New York is a bustling city with more things to discover than you may think are possible. The sprawling parks and hidden cafes are just a few of the things that make this city an unforgettable destination.
New York is a diverse city with culture, history, and beauty to boot. But where are the most beautiful places in New York City? Let me take you on a journey from the majestic Statue of Liberty to the quiet space of Elevated Acre.
You’ll quickly forget time exists as you wander through the streets and discover some of the best historical places in New York. Whether you live in the Big Apple or are planning the ultimate holiday, here are some of the most beautiful places in New York City.
21 Most Beautiful Places in New York City
Table of Contents
- 21 Most Beautiful Places in New York City
- 1. Statue of Liberty
- 2. Central Park
- 3. Old City Hall Subway Station
- 4. The High Line
- 5. Madison Square Park
- 6. Brooklyn Bridge Park
- 7. Prospect Park
- 8. Times Square
- 9. SoHo
- 10. Wall Street
- 11. Saint Patrick’s Cathedral
- 12. Bryant Park
- 13. Socrates Sculpture Park
- 14.The Elevated Acre
- 15.Bannerman Castle
- 16. New York Public Library
- 17. Empire State Building
- 18. Broadway and the Theatre District
- 19. Top of the Rock Observation Deck
- 20. Silver Lake
- 21. Fort Tryon Park and the Met Cloisters
- Final Thoughts on the Most Beautiful Places in New York City
Once you’re all set, I’ll dive straight into the most beautiful place in New York City that you simply have to visit.
1. Statue of Liberty
Image by The Digital Artist on Pixabay
I’m fairly certain you know about the Statue of Liberty, so it’s a no-brainer that it would feature on this list. Given to the U.S. as a gift from France at the end of the American Civil War, this magnificent sculpture dominates the New York landscape.
It rests on Liberty Island, which itself is a breathtaking part of the city. The glorious park of oak trees helps the Statue of Liberty pop. If you want to get up close to this iconic monument, you’ll need to join a 15-minute ferry ride to Liberty Island.
The Statue of Liberty consists of copper, which has rusted to the turquoise colour it is today. This sculpture represents freedom within the U.S., and when a mesmerizing sunset lights it up, it’s not hard to see why.
Top Tip: You can also join a four-hour Statue of Liberty tour with a local guide.
2. Central Park
Image by Leonhard Niederwimmer on Pixabay
For a walk within a landscaping masterpiece, look no further than Central Park. This bustling oasis of nature is four km long and 0.8 km wide, and you can easily go from one side to another in just over an hour.
You can consider Central Park as the city’s lungs, where everyone goes to relax and breathe in fresh air. Here are some unique aspects of the park that make it one of the best in the world.
- Belvedere Castle
- Bethesda Fountain and Terrace
- Conservatory Garden
- The Mall and Literary Walk
- Harlem Meer
Each section of the park offers something extraordinary, and you’ll have plenty of fantastic photo opportunities. I highly recommend joining a Central Park walking tour to see all these beautiful sights.
3. Old City Hall Subway Station
Image by Charlotte May on Pexels
Few people associate beauty with a subway station, but the Old City Hall has the prettiest one you’ll ever see. Picture stained glass windows and arches that emit a golden hue from the sun.
Since its closure in the early 20th century, this space has become more bespoke with age. It isn’t easy to see, as it is closed for most of the year, but you can catch a glimpse of it if you take the 6 Train from downtown to uptown.
As it sits below the magnificent Old City Hall Municipal Building, it’s hard to get to. Occasionally the MTA Transit Museum hosts walking tours through the station. I suggest checking for tours before your trip to New York City.
4. The High Line
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The High Line in the Chelsea District is one of the trendiest parts of the city. The park and communal area are built on an old elevated rail line and provide a truly unique perspective of West Side Manhattan.
You can explore 15 diverse gardens in the High Line, each showing off a distinct part of the city and nature. Some top gardens you should visit include the Hudson River Overlook, the Wildflower Field, and the Radial Planting garden.
With regular occurrences of public art and live performances across the 2.3 km rail line, you’ll never fall short of breathtaking things to see. There is a wide variety of places to eat, like Shake Shack, so you can enjoy every moment at the High Line.
Top Tip: There is a free guided tour of the High Line on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10:00 to 11:30 and Tuesdays from 17:00 to 18:30.
5. Madison Square Park
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Hidden away in the heart of New York City is a pristine two-acre square park with a lot of history. Its name comes from the fourth president of the United States – James Madison – one of the founding fathers of America.
Despite its small size, the park lies at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Broadway. There are also some fantastic things to see here, from the Roscoe Conkling Statue to the Reflecting Pool. The lush trees and towering buildings make the Reflecting Pool great for a photo shoot.
What makes this such a beautiful space? Well, for starters, it’s one of the places to visit if you want an authentic New York experience. A stunning array of statues, like the Chester Alan Arthur Monument, also make this one of the most picturesque parts of the city.
6. Brooklyn Bridge Park
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Another iconic part of this vibrant city is Brooklyn Bridge, and the best place for sweeping views of this landmark is Brooklyn Bridge Park. Across 85 acres of waterfront, you can enjoy rolling vistas, spacious promenades, and diverse garden features.
The park sits on the east side of the East River and is accessible from the entire Brooklyn Borough region. You can explore six different piers, each offering a unique perspective of the Brooklyn Bridge. One of the top places to visit in the park is Dumbo Point, at the edge of Pier 2.
Top Tip: If you want to see all that this breathtaking park offers, consider joining a Waterfront biking tour.
7. Prospect Park
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This list is not short of breathtaking outdoor spaces, but one of the most expansive you can visit is Prospect Park. There is an abundance of beauty to appreciate across the 215 acres.
This lush region of forest and lake calls the Brooklyn Borough home and is particularly pretty during fall. You can admire the colourful display of red and orange leaves dancing in the wind throughout the park.
The Prospect Park Zoo offers a breathtaking adventure past indigenous and exotic animals. Another one of the top sights in the park is Meadowport Arch, which offers the perfect photo opportunity.
Top Tip: There is a wide variety of things to see here. I recommend joining a Prospect Park walking tour to see all the best bits.
8. Times Square
Image by Andreas Kruck on Unsplash
Times Square’s beauty is unique compared to the city’s plethora of parks. With a dazzling light display from billboards, buildings, and cars, this commercial intersection is the city’s hub.
It’s the junction between Broadway, 42nd Street, and Seventh Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. This is one of the city’s brightest and most brilliant spaces, so it’s no wonder tourists love visiting.
During the day, you can experience the fast-paced New York lifestyle. At night you can admire the rich display of dancing lights that make this such a photogenic part of the city.
Top Tip: Times Square is also known as the city’s entertainment hub, so be sure to explore Broadway, which is nearby and any live street performances.
Image by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels
Architecture is a big part of New York’s make-up, and SoHo is one of the best areas to admire the city’s buildings. SoHo is in Lower Manhattan, and its buildings are unique, to say the least.
For starters, over 200 cast-iron buildings make up this trendy neighbourhood. It has a lovely combination of Renaissance, Italianate, and Federal architecture that shows off old grandeur.
Inside these buildings, you’ll find upmarket restaurants, shops, and bars that make this such a trendy area. Although the architecture takes centre stage, the cobblestone sidewalks and vibey nightlife mean you’ll have plenty of breathtaking photo opportunities.
Top Tip: Visit the JIMMY rooftop bar around sunset for some of the best views of the New York skyline.
10. Wall Street
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At first glance, this financial district in Lower Manhattan isn’t your typical idea of a pretty neighbourhood. But the more time you spend here, the more its charms kick in.
Neoclassical architecture creates a powerful environment with its large columns and arches. Aside from the architecture, the charging bull sculpture is one of the top sights you can visit along the cobblestone streets of Wall Street.
But possibly the best part of Wall Street is Battery Park – the southernmost point of Manhattan. It provides unforgettable views of Liberty Island, and you can see an old sandstone war fort at Castle Clinton.
Top Tip: You can learn all about its history and see the breathtaking attractions on a Wall Street walking tour.
11. Saint Patrick’s Cathedral
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Pay a visit to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral for a journey into the beauty of Catholic architecture. You’ll find the cathedral in the Midtown Manhattan region, and it’s quite easily the prettiest cathedral in New York.
For starters, the building’s facade is magical. It’s the largest Catholic Gothic cathedral in North America, and the intricate design is gorgeous. You can access Saint Patrick’s Cathedral from Madison Avenue. Keep in mind that the church is still in use to this day, so religious ceremonies still occur.
During a self-guided audio tour, you’ll see large columns, ordained relief sculptures, and beautiful wooden seats. The high ceilings and stained glass windows create an awe-inspiring feeling when walking through the building.
Top Tip: If you’re a big architecture fan, read my post on the most famous cathedrals in New York City.
12. Bryant Park
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I don’t think you’ll find a more dramatic setting for a park in New York than Bryant Park. This 9.6-acre space in Midtown Manhattan is glorious. Picture the high-rising New York skyline overhead with trees lining a large open lawn.
It hasn’t always been a serene space in the city’s heart, with drugs and crime dominating the park in the 1970s. Now, the park is a beautiful open space for all to enjoy, thanks to the renovations done between 1988 and 1992.
It’s easy to see why this space with a dark past is considered a public miracle. Aside from admiring the jaw-dropping scenery in and around this small park, you can also join the free public tours every Wednesday.
13. Socrates Sculpture Park
Image by Socrates Sculpture Park on Facebook
The outdoor spaces keep coming, and the Socrates Sculpture Park is one of the most distinct. As the name suggests, you can walk amongst large-scale sculptures and take in the views of Lighthouse Park in the centre of the East River.
In 1986, under the leadership of artist Mark di Suvero, this space had a drastic transformation from a landfill to a beautiful sculpture park. You can access the park along Vernon Boulevard in the Queens District, and admission is always free.
New sculptures fill the park annually, so you’ll have a new experience each time you visit. That, coupled with the breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline, make this one of the most beautiful places in New York City.
14.The Elevated Acre
Image by Edmond Malin on Facebook
Over the years, the Elevated Acre has become a lesser-known gem in comparison to the famous High Line. This is an elevated one-acre garden above the streets of Lower Manhattan near Wall Street.
With a lawn, beer garden, and amphitheatre, the Elevated Acre is an oasis within the urban jungle that is Manhattan. You spend hours strolling through the winding path of Brazilian Hardwood forests and taking in the views of Brooklyn.
Grab a bite to eat from one of the lovely food trucks nearby, like Souvlaki GR Food Truck, and head to this rooftop garden for a relaxing afternoon. As it’s not as popular as the High Line, you can relax in this quiet, secluded park space.
Image by Clay Banks on Unsplash
Believe it or not, this buzzing urban city contains some remnants of medieval times. Enjoy a short one-hour and 30-minute drive along the Palisades Interstate Parkway to the Hudson’s Highlands State Park.
Once here, you’ll witness captivating views of the Bannerman Castle on Pollepel Island. Built in 1901, this mesmerising castle dominates a portion of the Hudson River landscape. Simply put, it’s an ode to ancient Scottish castles and the ancestry of the Bannerman family.
Today, you can join walking tours, cruises, and kayaking tours of this iconic castle or simply admire it from Hudson’s Highland State Park.
16. New York Public Library
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You may wonder how a library makes it onto this list, but trust me when I say it’s breathtaking. The New York Public Library at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building is one of the prettiest places in this city.
Not only can you enjoy some much-needed silence, but the architecture here is also extraordinary. You’ll find this building on W 40th and W 42nd Street next to Bryant Park.
The large open spaces have massive arched windows that allow light to flood into the rooms. The ceilings all have beautiful paintings, and the Rose Main Reading Room is particularly magnificent.
Top Tip: You can join a guided tour of the building from Mondays to Saturdays at either 11:00 or 14:00.
17. Empire State Building
Image by Kit Suman on Unsplash
Nothing defines the New York skyline more than the Empire State Building. You can find this 102-storey building between 4th and 5th Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, and put simply, it’s mesmerising.
The Empire State Building was the first 100-storey building ever built back in 1931, and its impressive size is still easy to see. The art-deco building is mainly the home of many businesses like LinkedIn.
There are observatories and exhibition spaces on the 82nd and 102nd floors. With an Empire State Building ticket, you can visit the 102nd floor and admire the breathtaking views of New York City from above.
Top Tip: Learn more about the famous landmarks in the U.S. and why the Empire State Building is one of them.
18. Broadway and the Theatre District
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Broadway is a lovely part of the city, teeming with drama – quite literally – and an authentic city vibe. The neighbourhood falls between Central Park to the north and Hell’s Kitchen to the west.
Most Broadway theatres are between 41st and 51st Street and 8th and 6th Avenues. The only exception is the Vivian Beaumont Theatre at Lincoln Centre. In this area, you’ll see the iconic Broadway lights that shine at night.
It is very close and similar to Times Square, but this part of town offers the grandeur of original musicals. You can see everything here, from The Lion King to The Phantom of The Opera.
19. Top of the Rock Observation Deck
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For unforgettable views of New York City, the Top of the Rock Observation Deck at the Rockefeller Centre is a must-visit. You can find the Rockefeller Centre on the corner of W 50th Street and 5th Avenue.
From the 70th floor of the building, you’ll have unparalleled 360-degree views of the entire city. Admire Central Park to the north, Brooklyn to the east, the Empire State Building to the south, and The Heights to the west.
A Top of the Rock Observation Deck ticket provides flexible dates so that you can plan your visit and have the best weather possible.
Top Tip: Before heading up to the top, go to The Channel Gardens and enjoy the beautiful landscape area.
20. Silver Lake
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Stepping away from Manhattan and into Staten Island, you’ll find the gorgeous Silver Lake Park. You can enjoy the simple pleasures of the outdoors in this 209-acre park.
One of the park’s top attractions is the Monarch Butterfly migration which takes place in September. There’s a high chance you’ll see these majestic creatures resting on the butterfly bushes.
Aside from this, Silver Lake is another breathtaking part of the park that you have to admire in person.
21. Fort Tryon Park and the Met Cloisters
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You can find Fort Tryon Park in the Fort George neighbourhood of Upper Manhattan. The park is blessed with lovely views of the Hudson River and some of the prettiest gardens in the city.
One of the top gardens I highly recommend you walk through is the Heather Garden, with a beautiful array of colourful flowers. But the park’s main feature is the Met Cloisters, a large museum dedicated to depicting Medieval art.
The Met Cloisters derive from iconic medieval buildings like the Bonnefont-en-Comminges. Besides walking through the cloisters, you can admire them from afar, with the park’s lush greenery making them pop beautifully.
Final Thoughts on the Most Beautiful Places in New York City
When I first went to New York City, I wasn’t expecting such a wide variety of beautiful spaces. But if there is one thing I learnt about this city, it will always surprise you in one way or another.
I hope you can take some inspiration from the list of the most beautiful places in New York City for your next trip to this iconic part of the world. But if you want more, read my other post about New Yorks off the beaten path attractions for an unforgettable city experience.
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