New York City is one of the most famous cities in the world. Some would argue that is right up there, on the top of the list. But what is New York City famous for?

To put in one sentence, visiting New York City is like stepping onto the most famous movie set, where everything has a story and even if you don’t know all the stories, you can tell that you’ve seen it before.

NYC is that city that is constantly featured in most movies, in which most streets are famous from a movie, serial, music song, where lots of celebrities lived and still live, the city with most millionaires and billionaires… New York City is the city with the most of everything. It might not be the most populated city, but the one with the most famous things.

So… What is New York City famous for?

New York City is where publicity was born and it is the city with the best PR and best marketing that a city can have. Even if you ask someone who has not been to New York, they would know about some if not all these places. That’s how famous New York is. And that’s all because of social media, movies, music, arts of all kinds, and because it is one of the fastest developing cities in modern history.

I’ll tell you right from the start that it would be impossible to list all the famous things, places or stories from New York City, so I will focus on the most famous of them all.

New York City has the world’s most famous places

The most famous parks, buildings, museums … are all located in New York City. They are all just a subway ride away from each other. Most of these famous places from New York City are recognized worldwide and are synonymous with New York City.

Weird things about New York City that struck me as non-American

They are probably the most common answer to “What is New York City famous for?”.

That’s why I will list some of the most famous places in New York City and probably, in the world.

  • Central Park – The most famous park worldwide
  • Empire State Building – The tallest building in the world for over 40 years, until 1972
  • The Statue of Liberty – A gift from the people of France to the people of the United States
  • The World Trade Center Memorial and the new One World building
  • Broadway street – The heart of the American commercial theatrical industry,
  • Times Square – one of the world’s most visited tourist attractions
  • Wall Street – the nucleus of the financial world
  • Grand Central Terminal – one of the world’s ten most visited tourist attractions
  • Brooklyn Bridge

These famous attraction from New York City are just a few that I could think of, from the top of my mind, but the list could go on and on. With every step you take in New York City, you will get to see something new and yet something you’ve seen on TV or heard from someone.

New York City is a melting pot

I’ve never heard this term before visiting New York, and it’s hard to understand it if you were born in a rather conservative country. (like I am)

New York City is a young city. It was founded in 1609 and today is one of the top cities in the world. New York is famous for it’s financial, advertising, entertainment sectors, and all of these were built by immigrants.

What is New York City famous for?

After America was discovered and this new city was founded, immigrants flooded from all over the world, seeking a better life and leaving their old one behind. These immigrants are the foundation stone of the great New York City and over the years, more tried to move here and that’s why New York City has one of the greatest cultural and ethnical diversity. That’s why it’s called a melting pot.

It is said that more than 800 languages are being spoken in New York City today, which makes it the most linguistically diverse city in the world.

This makes a lot of sense because NYC is the home to the largest foreign-born population in the world, over 3 million.

Today, the struggle is still there as many Americans and non-Americans try to move to the Big Apple. The competition is real and some don’t make it here.

There is a reason why they wrote that song “Concrete jungle”:

“In New York,
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There’s nothin’ you can’t do”

The Chinatown in New York City

Did you know that New York City has the largest Chinatown outside China?

Yes, it does. As you walk the streets around Soho, you take a few turns, and then out of nowhere, you find yourself in Chinatown. It’s like you accidentally fell into a different world because it’s nothing like the other neighbourhoods.

To be completely honest, Chinatown is not just one place. It’s the old Chinese quarters, but today this population, which is the largest Chinese population living outside China, is spread in the city, concentrated in a few areas. But Chinatown is by far the most densely populated by ethnic Chinese.

So, whenever you aks ourself What is New York famous for?, Chinatown has to come to mind.

The entire place is mindblowing, with all the traditional Chinese restaurants, markets, and everything else. And you won’t have to guess if you are in Chinatown, because the clear hint is that everything is first written in Chinese.

The diversity of cuisines

Food is always the answer.

As this is the spot where so many immigrants came to build a better life and built this wonder-city, they brought along with them their traditions and cuisine.

New York City is famous for its cuisine diversity because it’s the place where you can have whatever food you can dream of. Or better said, you can have them all, on the same day. You don’t need to travel to the other side of the planet, you only need to get to the right restaurant.

It was funny how on my first visit to New York City, everyone was encouraging me to try the food. And it’s weird because you don’t know WHAT food.

I am used to finding some specific, traditional meal when I travel someplace new. But in NYC, all food is great, it’s like having one giant international restaurant, in which the most difficult task is to choose what kind of cuisine you want.

I am not a big foodie, and I don’t spend my money on restaurants, but I can tell you that even the food I bought in the supermarket was tasty. Except for the honey-sweetened bread. That was weird.

New York City was the first capital of the United States

And capitals are some of the most famous cities in the world! Think of any country in the world (not the one you are living in) and name more than 1 city!

Usually, we just know the capital of most countries.

New York City was the capital of the United States from 1785 until 1790.

The New York City skyline

As there are many famous places, buildings and stories from New York City, I have to say that one of the most famous things from New York City is its skyline.

Weird things about New York City that struck me as non-American

The distinctive skyline of NYC has been featured in so many places, that it is known as a whole. The skyscrapers are a wonder, especially if you are like me, coming from a country with fewer tall structures. But the way they all look together, like a group photo of mankind’s ingenuity, it’s marvellous.

The 9/11 event

And if we are talking about the skyline of New York City, which we already decided that it is unmistakable, then we cannot help to remember the dreadful event that happened on the 11th of September, 2001. That was the day the Twin Towers (a distinctive part of NYC’s skyline) disappeared.

I won’t discuss the tragic event that happened that day, but all I can say is that even when such terrible things happen, it will eventually help a city and a nation to become stronger. And this also happened to New York City. The city grew further, as it does to this day.

Today you will find a memorial, on the spot of the World Trade Centre towers, and next to it, the One World Trade Centre tower was built.

One World Trade Centre

You can find online the entire story of what happened on 9/11 in New York City or you can visit the 9/11 Memorial.

The One WTC is the tallest building in the United States, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, and the seventh-tallest in the world.


This is a list of the things that came to my mind when I first asked myself “What if New York City famous for?”. Of course, there are so many others, but it would be impossible to list everything and for those who have not been to New York, getting in too many details wouldn’t be helpful.

I hope this list answered your question about what is New York City famous for and will shape your next visit to New York City.

What is New York City famous for?

Iulia Vasile

Iulia is a traveller and her obsession started in her teenage years. Her aim is to discover as much as possible from this world and to inspire others to do the same! The ultimate tool for self-improvement and personal growth is travelling and this is what she discovered after years of depression. Now she shares her stories here. Describing experiences for others who might need them.

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