New York City's Best Architectural Landmarks

The Architecture of New York City

New York City has some of the most stunning architecture in the world. After all, this is the city that made skyscrapers famous. The iconic buildings, including the Empire State Building, are instantly recognizable, and the historic brownstones, townhouses, and churches are architectural masterpieces. Every year, more interesting designs pop up next to the historic buildings that we have come to love for decades. For example, the new Vessel at Hudson Yards is becoming very popular after its opening in 2019, while the historic art deco Chrysler Building stands the test of time. Below are even more architectural gems in the city that are worth visiting, whether you just breeze by for a glimpse or spend hours admiring it.

Wave Hill
Once a private estate with a beautiful garden dating back to 1843, this home is now owned by the city and is open to the public, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Visitors can tour both the gardens and the house for a small admission fee. The gardens consist of a variety of flora along with a few spots with magnificent views over the river. Also on the premises is an art gallery and gift shop. An entry fee is normally charged, but it's free before noon on Saturdays and Tuesdays.
665 West 252nd Street, Riverdale, New York, New York, 10471
New York City has plenty more to offer, so see also our other articles: Activities and Things to Do in the Fall in New York and The Best Places To People Watch In New York City.
Trump Tower
This 58 story tower serves as the central headquarters for The Trump Organization.
725 5th Ave, New York, NY, 10022
Trinity Church Wall Street
At one time this church was the tallest building in New York. With 23 bells in the tower, it can be heard throughout midtown Manhattan. The historical building is worth a visit to see the gorgeous architecture along with the story of how it has been modified over the centuries.
75 Broadway, New York, New York, 10006
The Vessel
The Vessel
The Vessel at Hudson Yards in Manhattan was completed in 2019 as part art installation and part observation tower. The elaborate honeycomb-like structure rises 16 stories and offers views from the top of the surrounding area, along with some amazing views from within the structure itself. With 154 flights of stairs, 2,500 steps, and 80 landings for visitors to climb, there's an interesting view and photographic angle from every platform. Even though it's only been around for a few years, it has quickly become one of the most interesting and visited sites in New York. Tickets are free the first hour of opening, and then an admission fee is charged for the rest of the day.
20 Hudson Yards, New York, New York, 10017
The Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium
This unique Long Island museum combines a grand mansion, a beautiful park, and a marine and natural history museum, as well as a planetarium. In addition to shows in the planetarium, there is also a rooftop observatory viewing every Friday night.
180 Little Neck Rd, Centerport, Long Island, NY, 11721
The Skyscraper Museum
This museum focuses on the architecture and engineering of tall buildings. The exhibits educate visitors on the history, construction, and design of some of the city's most unique skyscrapers. There are also family programs and educational resources available.
39 Battery Pl, New York, NY, 10280
The Rockefeller Center
The Rockefeller Center
New York's iconic Rockefeller Center is a must-see for visitors. It is a large complex that includes 19 commercial buildings and spreads out over 22 acres in Midtown Manhattan. There's an observation deck called Top of the Rock that offers beautiful views from a tower that stands 70 floors high. It has been the home of NBC Studios since 1933 and is open for public tours.

The Rockefeller Center is a quintessential destination during the Christmas season when the iconic Christmas tree is lit and the ice skating rink is opened in the plaza.
45 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY, 10111
Interested in more travel advice for New York City? Check out The Best Science Museums in New York City and The Best Museums in the Bronx.
The Morgan Library & Museum
This institution began as the private library of J. Pierpont Morgan and it was donated to the city. It includes drawings by Michelangelo, Rembrandt, and Picasso. There are three Gutenberg Bibles, and a copy of Frankenstein annotated by Mary Shelley, as well as manuscripts by Dickens, Poe, Twain, Steinbeck, and Wilde. There's also sheet music handwritten by Beethoven and Mozart.
225 Madison Ave, New York, NY, 10016
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
This world-class museum has one of the most in depth collections of art, spanning more than 5,000 years and representing cultures from around the globe. This is one of the largest museums in the world and it features a wide variety of topics. Everything from fashion to photography, and ancient times is represented. For the best price and the least crowds, visit the museum early on a weekday.
1000 5th Ave, New York, NY, 10028
The High Line
This popular urban walking trail is located high above the city streets on an old rail line. It's a linear public park that has been lined with plants and trees that are particularly beautiful during the spring months. There are also benches and art work that give the trail a fascinating atmosphere. From the park there are impressive views of the city and access is available at various points along the route.
The High Line, NYC, New York, 100014
The Flatiron Building
The Flatiron Building
This triangular shaped building received its name because it looks like an iron. The surrounding area is named the Flatiron District, after this iconic building.
The Cloisters
The Cloisters is located in a park by the Hudson Rivers and you can reach it by following a charming path that leads to a castle. This is where you'll find the Met's medieval art and architecture collections. Popular exhibits include the Unicorn Tapestries, the 12th century Fuentidueña Chapel and the Annunciation Triptych by Robert Campin.
99 Margaret Corbin Drive, New York, NY, 10040
The Chrysler Building
The Chrysler Building
This Art-Deco skyscraper continues to be considered one of the New York City's greatest sites. It has 77 floors and a beautiful lobby that is open to the public, although there is no public observation deck.
405 Lexington Ave, New York, NY, 10174
Interested in more travel advice for New York City? Check out The Best Views In New York City.
Temple Emanu-El
This Romanesque Revival style synagogue has a gorgeous exterior and a beautiful interior. Complted in 1929, it's the largest Jewish house of worship in the world. Featuring a large rose window with the star of David, bronze doors, various sculptures inside and outside, and an arch representing the 12 tribes of Israel. The synagogue is open to the public, and tours are available most days.
840 Fifth Ave at East 65th, New York, New York
St. Patrick's Cathedral
St. Patrick's Cathedral
St. Patrick's Cathedral is a historic Neo-Gothic-style Roman Catholic cathedral which is also a prominent landmark of New York City. Located on the east side of Fifth Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets in Midtown Manhattan, it sits directly across the street from Rockefeller Center, and is a popular place for visitors and locals alike. The building is one of the finest symbols of the Roman Catholic Church in New York City and the entire United States. Built in the 1800's, it is constructed of marble and features a large rose window flanked by two large spires.
625 5th Avenue, NYC, New York, 10035
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
This world-class museum opened in 1959 and is recognized not just for its impressive collection of modern art, but also for its architectural design, created by the famous Frank Lloyd Wright. The inverted ziggernaut breaks the mold from the typical clean square museum style of the time. This price is steep ($25 for adults), so make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to fully enjoy the experience.
1071 5th Ave, Upper East Side, New York, NY, 10128
One World Observatory
One World Observatory
One World Observatory is located at the top of the One World Trade Center building. It is an observation deck that makes up the 100, 101, and 102nd floors, 1776 feet above the city. The glass building is a beautiful sight and the elevator ride to the top offers a changing scene of how New York City has changed and grown over the years.
NYC, New York, 10048
New York Times Building
This building was the home to the New York Times from 1889 to 1903. This is the oldest remaining building along "Newspaper Row" and it is currently owned by Pace University.
NYC, New York, 10000
New York Stock Exchange
New York Stock Exchange
The famous New York Stock Exchange is located on Wall Street, and it is, by far, the world's largest stock exchange.
Wall Street, NYC, New York, 10005
New York Public Library Main Branch
New York Public Library Main Branch
The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building is the flagship building in the New York Public Library system and a prominent historic landmark in Midtown Manhattan on 5th Avenue. Opened in 1911, it offers four stories of books and reading areas open to the public. The building itself is a work of art and has appeared in numerous films and TV shows.
476 5th Avenue, NYC, New York, 10018
New York Life Building
This Gothic Revival style building serves as the headquarters for the New York Life Insurance Company.
Metropolitan Life Tower
Don't confuse this building with the MetLife Building at Grand Central Terminal. This tower faces Madison Square Park and has 50 floors. A premiere feature of the tower is the clocks on all fours sides of the tower. Each clock has a face that's 27 feet and each number is four feet tall.
Manhattan Bridge
Manhattan Bridge
The Manhattan Bridge connects Lower Manhattan and Canal Street to Downtown Brooklyn. It's a suspension bridge that's 6,855 ft long and crosses the East River. The bridge is also a lesser known spot where you can enjoy views of the city, looking out on either Chinatown or the Brooklyn Bridge.
Manhattan Bridge lower level, NYC, New York, 11201-1832
Irish Hunger Memorial
This memorial and park is dedicated to raising awareness of the Great Irish Famine, also known as "The Great Hunger", during which more than one million people starved to death.
NYC, New York, 10282
Hamilton Grange National Memorial
The Hamilton Grange National Memorial is the home and burial site of U.S. Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. The mansion showcases the restored historical rooms of the house, along with an interactive exhibit showcasing the history and life of Hamilton.
160 Convent Avenue, NYC, New York, 10031
Gehry New York
This is the tallest all-residential building in North America. It has 900 rental units and stands 76 stories tall. While the building is closed to the public, it is included in many walking tours of Lower Manhattan and it can be seen as you cross the Brooklyn Bridge.
8 Spruce Street Tower
Federal Hall
This is one of the first two historic buildings to be located on Wall Street. It once served as New York's City Hall and after the American Revolution it was the meeting place of the Congress of the Confederation.
Pine Street, NYC, New York, 10005
Empire State Building
Empire State Building
The iconic Empire State Building has long been a symbol of New York City. It's one of the most famous skyscrapers in the world and the Art-Deco tower has been called one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. The Empire State Building was the tallest building in the world from 1931 to 1970 and, at 102 stories, it is currently the 2nd tallest in New York City.

A highlight for many visitors to New York is the ride and view from the Top Deck observatory, which offers breathtaking views in every direction.
20 W 34th St, New York, NY, 10001
Edge Observation Deck
Edge Observation Deck
Located at Hudson Yards, this viewpoint sticks out from the 100th floor of one of the tallest buildings in New York, and offers views of all of Manhattan, as well as a glass floor area so you can look down at the streets below (if you have the courage). Enter on the 4th floor of the shops and restaurants at Hudson Yards opposite of the Vessel. And don't forget your camera!
Hudson Boulevard at Hudson Yards, Manhattan, New York City, New York
Church of St. Francis Xavier
Located on W. 15th near 6th Avenue, this gorgeous Jesuit church has a Romanesque style. They host regular concerts featuring their choir and handbell ensemble, which is a nice way to spend a relaxing evening away from the hustle of the city.
55 W 15th St, New York, New York, 10011
Castle Clinton
This monument, previously Fort Clinton and Castle Garden, is a sandstone fort that is found in Battery Park. It once served as the first immigration station between 1855 and 1890 before Ellis Island.
NYC, New York
Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most famous landmarks in New York City. The bridge crosses the East River, connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn. It was completed in 1883 and, with its arches and suspension cables, it was the world's first steel suspension bridge. The bridge offers impressive views of the city and many visitors enjoy biking or walking across the bridge.
NYC, New York, 10038
Blackwell Island Light
This is a stone lighthouse that was built in 1872. It's located at the northeast end of Roosevelt Island in the East River.
NYC, New York, 10044
Bethesda Terrace & Fountain
Bethesda Terrace & Fountain
In the heart of Central Park sits the Bethesda Fountain and the Terrace which overlooks it along with the lake. This scenic spot has appeared in multiple films and TV shows over the decades, and it's a very popular spot with tourists and locals alike.
Central Park, NYC, New York
40 Wall Street
This is a 71 floor tower that has also been called the Trump Building and the Bank of Manhattan Building. It opened in 1930 and many New York City walking tours include this skyscraper. Donald Trump's The Apprentice was also filmed here.
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