Befitting a city of its global stature, it can be said that New York’s major landmarks aren’t just iconic local attractions—they’re world-famous destinations in their own rights. Whether it’s your first visit or you’ve been here more times than you can remember, you’ll find in New York City an assortment of legendary buildings, beloved museums, and historical sites that’s pretty difficult to top.
New York City is home to several landmark structures, perhaps none of them more notable than the Empire State Building. It’s been featured in more movies and TV shows than we can count, but even so the view from its observation decks has to be seen to be believed. The Rockefeller Center looms similarly large, though, and its rich history as a prestigious entertainment studio make it an absolute must-see attraction, too.
Multiple museums are among the biggest landmarks you’ll encounter in New York City. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, with its Frank Lloyd Wright-design, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and not to be missed, while the Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the world’s greatest repositories of art. And that’s just scratching the surface: the American Museum of Natural History is a nearby major landmark as well.
Even in the midst of all these museums and skyscrapers, there are plenty of New York City landmarks that cater to those visitors interested in the great outdoors. Crown jewel of the city’s public parks system, Central Park is a place where you can rent a bike, go for a stroll, lace up some ice skates, visit the Central Park Zoo, or just unroll a blanket, lay back, and indulge in some peoplewatching. The unmistakable Brooklyn Bridge is another terrific spot to stretch your legs while sightseeing. And no trip to New York City, it can be argued, is complete without taking the ferry to the one and only Statue of Liberty.
Here are some of New York’s most iconic landmarks, and a little background information on each one.