It is no surprise that one of the largest cities in the world is one of the favorites for professional photographers, and avid picture takers. The landscape of New York City alone offers endless photo opportunities, backdrops, and iconic spots that many only dream of seeing – how could you not pull out the camera? Read on for our favorite family photo opp spots in NYC. Happy Snapping!
Top of the Rock – of Magical Central Park
Location: Many of the large boulders are situated in the south side of Central Park. The one pictured here is located mid-park – horizontal from 63rd street and located just north of Heckscher Playground
Who needs a rooftop view when natural boulders exist like this in Central Park? There are many incredible views to discover in magical Central Park, the most visited urban green space in the United States; however, there is one rocking view that will take your breath away. The tall boulder located near to Heckscher playground is almost as famous as the park itself for its expansive city skyline that perfectly peaks over the lush green tree line. Family tip: Climbing the rock to reach the top takes caution (it is a boulder after all!) however with a little hand holding and careful footing it is a safe adventure for all ages.
Top of the Brooklyn Bridge
Location: The East River – Connecting Lower Manhattan and DUMBO Brooklyn. Entrances to Pedestrian Walkways: City Hall Park, near Center Street in Manhattan; Tillary Street and Boerum Place, as well as the Washington Street underpass, in DUMBO.
There’s no better place to get eye level with skyscrapers than the iconic Brooklyn Bridge walkway for pedestrians. The one-mile long walkway over the East River runs directly over the traffic bridge that connects lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. Walking along this historic bridge is one of the most iconic (and free!) experiences New York City has to offer—it’s truly a rite of passages for little New York visitors of all ages (and the picture opportunities are endless!). Family Tip: Start the walk from the Manhattan side and then grab a pie at one of the famous Pizzerias on the other side, in Brooklyn. Doesn’t walking over one of the most famous bridges in the country deserve a special treat?
First Street Green Art Park
Location: 1st Street at the Corner of Houston and 2nd Ave
First Street Green Art Park is an open art park in Manhattan’s Lower East Side that features a rotating array of incredible art that’s open to the public and readily on display. On any given day you can find a wide assortment of graffiti murals, sculpture, and ongoing cultural activity in the closed alleyway. It’s a colorful abyss, and a tour of this incredible area is one not to miss when you are visiting the area. Family Tip: The park continues in the green space that runs alongside Houston street – be sure to keep walking to see all the amazing pieces and for some nature meets art pictures.
Location: Junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue. Manhattan. Times Square stretches from West 42nd to West 47th Streets.
The juxtaposition of a small child against the crossroads of the world, a ginormous intersection, is something you can’t find anywhere else. The lights, sights, and billboard signs of Times Square are mesmerizing for all ages. Family Tip: Head to Times Square early morning and grab a bagel from the local deli to go. There are virtually no people or tourists, plenty of seating (try the TKTS bleachers!), and the shimmering video lights beat any morning cartoon viewing. Breakfast while sitting in the crossroads of the world will be one you won’t forget.
Rose Main Reading Room
Location: 476 5th Ave (between W 40th & W 42nd St)
There may be no more regal setting in NYC then the Rose Main Reading Room located in the New York Public Library. The library welcomes millions of visitors a year from across the world who come to see the majestic interior spaces, unique research collections and exhibitions. Spanning almost 300 feet (the length of a football field!) the sprawling room is outfitted with chandeliers and stunning ceiling murals of clouds. Sit back and take in the grandeur, and you may realize that this is the same room as featured in the original 1984 film, Ghostbusters. The famous room has been again featured on media as of late – as it was just given the prestigious landmark designation by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Family Tip: Be sure to head downstairs to the Children’s Library, it’s here where the original Winne the Pooh and friends stuffed animals are on display.
The Hills on Governors Island
Location: Governor’s Island, located in New York Harbor, south of Lower Manhattan. The Hills are in the southwestern section of Governs Island, near to Picnic Point.
There’s one HILL of a view (and photo opportunity) on the Hills in Governor’s Island. This grassy abyss sits high above the island, giving visitors unrivaled views of the harbor, Statue of Liberty, and Lower Manhattan. Not just this one hill – there are plenty of other photo thrills in the newly redeveloped part of Governor’s Island – including slides, climbing rocks, endless grass for relaxing and a hammock grove for when all this requires mom and dad to get a quick nap in. A fun afternoon for all. Family Tip: The gorgeous (and virtually free) ferry ride over is alone well worth the trip for the photo opps.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art Rooftop
Location: 1000 5th Avenue New York, NY, on the East side of Central ParkUp on the roof with world-class art and an incredible view – who could ask for more? Overlooking Central Park’s greenery, the jaw-dropping rooftop terrace is one not to miss. The Cantor Roof is open seasonally with a rotating array of incredible art, and by far one of the most perfect views of the Manhattan skyline and Central Park. Family Tip: The Cantor Roof Garden Bar has Cocktails and light fare in an open-air setting, with includes water, juice, and light snacks- perfect for all ages of the family.
Row Boats in Central Park
Location: Loeb Boathouse Central Park – enter the park from 72nd street nad 5th avenue and walk Northwest to find the rowboats located on the Lake Shore.
Row row row your boat to the heart of Central Park at the Loeb Boathouse row boat rentals. These incredible boats require quite the arm workout; however, the effort is rewarded with beautiful views of Bethesda Fountain, the Central Park Lake, and of course the Manhattan skyline peeking over the green landscape. A must-do during your visit in the park (and some wonderful water picture opportunities for the family!). Family Tip: After, walk the short distance to get a closer look at Bethesda Terrace – the amazing fountain is gorgeous and typically surrounded by street performers including bubble magicians (all are looking for a small tip to work their magic).
Location: Staple Street is an alley located in Tribeca and runs between Duane to Harris Street.
One staple location in every photographer’s collection is Staple Street in Tribeca. This narrow passageway is flanked by amazing abandoned-building architecture, including an old sky bridge that connects across the alleyway. Graffiti artists keep the landscape here ever-changing, but one thing that will never change is the urban setting that this street proclaims. The alley is famous for its many movie placements and is a wonderful backdrop for photo shoots, due to its pristine lighting and warm tone buildings. Family Tip: Be sure to stop by the neighboring Balloon Saloon – a NYC Institution that sells endless novelties, toys and games, and a truly wild balloon collection on display outside of the store.
Pebble Beach, Brooklyn Bridge Park
Location: Pebble Beach is located in Brooklyn Bridge Park, a waterfront park in DUMBO, Brooklyn
A rocking view awaits you at Pebble Beach, a rocky water entryway to the East River Waterfront. Aside from the rocks and the lapping river, the real winner here is the JAW DROPPING lower Manhattan skyline view in front of you. A popular place for photographers to snap weddings and other special engagements, you can bet that you will see plenty of couples during your visit with a lens in front of them. Get your lens out too – there literally may be no better “New York” view than this. Family Tip: A pebble beach trip wouldn’t be complete without a twirl on Jane’s Carousel. It sits in a clear glass jewel box right on the water’s edge and is only a very short walk away from here.
About the Author
Traveler, explorer, art seeker and non-sleeper – Beth Beckman of Little Kid Big City lives in Manhattan with her husband, 5-year-old son, and a mini dachshund with a not so mini personality. She is an avid explorer and traveler and having lived in Manhattan for 16 years – a bona fide New York City expert. She highlights her collection of big-city adventures and travels on her website. Beth is currently taking her love for adventure to paper, Little Kid Big City: Adventure Series is currently in the works and will be an illustrated children’s travel guide unique to anything on the market today. The book series is starting first in New York City and soon expanding to large cities across the globe.
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