Beyond its towering skyscrapers and bustling streets, New York, NY, holds a treasure trove of hidden gems, enchanting neighborhoods, and picturesque locations that beckon locals and tourists alike. From the iconic Central Park, with its sprawling meadows and winding pathways, to the dazzling lights of Times Square at night, the city is home to a number of spots to explore. Whether you’re looking to rent an apartment in Brooklyn, purchase a house in Queens, or just visit for the week, exploring the beautiful places in this vibrant city is an adventure that promises to inspire you. In this Redfin article, we will look at some of the places that make New York City a true urban paradise.
1. Central Park
Central Park covers around 843 acres and is one of the most iconic urban green spaces in the world. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, it offers a wide range of attractions, from the Central Park Zoo and the famous Bethesda Terrace to the picturesque Bow Bridge and the expansive Great Lawn.
“My favorite place in New York City is Central Park,” remarks local newborn photographer Magenta BY Melissa. “It is a one-of-a-kind mix of natural beauty, important culture, and chances for fun. Not to mention, It gives you a break from the city’s craziness. It’s like no other city park and makes New York, New York.
Melissa recommends visiting the park in the morning with freshly brewed coffee to see the cute dogs running around.
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2. Charlotte Beach
“My favorite beautiful place in New York is Charlotte Beach in Brooklyn,” remarks New York portrait photographer Shearer Portraits. “It’s set inside Marsha P. Johnson State Park and is extremely peaceful. It offers a sandy beach, great seating, and amazing views of Manhattan across the East River.
3. Williamsburg waterfront
The Williamsburg waterfront is a picturesque stretch that has significantly transformed in recent years. Once dominated by industrial warehouses, it has become a trendy area where visitors enjoy breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline, scenic parks like Domino Park, and various recreational activities. The waterfront is also dotted with chic restaurants, bars, and shops.
4. Tudor City Bridge
Tudor City Bridge, also known as the Prospect Hill Bridge, is an iconic pedestrian bridge spanning over 42nd Street in Manhattan.
“Tudor City Bridge is one of the most hidden, beautiful places in the city. The angles of the buildings create the perfect frame for timeless images of New York,” says Khonsu, curator of custom NYC experiences.
5. East Room of J. Pierpont’s Library
“My pick for the most beautiful place in New York City is the East Room of J. Pierpont’s Library at The Morgan Library and Museum. Spanning three levels in a lavishly decorated room, the library in the East Room is a bibliophile’s dream. The ground floor features a rotating display of rare manuscripts and books, and the top two levels, while off-limits to visitors, can be appreciated from below. It is a hidden gem in New York and somewhere that I always recommend to friends visiting the city,” notes Julia Martin of Bookish Wayfarer.
6. The cable car to Roosevelt Island
The Roosevelt Island Tramway, often referred to as the Roosevelt Island cable car, is an aerial tramway that connects Manhattan to Roosevelt Island. Offering breathtaking views of the East River and the city skyline, it provides a scenic and efficient mode of transportation for residents and visitors alike.
“For amazing city views, I love taking the cable car to Roosevelt Island,” states local Amy Nghe Photography. “There is a great rooftop bar and restaurant at the top of the Graduate Hotel where you can take 360° views of NYC on a beautiful day.”
7. Robotic Church
The Robotic Church consists of 50 computer-controlled pneumatic sculptures as part of a site-specific installation and performance series.
“I had the amazing opportunity to visit the Robotic Church, where I witnessed a performance by fifty humanoid robots created by the Amorphic Robotic Works collective, founded by Chico MacMurtie in 1991. It was an awe-inspiring experience to see these robots communicate through sound and body language to tell the story of evolution and humankind. At the same time, Chico MacMurtie led the performance from the control tower situated at the top of the former church nave,” shares Richard Tiland, President of New Evolution Video and dk3studios.
8. Museum of Natural History
The American Museum of Natural History, located in New York City, is one of the largest and most prestigious natural history museums in the world, housing an extensive collection of pieces.
“The museum is located in New York City’s Upper West Side neighborhood, and you can visit multiple exhibits of the natural world, some of which include The Hayden Planetarium and the great Blue Whale,” shares Simba Production.
9. Noguchi Museum
Located in Long Island City, Queens, the Noguchi Museum is a dedicated institution to the works of renowned Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi.
“I can think of no better way to spend a few hours on a hot summer day than meandering through the Noguchi Museum’s galleries and garden,” raves food and travel blog Anita’s Feast. “It is easy to linger here, to appreciate the texture, color, and composition of cuts in the stone of the sculptor’s larger works. Soothing, contemplative, and thought-provoking, the museum in Long Island City is worth a stop any time of year. In summer, the Noguchi is a true oasis.”
Photo courtesy of Anita’s Feast
10. Squibb Park Bridge
The Squibb Park Bridge is a pedestrian bridge in Brooklyn designed to provide a scenic pathway between Brooklyn Bridge Park and Squibb Park, offering stunning views of the East River and Manhattan skyline.
Local photographer Abby Cope states, “Squibb Park Bridge, in Dumbo, links Brooklyn Heights to the waterfront via an adorable pathway with big views of lower Manhattan.”
11. Prospect Park
Prospect Park is an urban oasis that spans over 500 acres of lush greenery, rolling meadows, and serene water features. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the same architects behind Central Park, Prospect Park offers relaxation and recreational opportunities. This meticulously landscaped park boasts a diverse array of attractions, including the serene Lullwater, the iconic Boathouse, and the picturesque Long Meadow, which is one of the longest continuous stretches of meadow in any urban park in the United States.
12. The Strand on Broadway
The Strand Bookstore has multiple locations famous for its extensive collection of new, used, and rare books.
“The Strand on Broadway is a must-see for writers and readers to visit,” remarks Hotel Sales Focus. “The famous slogan, ‘18 Miles of Books,’ is justified with high-ceiling rooms containing more than 2.5 million new and used titles. While you may get better pictures at the Statue of Liberty or the American Museum of Natural History, you won’t experience a better NYC vibe than at The Strand.”
13. Randall’s Island
Randall’s Island is a 273-acre landmass situated in the East River, primarily used for recreational purposes. It offers many facilities, including sports fields, tennis courts, a golf center, and beautiful parks, making it a popular destination for outdoor activities and events.
“I have a growing appreciation for Randall’s Island. It is a quiet oasis away from the city, not nearly as crowded as Central Park. It is a great place to picnic, ride bikes, and walk. When you cross the footbridge on 103rd Street, approaching the center, there is the most amazing breeze,” notes Nancy Zafrani, General Manager of Oz Moving & Storage, with 30 years in the industry and a lifetime of knowledge as a New Yorker.
14. Wave Hill
Wave Hill is a public garden and cultural center located in the Riverdale neighborhood of the Bronx. On 28 acres overlooking the Hudson River and the Palisades, Wave Hill boasts meticulously landscaped gardens, woodlands, and rolling lawns that provide a picturesque backdrop for art exhibitions, outdoor concerts, and educational programs. Visitors can explore the serene aquatic garden, the vibrant wild garden, and the fragrant flower garden, all meticulously designed to offer a harmonious blend of natural beauty and horticultural artistry.
15. The many entertainment venues
New York City is a global hub for entertainment, boasting an array of venues that cater to every taste and preference. Among its most famous attractions are the iconic Broadway theaters, located in the renowned Theater District of Manhattan. Broadway showcases world-class theatrical productions with shows such as “Hamilton” at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, and “Hadestown” at the Water Kerr Theatre. These venues are not only celebrated for their top-notch performances but also for their historical significance in the world of theater.
Maestra Music notes, “From the Theater District in Midtown at the West Bank Cafe before a show to Central Park near the Delacorte Theater for summer picnics and vibing out at Chelsea Music Hall for concerts, we are always open to exploring new places to connect and create lasting memories.”
16. Grand Banks
Grand Banks is an oyster bar and maritime-inspired restaurant located on a historic schooner docked at Pier 25 in Manhattan’s Hudson River Park.
“The Grand Banks is my favorite spot in New York City,” shares local blogger Loving New York. “You sit on a two-master, enjoy the view of the Hudson River and the One World Trade Center, and can eat really delicious seafood. Especially in the evening, a visit is worthwhile because you have the best sunset view from here.”
17. The Cloisters
The Cloisters is a museum in Fort Tryon Park at the northern tip of Manhattan. Part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, it is renowned for its unique focus on European medieval art and architecture. The museum is a literal and figurative masterpiece, as it incorporates architectural elements from several medieval European monasteries and features a stunning collection of over 5,000 medieval artworks, including illuminated manuscripts, sculptures, stained glass windows, textiles, and more.