20 New York City Landmarks You Have to See

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A city skyline with many buildings near a body of water
New York City is a well-known destination that's home to many famous landmarks

New York City, located within the state of New York, is an important cultural, political, and financial hub. It is the most visited city in the United States, nearly doubling the visitor count of number two-ranked Miami. New York City was even the capital of the United States between 1785 and 1790!

Tourists trying to see all the city has to offer have their work cut out for them: there are so many famous New York City landmarks that it's impossible to visit them all in one trip.

And while iconic sights like Times Square and the Statue of Liberty are on everyone's list, no visit to New York is complete without crossing the Brooklyn Bridge or checking out Rockefeller Center.

Although only a sample of everything there is to do and see in New York City, this article will highlight 20 of the most impressive landmarks you can't miss during your visit to the Big Apple.

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Before traveling to New York City, book your entrance tickets and tours ahead of time. See the short list of top suggestions below.

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20 Landmarks in New York City

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New York City Landmarks Map

A map of New York City landmarks. Use the map to explore all of the points of interest.

New York City Landmarks Map

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Famous Landmarks in New York City

A road with cars surrounded by people walking and buildings with LED screens
Times Square is considered the heart of New York City

Times Square

Times Square, right in Midtown Manhattan, could be considered the heart of New York City. The bustling area spans from West 42nd Street to West 47th Street around the intersection of Seventh Avenue and Broadway and sees an estimated 50 million visitors annually.

Often called the Crossroads of the World, Times Square is a hub of brightly lit billboards, street performers, and the on-the-go lifestyle that New York City is known for. One interesting fact about New York City is that Times Square was named Longacre Square until the New York Times relocated its headquarters there in the early 1900s.

☂️ Visit Times Square with an experience

Fifth Avenue

If you're ready to shop, there's nowhere in New York City more fashionable than Fifth Avenue. The street is home to renowned department stores like Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue. Then there are the luxury brands with flagship stores along Fifth Avenue, including Louis Vuitton, Cartier, and Tiffany & Co.

North of the Midtown shopping district, a stretch of Fifth Avenue has earned the title Museum Mile because of the nine institutions sitting along the stretch. The most noteworthy Museum Mile landmarks include the Guggenheim, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and National Academy Museum.

A bronze statue of a man carrying a sphere with a tall building in the background
Rockefeller Center's tallest building stands 850 feet tall

Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center is a collection of 19 high-rises in Midtown Manhattan. The Rockefeller family built the original 14 Art Deco architecture structures in the 1930s, with five more added between 1947 and 1974.

The tallest structure within the complex is 30 Rockefeller Plaza, at 850 feet high. This 66-story skyscraper is notably home to the Top of the Rock observation deck.

Several other popular attractions are found around Rockefeller Center, including Radio City Music Hall. During the winter, Rockefeller Center is home to New York's iconic outdoor skating rink and Christmas tree.

New York Harbor

New York Harbor is a body of water located south of Manhattan. It's the mouth of the Hudson River and one of the world's largest natural harbors. Many points of interest in New York City are situated within New York Harbor, including the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and Governors Island.

One of the best ways to see New York Harbor is on the free Staten Island Ferry. The ferry operates around the clock and runs between the Whitehall Terminal in southern Manhattan and the St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island.

A long bridge over a body of water with a cityscape in the background
The Brooklyn Bridge connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn

Brooklyn Bridge

One of the most easily recognizable pieces of the New York landscape, the Brooklyn Bridge is an expansive stone-arched suspension bridge connecting southern Manhattan with the borough of Brooklyn. At 6,016 feet, the Brooklyn Bridge was the world's longest suspension bridge when it was completed in 1883.

Visitors and locals alike enjoy traversing the 1.1-mile bridge, which has pedestrian and cyclist lanes, for great views of both Manhattan and Brooklyn. You can also see the New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty off in the distance.

Famous NYC Buildings

Grand Central Terminal is one of the must-visit New York City landmarks
Grand Central Terminal was built in the early 20th century

Grand Central Terminal

Built between 1903 and 1913, Grand Central Terminal is one of New York City's primary transportation hubs and a stunning example of early 20th-century Beaux-Arts architecture. The landmark's most prominent feature is the 35,000-square-foot Main Concourse, with its 160-foot vaulted ceiling.

Grand Central Terminal, also referred to as Grand Central Station, is one of the most-visited landmarks in the world and has to be included as a stop on your NYC itinerary. The terminal is easy to reach, located in the heart of Midtown East and serviced by five subway lines.

☂️ Visit Grand Central Terminal with an experience

Radio City Music Hall

The New York City nickname "Entertainment Capital of the World" exists for a reason! The city has an array of entertainment venues, with Radio City Music Hall being one that many have heard of.

Radio City Music Hall is the largest indoor theater in the world and one of the most famous places in NYC. Opened to the public in 1932, it was one of the original fourteen structures constructed in Rockefeller Center.

Although best known for its Radio City Rockettes and their annual Christmas Spectacular stage show, Radio City Music Hall is open year-round hosting world-class musicians and comedians. You can also take a behind-the-scenes tour to learn more about the theater and even meet one of the Rockettes in person.

☂️ Explore Radio City Music Hall on a tour

City buildings surrounding a tall tower structure under a blue sky with clouds
Atop the 1,250-foot-tall Empire State Building, you can get a scenic view of the city

Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is a 1,250-foot-tall (1,454-foot-tall with its antenna) skyscraper. The Art Deco structure is located in Midtown Manhattan on Fifth Avenue. It's one of the most iconic buildings in New York City and is a top tourist attraction thanks to its famous observation deck with breathtaking views of the island and surrounding states.

Taking in the city lights from the Empire State Building observation deck is one of the best things to do in NYC at night. The evening offers a much different viewing experience than during the day, providing a birds-eye view of the brightly lit City That Never Sleeps.

Madison Square Garden

Widely considered the most iconic stadium in New York City, Madison Square Garden is a massive indoor arena in Midtown Manhattan. It's home to the NHL's New York Rangers and the NBA's New York Knicks and routinely hosts concerts by the most famous musicians in the world.

Madison Square Garden is built above Penn Station, a vibrant transportation hub and the busiest passenger rail hub in the western hemisphere. Construction on the site was completed in 1968, although it's the fourth arena to bear that name. The original Madison Square Garden opened in 1879.

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Chrysler Building

The Chrysler Building is a 77-floor Art Deco landmark located in Midtown East near Grand Central Terminal. Built by automotive pioneer Walter Chrysler, the Chrysler Building is consistently ranked among the most popular buildings in America.

It's also the one of the tallest brick buildings built onto a steel framework in the world. It was even the world's tallest high-rise when it was completed in 1930, although the Empire State Building took that title less than a year later.

If you plan to take in the beauty of the 1,046-foot Chrysler Building, be prepared to do so from a distance: unfortunately, the building's grandiose interior has been closed to public visitors.

NYC Historical Sites

A vast landscaped park in the middle of a city
The Central Park West Historic District borders the entire west side of Central Park

Central Park West Historic District

The Central Park West Historic District is a primarily residential area that runs along the western edge of Central Park from 61st Street to 97th Street. The contributing buildings within the Central Park West Historic District were all completed between 1877 and 1940, with nearly half of them constructed from 1925 to 1931.

The Dakota, at 72nd Street, was one of the first luxury apartment buildings built in New York City. Other notable structures within the Central Park West Historic District include the Beresford, the San Remo, and the Hollywood-famous Ghostbusters Building.

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

Located at Pier 86 on the Hudson River, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is a collection of ships, aircraft, and even a space shuttle open to tour by the public. The point of interest's main attraction is the USS Intrepid, a World War II-era aircraft carrier that was decommissioned in 1974.

The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum opened in 1982 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986. There aren't very many places where you can climb aboard an aircraft carrier, making a trip to this attraction one of the most unique things to do in New York City.

A Beaux-Arts-style marble building surrounded by skyscrapers
New York Public Library is one of the New York City landmarks located on Fifth Avenue

New York Public Library

The main branch of the New York Public Library is situated at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 41st Street, adjacent to Bryant Park. Officially named the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, the New York Public Library main branch hosts a collection of approximately 2.5 million items.

Some of the most popular sights to see at the marble Beaux-Arts NYC landmark include the massive stone lions at its entrance and two exterior fountains, Beauty and Truth. There's also the New York Public Library's exhibit of historical artifacts, which features a draft of the Declaration of Independence and the original dolls which inspired Winnie the Pooh.

Washington Square Park

Washington Square Park, occupying nearly ten acres in the Greenwich Village neighborhood, is an iconic Manhattan public space best known for its central fountain and large marble arch. It's not uncommon to find vendors and street performers set up throughout Washington Square Park, and the chess and scrabble tables are constantly in use by enthusiastic competitors.

There are plenty of places to sit and relax around Washington Square Park, but be warned: the stone benches can be a little chilly in the winter! The park is a popular hangout spot for students of New York University, which occupies many of the surrounding blocks to the east.

☂️ Visit Washington Square Park on a tour

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A Gothic-style building with a fountain in front
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, aka "The Met," is the largest art museum in the US

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Located along the Museum Mile section of Fifth Avenue, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (frequently shortened to "The Met") is the most-visited museum in New York City. The Met is also the largest art collection in the United States, boasting more than two million square feet of floor space.

Divided into 17 departments, the landmark has everything from the world's oldest piano, from 1720 to flint bifaces up to 200,000 years old. Looking for a great date idea? Taking your partner on a stroll through the gallery's collection of priceless artwork is one of the most romantic things to do in NYC.

☂️ Visit The Metropolitan Museum of Art with an experience

Monuments in New York City

A large statue of a woman holding a torch on a pedestal next to the water and trees
The Statue of Liberty National Monument sits in the middle of New York Harbor

Statue of Liberty National Monument

Standing tall in the middle of New York Harbor on Liberty Island, nothing says "New York City" quite like the Statue of Liberty. Liberty Island and nearby Ellis Island, the first stop for almost 12 million immigrants between 1892 and 1954, comprise the Statue of Liberty National Monument.

Also located on Liberty Island is the Statue of Liberty Museum. This 26,000-square-foot center offers an informative look into how sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi designed, built, and shipped the Statue of Liberty to New York from France.

One World Trade Center

A can't-miss New York City landmark located within the Financial District, One World Trade Center is the tallest building in the Americas. Construction on the 1,776-foot tower was completed in 2014, with the One World Observatory quickly becoming one of the city's most popular viewpoints when it opened the following year.

One World Trade Center also stands as a monument to the World Trade Center towers, which were destroyed on September 11, 2001. The National September 11 Memorial & Museum is located just to the south of One World Trade Center, between the reflective pools marking the sites of the fallen Twin Towers.

☂️ Discover One World Trade Center on a tour

A bronze sculpture of a little girl on top of a mushroom surrounded by creatures
The Alice in Wonderland monument was constructed in 1959 and sits in Central Park

Alice in Wonderland

Located within Central Park, the Alice in Wonderland monument is an enormous bronze sculpture depicting a scene from author Lewis Carroll's timeless book. The statue was installed in 1959 by artist Jose De Creeft, funded by George Delacorte in honor of his wife, Margarita.

The sculpture includes Alice sitting on a mushroom with her cat Dinah, surrounded by the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, and the Dormouse. One unique feature of the Alice in Wonderland statue is that kids are encouraged to play around, under, and on the 11-foot monument.

Charging Bull

One of the most famous sculptures in New York City, Charging Bull, stands at guard in the middle of Broadway in the Financial District, just outside Battery Park. Installed in 1989 by sculptor Arturo Di Modica, Charging Bull is a monument to the optimism and enduring prosperity of both Wall Street and NYC.

A little-known fact about Charging Bull is that the artist initially installed it illegally. Di Modica loaded the sculpture into a truck and placed it in front of the New York Stock Exchange Building in the middle of the night.

Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument

The Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument is a 100-foot-tall tower located within Riverside Park in the Upper West Side neighborhood. It was built in tribute to the Union soldiers who served during the Civil War. Construction on the monument began in 1900, and it was dedicated on Memorial Day in 1902 by President Theodore Roosevelt.

Designed in the Beaux-Arts style, the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument is built out of white marble and features 12 columns surrounding its central pillar. The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to make the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument an official city landmark in 1976.

In Summary

New York City is one of the biggest, busiest cities on Earth, with a seemingly endless number of unique and exciting landmarks. There's something for everything, from famous buildings in New York City like Grand Central Terminal and Radio City Music Hall to iconic monuments like Charging Bull and the Statue of Liberty.

In fact, there's so much to see in the city that many NYC locals haven't even done it all! From stepping aboard an aircraft carrier at the Intrepid Sea Air & Space Museum to perusing the 2.5 million items in the New York Public Library catalog, these 20 landmarks are just the beginning of what there is to do and see in New York City.

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Written by Jonathan Davis

JDavis WRITER Jonathan is a Florida-based travel writer who can't seem to stay in one place for long. With more than two decades of trips under his belt, Jonathan has a wealth of information to share about travel within the United States and abroad.

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