New York City is a fast-paced, ever-changing city, where every neighborhood feels like a different world on its own. And yet, the city remains as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, with its soaring skyscrapers, cobbled neighborhoods, and lush parks and gardens.
From century-old landmarks to gorgeous streets, here are the most beautiful places in New York City.
No matter the season, Central Park remains one of the most beautiful places in New York City. It’s impossible to tackle the whole park in one day, being the largest in New York with over 800 acres of bodies of water and greenery, featuring beautiful bridges, statues, playgrounds, shops, dining, and more.
The prettiest spots include the Belvedere Castle, Bow Bridge, Bethesda Fountain and Terrace, Conservatory Garden, Loeb Boathouse, and Harlem Meer.
Empire State Building
The Empire State Building is one, if not the most famous building in the world, so it’s not surprising that it’s one of the most beautiful places in New York City. With 102 floors, the Art Deco building defines the city’s skyline.
One of the best things to do in New York City is to view the architectural wonder and the glistening city skyline from Top of the Rock.
Come at night and you’ll appreciate the building’s tower lights.
Also called the Village, Greenwich Village is a charming neighborhood located on the west side of Lower Manhattan, and is home to brownstone buildings, local shops, off-Broadway theaters, cafes, bars, and restaurants.
Part of the Greenwich Village is the West Village, an area popular for designer boutiques and quaint restaurants, as well as celebrity sightings.
The Village is also home to undoubtedly one of the best pizza places in the city, John’s of Bleecker Street.
At the heart of the Village is Washington Square Park, which is a popular meeting place for locals and tourists alike.
Apart from strolling and people-watching, you will also love the chess tables dotted at the park’s west end.
The High Line
Perhaps the most unique trail I’ve ever been on, the High Line is an elevated park on Manhattan’s West Side.
This 1.45-mile-long walkway is a former freight rail line, now a great place to do some people-watching, appreciate the lush greenery, view unique artworks, grab some street food, and view the stunning city skyline.
Every section of the park gives you a chance to view different buildings, from old brownstone apartments to mid to high-rise buildings, perfect for a different perspective on street photography.
Opened in 2021, the Little Island rests on the former Pier 54, located on the Hudson River.
The two-acre artificial island boasts unique landscape architecture, featuring an amphitheater that hosts seasonal events, and play items such as Dance Chimes, Spun Chairs, and Spinning Discs.
As you ascend the island, you will also be greeted by one of the best views of the city’s skyscrapers.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) is one of the most beautiful places in New York City inside and out.
Its Beaux-Arts facade along Fifth Ave is the most popular, and its front steps are perfect for people-watching (even as a meeting place, as featured in Gossip Girl).
Inside, be prepared to be amazed by the Great Hall, which features beautiful limestone arches and columns, marbled floors, and an overlooking balcony with vaulted ceiling.
As one of the world’s largest art museums, The Met houses over two million artworks from all over the world. These artworks range from antiquities to paintings and sculptures, among many others.
Times Square is a quintessential spot in New York City, with its colorful, neon-lit billboard signs and busy streets.
Originally called Longacre Square, the attraction is a hub for entertainment, shopping, dining, and of course, the annual New Year’s Eve celebration.
Come at midnight on a regular evening—11:57 PM to 12 AM, to be exact—and you’ll witness different artworks by contemporary artists flashed on the billboards.
Flat Iron Building
Originally called the Fuller Building, the Flat Iron Building is one of the most unique places in the city.
The building is made up of 22 floors, boasting a steel-skeleton structure. It was one of the first skyscrapers ever built in the city, dating back to 1902, and is now known as a national landmark.
The Flat Iron Building is located on the corner of Fifth Ave and Broadway, just across Madison Square Park, which is another must-see.
Grand Central Terminal
Another Beaux-Arts wonder is the Grand Central Terminal, one of the most stunning terminals in the world thanks to its baroque interior adorned with a celestial-themed ceiling and iconic Tiffany glass clock. Aside from being a transportation hub, it is also a shopping and dining destination.
While here, make sure to visit some of its popular dining spots, such as The Campbell, located in the southwest corner of the terminal.
The Campbell boasts a gorgeous 1920s interior featuring glass windows, hand-painted ceilings, and a grand stone fireplace, paired with a touch of contemporary design, where you can sit back and relax as you enjoy its old-fashioned cocktails.
Saint Patrick’s Cathedral
Located in Midtown Manhattan, just across the Rockefeller Center, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral is known for its Neo-Gothic architecture, featuring bronze front doors and stained glass windows.
Inside the beautiful church, you’ll be awed by the high altar, covered by a bronze canopy, or baldachino, and marble arches set against its stunning windows. The hauntingly beautiful sounds inside are the work of the Gallery Organ, which contains 7,855 pipes that have been modernized since it was dedicated in 1930.
Moreover, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral is the largest Gothic Cathedral in the United States, with a seating capacity of 2,000 people.
Statue of Liberty
The world-renowned Statue of Liberty symbolizes hope and spirit, inaugurated in 1886 and designated as a National Monument in 1924. A gift from the people of France, the neoclassical statue was designed by sculptor Frédéric Bartholdi in collaboration with engineer Gustave Eiffel, standing 305 ft tall on Liberty Island.
There are tours offering ferry rides to Liberty Island, but you can also enjoy the views from the water for free by taking the Staten Island ferry.
DUMBO, or Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, is a beautiful neighborhood in Brooklyn, known for its cobblestone streets and industrial architecture. The former factory buildings here have been transformed into restaurants, galleries, and bookshops, making the entire neighborhood a haven for foodies and art lovers.
Dumbo’s Washington Street is perhaps the most visited, which offers views of the Manhattan Bridge set as a backdrop between brownstone buildings. Other popular attractions include St. Ann’s Warehouse and Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Brooklyn Bridge Park is one of the best places to visit in New York City for free. Located in Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighborhood, it’s also a beautiful spot to view the Brooklyn Bridge set against the famed Manhattan skyline.
The 85-acre park offers a variety of activities such as kayaking and fishing and areas dedicated to picnics, sports, and people-watching.
Families with young kids can also enjoy the playgrounds, as well as Jane’s Carousel, a century-old antique ride housed in a glass pavilion.
With over 500 acres, Prospect Park is a hidden gem in Brooklyn. The park houses a zoo, trails, and picnic areas, among other spaces for recreational activities such as skating, bird watching, biking, fishing, and boating, depending on the season.
Some of the popular spots here include the Audubon Center, the Carousel, LeFrak Center at Lakeside, and of course, the Prospect Park Zoo.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Adjacent to Prospect Park is the lush Brooklyn Botanic Garden, home to more than 14,000 plants from around the globe. The garden has a number of greenhouses and trails, which are particularly lovely in spring, when you can see the beautiful cherry blossoms.
The garden offers free admission on the weekdays from December to February (Tuesday to Friday). You can also check their website to know what’s currently in bloom.
One of the most beautiful places in New York City, Coney Island is a seaside neighborhood in Brooklyn, about 30 minutes to an hour from Manhattan.
The waterfront promenade is home to playgrounds, restaurants, and shops, as well as the New York Aquarium and Luna Park, which offers action-packed rides like the Cyclone and Thunderbolt.
Additionally, Coney Island is home to two beaches attracting both locals and tourists in the summer, namely Coney Island Beach and Brighton Beach. Here, you can sunbathe and swim provided there’s a lifeguard on duty.
Don’t forget to try Nathan’s Famous located along the boardwalk, known for its hot dogs.
What are some of the most beautiful places in New York City that you’d recommend? I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments below!