With so many well-known photo spots, it can be hard to find secret places to take pictures in NYC. Luckily, I’m a wedding photographer in this city and have spent so much time exploring that I’ve rounded up some of the more unique places to take pictures in NYC.
One of the best things about New York City is how eclectic it is; every corner has a story, and every street is a snapshot in time. We all know those famous photo spots like Times Square and Central Park, but what about the secret, tucked-away places that have their own charm?
Whether you’re a local looking for new places to explore or you just want to snap some more unique photos of the Big Apple, finding these hidden gems can feel like striking gold. Keep reading to learn all about the best secret places to take pictures in NYC.
Secret Places to Take Pictures in NYC
The Max Family Garden
Nestled within the historic brick walls of an old 19th-century warehouse in the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn, The Max Family Garden is one of the best secret places to take pictures in NYC. Bursting with vibrant flowers, benches for resting, and picturesque views everywhere you look, it offers so many spots to snap a photo.
The blend of natural beauty and history in this space (along with the serenity that is often hard to find in NYC) makes this one spot that you can’t miss. If you want to take some photos that have a touch of charm and elegance, The Max Family Garden absolutely can’t be missed.
I know what you’re thinking, “Taking a photo in front of a restaurant? Really?” But believe me when I say that Delmonico’s exterior really stands out amongst the rest, offering an interesting piece of architecture to place behind you in any photos.
Delmonico’s itself is truly a historic hotspot; one of the chefs there, Charles Ranhofer, even invented the eggs benedict. (Yes, that eggs benedict, that’s literally on every breakfast menu across the United States.)
Capturing Delmonico’s is a must with its timeless elegance and culinary history. It truly is a striking backdrop for any photograph in the city.
Who doesn’t love some snacks while taking photos? Flushing’s Chinatown is a vibrant neighborhood filled with great pops of color that really add a touch of vibrance to any image that you take.
With bright signage, unique textures, and more, wandering around the neighborhood will show you why it’s a photographer’s playground. As you walk around, be sure to pop into some of the shops and even grab a bite to eat as you go.
Psst… some great food spots here include the Best North Dumpling Shop for juicy dumplings, White Bear for incredible wontons, or Kong Sihk Tong for Hong Kong food.
Gantry Plaza State Park
Gantry Plaza State Park covers 12 acres and has some incredible views of the Manhattan skyline. It’s situated on an old dockyard, and you can even find some pieces of the past throughout. The sunset at this park is absolutely stunning.
Believe it or not, one of the most Instagrammable places throughout the park is a historic Pepsi-Cola sign near the waterfront. Honestly, any spots along the water will provide you with stunning backdrops for any photos that you take.
Keep in mind that because it’s a state park, they’re open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. In the past, they’ve also required photo permits, so be sure to do your research beforehand to avoid any unplanned fees.
Squibb Park Bridge
For epic views of Lower Manhattan, head to Squibb Park Bridge, one of the best secret places to take pictures in NYC. It connects Squibb Park over to the Greenway, and when you time your visit just right, you can see the sun peeking through in the distance.
Even though the bridge is often used by bikers, walkers, and those on scooters, it has a zig-zag shape, so you can often find a time or two to snap a photo without others in the photo if you time it correctly.
Be sure to walk the full length of the bridge to see all the different viewpoints of the city skyline. It really changes the more you walk along it!
SoHo is one of the fancier neighborhoods in New York City, so while the neighborhood itself isn’t necessarily a secret NYC photo spot, there are lots of more hidden spots throughout the neighborhood that are just waiting to be stumbled upon. I recommend visiting this area and walking around to see what you find.
Some great starting points include Spring Street, Broadway, and the Prince Street subway. Walk down the lesser-visited streets, too, to see what you come across.
Staten Island Ferry
Hear me out with this one, but one of the more unique places to take pictures in NYC is literally on the Staten Island Ferry. Most people view the ferries as having one singular purpose: to move them from one place to another. But they also can provide a unique photo setting.
Obviously, try to avoid rush hour on the ferry to get the best photos. You can take some really unique portraits sitting on the benches. Or, go and stand near the edge of the boat to get views of the city in the distance, making for a perfect photo.
Little Red Lighthouse
Most people don’t know that New York City actually has its own lighthouse and it’s vibrant red. The Little Red Lighthouse is located underneath the George Washington Bridge along the Hudson River in Fort Washington Park. Once you see it, you’ll never be able to unsee it because of how vibrant it is.
The lighthouse was built in 1880 but was moved to its current location in 1921. There are some tours available that will allow you to climb up to the top of the lighthouse with a guide, getting great views all around.
The Beekman is a luxury hotel in downtown NYC right near the Brooklyn Bridge. Even though the rooms are relatively modern, the hotel has a lot of charm since it dates back to the 18th century. It has a sense of luxury and charm that you really can’t beat, hinting at the timeless part of New York City.
Many of the main areas inside The Beekman are truly jaw-dropping, and there’s so much natural light. You’ll even find antique bookshelves lining the walls, providing a fun background for all types of photos.
Green Acres Park
Skip out on visiting Central Park and visit Green Acres Park instead, one of the top secret places to take pictures in NYC. The park is privately owned, so it’s fairly well-maintained but accessible by the public. It’s right in the Turtle Bay neighborhood.
This urban park really has a more intimate atmosphere, providing a great spot to take photos. The tranquility is really a breath of fresh air. Walk through to hear serene waters (be sure to find the waterfall) and even relax on a bench or two. The park opened in the 1970s and has been a great place to visit ever since.
Art Galleries in Chelsea
Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood may be well-known for the Chelsea Market and The High Line, but it also has many art galleries scattered throughout. Many of them make for incredible backgrounds in photos, and not many people think to visit them for that!
You could spend an entire day visiting the many galleries here. If you take any photos, ask for any permissions needed because you would be photographing art in any of your images.
City Hall Subway Station
Last but certainly not least is the City Hall Subway Station. This was the city’s first-ever subway station, opening back in 1904. Unfortunately, it later closed in 1945, but overall, it has maintained its beauty.
If you ever find yourself riding the 6 train line ending at the Brooklyn Bridge, then you’ll find that your train will make a U-turn through this station.
To actually go inside the station, you will have to join in on one of the members-only tours at the New York Transit Museum. Even if you just see it from a train window, you could snap a great photo of the history, making for a memorable photo.
Final Thoughts: Unique Places to Take Pictures in NYC
I hope this post has helped you to find some secret places to take pictures in NYC. And remember, this is by no means a comprehensive list; you can go out and find many hidden spots of your own by exploring the city. Sometimes, the best photo spots are ones that you just happen to stumble upon.