We all know that New York is a very picturesque city. That’s one of the reasons why I love it so much. The architecture, city planning, and people keep you finding new pockets of beautiful things to experience. From landmarks to museums and pop-up shops; everything is a feast for the eyes. Tourists and locals are all in agreement with me and fight to get that perfect Instagram-worthy shot.
If you are looking to take those memorable shots, I’m going to tell you where all of my favorite Instagram spots are in NYC. A lot of them are located in the usual tourist areas but I’ve added a couple that isn’t overrun with people throughout the year and most of them are free to visit because we’re on a budget baby.
The Great Public Parks of NYC
The most popular Instagram spots in NYC are the glorious parks. Not many tourists realize how much green space we are blessed within the five boroughs that make up this city because they stay within Manhattan for the entirety of their visit. But, each one is wonderful in their own right and because of their lovely greenery, they are my favorite Instagram spots in NYC.
- Central Park The most popular park in New York City is, of course, Central Park. It is one of the most visited places in Manhattan even by the locals and in my opinion, overshadows all of the other outdoor spaces in NYC. Although it is truly beautiful, and an engineering feat, I think that people don’t take the time to go to any other parks. You can reach Central Park by taking the A, B, C, D, E, F, M, N, Q, R, W, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 trains.
- Prospect Park Prospect Park also has the beautiful Audubon Center at Lakeside. This park is located in the heart of Brooklyn and it is bordered by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, The Brooklyn Central Library and The Brooklyn Museum trifecta. All of these three sites would make the perfect itinerary for a good weather day. Don’t skip out going to visit this triple threat, accessible by the B, F, G, Q, S, 2, 3, 4, and 5 trains.
- Brooklyn Bridge Park I don’t think that I can add more to the reasons I love spending time in the park than I’ve mentioned before in a previous post where I list 13 reasons to spend the day. You can get there by taking the A, C, and F trains.
- East River State Park I only found out about this park because of my fatass tendencies. This is the park where the Smorgasburg food market is held during the warmer months and the view is almost better than the food (almost but not really). East River State Park gives you an unobscured view of Manhattan from the East River. East River State Park can be reached by the L train at Bedford Avenue station in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
- The High Line I have written about this park as well but before it had grown into the grand open space, tourist attraction, and outdoor gallery that it has turned into today. For a great walk accompanied by great art, you’ll need to take the A, C, E, or L train to the 14th street and 8th Avenue station. If you walk to the end you’ll see the attraction at Hudson Yards, the Vessel.
- Washington Square Park is very popular for its arches, music, and fountain. Washington Square Park is a short walk from West 4th street station, Astor Place station and the West 8th Street station.
- Bryant Park I can’t forget the skyline view in Bryant Park and the carousel in the middle of all the chaos of Times Square.
- Governors Island What makes Governors Island one of my favorite Instagram spots in NYC is that it is the perfect picnic day site. It is so quiet that you could hear a pin drop and now you can stay overnight in a luxury tent or tiny house. Governors Island’s postcard view of downtown Manhattan. Governors Island is reachable by the NYC Ferry and the Governors Island ferry only during the park’s season.
- Battery Park Battery Park lets you look out at the Statue of Liberty, especially during sunset. And at night you can sit under the sea in a carousel. Battery Park lets you look out at the Statue of Liberty, especially during sunset. Battery Park runs along the Southern tip of Manhattan and can be reached by the R, W, 1, 4, and 5 trains.
- Union Square Park It is small in comparison to the other parks. But the reason that the park makes the list is the view from above, not so much what from the ground level. I love it from ground level too, but my favorite aspect is the layout. And don’t forget the Union Square Greenmarket. Getting to Union Square Park is easy peasy, take the A, C, E, F, L, M, N, Q, R, W, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, to 14th Street.
Flushing Meadows Park Flushing Meadows Park in Corona has the Unisphere, which catches the light when the fountains are on and is a haven for the Northern shore of Queens. And it is a gorgeous place to watch the seasons change and document them from.
- Fort Tryon Park is where the Met Cloisters is located and was given to New York City by the Rockefeller family in 1931 and planned afterward. The length of the Palisades in New Jersey that is opposite the park was also bought by the Rockefeller family so that the view of the river can never be disturbed. That’s some long money, my friends. You can not miss out on going to the Met Cloisters while you are there otherwise it is a wasted trip. You can get to Fort Tryon Park by taking the A train. This spot is a day trip for me because this train ride is a lot.
- Hudson River Park Hudson River Park is in the shadow of One World Trade that overlooks the Hudson River and gives you 360 views of the downtown skyline. It is reachable by A, C, E, and 1 trains.
The Bushwick Collective, Coney Art Walls, Wellington Court, and JMZ Line Murals
- The Bushwick Collective, Wellington Court Murals, Coney Art Walls, and JMZ lines murals are the largest collections of street art in NYC. I have visited Bushwick Collective a couple of times, during their yearly block party where the new pieces are unveiled. And it is also where I even tried my hand at making a piece as well. The Wellington Court Murals are located in Astoria Queens. Each of these collections is blocks long and filled with murals from famous street artists.
The City’s Museums
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art There are hundreds of museums to choose from in NYC to have a photoshoot in. One of my favorites just for the grandeur alone is the Metropolitan Museum of Art. To get to the Met, take the 4,5, or 6 to 86th street gawk at the brownstones that you pass along the way.
- Honorable Mentions But please don’t make sure that you don’t miss the Brooklyn Museum, the Moma, the Met Cloisters, and the Museum of Natural History.
The Brooklyn Botanic, the Queens and New York Botanical Garden
Who doesn’t like acres and rows upon rows of fragrant colorful flowers and trees? Well, I love them! Not only are the botanic gardens a popular wedding and graduation venue but you can also take the most striking pictures for your feed among the blooms or falling leaves. From Spring to Autumn, you’ll be competing with nature’s flashiest plants. You won’t win but you can try.
- Brooklyn Botanic Garden I love nature photography and seasons changing are the best photos on Instagram, in my opinion. You can reach the Garden using the same trains as you do to get to Prospect Park.
NYC Ferries and the Staten Island Ferry
- NYC Ferry The Staten Island ferry is one of the cheapest ways to see downtown Manhattan skyline because it is free 99! NYC ferries allow you to escape the crowds of the subway and get where you have to go with the salt spray on your glasses for the same price as a swipe of your Metrocard.
- Staten Island Ferry The Staten Island ferry is one of the cheapest ways to see downtown Manhattan skyline because it is free 99!
The Brooklyn And Manhattan Bridges
One of the most iconic photographs taken in NYC, is the one most people take on the Brooklyn Bridge with the arches in the background. The picture coming in at a close second is the picture of the view from the Manhattan Bridge of the Brooklyn Bridge (bridge inception). Despite my fear of heights, for these viewpoints, I’ll brave the bridge if someone walks with me. Check out the shots, that I have gotten from the bridge, on the bridge, or with the bridge as the subject. I’m sure that you’ve seen these on Instagram numerous times. You can walk across these bridges from the Brooklyn Bridge Park neighborhood of DUMBO. Or on the Manhattan side, you can walk across the Manhattan Bridge from Canal Street by way of the J, Z, 4, 5, and 6 train and at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge is accessible by the 6 train at the Brooklyn Bridge station.
Rockaway Beach and Coney Island Beach Boardwalks
The natural beauty of the wide coastline makes the best backdrop. I am guilty of taking too many pictures of the Rockaway Beach coast. It just makes me happy and I like catching pictures of this kind of untouched nature in this crowded city. If you are already visiting the South Shore, why not travel a little further for a more secluded spot on the sand at Jacob Riis Beach or Fort Tilden? Coney Island is easily accessible by the D, F, N, and Q subway lines. Rockaway Beach, Fort Tilden, and Riis Beach are accessible by A train and Q22 bus.
Tudor City Overpass
I love this spot because unless you really look, you won’t find it. This spot is mostly ignored unless it is around the set of dates around Manhattanhenge. I am sure that it is the way the residents of Tudor City like it. Whether you take a selfie here or just center 42nd street in your shot, it is a jaw-dropping picture. It is located on 42nd street and 1st Ave.
The Oculus and One World Trade
But of course, I had to include these sites in my list if not for historical reasons then for the modern architecture alone. The Oculus is all about symmetry and light. One World Trade is a world-known super tall and the spaces around are for remembrance. You can visit all of these sites by taking the A, C, E, 1, 2, and 3 trains.
Roosevelt Island is a quiet out of the way pocket of a small town in the middle of the river. Unless you have to go for an event or otherwise, most people don’t make the trek. I have made the trek specifically for the Roosevelt Island Tram and Hanai Matsuri (Cherry Blossom Festival), where the island’s population swells by 10x for the weekend. If you want to make the trip take the F train to Roosevelt Island or the tram from 53rd Street.
Empire State Building, and the Top of the Rock
These buildings would not qualify as one of the supertalls that are overtaking the city skyline, but they are still two of the best buildings to take in the view of Manhattan. And the iconic buildings that make some of the best places to post on Instagram. The Empire State Building makes a great picture because of the ever-changing lights and the observation deck. The Top of the Rock also has a beautiful place to view the city. It also has a famous restaurant near the observation deck, to clink your glasses near the top floor. Do like the movies kiddoes! Plan your trip with discounted passes to visit the decks of these popular tourist sites with vacation passes. These buildings are some of the spots that aren’t free.
And the Iconic Times Square
As much as I avoid it like the plague, it is still what most people think of when they think of New York City. It is loud, bright and overwhelming and that’s what makes a great sensory overload of a picture. Even though it isn’t one of my favorite Instagram spots in NYC, I can tolerate it for friends and family for a little while. And it looks like this 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Take all trains to 42nd street and walk to Times Square.
Admittedly, most of my favorite Instagram spots in NYC are parks but I love nature and architecture as my backdrops. I know that there are places that you think that I should add. Here’s your chance to recommend them in the comments below. There are some places that I left out intentionally because I didn’t have a great picture of them. And maybe those are your favorites and they deserve some attention, let’s chat, you could change my mind. Go out there and make your own list of favorite Instagram spots in NYC, I dare you!
Until our next rendezvous…