Travel experts Find a Cheap Flight have taken us on a journey through New York’s most famous landmarks with their latest research. Their study shows which New York tourist attractions are looked up the most online per month in the US.
It is no wonder that Americans want to know more about the places they’ve seen in their favourite shows time and time again. The 10 most popular New York landmarks have all made it to the big screens. Every single one of the most popular tourist attractions has featured in a film or TV series at least once.
Four of the 10 least popular landmarks in New York are memorial sites, ending with the FDNY Memorial Wall. The search trends suggest Americans’ preference for pop culture over history when visiting New York.
Surprisingly, New York’s Statue of Liberty is not its most popular landmark. Instead, The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the most popular New York landmark as it receives 673,000 monthly searches. The runner-up, the Statue of Liberty, is quite a long way behind in popularity. New York’s symbol of freedom receives almost half as many searches online, 368,0000 per month.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, also known as ‘The Met’, is the USA’s largest museum. Many might be tempted to go to the Met for reasons other than its art. The Met has also been a set for When Harry Met Sally and The Thomas Crown Affair remake in the 1990s.
The Statue of Liberty is no stranger to being a tourist attraction for its iconic scenes in popular films. A symbol of welcome to immigrants, the statue has been featured in films, such as Titanic, Splash, X-Men, and the original Planet of the Apes.
That’s not all for the Statue of Liberty, though. Ellis Island, home to the colossal statue, has also made it seventh in the list of most popular New York landmarks. The location where Chandler and Monica take their kids’ birth mother sightseeing in Friends is Ellis Island. Ellis Island is not as famous as the actual statue, but it receives 90,500 monthly searches nevertheless.
The Empire State Building is almost twice as popular as Ellis Island but surprisingly three times less popular than the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It receives 201,000 searches per month in the USA as one of the country’s staple buildings. You’ve probably seen or heard of at least one film or show that featured the massive building since there are over 250 of them today. Some of the most popular are the 1933 original King Kong, Oblivion, Elf, and Sleepless in Seattle.
The Central Park of New York is yet another famous filming location that made it to the list of the most popular landmarks in New York. With 165,000 searches per month, the 843-acre park is the fourth most popular NY landmark. It is the most visited urban park in the United States and features in countless shows and films like How I Met Your Mother, Home Alone, and Love Story.
Times Square is the fifth most popular landmark in New York, receiving 135,000 searches per month in the USA. It features in many famous action films, like The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Captain America: The First Avenger. One of the most iconic scenes is from Vanilla Sky when the camera spins around with Cruise to reveal the neon advertising and billboards that make Times Square the bright, busy place it is.
Brooklyn Bridge is as popular as Ellis Island according to the study. The bridge that connects Manhattan and Brooklyn is looked up 90,500 times per month.
Madison Square Garden, the Trump Tower, and St Patricks Cathedral are at the end of the top 10 most popular New York landmarks.
Madison Square Garden is looked up by Americans 74,000 times per month, nine times less than The Met. It comes up in one of the most famous American TV shows, Friends, which has scenes in a few of the popular landmarks.
Trump Tower, named after and developed by the former US President Donald Trump, is most famous for showing up on The Apprentice. Although not as prominent as the others, it is a popular landmark that Americans look up 60,500 times per month.
St Patrick’s Cathedral surprisingly makes the list with only 49,500 searches per month. Most famous for scenes from The Godfather III, this landmark does come up on TV but is not as remarkable as other New York tourist attractions.
Most popular New York landmarks
New York landmark
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Statue of Liberty
The Empire State Building
Madison Square Garden
St Patrick’s Cathedral
Which TV show features the most New York landmarks?
The TV show that features the most New York landmarks that are popular amongst Americans is Friends. The sitcom that premiered in 1994 and aired its last season in 2004 has the most references to New York life since it is set in the big city. Throughout the ten seasons of Friends, you can spot at least 10 New York landmarks.
Out of all the Friends sets in New York, three have made it to the list of most popular landmarks in New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island, and Madison Square Garden. Be it Ross coaching Joey for his date with Charlie through the museum or Phoebe dressing up to meet her husband Duncan at the garden, Friends has some notable scenes throughout the Big Apple.
Other famous landmarks that haven’t made it to the top 10 include:
- The American Museum of Natural History
- Solow Building
- Pulitzer Fountain
- Lucille Lortel Theatre
- 9/11 Memorial & Museum
- The Friends Apartment
Which New York landmarks fall off the radar?
Some landmarks in New York are not as popular as the others. It’s easy to lose track of the smaller tourist destinations when the city spoils tourists for choice with locations that were once film sets.
The New York landmarks that fall off the radar are mostly those that haven’t been in films or shows, with a few exceptions. The Friends Building, also known as the Friends Apartment, is one of the least popular New York landmarks. It only gets looked up 1,600 times per month, which is the fewest monthly searches for any Friends set.
Some other less popular New York landmarks include memorials, such as the Irish Hunger Memorial and the John Lennon memorial, which both get looked up 880 times per month. With even fewer searches, the African Burial Ground National Monument follows suit at 590 searches per month. The FDNY Memorial Wall finishes off the list of all New York landmarks, with only 30 monthly searches.
Least popular New York landmarks
New York Landmark
Time Warner Center
The Friends Building
St Pauls Chapel
World Trade Center Station
Irish Hunger Memorial
John Lennon Memorial
Alice in Wonderland Statue
African Burial Ground National Monument
Governors Island National Monument
FDNY Memorial Wall