New York’s skyline is so recognisable – isn’t it? When someone mentions it – I can’t help but picture that outline in my mind’s eye. The iconic buildings in New York make the vista of our city so special. As a tour guide who rides around New York every day, I’m reminded that it’s not just the tall skyscrapers that make the city what it is – there are other incredible structures that reside a little closer to the ground, which are just as spectacular. 

So – here’s my Gray Line New York listicle on the most iconic buildings in New York. How many of these are on your itinerary for your next visit to NYC? (And, if you’d like a ride around the city to check them out in style – then get in touch. There’s no better way to explore our buildings, and what’s inside them, than a hop on hop off tour with our team at GrayLine New York).

The Flatiron Building, New York City 

This triangular shaped building is so memorable. I am sure it is one of the most talked about buildings by visitors to NYC. Dating back to 1902, the design was so different that people were concerned it would fall down! Over one hundred years later it is still standing, and still drawing a crowd! 

The wonderfully unique Flatiron Building in New York City

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Like the Flatiron Building, the Solomon Guggenheim museum was not welcomed with open arms when it opened. Perhaps its curved spiral shape was just too notable at that stage? However, since then it has grown on New Yorkers, and our visitors, to become one of the city’s best loved museums – as much for the memorable building, as for the art that’s inside it.

Grand Central Terminal 

Grand Central Terminal, New York, is the largest railroad terminal in the world, and I am sure it must be the most beautiful too. It is huge, grand and handsome. I think the interior is probably more beautiful than the exterior. Where, except New York, would you find a railroad station with a starry painted ceiling or a huge clock cased in Tiffany glass?

The stunning interior of Grand Central

New York Public Library

This building was more than 10 years in the making. Opening back in 1911, it is one of the city’s most beautiful public spaces. I am particularly fond of Patience and Fortitude – the two lions that proudly guard the Fifth Avenue entrance. Take a trip inside to find a beautifully painted ceiling that will show you blue skies and light wispy clouds, whatever the weather outside.

Empire State Building 

The Empire State Building is an Art Deco masterpiece – and perhaps the city’s most beloved structure. Completed in 1931 – just one year after the Chrysler Building, it became New York’s tallest building. Yes – that record has now been surpassed, but its status and sense of style has not. For this reason, the Empire State holds a special place in my heart, that’s for sure. 

The Empire State Building in NYC

Radio City Music Hall 

Boasting a beautiful set of neon lights that just scream, ‘come, let us entertain you’, the Radio City Music Hall theater has been a New York City stalwart since the 1930s. Inside and out – this striking New York building is so retro – in a very classy sense. 

One World Trade Center

One of the newest buildings in New York – the One World Trade Center is certainly the one with the most significant story and history. Now the tallest building in New York City – the One World Trade Center is an awesome stop on any itinerary, thanks to its 360 degree views of Manhattan and the fastest elevator in the Western world. For more information, check out our blog About the One World Trade Center!

One of the most significant, and moving, buildings in NYC – One World Trade Center

St. Patrick’s Cathedral 

New York’s St Patrick’s Cathedral proudly boasts its neo Gothic credentials amongst its Midtown skyscraper neighbours. This juxtaposition of old and new, somehow works perfectly.  It’s refreshing to happen upon this house of worship amongst all the bustle and business that prevails in this part of town. 

Metropolitan Museum of Art 

I love the grand air of this building. Also known as ‘The Met’ – it is one of the world’s largest and most significant art museums, with 2 million works in its permanent collection.  Located close to Central Park – on Museum Mile, Fifth Avenue, this neoclassical structure dates back to the late 19th Century. It holds more artefacts than you’d ever be able to see in your life, and has regularly been expanded with more modern wings to make room, however, it’s never lost its grace or gravitas. 

The graceful Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Chrysler Building 

This skyscraper– located on the lower east side of Manhattan – is instantly recognisable.  It’s not the tallest structure in New York, but it is a heavyweight in architectural circles – where it is considered to be one of the finest buildings in New York City, thanks to its status a classic example of Art Deco construction. 

I love showing off these buildings because they create such vivid memories for our visitors to NYC. Once home, when you think about New York – some of these structures will dominate the images in your mind’s eye. So this could be looking up at an iconic and towering skyscraper or exploring unforgettable museums. They all combine to give New York its unique atmosphere and skyline. 

Without a doubt, GrayLine New York can give you the very best views of our buildings. From the top deck of our Hop on Hop Off bus tour – you can travel around the city seeing these sights, before hopping off to investigate what’s inside. Want to see the complete skyline? Check out our Hop On Hop Off cruise, on which you can sail past our most famous buildings, or try out our Night-time tour that takes in Brooklyn – from where you’ll get an unimpeded view of the Manhattan skyline. We’ll help you make your memories! Get in touch to find out more!

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