New York City isn’t just one of the world’s most bustling, dynamic, and eclectic places — it’s also one of the best locales to capture buzzworthy images. No matter where you go, there’s something to see. In other words, it’s Instagrammable.
But what makes something Instagrammable? It goes beyond the aesthetics and photographic techniques that inform the composition of the image. If you look at viral content, you’ll notice that the bulk of it is experiential. People like to look at pictures or videos of people doing interesting things.
With so much to offer, NYC is one of the best locations in the entire world to capture these trends on camera — or participate in them yourself. Foodies can share pictures of the exquisite dishes they order from hundreds of local gems and internationally celebrated restaurants. Fashionistas can admire from any street corner the most stylish and innovative outfits, and travelers have no shortage of stunning views or historic venues to document.
The best spots to take photos in NYC are the places where you can have the most memorable experiences.
Obviously, if you’re reading this, you’re looking for the most Instagrammed spots in NYC.
The first Instagram-worthy spot in NYC won’t be any surprise: It’s Times Square. With its bright lights, constantly changing billboards, and world-famous intersection, Times Square is a beacon for Instagrammers. You can’t take the same picture twice because the crowd and traffic are always moving. And while nighttime Times Square snaps are in high demand, daytime Times Square can be just as Instagrammable.
The Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge are other wonders you’ll see on Instagram regularly. After taking the ferry to Liberty Island, many tourists and residents are inspired to photograph Lady Liberty. Quick tip: Try taking some of your pictures from the ferry itself! Some of the best images of the statue have come from the unique perspectives presented to passengers en route to the island.
The Brooklyn Bridge is another location that offers breathtaking views from afar. Head to DUMBO, Brooklyn, to get a snapshot of the bridge’s silhouette against lower Manhattan’s skyline and sightsee along this trendy neighborhood’s historic cobblestone streets.
Central Park is another unmissable attraction for amateur and professional photographers. The park offers countless opportunities to discover natural and manufactured wonders. From its lush greenery and ponds to Bethesda Terrace and Bow Bridge, you won’t leave the park without filling your phone with pics. And if the trip nudges you toward more green spaces, travel to the High Line elevated park, where you can view beautiful gardens, artwork, and Hudson River views.
Three other well-known Instagrammable places in NYC are St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Chinatown, and Little Italy. St. Patrick’s Cathedral is a true Gothic marvel — try to make a visit during the year-end holiday season when it’s decorated to perfection. Chinatown and Little Italy come alive with cultural diversity. You’ll find vibrant hues, street art, and something to capture everywhere you look.
Of course, there remains a famously photo-worthy landmark that hasn’t yet been mentioned: SUMMIT One Vanderbilt. Located near Grand Central Terminal — another Instagram star — SUMMIT is the ideal observation point from which to photograph NYC, giving visitors a totally unobstructed view from 1,100 feet in the air. Day or night, sunny or cloudy, SUMMIT is the best venue in the entire city for memorable pics.
SUMMIT gives you the chance to see virtually every landmark that NYC has to offer: famous skyscrapers like the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, and One World Trade Center; spectacles like the lights of Times Square, the beacon of the Statue of Liberty, and the colors of Central Park in the fall; and every one of the city’s iconic bridges, rivers, and stadiums. All of NYC is on display from SUMMIT’s height, allowing every visitor to snap selfies against one of the most complete and dramatic cityscapes on the planet.
Still, it’s not just the view that puts SUMMIT among some of the best photo ops in New York City. Replete with reflective surfaces, SUMMIT imbues every interior shot with a unique, sometimes surreal visual element that can’t be found anywhere else. “Infinite Reflections,” the mirror-coated sculpture from globally celebrated artist Yayoi Kusama, bends the surrounding NYC skyline into strikingly unfamiliar forms, revealing aspects of the metropolis that are otherwise invisible.
Affinity, the art installation immediately following the immense mirror-scape of Transcendence I, does something similar — this time with balloons. Besides the fun that comes with interacting with these chrome-like spheres, the visual impression that the dozens of reflections create when crowded together is eye-catching. If you’re looking for something cozier, you should plan to stop by Après, the Nordic-themed café on the 93rd floor, and take a selfie beside the highest-positioned fireplace in the world.
Thrill-seekers, on the other hand, might be more interested in the New York photo ops offered by Levitation, the all-glass boxes that let visitors step out 1,100 feet over Madison Avenue. Looking down, you can see taxis, buses, cars, pedestrians — everything that comprises the bustling milieu of ground-level NYC — through the transparent floors. In every other direction, the skyline looms impressively beneath the stratosphere. It’s a truly singular setting for pictures!
SUMMIT is so photogenic that Elle Magazine named it the most Instagrammable place in the world in 2022. Experience proves this to be true: At any given time, you’ll find visitors with their phones in hand, taking pictures every few seconds as they journey through the different installations. It’s difficult to avoid the impulse to snap a photo when each room is better than the last.
Check out the official SUMMIT Instagram feed to see the views and art installations that have been drawing international crowds to the top of One Vanderbilt since 2021. Or, if you’re ready to create lifelong memories and share your own SUMMIT journey with the world, sign up for your visit today!