Top 15 Prettiest Places You Should Visit In New York

New York is full of gorgeous, and sometimes secret, Instagram-worthy spots. I’ve picked out the 15 prettiest and most photogenic places to visit in town.

Planning a trip to New York soon? Great news, I have some sights to delight your eyes. All of them are special, pretty and even romantic. If you love architecture, you’ll likely love all of these too.

With much pleasure I start the research of my upcoming New York Architectour Guide, which is scheduled to be published by January 2021. If you have any personal favourites in the city – rich in history, cultural relevance and beauty – please let me know in the comments below. I am in search of New York’s wonderful places.

For more traveling inspiration, follow along on Instagram

@ Bob Cuk

1. Flatiron Building

Not many people know that the original building concept of a flatiron was created by by Bradford Gilbert, a Chicago school contemporary of Daniel Burnham, the designer of the New York building. Daniel Burnham stole – I mean reused – the concept for this beautiful building completed in 1902 and it became so iconic that everyone forgot about Gilbert’s structure. You can visit the original Flatiron in Atlanta.

Location: 175 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

© Piero Armenti


This delightful neighbourhood was once known as Gairville but nowadays everybody knows it by an acronym: Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass (DUMBO). Its cobblestone streets and converted Brooklyn warehouse buildings are the backdrop for independent boutiques, high-end restaurants and trendy cafes. The most iconic view? The Brooklyn Bridge one.

Location: 80 Pearl St #58, Brooklyn, NY 11201

© Albertine Books

3. Albertine Bookshop

The building that houses the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, at 972 Fifth Avenue, has been owned by the French government since 1952. It was designed in the high Italian Renaissance style by Stanford White and it ranks as one of the architect’s most impressive late projects. Sadly, he did not see it to completion: as he was overseeing the mansion’s final stages, he was murdered one sweltering summer night in 1906, in the rooftop garden of the second Madison Square Garden (White’s most famous building), by the mad husband of the model and actress Evelyn Nesbit. This only French bookshop is a delightful corner of New York.

Location: 972 5th Ave, New York, NY 10075

© Josh Alvarez

4. The Oculus

The World Trade Center Transportation Hub, or ‘World Trade Center’ originally opened in 1909. Since then a lot has happened: bankruptcy, increase in traffic and unfortunately the 2001 terrorist attacks. A new redesign of the area was carried out after that and the Oculus station house, designed by Santiago Calatrava, now occupies the main site. Which do you find prettier, the exterior white ribs or the space created underneath?

Location: Church St, New York, NY 10006

© Connor MacNeill

5. Bethesda Terrace

Central Park is one of the most romantic places in New York and Bethesda Terrace and Fountain my personal favourite corner of it. It was built during the American Civil War in 1864. This structure is the physical reminder of persistence during turbulent times, an inspiring place. The base of the fountain was designed by the architect of all the original built features of Central Park, Calvert Vaux, with sculptural details by Jacob Wrey Mould.

Location: 72 Terrace Dr, New York, NY 10021

© Virginia Duran

6. Brooklyn Bridge

I am a big fan of bridges, for what they represent: a connection between two points in space. Brooklyn Bridge is a classic, and a place I always visit when in New York. It was completed in 1883 – one of the oldest roadway bridges in the US still in use – and it was the world’s first steel-wire suspension bridge, as well as the first fixed crossing across the East River. Over the years, the Brooklyn Bridge has undergone several reconfigurations; it formerly carried horse-drawn vehicles and elevated railway lines, but now carries vehicular, pedestrian, and bicycle traffic.

Location: Brooklyn Bridge, New York, NY 10038

© Reva

7. New York Public Library

At the time of its completion in 1911, New York Public Library was the largest marble structure in the United States. The building was designed in the Beaux-Arts style by Carrère and Hastings, an architectural partnership between John Merven Carrère, a Brazilian architect and Thomas S. Hastings, a native from New York. This building is so relevant because it was the tipping point of their career, and one of the prettiest places in New York.

Location: 476 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018

© Guggenheim Museum

8. Guggenheim Museum

New York’s museum scene is pretty exciting. Yet, the (still) most innovative space of all is this 1959 gallery created by starchitect Frank Lloyd Wright. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City occupied Wright for 16 years (1943–1959 and is probably his most recognised masterpiece. Its unique central geometry, resembling that of a seashell’s interior, allows visitors to experience the collection by walking down the slowly descending, central spiral ramp.

Location: 1071 5th Ave, New York, NY 10128

© Aleksey Zozulya

9. Grand Central Station

New York City’s magnificent Grand Central Terminal is more than a hundred years old and is perhaps one of the buildings in the city that has aged most gracefully. It was designed by Warren and Wetmore and completed in 1913. Remarkably, it doesn’t have any stairs – only ramps and lifts – necessary for train passengers with large trunks and train cases. One of the prettiest parts is the celestial mural, conceived in 1912 by architect Warren and painter Paul César Helleu, and executed by Brooklyn’s Hewlett-Basing Studio.

Location: E 41st St, New York, NY 10168

© Virginia Duran

10. The High Line

One of New York‘s most loved areas is The High Line. It is a 1-mile linear public park created in 2009 and built on a 1.45-mile section of the former elevated NY Central Railroad spur called the West Side Line. It has been redesigned and is now seen as an aerial greenway. The team of architects who made this a unique urban intervention were James Corner Field Operations, DillerScofidio + Renfro and garden designer Piet Oudolf. It has become not only a green point of the city in which people relax or interact but also a path to commute faster, since it is pedestrian only.

Location: 500 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011

© Michael Sidofsky

11. Stuyvesant Street

This Instagram hot spot is one of the oldest streets in the New York City borough of Manhattan. For much of the 18th and 19th centuries, Stuyvesant Street remained an important thoroughfare and market street, but today it is a quaint street with single family homes and apartment buildings, and is often used for movie shoots of ‘Old New York’.

Location: 100-138 E 10th St, New York, NY 10003, USA

© Sam Horine

12. Park Slope Historic District Houses

Park Slope Historic District, a national historic district in Brooklyn, consists of 1,802 contributing buildings built between 1862 and about 1920. The 40-block district is almost exclusively residential and located adjacent to Prospect Park. It includes a variety of two and three story townhouses built in a variety of popular architectural styles of the late-19th and early 20th centuries. Every street is beautiful.

Location: 356 6th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215, USA

© Esther Julee

13. Pietro Nolita

There isn’t anywhere else in New York as pink as this restaurant. Everything – even the loos – are pink. Tucked away on a quiet New York City street lined with century-old redbrick buildings lies Pietro Nolita, a new Italian eatery that stands out for its contemporary decor, all in an eye-catching shade of pink. The Swedish interior designer, Jeanette Dalrot, maximised a very limited space which ended up entirely decked out in pink, from top to bottom.

Location: 174 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10012

© Scott Frances

14. Barneys 

A monochromatic palette establishes an oasis of tranquility at the glamorous Barneys New York flagship, which opened in the store’s original 1923 location, on 7th Avenue in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighbourhood. The mastermind behind the space is architect Steven Harris, whose eponymous firm is known primarily for its minimalist residential projects. The best part of the store? Its pristine white monumental staircase 😍

Location: 101 7th Ave, New York, NY 10011

© Michael T. Young

15. Hudson Yards

The newest architectural addition and centrepiece of Hudson Yards is its spiral staircase, a soaring new landmark meant to be climbed. This interactive artwork was imagined by Thomas Heatherwick – who recently completed Coal Drops Yard in London – as a focal point where people can enjoy new perspectives of the city and one another from different heights, angles and vantage points. Comprised of 154 intricately interconnecting flights of stairs (almost 2,500 individual steps and 80 landings) the vertical climb offers remarkable views of the city, the river and beyond.

Location: 20 Hudson Yards, New York, NY 10001

Don’t miss Top 15 Prettiest Places You Should Visit In London


58 thoughts on “Top 15 Prettiest Places You Should Visit In New York

      • I have visited some of them before,. If I were going to visit NY again, I would first go to those which I have not visited. The first photo of Flatiron Building is most impressive. Not that I have not been there, but have never seen it framed in flowers!
        The stairs are also impressive. I can only think of a parallel in India. Many staircases going up and down the sides of a blockwork structure in two directions on many sides.
        For sure I will visit the Oculus. The last time I visited the site was just a few months after 911; it was sort of sad and there were flowers all over the ground.


        • Dear Michael, sorry it has taken me a bit longer to reply than normal. I had the same thought when I saw the picture of the Flatiron Building, a personal favourite too. I think people who like it, would never get tired of it. The Oculus is a place that surprised me when I visited, soon after its completion in fact. The feeling is the opposite of sad, is more like light and tranquility so you’ll find encouraging to visit as it might change that perception of the last time you went there 🙂
          Any plans of returning soon to the Big Apple?

          Liked by 1 person

        • New and graceful architecture always gives me a feeling of peace, hope and happiness. am sure I will have a different feeling from previous if I have the opportunity to visit the Big Apple again. There is presently no plans for returning; but we never know. Thank you for writing 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • That’s a very beautiful way of framing the new built environment – at least the one that is good, uplifting and purposeful for citizens. If New York is amongst your plans soon, I hope you can visit some of these places you mention. Otherwise, your mind has already been there 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • In fact, my favorite also include the Met, the Guggenheim Museum, Central Park, taking a ferry to see the Statute of Liberty on Ellis Island, walking along the streets of downtown Manhattan etc.
          As an architect, I suppose you also like I M Pei’s design of the West Wing of the museum.
          There is a parallel here, when I was travelling on a felucca on the Nile, I was thinking of Agatha’s book Death on the River Nile . . . . . . .

          Liked by 1 person

        • I see that you know your city by heart and have enjoyed the best of it 😉 I M Pei is one of the architects I respect the most, his work was passionate and brilliant. He achieved so much.
          On the other hand, I’ve never read that book and never visited Cairo. Do you recommend it?

          Liked by 1 person

        • Oh yes. there was a restaurant that overlooking Nile too which was described in the book. I went there but couldn’t get a table as it was booked.
          I would recommend both; I think it wasn’t the Cairo part, possibly the Nile in in Luxor where you can get onto a felucca too.
          Hope I have not digressed too much.
          Regards, Michael


        • This sounds AMAZING!! You made me want to read the book, visit the city and go to that restaurant. Thanks for the encouragement, not a digression at all. On the other hand, I was recently updating my Paris Guide and I learnt that they have one of the other obelisk at Place de la Concorde 🧐

          Liked by 1 person

        • Always inspiring from the eyes of an architect. . . . .at least 3 of my relatives are architects, they always have different points of view in their pictures. Will have a look at your Paris guide . . .

          Liked by 1 person

        • I knew you were a civil engineer but had no idea that your work included bridges, complex and artistic structures, the best of form and function as they say. Is there anywhere I can check some of your work? Is it in the US mainly?

          Liked by 1 person

        • In my early career, i worked on highways, railway bridges and also footbridges. They are all in Hong Kong. Some of my posts cover my projects or bridges throughout the globe which i have the chance to visit.
          Bridges can be very aesthetically pleasing and elegant, they can have a lot of visual impact too. My firm did work on some of the tallest buildings .


      • Hola Virginia. Five favourite cities. In disorder. New York. Paris. London. Florence. Singapore. (Prague was fifth, but got kicked out by Singapore). Georgetown, Penang, in Malaysia, is close. Lamento no incluir ciudades Españolas. 😉 Entiendo que Barcelona y Madrid están geniales pero hace muchísimo tiempo que no voy. (Tengo que regresar) 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Esa es una lista muy amplia y variada, me ha sacado una sonrisa. Tengo que visitar Singapur y ya que lo sugieres Penang. Visitaste España hace mucho?

          Liked by 1 person

        • Then you made my day. To make a friend smile is good. 🙂
          España? hace mucho. A finales de los 80, vivía en París y manejaba varios estudios de mercado con la filial Española, entonces tenía juntas en Madrid. Pero de estos viajes que apenas si sales a comer… 🙂
          Asia vale muuucho la pena. El desarrollo está increíble.
          Take care

          Liked by 1 person

        • Pues sí que eres ciudadano del mundo, has estado viviendo y trabajando por Europa, Asia y América. Pregunta personal: ¿por qué hablas español también? ¿dónde naciste?

          Liked by 1 person

        • Jaja! El día que saquen un pasaporte de Naciones Unidas… I’m gonna be first in line.
          Nací en la India. 🙂 Vieja tradición familiar. El Español? Lo tomé como segundo idioma en la escuela xq me fascinaban las culturas prehispánicas. Y x eso creo que acabé en México.
          Tú? Por qué estás en Londres?


  1. Love your pics. Flatiron is my favorite. Be sure to add St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Columbus Circle, and Bryant Park near the library. Also, I always dine late at the Odeon restaurant when visiting NYC. In addition to great food and fine service, the night scene is really fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Nick, thanks for stopping by. Glad to read that Flatiron is also your favourite 😉 I have never eaten at the Odeon so thanks for sharing. I’m looking forward to trying that one.


  2. Pingback: The 5 Best North American Cities to Travel for Architecture | Virginia Duran

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