The Best NYC Spots for Your Holiday Family Photo Shoot

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Yeah, it’s been 80 degrees in NYC recently, and the leaves haven’t turned yet, but the holidays are coming, which means that if you’re the type to take a family photo for your cards, it’s that time again! The great news is that NYC is full of iconic, Instagram- and holiday-card worthy spots where you and the family can get a great shot to show your NYC pride. Check out our favorite places to take an NYC holiday card photo below!

The Brooklyn Bridge

Is it original? Heck no! But it is iconic, a thing of beauty, and not for nothing, provides great natural light for a nice photo. Plus, you can choose how close, or far, you want those arches to appear. (And really, your friends and family outside of NYC won’t have BB fatigue and will still think it’s neat.)

The Vessel

There are lots of ways to do a photo shoot at The Vessel (or, Vessel?) at New York City’s newest neighborhood, Hudson Yards. (Read our guide to doing Hudson Yards with Kids here.) Take a snap in front of it, on it, or within the mall at Hudson Yards with Vessel in the background. That metallic gold and honeycomb design is pretty nice no matter how you look at it.

The Highline

If thousands of high school seniors can document their big moment on The Highline, so can you! You’ve got lots of options on The Highline, go for a background of colorful Chelsea streets below, a shady enclave, against towering and innovative architecture or by a colorful piece of art or mural. Additional variables include time of day—magic hour on The Highline is, indeed, magic. (And will give you a stunning glow.) 

The Unisphere

It was built in 1964 for the World’s Fair, but The Unisphere, located in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, looks as good as ever. Not only is it a great way to show some serious Queens pride, the fair’s theme was “Peace Through Understanding”, which works pretty well for a holiday season sentiment if you ask us. 

Central Park Classic: Bow Bridge

Of course, there are many, many great spots for a photo in Central Park. A classic, which offers a backdrop of NYC architecture, the lake and fall foliage if you time it right, is Bow Bridge. (Which, dating to 1862, is the second-oldest cast iron bridge in the country!) You can catch a snap on the bridge or nearby, with the stately span in the background. Both work. Bow Bridge is located mid-park at 74th Street, west of Bethesda Terrace. 

Central Park Classic, Part Two: Bethesda Terrace and Fountain

Again, you won’t be the first people to do this, but if it ain’t broke…Another spot to be captured from several vantage points, Bethesda Terrace is also where you’ll find the striking Lower Passage, featuring the Minton Tile Ceiling, which while a bit tricky to photograph, is also a striking backdrop. It’s mid-park at 72nd Street, and not far from Bow Bridge. 

Central Park, World Peace Edition: Strawberry Fields

Send a message of world peace with a photo snapped at this spot memorializing John Lennon.

Statue of Liberty

Up close, from afar, Lady Liberty always looks good. 

Museum of Illusions

For the family that likes something a little different and fun, head to the Museum of Illusions New York. Here, you can capture your crew defying gravity, shrinking and growing supersize, in a room with colored shadows, or ever serve up someone’s head on a platter. (If that’s your family’s sense on humor.) 

New York Love Mural, Einstein

Artist Eduardo Kobra graced New York City with 18 technicolor murals as part of his “Colors of Freedom” project. Find his mashup of of Albert Einstein and NYC love at 298-200 West 21st. 

New York Love Mural, Option Two

Also located in Chelsea at 100-104 W 17th Street, Nick Walker’s “Love Vandal” is another option where you can express your Big Apple pride. 

Street Art Galore

For a snap that’s loaded with NYC creative energy and color, take your pick from several collections of street art around town, where you’ll find loads of backdrops to pose with in one place. Spots include Freeman Alley on the Lower East Side (down an alley leading to Freeman’s Restaurant); The Welling Court Mural Project in Astoria (pictured); the Bushwick Collective’s murals along Troutman Street and beyond in the Brooklyn neighborhood, and in several neighborhoods thanks to the 100 Gates Project (North Shore Staten Island, East Harlem and Little Caribbean in Brooklyn among them.

Washington Street in DUMBO

Good luck getting clear shot, as this may be the most popular Insta-spot in the city. (It’s kind of a scene, to be honest.) Still, with the mix of the street’s cobblestones, red brick buildings and a perfectly-framed Manhattan Bridge spanning the East River it’s a stellar backdrop. 

main photo: dumbo nyc via Flickr

—Mimi O’Connor


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