intent on covering the ground.
To reach official landmark status, a building must be at least 50 years old.