• Caitlin McAninch

5 Epic Instagram Spots in New York City

Updated: Feb 16, 2019

I think Instagram has changed the way we travel. I’m guilty of planning vacations around things I see on Instagram. I don’t love to scroll through my feed anymore, but I do love searching for locations and hashtags of a place I’m traveling to in hopes of finding the best restaurants, hotels, and photo spots. Yes, photo spots. I will search Insta to find the best place to take pictures so I can go there and take photos. Super original, right?

But honestly, good performing posts on Instagram can be replicated and perform well again. That’s how social media works. Nothing is original. I could go on about this topic for hours… but instead. We’re going to talk Instagram spots in NYC. Because there are tons, and in my opinion, some are hard to pull off if you don’t know exactly where they are.

So let’s dive in! Here are five epic Instagram spots in New York City:

Top of the Roc

The views from the Top of the Roc are truly epic, I actually wrote an entire blog post here. You can get those beautiful landscape shots, as well as some incredible Instagram worthy photos.

One problem with this spot is it’s almost always busy. But don’t feel judged about taking photos. Straight up I saw a girl come up with us in the elevator, go change into this gorgeous dress in the bathroom, and she spun around while her boyfriend took photos. We’re all doing it, so just go for it.

I made sure to get shots from every observation deck. You never know which view the camera grabs is going to be best. One might be extremely great, or one might be ruined due to construction. You just never know, so take a million pics!

Where: 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10111, Enter on 50th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues

Cost: $36, unless you book a sight seeing tour.

Tips: Bring a buddy; have them stand on the top most observation deck while looking own at you standing on the deck below. Also, make use of the telescope stands, any shot with one of those is adorbs.

Some of my Insta shares:

Rooftop Bar

Similar to being on top of the Roc, views from up high are epic in New York City. I mean, my favorite part about the city is the fact that the entire city is just tall, not just one clump of buildings like LA or San Francisco. Views from a Rooftop Bar are incredible and make your $20 cocktail completely worth it. If you can get a photo with it.

I was lucky enough to stay at a hotel with a beautiful rooftop bar. We stayed at Pod 39 for two days, and the rooftop bar there is super trendy. I think it’s just called Pod 39 Rooftop, but if you Google it, it’s easy to find.

During our last day we went up there when it was empty to take some photos, and I’m still so in love with them. And although you can’t see the buildings in all of these, just think about all the Instagram photos you see that are in these adorably trendy restaurants and cafes? Same thing. You get a cute backdrop, and your photo should do solid!

And don’t think Pod 39 Rooftop is the only rooftop bar in NYC. It’s definitely not. Feel free to look up others!

Where: Pod 39, 145 E 39th St, New York, NY 10016, rooftop is open 12 pm – “late”

Cost: To go up, it’s free. Drink prices vary.

Tips: Try to go up early! The less people, the better. Also, when you walk in, if you head down the stairs to the right, you can see the Empire State Building though the arches.

Some of my Insta shares:

Central Park

As one of the most filmed locations in the world, it’s no surprise that Central Park is perfect for photos. Doesn’t matter where you are, it’s going to make for a good photo.

My favorite spot in the park for photos is Bethesda Terrace. I’m sure if you wake up early enough you can get some incredible photos. All mine were full of people, but I didn’t even care. I loved them!

Anywhere with greenery is also a good option. But don’t forget the Mall, any of the ponds/lakes, and if you can swing it, a bridge or boat pic.

Funny story: I got this ridiculous dress on Amazon to take on my last trip. I knew I wanted photos in Central Park in the dress, so we got there and I changed in a bathroom. We walked around for an hour getting pics. But when we were finished I wanted to take off the dress. I went into the bathroom near the big playground. It was gross in there… ick. But. I pulled my shorts out of my bag to change, and I accidently dropped them onto the soaked dirty ground. They smelled so bad. Omg. Shaking my head right now just thinking back at it. I had to walk 14 blocks back to our hotel in that stupid dress. I felt ridiculous. But you know what – those photos were DOPE and totally worth it.

Where: Anywhere in the park will be good.

Cost: Freeeee!

Tips: Just walk around and do it. The more you wander around, the more likely you are to find beautiful spots for photos. You can’t go wrong here.

Some of my Insta shares:

Times Square

Times Square is unlike anywhere in the world. Those bright signs, all the big city feels – I mean come on! You can’t beat that for a great Insta pic. This is probably one of the few places that having a big crowd actually will help you. It’s really cool to get a shot of you amongst the hundreds of visitors.

This might be a spot where a good camera comes in handy. Or a good photographer. Bad lighting just won’t work here.

Where: Times Sqaure – just Google it.

Cost: Freeeee!

Tips: I had my mom go stand on the TKTS stairs and take a photo of me far away. I loved the angle on that!

Some of my Insta shares:

Washington St. in Brooklyn

Oh Washington St. – how you have my heart when it comes to overly trendy spots for photos. DUMBO is perfect for stunning NYC pictures. You’re actually in Brooklyn, but, it’s still perf.

One of the most popular photos you will see in this area are photos on Washington St. Which is a road that dead ends with the backdrop of the Manhattan Bridge. I actually wrote all about it here.

Where: 45 Washington St, Brooklyn, NY 11201 (this is the address to the super cute coffee shop I went into after taking photos)

Cost: Freeeee!

Tips: The cross streets of Washingotn and Water are sort of best for photos. But I do recommend you sort of just walk down the street and take photos in different spots to get the views that you want.

Some of my Insta shares:

Hashtags and Shoes

One last thing. So you got the dope photo, don’t forget the Hashtags! A great hashtag will always help a photo. Here are some of the great ones I used for my photos that I posted, and also to get inspo on this trip!

#newyorklife #ilovenewyork #travelerinnewyork #citybestviews #newyorkstateofmind #nyc_explorers #timeoutnewyork #bestcitybreaks #loves_nyc #icapture_nyc #nyc_highlights #topnewyorkphoto

All of these photos in this post were some of my favorites from my trip and shared on my own instagram. If you're not already following me, be sure to check out my instagram!

One last thing I would love to mention is shoes. You know, I love my flips flops. They’re the most comfortable shoes I own so I wear them everywhere I travel. Sadly, I learned they do not photograph well. Ugly shoes ruined every beautiful photo I took in New York City. Maybe that’s why so many travel bloggers have barefoot feet in their photos… so last tip… take a cute pair of shoes with you for photos, even if you only put them on for the shot.

And one last litttttttle thing. Like I sort of said before… don’t feel silly ever. Taking photos is fun. And your vacation, do what you want.

Need more tips of what to do besides take pictures in New York City? I got you covered:

New York City

Distance: 2,690 miles

Driving Time: 1 day, 14 hours

#NewYorkCity #Activities