Manhattan’s diverse architecture makes the city an ideal destination for design lovers. Everything from iconic skyscrapers to old-school brownstones to contemporary creations has a place here. In one day in Manhattan, you might encounter the turn-of-the-century landmarked building and “groundbreaking skyscraper” the Flatiron Building, a mid-19th-century bridge in Central Park, and medieval French cloisters at the Met Cloisters.
Among the city’s various structures are a few façades that you might find familiar. Manhattan is home to some of the world’s most globally recognized icons, including the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, Washington Square Arch, and Brooklyn Bridge. It should come as no surprise, then, that some of the city’s most Instagrammed sites are ones you’ve already seen.
It’s at popular landmarks like these where you’ll encounter another iconic aspect of New York City: its unique, bustling energy. While you can witness its glamorous chaos just about anywhere in the city, certain areas practically guarantee a meeting with the lively Manhattan of movies. At Grand Central Station, 750,000 people pass through every day to commute in and out of the city or, like you, to simply take in the surroundings. Meanwhile, at international tourist destination Times Square, tourists, street performers, and the occasional naked cowboy (look it up) crowd the city streets.
Speaking of Times Square, you’ll quickly learn some Manhattan attractions (“tourist traps”) are more popular than others. Museum Mile, a Fifth Avenue stretch that accommodates seven of the city’s major museums, hosts more than its fair share of shutterbugs and culture vultures. Further downtown, you’ll find an elevated oasis housing more plants than people at the High Line. Despite their selfie-stick-wielding slow walkers, these attractions (and the photo ops they provide) are worth braving the crowds for.
Once you’ve had your fill of tourist crowds (and that time will come), hunt down a hidden corner of Manhattan to enjoy some “locals only” sights. Thanks to camera-carrying New Yorkers, hitherto hidden areas of the city, such as the West Village and its charming Bank Street or Lower Manhattan’s Battery Park, are shared for all to see—and snap.