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New York City is unlike any place on earth — it blends together culture, finance, entertainment and more to create an experience like nowhere else. But there’s so much to see in the city that never sleeps and we wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t know where to begin. If you’re planning a trip to the Big Apple, add these popular sights to your itinerary and be sure to get the best shots of America’s most-visited city — your Instagram followers will thank you.
1. The Flatiron Building
Oddly shaped and highly recognizable, the iconic Flatiron Building has become Instagram shorthand for New York. Tourists can’t resist posing by the 22-story tower’s triangular front, and their followers love to see it too. The prime location — right across the street from Madison Square Park — makes the Flatiron Building an excellent stop for any city explorer.
2. Grand Central Terminal
Aside from being a transit hub for hundreds of thousands of daily commuters, Grand Central Terminal is also a social media darling. Out-of-town tourists flock to see the historic terminal’s neoclassical architecture, its starry-night ceiling and the four-sided clock at the center of it all. Just don’t come during rush hour if you plan on posing for a memorable shot — this bustling terminal stops for no one.
3. Bethesda Fountain
Watching over Central Park’s picturesque Terrace, the Bethesda Fountain attracted photographers long before the Instagram age. Social media has only increased its fame, making the angel and its waters an instant hit on every feed it touches. Catch a little of its magic this summer, when vivid green summertime trees make the Angel of the Waters at the fountain’s center really pop.
4. The Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge is one of New York’s most famous sites and for good reason: It’s unlike any other bridge in the world. Visitors make a point of walking across the bridge — both to take pictures of it and of that fabulous New York City skyline. The perfect combination of sights and style, it’s an essential Instagram stop. Walk or bike across to see why this stands out as one of NYC’s most enduring photo attractions.
5. The Oculus
Architect Santiago Calatrava said The Oculus resembles a “bird released from a child’s hands,” and we would have to agree. The year-old shopping mall/transit hub sprung from the rubble of the World Trade Center complex to become one of the city’s most striking architectural wonders. Say what you will about its $4 billion price tag — the soaring Oculus absolutely begs to be photographed.
6. The Manhattan Bridge from Dumbo
Gairville, Brooklyn’s, identity became so tied up in the magic of the Manhattan Bridge, its very name was changed as a tribute. Now known exclusively as DUMBO — short for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass — this tiny city alcove is home to some of the greatest bridge shots found anywhere, not to mention the area’s stout brick buildings, which make the perfect frame for New York City’s Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges.
7. The New York Public Library
This spot is an Instagram wonder inside and out. As you walk up its steps, you’ll pass a pair of lions that symbolically guard New York’s knowledge center with their stony gazes. And while the lions draw much of the photo-seeking crowd, what they’re protecting is arguably even more beautiful. Don’t forget to pass through NYPL’s ornate reading room, where miles of colorful books, desks and lamps sit under a ceiling sent from the heavens.
8. The Met Cloisters
You wouldn’t expect to find such old-world style in a place as relentlessly new as the Big Apple, but The Cloisters found their way into the city all the same. This Metropolitan Museum of Art-owned medieval masterpiece combines architectural styles from across Europe into one complex and looks more like a getaway for 15th-century monks than a staple of Upper Manhattan. That distinction makes The Cloisters a worthy stop on your Instagram travels — if for no other reason than to confuse your followers as to where you really are.
9. Stone Street
Among the oldest streets in all of New York, the Financial District’s tavern-laden Stone Street packs tremendous photographic punch. It’s an Insta-stopover that delivers the full experience: After posing outside one of its many watering holes, you and your friends can head in for a quick drink.
10. Top of the Rock
The only way you could possibly see all of NYC is by taking it all in from high above. And there are few places higher than the Top of The Rock, the Midtown observation deck with views that can’t easily be beat — especially if you want to have the nearby Empire State Building in your photo. Give it a visit to snap the greatest panorama of your life, and let your followers join in the love as well.
Featured image of NYC courtesy of Zsolt Hlinka via Getty Images
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