New York is absolutely inseparable from its famous buildings! Architecture fan or not, we definitely can’t stay indifferent to such buildings. When we arrive in NYC for the first time, we spend a crazy amount of time with our eyes up in the air looking at what’s going on up there!

Today we are going to discover the most beautiful buildings of the city with this top 10 of the must-see buildings in New York City. All of them are famous, some of them are the tallest buildings, some of them are the oldest and some of them are the most controversial… You will just have to include them in your itineraries 🙂

How many buildings are there in New York City?

The Emporis database, which specializes in buildings and large constructions around the world, estimates the number of buildings in NYC at … 6,827! But beware, these 6,827 buildings are in fact only the tallest buildings, i.e. buildings with several dozen floors.

In total, if we include small buildings and houses (even if we don’t see them much in Manhattan, houses are very common in the other boroughs of the city), we arrive at a total of almost 731,000 buildings! This means that architecture enthusiasts will find plenty to see in NYC! But above all, a certain number of buildings are world famous. I suggest you to discover them now just below.

Empire State building

     ➜ Where to find it ?

20 West 34th Street, New York City (Midtown)

Probably the most famous building in the world (yes it is!). Inaugurated on May 1, 1931, its construction cost a total of nearly 25 million dollars. With a total height of 443 meters (1453 feet), it is made up of 102 floors, most of which are used for offices. Today, it also houses the famous observatory that allows you to admire the incredible panorama of NYC while being in the most emblematic building of the city. A real symbol not to be missed!

Find tickets for the Empire State building Observatory

Chrysler building

     ➜ Where to find it ?

405 Lexington Avenue, New York City (Midtown East)

Also inaugurated in the early 1930s, its art-deco style quickly attracted the attention of architecture lovers around the world. Indeed, the Chrysler building is easily distinguished from other buildings by its emblematic spire. More than 30 meters high (98 feet), it is now one of the most famous images of the city. And it has always been my favorite building in NYC!

Its construction cost a total of nearly 15 million dollars. With a total height of 319 meters (1,046 feet), it is made up of 77 floors, most of which are also used for offices. However, the Chrysler building does not currently have an observatory.

One World Trade Center

     ➜ Where to find it ?

285 Fulton Steet, New York City (Financial District, Lower Manhattan)

A symbol of NYC’s rebirth after the 9/11 attacks, One World Trade Center has now become another icon of the city. Inaugurated on November 3, 2014 after 7 years of work, its construction cost a total of nearly $4 billion (yes yes!). With a total height of 546 meters (1791 feet), it consists of 94 floors and has become a true flagship of contemporary architecture.

For a long time, One World Trade Center was the tallest building in the world. Today, it has dropped off the podium, but it is still a fabulous building with a strong emotional dimension. At its top is an observatory, the One World Observatory, which offers a wonderful panoramic view of the whole Manhattan island.

Find tickets for the One World Observatory

Flatiron building

     ➜ Where to find it ?

175 5th Avenue, New York City (Chelsea / Flatiron)

The Flatiron building is nothing less than one of the oldest buildings in New York City! Located in a strategic location, at the intersection of Broadway and 5th Avenue, it is difficult to miss it when walking around!

Inaugurated in 1902, it was at the time one of the highest buildings in the city! With a height of 87 meters (285 feet), it consists of 21 floors, most of which are used for offices. A very nice performance for that time! Today, the Flatiron is a true emblem of NYC’s patrimony and is registered as a historical monument in the city and the country.

432 Park Avenue

     ➜ Where to find it ?

432 Park Avenue, New York City (Midtown)

Famous for having made headlines at the time of its construction, 432 Park Avenue is a precursor in New York City since it was the very first realization of a new style of skyscraper appeared in the mid-2010s: “pencil towers”. These constructions, known for being very tall and thin, took a long time to impose themselves in the city landscape. For a long time, they were criticized for disfiguring the famous skyline. It is now fully part of it and has even been joined by other pencil towers (discover them below).

Inaugurated in April 2015, its construction cost a total of 1 billion 250 million dollars. With a total height of 425 meters (1394 feet), it consists of 85 floors of apartments. The building was even for a long time the highest residential building over the world.

Woolworth building

     ➜ Where to find it ?

233 Broadway, New York City (Lower Manhattan)

Another historical building, recognizable by its neo-gothic style and its height, very impressive for its time. This skyscraper was even the highest building in the world between 1913 and 1930! It consists of a main tower (the highest), itself framed by two smaller towers. The building thus has a very characteristic U shape.

Inaugurated in April 1913, its construction cost a total of 13.5 million dollars. With a total height of 241 meters (790 feet), it is made up of 57 floors, most of which are used for offices.

56 Leonard Street

     ➜ Where to find it ?

56 Leonard Street, New York City (Tribeca)

Also known as the Jenga building or Jenga Tower, this recent construction has quickly become a true icon of lower Manhattan. Very easy to observe, the building is simply the tallest skyscraper in the residential area of Tribeca. It is categorized in the “deconstructivist” style.

Inaugurated in 2017, the building consists of 145 apartments sold between $3.5 million and $47 million. At 250 meters tall (820 feet), the building has 60 floors.

Manhattan Municipal Building

     ➜ Where to find it ?

1 Centre Street, New York City (Civic Center, Lower Manhattan)

This is a building that is hard to miss when walking in the south of Manhattan, especially in the surroundings of the Brooklyn Bridge. We are here in the administrative district of the city which gathers many municipal and federal buildings. There is for example the City Hall and this huge building with an amazing volume: the Manhattan Municipal building.

At the beginning of the 1910s, New York City, then in full expansion, lacked administrative buildings. So in 1914, this huge building of 90 000m2 (968,751 square feet) was inaugurated. Today, the building welcomes 2,000 municipal workers every day and it is one of the biggest administrative buildings over the world!

With a total height of 177 meters (580 feet), it consists of 40 floors and is crowned at its top by a statue of 8 meters high (26 feet) : the Civic Fame.

One Vanderbilt

     ➜ Where to find it ?

51 East 42nd Street, New York City (Midtown East)

One Vanderbilt, surrounded by the Empire State building and the Chrysler building.

One of the first buildings of the 2020s to be built in New York City. With its characteristic pyramid shape, One Vanderbilt combines modernity and originality. Located in the heart of the city, in Midtown, it is just a few steps away from Grand Central Terminal, the iconic New York City train station.

Inaugurated in September 2020, its construction cost a total of nearly 3.3 billion dollars. With a total height of 427 meters (1,400 feet), it consists of 193 floors, most of which will be used for offices. It also has a new generation observatory at the top (called Summit) which will offer a completely new sensorial experience.

Find tickets for Summit

Central Park Tower & Steinway Tower

     ➜ Where to find them ?

Central Park Tower : 225 West 57th Street, New York City (Midtown)

Steinway Tower : 111 West 57th Street, New York City (Midtown)

The Steinway Tower on the left and the Central Park Tower on the right, seen from the Upper East Side.

And finally, two skyscrapers that represent the architectural future of New York City! Located both on the southern side of Central Park, these two buildings have on the one hand, the same architectural style and on the other hand, are located a few hundred meters from each other. You will of course recognize the famous “pencil tower” style! To admire them, there is nothing like a little walk in Central Park. You will then easily see these surprising towers immensely high and thin.

The Central Park Tower is inaugurated in 2020. Its construction cost a total of nearly 3 billion dollars. With a total height of 472 meters (1,548 feet), the building is made up of 98 floors, most of which are used for luxury condos.

The Steinway Tower is inaugurated in 2022. Its construction cost about 2 billion dollars. With a total height of 435 meters (1,427 feet), the building consists of 91 floors, most of which are used for luxury condos.

NYC’s famous buildings on the map

Here is a map of all the buildings we have just talked about. Now it’s up to you to find them in Manhattan 🙂

That’s it! You now know where to find the most iconic buildings in the big apple! If you still have questions about this topic, feel free to ask them in comments.

Written by


I’m a french travel blogger, crazy about New York City! Since I discovered NYC in 2014, each trip is an opportunity to learn more about the secrets of this fantastic city. I wish you a pleasant visit on my blog, with I hope, a lot of beautiful discoveries!