Post Overview: Instagrammable places in NYC
As a New York City photographer I get asked all the time where the most Instagrammable places in NYC are, and truthfully the answer is a long one.
I could argue that every inch of New York City is social media worthy and with the right lighting and editing, any photo can come out magical and mimic that of a professional. But you’re here for specific spots (and I don’t blame you!)
A busy city like NYC can be overwhelming and with so much ground to cover, a little guidance can go a long way when curating the perfect Instagram feed.
Let me preface this by saying these are just my opinions, you might find some of these spots underwhelming or basic (and that’s okay). Beauty is in the eye of the beholder or whatever that saying is, this post is meant to be fun — don’t take it too seriously. 😉
This guide covers all the Instagrammable locations in NYC that I share with friends and family who are visiting. I hope you find it helpful, so without further ado let’s get to it!
Visiting New York City? If you haven’t decided where to stay (yet) check out our helpful guide on Where to Stay in New York City (The best neighborhoods for first timers +2 to avoid). Don’t have time? Here’s our favorite hotel in NYC, hands down.
P.S. Don’t forget your sunscreen: Contrary to popular belief, NYC is a sunny place so don’t forget to wear your sunscreen. Here’s the only sunscreen I use, I discovered it 6 years ago and never leave the house without it.
Top Instagram Spots in New York City
DUMBO is in the acronym for a beloved New York City neighborhood; Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. In fact, this is one of the most visited areas in New York City, and one of the top Instagram spots in New York City.
Home to trendy shops, great eateries and an overall easy-going vibe, this is the only place you want to be on a warm spring night.
Local’s Tip: If you’d like a photo from the iconic Brooklyn Bridge spot, head to the cross section between Washington Street and Front Street.
#2. Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge adorns New York City’s epic skyline and stands as an iconic symbol for the Big Apple. As such, no list of the best New York City instagram spots would be complete without mentioning it.
The Brooklyn Bridge spans one mile and takes about 15-20 minutes to walk across, but you should allocate more time because you’ll want to take plenty of photos (you can see the Statue of Liberty from here!).
Further Reading: 12 Absorbing Facts About the Beloved Brooklyn Bridge
#3. The Bow Bridge in Central Park
Central Park is home to more than 40 bridges, but the most photographed by far is the romantic Bow Bridge.
The bridge gets its name from the shape of the arch which resembles an archer’s bow. It’s one of the most photographed attractions in Central Park and one of the most Instagrammable places in New York City.
Built in 1862, the bridge spans 60 feet over the most famous lake in Central Park, connecting Cherry Hill and the Ramble. Oh, lest I forget, the views of Manhattan’s skyline from the Bow Bridge are absolutely breathtaking!
As such, this is where you’ll find the highest concentration of folks getting pictures taken. Without fail, you can’t cross the Bow Bridge during sunset without rubbing elbows with brides or accidentally crashing an engagement photo shoot.
In fact, I once counted three brides on the bridge, imagine!
But listen, you know it’s going to be a picture-perfect spot when you see so many photographers in one area, right? To that end, be prepared for crowds — most folks consider this one of the most iconic Instagram spots in NYC, so don’t expect to have this beauty to yourself (unless you wake up for sunrise).
You may enjoy reading: 15 Iconic Things to Do in Central Park
#4. Museum of Ice Cream
The Museum of Ice Cream might be deemed a museum but it feels more like a playground. Adults love this interactive musuem as much as kids because it’s ripe for exploration!
You’ll learn all about the world of ice cream through colorful exhibits. The star of the show is a toss up between the 3-story slide (longest indoor slide in NYC) and the sprinkles pool.
With so much to explore (and a chance to sample ice cream) it’s no wonder this is one of the most Instagrammable places in NYC.
What better backdrop for a photo than the sweeping views of New York City? Westlight is a rooftop bar located on the 22nd floor of The William Vale hotel in Williamsburg.
The well-curated drinks and delicious small bites are just one of the many reasons why making to trip to Westlight is well worth the trek.
The bar has floor to ceiling glass panels that offer a 360° view of the city and makes for one of the best Instagrammable places in NYC. I’ve come both during the day and at night and can confidently say the pictures come out epic regardless of what time of day you decide to visit.
#6. Top of the Rock
If you’re looking for the absolute best view of New York City for your Instagram, it’s hard to beat the Top of the Rock NYC Observation Deck, especially at sunset.
Visitors can access three separate indoor/outdoor observation decks on the 67th, 69th, and 70th floors.
The panoramic NYC views from this iconic building makes this one of the most popular observation decks in NYC and one of the most epic Instagrammable places in NYC.
You can expect crowds practically every hour of the day.
From Top of Rock you will see the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, Flatiron Building and the One World Trade Center.
Some folks consider the Top of the Rock a tourist trap, but I strongly disagree. There’s a reason this New York City viewpoint attracts people in hoards. It’s definitely worth a visit!
#7. Cha Cha Matcha
It feels like matcha has taken over the world and coffee is officially getting a run for its money. It comes as no surprise that New York City has hopped on the matcha train and boasts multiple matcha shops on street corners the same way they have coffee shops.
The reason we added Cha Cha Matcha to our list of Instagrammable places in NYC is because regardless of which location you choose from, you’ll be able to snap the perfect shot for you Instagram. The theme of the shop is a pink and green aesthetic and you’ll find the drinks are just as pretty as the shop itself.
Popular for their matcha lemonade, matcha soft serve and specialty drinks, not only is this one of the best instagrammable places in NYC, but it’s also delicious and staffed with the friendliest folks.
#8. Grand Central Terminal
Stepping into Grand Central Terminal feels like stepping into a European train station. The Beaux Arts design transports visitors into an intricately detailed main hall that boasts a celestial ceiling and a famous four-faced clock.
Today the Grand Central Terminal is one of the most iconic functioning buildings in New York City and sees an average of 750,000 daily visitors. Chances are high that your subway stop might warrant a visit, but if that’s not the case, this gem is definitely worth a detour.
Grand Central Terminal quickly became one of those Instagrammable places in NYC that everyone knows, whether they’ve visited or seen it in a movie. It’s the perfect spot to make all your friends jealous! 😉
Further Reading: 50 Best Things to Do in New York City
#9. Ralph’s Coffee
Not only does Ralph’s churn out some of the best coffee in the UES, but this has to be one of the cutest cafes in the entire city!
The postage-stamp sized cafe is as charming as can be. The prominent color scheme is a velvety-rich shade of dark green that serves to extenuate the swankiness of the place.
It’s impossible not to feel under-dressed, unless you’re on the way to the Met Gala, but trust me when I tell you, this is a one of the most Instagrammable places in NYC.
Further reading: Looking for more Instagrammable places in NYC? Check out our list of 20 Cute Cafes in New York City.
#10. Oculus Mall
The Oculus Mall is right across the street from the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. The Oculus Mall looks like the spine of a fish long forgotten. It’s quite the architectural feat!
Not only is it an actual mall, it’s also a functioning subway hub. Definitely check this out, it’s very unique.
What makes this one of the best Instagrammable places in NYC, is that the inside is just as impressive as the outside. The interior is open and spacious and full of escalators and stairs which make for a great picture taking spots.
#11. The Vessel
The Vessel found in Hudson Yards is a strange addition to New York City, but nonetheless it makes for one of the most Instagrammable places in NYC.
Serving no real purpose, the 150 foot honeycomb structure sits tall and is abstract enough that curious minds can’t help but flock to it.
During the holiday season, you’ll find trees dressed in Christmas lights surround the base of The Vessel and add a little sparkle to your photos (especially at night!).
Local’s Tip: The Vessel is near the iconic High Line. I recommend starting at the Chelsea Market entrance and following it until you hit Hudson Yards. This way you’re able to check out the impressive rose gold structure from a higher ground.
#12. South Street Seaport
If you’re looking for one of the most instagrammable spots in NYC, look no further than South Street Seaport.
This historical neighborhood oozes charm and has plenty of things to do in the area to keep you busy. You could close your eyes, throw a rock and choose to take a photo wherever it lands.
The neighborhood is full of beautiful restaurants, colorful boutiques and even a museum. The best part? The cobble stone streets and epic views of the East River.
#13. Washington Square Park
Best known for the monolithic grand marble arch that sits at the northern entrance of the park and overlooks the central fountain, the Washington Square Arch was built to commemorate the centennial of George Washington’s inauguration.
Many folks consider this one of the most inviting parks in NYC and come from all over the city to let their hair down and be themselves.
The welcoming atmosphere makes Washington Park a great NYC park for people-watching and one of the most Instagrammable places in NYC. The energetic mood is contagious and you’ll notice park visitors from all corners of the world.
Quick history lesson: During the late 18th century, this area was a burial ground for indigent victims of illness and disease. As the property slowly morphed into Washington Park, it became the epicenter of many movements and protests. As such, Washington Square Park is one of the more important historic park in New York City.
#14. Steps of the MET
Founded in 1870, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) is often considered the best museum in New York City and it’s not hard to see why.
With more than 2 million pieces of art spanning 5,000+ years, the Met is the largest museum in the country and the fifth largest museum in the world. Averaging 6 million visitors per year, it’s considered the most visited museum in New York City.
However, if you’re looking for one of the most Instagrammable places in NYC, you don’t even need to go inside the museum.
Any Gossip Girl fans in the house? The steps of The MET hold a significance to any Blair Waldorf lovers out there. Take a picture for your Instagram on the stomping grounds of the one and only Queen B.
#15. The Highline
The High Line is one of the most unique parks in New York City. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, High Line Park was born from an eye-sore.
The elevated tracks this NYC park was built on were originally used by freight trains delivering cargo to the city. A practice that became moot with the rise in trucking.
For ages, the railroad track was abandoned and neglected, a blight on the neighborhood. That is until Mayor Bloomberg approved a plan to transform the derelict train tracks into a park for the people.
The High Line opened in 2009 and became an instant success. The elevated promenade stretches 1.5 miles and receives an average of 8 million visitors annually. It didn’t take long for folks to realize this as one of the most Instagrammable places in NYC.
As a local, I can tell you that I thoroughly enjoy visiting the High Line regardless of how many times I’ve seen it. This NYC park swells with giddy tourists, so the people-watching opportunities are endless.
#16. Little Island
Little Island is a redesigned pier that extends over the Hudson River with a beautiful design meant to be an oasis in the concrete jungle. Access won’t cost you a penny making this one of the best Instagrammable places in NYC.
The views are spectacular and the experience feels like being on an adult playground. I bring all of my out of town guests here because it’s so unique. Green grass compliments gorgeous landscape design with ample seating and views to enjoy from.
Bonus: Neighboring Pier 57 is also home to a park, only this one is on a rooftop! It’s a popular spot for locals to sprawl out and one of the most Instagrammable places in NYC.
Palma offers the perfect Italian escape for anyone craving a vacation but lacking the (vacation days, sky-miles, funds, etc) to do so. Ask to be seated outside since they have an incredible back patio covered in vines and oozing an irresistible Italian charm.
The pops of yellow tied with the tuscan vibes makes for one of the most Instagrammable places in NYC.
Taking a picture here will have your friends scratching their heads wondering if you’re in the Big Apple or sipping wine abroad!
Ask any local about the best coffee shops in SoHo and the honest ones will mention Maman. Offering a whimsical and charming vibe, Maman is one of the cutest Instagrammable places in NYC.
Originally started as a French bakery and cafe in SoHo, Maman quickly became renowned for perfectly executed baked goods. But what really put them on the map was Oprah listing their nutty chocolate chip cookie as one of her favorite things.
I never miss an opportunity to order the quiche, chocolate croissant or their famous macadamia nut cookie. Plus, they serve some of the best coffee in New York City (not to be underestimated at a bakery).
#19. Felix Roasting Company
Felix Roasting Company’s dedication to being one of the cutest coffee shops in New York City can be appreciated from the moment guests walk through the door. This coffee shop takes the cake when it comes to Instagrammable places in NYC.
Velvet lined booths and colorful ceiling tiles contribute to the upscale aesthetic, and a quick glimpse of their Instagram showcases folks sipping on their coffees and living their best life.
Not to mention with items like a hickory smoked s’mores latte and espresso tonic this is one of the best coffee shops in SoHo for those looking for an elegant and unique cup of coffee.
#20. Times Square
Times Square might be overwhelming, but it’s iconic and can’t be missed during your visit to New York City. As one of the most Instagrammable places in NYC, Times Square (specifically at night) is something everyone should experience at least once on their trip.
The area draws an average of 50 million visitors a year. The appeal? The famous bright lights of New York.
In fact, the buildings in this area are required by law to have a minimum amount of display lights (to live up to the area’s reputation). When you’re ready to escape the blinding lights of Times Square, head over to Los Tacos No. 1 – easily the best tacos you’ll eat in New York City. They melt in your mouth – so good!
#21. Radio City Music Hall
There are few Instagrammable places in NYC as instantly recognizable as Radio City Music Hall. The world-famous venue has been around for nearly 100 years and has made countless appearances in movies and TV shows over the decades.
That said, this is one of the most popular attractions for first time visitors to check out and crowds are all but guaranteed.
Not to worry though, Radio City is large enough that there is plenty of room and a handful of spots you can stand to get the perfect picture. I suggest taking your photo a littler after sunset so you can experience the iconic illuminated lights.
Local’s tip: The Rockefeller Center is less than a block away. Make sure to add both to your itinerary.
#22. Time Out Market Rooftop
The Timeout Market is located in picturesque DUMBO and provides stellar views of the East River, you’ll find few places more scenic to spend a day in New York City.
The Timeout Market is a collection of some of the best restaurants in New York City. By bringing 21 unique dining experiences together under one roof, Timeout Market has made choosing a place to eat so much easier.
During sunset the the 5th floor rooftop bustles with both tourists and locals alike, and it’s not hard to see why. The views of Manhattan make for one of the most Instagrammable places in NYC.
#23. Jane’s Carousel
While you’re out exploring DUMBO, make sure to swing by Jane’s Carousel, it’s one of the best Instagrammable places in NYC.
Designed in 1922, the carousel is made up of 48 wood-carved horses and is opened Thursday through Sunday, from 11:00AM to 5:50PM.
With the New York City skyline as your backdrop and the twinkling lights from the carousel, it’s not hard to see why we consider this one of the most Instagrammable places in NYC.
#24. The Mall
The Mall is an iconic American elm-lined promenade that leads directly to Bethesda Fountain. This is the largest plantations of American elms in the world!
The mature trees create an enchanting and lush canopy that offers a shady retreat during hot city summers. Thankfully, there’s plenty of benches to sit and enjoy while you watch the world go by.
The wide path invites visitors to stroll the promenade at a leisurely pace — see if you can spot young couples giddy with excitement during their first visit to Central Park.
The Mall is instantly recognizable to any Rom-Com lovers out there and is one of the most Instagrammable places in NYC. Countless movies and TV shows were filmed on the strip so why not take a photo of your own in the iconic spot!
Local’s Tip: Try to visit in the beginning of November to catch the canopy of fall colors for your photos.
#25. Bethesda Terrace
Bethesda Terrace is remarkable. It’s the park’s only formal architectural setting and it was executed perfectly. Lined with 16,000 ceiling tiles, the terrace’s arcade creates the ideal acoustic environment and draws in some of the city’s most talented street musicians.
It’s hard to imagine more charming Instagrammable places in NYC that this gem. Spend time wandering through this area before parking on a bench for some live music and great people watching.
Based on personal experience, this is one of the most popular spots in Central Park. It’s always full of people, which only makes the experience better because it’s so lively!
Fun fact: Measuring twenty-six feet high and ninety-six feet wide, Bethesda Fountain is one of the largest fountains in New York.
Dante Caffe dates back to 1915. It served as a staple for the community before slowly fading into oblivion before two Australians decided to breathe new life into the historic institution in 2015. The result was striking, Dante was named the best bar in the world in 2019 (4 years after re-opening!) and appeared on the list again in 2020.
The menu is well curated with small fare but the drinks is where this popular NYC bar truly shines. The hardest part about this iconic experience is getting reservations because this is one of the busiest spots in the city.
Dante boasts three locations — Dante West Village, Caffe Dante and Seaport. Two bars are located a few blocks apart and the Seaport location can be found on Pier 17. I haven’t had luck getting into Caffe Dante without a reservation, so I suggest booking in advance. Try to book Friday evening during the spring and summer because they usually have a pleasant live jazz band.
What makes this spot one of the most Instagrammable places in NYC is that each location provides its own charm. Dante at Seaport is new to the game but the views of the East River and Brooklyn Bridge are hard to beat.
Whichever location you choose to visit, it is sure to be one of the most Instagrammable places in NYC.
Happy Hour: Dante offers a generous happy hour between 3pm and 5pm. Dante West Village offers martinis for $10 and Caffe Dante offers negronis for $10. The price/quality ratio can’t be beat!
#27. Kobrick Coffee Company
Kobrick Coffee Company has stood the test of time and provided locals with some of the best coffee in New York City for more than 100 years. The 4 generations of Kobrick’s who have run the company have really fine tuned the roasting process, getting it down to a science.
In order to keep optimal freshness Kobrick Coffee Co. hand roasts their coffee in small batches. They serve Fair Trade, organic, and Rainforest Alliance certified drinks so New Yorkers can rest assured knowing their sipping on a sustainable cup of Joe.
The photo taking opportunities are endless at this New York City coffee shop. Between the swinging rattan chair and the whimsical neon lights that quote Frank Sinatra, this is one of the most Instagrammable places in NYC.
#28. Domino Park
Domino Park is one of the most Instagrammable places in NYC thanks to the impressive skyline. The views of Manhattan are unrivaled and there’s a magic that comes with being by the water (especially at sunrise & sunset!).
The five-acre park sits on the Williamsburg waterfront and offers ample seating facing the water where many New Yorkers find come to clear their minds.
Domino Park is a great place to bring kids to burn off energy if you’re in need of a break. Along with plenty of room to run around there is also a playground for kids to enjoy. During the summer you’ll find all the kiddos swarming around the two water features the park offers.
#29. Pier 17
Are you looking for one of the most instagrammable spots during fall in NYC? Look no more.
Since 2020 Pier 17 has put together a free art instillation made up of over 500 pumpkins in the shape of an arch for no reason other than to bring folks joy.
Drawing people from all over the city, not only does this perfectly orange pumpkin arch make for great photos, the Brooklyn Bridge as the backdrop is stunning.
Typically making an appearance mid-October this massive pumpkin arch is located on Pier 17 at South Street Seaport.
During the months the pumpkin arch is not there, Pier 17 is still one of the most Instagrammable places in NYC, chock-full of restaurants and views, you don’t want to miss out on.
Pro Tip: Visit the pumpkin arch at night for a magical experience. The arch is full of lights that when lit, add a whole other dimension to the arch and your photos
Ahh New York! The dreamiest city full of ambition and daydreamers.Some of the most Instagrammable places in NYC are quite literally right under your nose and a stone’s throw away.
Stroll down the streets of your favorite neighborhoods and within seconds you’ll find stunning brownstones that are laced with intricate details and the perfect setup for a photo.
If at all helpful, here is a short list of our favorite neighborhoods for photos:
- West Village
- Upper West Side
- Upper East Side
PS: Be considerate if you’re taking a photo in front of a stoop. Most folks don’t mind if you’re quick and quiet, but at the end of the day these brownstones are peoples homes and you don’t want to be a burden.
Most Instagrammable Places in New York City (Post Summary)
In sum, here’s a quick roundup of Instagrammable places in NYC
- 1. DUMBO
- 2. Brooklyn Bridge
- 3. Bow Bridge
- 4. Museum of Ice Cream
- 5. West light
- 6. Top of the rock
- 7. Cha Cha Matcha
- 8. Grand Central terminal
- 9. Ralphs Coffee
- 10. Oculus Mall
- 11. The Vessel
- 12. South Street Seaport
- 13. Washington Square Park
- 14. Steps of the MET
- 15. The Highline
- 16. Little Island
- 17. Palma
- 18. Maman
- 19. Felix Roasting
- 20. Times Square
- 21. Radio City Music Hall
- 22. Time Out Market Rooftop
- 23. Janes Caresoul
- 24. Bethesda Terrace
- 25. The Mall
- 26. Dante’s
- 27. Kobrick Coffee
- 28. Domino Park
- 29. Pier 17
- 30. Neighborhoods & stoops
Map of the top Instagram spots in NYC
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