13 Most Instagram-Worthy NYC Tourist Spots To Visit

Photo: Joshua Earle on Unsplash
13 Most Instagram-Worthy New York City Tourist Spots To Visit And Take A Selfie Instagram Post

There’s nothing like summer in the city! As a little girl, I always dreamed of living in New York City. After countless days of begging, my parents would manage to come up with some reason for the family to make a trip.

No matter how many times I had been, stepping off the plane at JFK always felt like the first time again. I immediately felt that things so simple as walking down the street now had a new meaning and importance. I could be content with just sitting on a bench and watching the city go by.

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Flash forward to my senior year of high school. I applied to a dozen schools around the country. As the acceptance letters started rolling in I thought, “This is my chance to make the move.” A big, thick, white envelope with a New York address appeared stuffed in my mailbox in the Spring (and you know what the big, thick envelopes mean). I got in!

Now four years into living in New York City, I have had plenty of opportunities to get to know the different areas and attractions. I pinch myself every morning when I look out the window and see the Brooklyn Bridge shining in the sunlight. I also wonder if the big move is really worth it every time I pay my rent or my credit card bill. (Yikes! NYC prices are no joke.)

I’ve tried some of the trendiest and unique spots, both great and unfulfilling, to create this ultimate guide to cool and unique tourist spots to visit, take a selfie and post to Instagram. So, book your trip to the city and live life like a local for a bit!

1. Eataly NYC Flatiron

Credit: Instagram @lvxtex

Snuggled up between the highrise and high society buildings of the Flatiron District is a stunning garden rooftop restaurant that is perfect for a couple of drinks with friends or a romantic sunset dinner date. The Italian chain has a couple of locations throughout the city, but this particular spot excels beyond the rest. Knock out a couple of birds with one stone by checking out Madison Square Park and the gorgeous Flatiron Building on your way to your reservation!

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2. Tipsy Scoop (21+)

Credit: Instagram @dynooo

For all those women looking to celebrate their 21st birthday or bachelorette party in NYC, this is a must! The owners of Tipsy Scoop took an ice cream shop to the next level by infusing their treats with alcohol. With flavors like Cake Batter Vodka Martini, Dark Chocolate Whiskey Salted Caramel, and Raspberry Limoncello Sorbet, you are sure to catch a buzz while cooling off from the city heat. There is a standing menu at both the Manhattan and Brooklyn locations, with a couple of rotating seasonal flavors, dairy free, and vegan options as well!

3. The Vessel

Credit: Instagram @sephralamothe

Standing out as the newest completion of the up and coming neighborhood, Hudson Yards, The Vessel is an attraction that will give your steps and your Instagram picture for the day. The staircase serves as an interactive monument that reveals some pretty unbeatable views of the city if you can make it to the top of the 154 connecting staircases! While you are there, check out the new shopping center complete with an Athleta, Chanel, H&M, Louis Vuitton, and more!

4. Seaport District

Credit: Instagram @letasobierajski

Get lost in the beauty of the intermingling of old and new in the Seaport District of Lower Manhattan. Historic facades house new and trending spots that make this waterfront location a popular local hangout. Shopping, eating, and things to do are all packaged in one place! Check out Big Gay Ice Cream for a sweet treat, Pier 17 for a nighttime concert, or Sarah Jessica Parker’s pop-up shoe shore, SJP.

5. Brooklyn Bridge Park

Credit: Instagram @starleekaeck

A quick water taxi ride across the East River from Seaport will land you in Brooklyn Bridge Park. This is a great place for anyone traveling with kids. There are tons of playgrounds and open fields for the little ones to enjoy. Make sure to ride Jane’s Carousel, take a sunset yoga class with Dodge YMCA, or watch a free twilight movie with the park’s Movie With A View program to get the most out of your visit.

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6. Staten Island Ferry

Credit: Instagram @katelindquist

One of the best known local secrets is the best way to avoid paying an arm and a leg to see the Statue of Liberty. Hoping on the Staten Island Ferry gives you a 25-minute ride there and back to enjoy an incomparable view of Lower Manhattan and a drive-by right pass Lady Liberty herself! The ferry is completely free and makes 117 trips servicing 70,000 passengers daily!

7. The Rosé Mansion (21+) 

Credit: Instagram @viederae

The popular NYC Instagram post destination has returned after a brief hiatus over the winter. With over 120 different rosé wines to try, this interactive exhibit teaches you a thing or two about the process of winemaking all while keeping you hydrated, if you know what I mean! It’s the perfect mommy-daughter date for those over 21 years old. Each ticket comes with 8 complimentary tastes of rosé that match the theme of a completely decked out Instagram backdrop, but never fear, there are two bars ready to keep your party going!

8. Cupcake Market NYC

Credit: Instagram @frxxtime

This bakery in the East Village took Instagram by storm with their celebrity icing-decorated face cookies. This is the perfect prop for anyone who is obsessed with celebrity culture! Beyond the sugar cookies, the bakery has really great cupcakes, cookies, and cakes. My favorites are the vanilla bean cupcake with cookies and cream frosting and the smores and chocolate chip cookies.  

9. Levain Bakery

Credit: Instagram @mooglefett

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Staying on the bakery trend, Levain Bakery traditionally opens its doors to a line wrapped around the block. They are known for their decadently rich and gooey chocolate chip cookies. A quick search on Instagram will reveal the almost orgasmic videos of fans pulling apart the freshly baked goods. Indulgent is an understatement! This place is carb central. Not only are there cookies, but also cinnamon rolls, pizzas, scones, muffins, and loaves of bread! Excuse me while I slip into a food coma.

10. Barcade (21+)

Credit: Instagram @stephbruzas

Take a trip back into the depths of your childhood at this playground. With 25 beers on tap and a fully stocked bar, Barcade keeps the fun alive and flowing with the arcade games from your childhood all in one place. The inspiration for the bar came from a Williamsburg loft and a group of friends looking to extend the fun of video games and craft beer to their neighborhood. They also serve some mean bar food: sliders, nachos, pretzels, mozzarella sticks, and wings, to name a few of the options.

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11. Spot Dessert Bar

Credit: Instagram @olalemanowicz

Conveniently located across the street from the St. Marks Barcade location is this incredible dessert spot. Even better, it’s open until 1 a.m. on the weekends! The design of the shop is really sleek and clean. You have the option to sit down and enjoy the snack or take it to go. My favorites are Milky Puff, Cookie Camp, and The Garden. They also have some pretty heavenly ice creams creations.

12. Turnstyle

Credit: Instagram @bakedincolor

Shopping is a must-do on any NYC trip, and Turnstyle has made that even easier by creating an underground marketplace steps away from the Columbus Circle subway stop exit. With vendors such as Lush, Mulberry & Grand, Chick’n Cone, and Pasta by Hudson, you can shop and eat until your legs give out without stepping foot outside to brave the unpredictable NYC weather.

13. The Oculus

Credit: Instagram @itskatherinelee

Another underground shopping center rounds out this list of must-see NYC tourist spots. The Oculus is part of the Westfield World Trade Center shopping network. The facade is a beautiful, white bird-like structure with curtained windows that light up the mall’s center. It is home to shops like Forever 21, Victoria Secret, Kate Spade, Apple, Pandora, and more! As a bonus, it is steps away from the 9/11 memorial. It truly completes Lower Manhattan as a booming area for tourism.

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Madison Kerth is a writer who covers astrology, pop culture and relationship topics.