New York City is known for its iconic skyline with some of the most famous buildings in the world. From tall skyscrapers to historic landmarks, let’s take a close look at some of the most famous and iconic buildings in New York City. The Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, Grand Central and more.
Empire State Building
This list would not be complete without the beloved Empire State Building. This beautiful Art Deco building was finished in 1931 and was at the time the tallest building in the world. With its height of 1,250 feet (381 m), the Empire State Building held its title for around 40 years until the World Trade Center Towers were built in 1971.
If you take a closer look at the Empire State Building you can see its gilded metallic details, glasswork and sculpted motifs like eagles and starburst. When entering the lobby, you can take a look at the beautiful bronze doors leading to the lobby which has beautiful marble interiors and terrazzo-file floors.
You might recognize the Empire State Building from famous movie and tv shows like Sleepless in Seattle, King Kong, Superman, Elf, How I Met Your Mother, and Gossip Girl.
Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is not only one of the most famous buildings in New York but also in the whole world. This statue was a gift from France to the United States and is a symbol of freedom.
It’s located on Liberty Island and is 305 feet from the base to the tip of her torch. The statue represents a woman holding a torch in her raised right hand and a tablet holding the Declaration of Independence in her left.
You can visit the Statue of Liberty by taking a ferry to Liberty Island or see it from a distance by taking the Staten Island Ferry.
The Chrysler Building is another famous and iconic Art Deco skyscraper in New York City and one of the most striking features of the Manhattan skyline. It’s located next to Grand Central on 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue. The Chrysler Building was completed in 1930 with a height of 1046 feet (319 m) and is well known for its beautiful 125-foot stainless-steel spire, and intricate ornamentation. Inside is reserved for corporate offices but you can enter the lobby and see the beautiful Art Deco style décor.
You can get a great view of the Chrysler Building and 42nd Street from the Tudor City bridge at 42nd Street and 1st Avenue. Great spot for photography!
Fun fact is that the Chrysler Building was the tallest building in the world for one year until the Empire State Building was finished in 1931.
The Flatiron Building is one of the most famous but also most unique building in NYC with its unusual shape. This beautiful building is 283 feet tall but only 6.5 feet wide and is shaped like a triangle. The Flatiron Building is a steel-framed skyscraper that was completed in 1902 and is one of the oldest surviving skyscrapers in the city. With its Beaux-Arts style and elegant design, the Flatiron Building remains a beloved symbol of New York City’s rich architectural heritage.
A fun fact is that it was originally called the Fuller Building and was named after the building’s promoter George Fuller.
One World Trade Center
One World Trade Center (also known as Freedom Tower) is one of the most famous but also the tallest building not only in NYC but also in the Western Hemisphere. This skyscraper is 1,776 ft (541 m) and 1,792 ft tall if you include the antenna. One World Trade Center has a total of 104 floors and the observation deck is located on floors 100, 101, and 102, providing panoramic views of the cityscape and beyond.
The base (not counting the antenna) of One World Trade Center is actually the same height as the old buildings which was 1776 feet, commemorating the year of American independence.
They held a design competition on who should design the new building. The winner of the competition was David Childs who designed One World Trade Center together with Daniel Libeskind. The construction of One World Trade Center started in 2006 and was finished in 2015.
Grand Central Terminal
Grand Central Terminal is another famous building and a landmark in NYC. This beautiful train terminal is over 100 years old and was completed in 1913. A visit to Grand Central is captivating for both commuters and tourists.
Around 750 000 people pass through Grand Central every day and is the most visited place in New York after Times Square.
This historic and world-famous landmark in Midtown New York is much more than one of the busiest train stations in the world – it’s also a shopping, dining, and cultural destination. Here you can truly admire the beautiful and lasting legacy of the terminal with its beautiful, vaulted ceiling made by the French artist Paul César Helleu, and marble floors and ticket counters.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Located at 1000 Fifth Avenue on the east side of Central Park, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or the Met, is one of the world’s largest and most famous art museums. The Met was founded in 1870 and has more than 2 million objects covering 5,000 years of art history. Here you can enjoy work from Von Gogh and Picasso but also see Temple Dendur which is a 2,000-year-old Egyptian temple.
The Guggenheim Museum
Designed by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is an architectural masterpiece and a heaven for art lovers. Completed in 1959, the museum’s unique spiral design and white concrete exterior make it a distinctive landmark on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Inside, visitors can explore its extensive collection of modern and contemporary art.
The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library is one of the most famous and beautiful buildings in the city and is located along 5th Avenue and 42nd Street in Midtown. It was completed in 1911. One of the most iconic rooms inside the library is the Rose Main Reading Room (see photo above) with a beautiful ceiling covered in a mural of skies and clouds.
You might recognize this library from many movies that took place in New York such as Ghostbusters, Sex and the City, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and many more.
30 Rockefeller Plaza
30 Rockefeller Plaza is the home to NBC and one of the most famous observation decks in New York City called Top of the Rock. The building was completed in 1933 and is located right next to the ice rink at Rockefeller Center.
The Plaza Hotel
The Plaza Hotel is one of the most iconic hotels and most famous buildings in New York City, most likely because of its big part in the movie Home Alone 2. It was opened in 1907 and is located on the southeast corner of Central Park on 5th Avenue.
Madison Square Garden
Madison Square Garden is and indoor sport arena and one of the most famous buildings in New York City. This is the home to the New York Knicks, Rangers, professional boxing, college basketball and much more, and the most famous and memorable sport events would be the 1970 Knicks Championship, the Rangers 1994 Stanley Cup Championship and the Fight of the Century between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in 1971. Famous artists have performed here over the years like Elvis Presley, John Lennon, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Madonna, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, U2, Bruce Springsteen and Taylor Swift.
New York Stock Exchange
The New York Stock Exchange is one of the most iconic and famous buildings in New York City and is located in the Financial District in Manhattan. This is one of the world’s largest marketplaces for securities and other exchange-traded investments.
Saint Patrick’s Cathedral
Saint Patrick’s Cathedral is not only one of the most famous buildings in New York City but also the most beautiful. It was competed in 1879 and is located on 5th Avenue in Midtown.
Common questions about buildings in New York:
Can I go up the One World Trade Center?
Yes, you can go up to the top of One World Trade Center and enjoy the amazing views of the city from the One World Observatory.
How can I get tickets to the Guggenheim Museum?
To visit the Guggenheim Museum, you can purchase tickets online or when you get to the museum.
How long does it take to explore the Metropolitan Museum of Art?
The Met has so much to see that it’s difficult to see everything in one visit. It’s recommended to allocate several hours or even multiple visits to fully appreciate the Met’s extensive exhibits and special collections.
Can I visit the Empire State Building’s observation decks?
Yes, the observation decks are located on the 86th and 102nd floors inside the Empire State Building.
Can you go inside the Flatiron Building?
No. The Flatiron Building is primarily occupied by offices, but visitors can enjoy the building from the outside.
Is the Empire State Building the tallest building in New York?
No. The tallest building in New York is One World Trade Center. Empire State Building was the tallest building in NYC but also in the whole world until 1970 when the first World Trade Center tower was built.
What is the tallest building in NYC?
The tallest building in New York is One World Trade Center. The building is 1,776 ft tall and 1,792 ft if you include the antenna.