What is New York Known for? Discover New York’s Famous Facts, Foods, and Landmarks


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New York State is home to famous cities like New York City, landmarks like Niagara Falls, and the picturesque countryside in the Hudson River Valley. However, New York is known for so much more, from its iconic foods to its professional sports teams and charming villages. 

Whether you’re considering moving to the state, just rented an apartment in Brooklyn, or bought your first home in Albany, there’s plenty to learn about New York. Read on to find out what New York is known for – and see how much you know about the Empire State.

Niagara Falls aerial view

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Economy and wide-ranging job opportunities

As the third-largest economy in the US, New York has plenty of job opportunities in a range of industries. Some of New York’s job industries include finance, healthcare, and technology. Major corporations driving the state’s economy include JPMorgan Chase, Pfizer Inc., and IBM.

New York’s top five employers

  • New York-Presbyterian Hospital
  • Northwell Health
  • JPMorgan Chase
  • Columbia University
  • Mount Sinai Health System

Central Park

Tourist attractions

  • New York City’s iconic landmarks: Times Square, Central Park, and the Statue of Liberty make it a must-visit destination for travelers from around the globe. From world-class museums and Broadway shows to diverse cuisine and unparalleled shopping, the city offers endless opportunities for exploration and discovery.
  • Niagara Falls: One of the natural wonders of the world, it’s located on the border between New York and Canada, captivating visitors with its thundering waterfalls and mist-shrouded beauty. Boat tours, observation decks, and scenic overlooks provide ways to experience the awe-inspiring spectacle.
  • Adirondack Park: A sprawling wilderness area, this park encompasses six million acres of mountains, forests, and lakes in upstate New York. You can enjoy hiking, camping, fishing, and boating amid pristine natural surroundings, while quaint towns offer rustic charm and hospitality.
  • Finger Lakes: This region is renowned for its scenic beauty, world-class wineries, and charming small towns. You can explore the rolling vineyards, sample award-winning wines, and indulge in farm-to-table cuisine while enjoying panoramic views of the picturesque lakes and countryside.
  • Hudson Valley: A quaint escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, this region is home to historic mansions, scenic drives, and outdoor adventures. From the grandeur of Kykuit, the Rockefeller estate, to the artistic enclave of Woodstock, the region’s diverse attractions cater to a wide range of interests and tastes.

Famous regional cuisine

New York’s culinary landscape is as diverse as its population, offering everything from world-class fine dining to beloved street food staples. New York City is synonymous with iconic dishes like New York-style pizza, black and white cookies, bagels with lox and cream cheese, and the classic hot dog from vendors scattered throughout the streets. Additionally, the state is renowned for its upscale dining scene, with restaurants like Le Bernardin and Per Se earning international acclaim for their exquisite cuisine.

Iconic dishes and where to find them in New York

  • Pastrami on rye at Katz’s Deli in New York City
  • Banana pudding at Magnolia Bakery in New York City
  • Buffalo wings at Anchor Bar in Buffalo
  • Garbage plate at Nick Tahou Hots in Rochester
  • New York cheesecake at Junior’s Restaurant & Bakery in Brooklyn

Broadway shows

World-class museums and entertainment

New York state is a global leader in the arts home to world-renowned museums. For example, you can visit places like the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Guggenheim, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

Music festivals such as Governors Ball and the Rochester International Jazz Festival attract audiences from around the country. New York’s Broadway theater district remains the pinnacle of live entertainment, with countless performances happening throughout the week. The state’s film and television industry, centered in New York City, continues to produce iconic movies and shows like Saturday Night Live, morning and late-night talk shows, and more.

Five great places to experience a show in New York

Fun fact: Opened in 1932, Radio City Music Hall is the largest indoor theater in the world.

hanover square neighborhood in syracuse new york

Top-tier educational institutions

New York is home to countless prestigious universities, whether a private or public college. The state also has a variety of specialty schools ranging from design to music.

Top universities

  • Columbia University in New York City
  • New York University in New York City
  • Cornell University in Ithaca
  • Juilliard School in New York City
  • Syracuse University in Syracuse
  • The New School in New York City
  • State University of New York (SUNY) in various cities 

Professional sports teams

New York is known for its long list of professional sports teams, each with its own dedicated fan base.

  • New York Yankees (MLB)
  • New York Mets (MLB)
  • New York Knicks (NBA)
  • Brooklyn Nets (NBA)
  • Buffalo Bills (NFL)
  • New York Giants (NFL)
  • New York Jets (NFL)
  • New York Rangers (NHL)
  • New York Islanders (NHL)
  • Buffalo Sabres (NHL)

easthampton lighthouse with greenery

Variety of natural landscapes

New York’s natural land formations span from the majestic Adirondack Mountains in the north to the scenic Finger Lakes region in the west, known for its deep, glacially-carved lakes and rolling hills. The state is also home to the iconic Niagara Falls, one of the world’s most famous waterfalls. You can also find gorgeous city parks, like the famous Central Park.

National and state parks in New York

  • Statue of Liberty National Monument on Liberty Island in New York Harbor
  • Gateway National Recreation Area across multiple sites in New York and New Jersey, including Jamaica Bay, Sandy Hook, and Staten Island
  • Letchworth State Park near Castile
  • Niagara Falls State Park in Niagara Falls

coney island ferris wheel

Popular New York phrases

As the “Empire State,” New York has plenty of expressions reflecting the state’s energy and history.

  • “The Big Apple” is one of New York City’s many nicknames.
  • “Upstate” is used to describe regions outside the city, particularly in the northern region of the state.
  • “Slice” is an iconic slice of New York-style pizza.
  • “Yellow cab” is the iconic cab you’ll find in the bustling streets of Manhattan. 
  • “Standing room only” refers to less expensive tickets to a Broadway show, where you’ll stand to watch the performance.

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More things New York is known for

  • Empire State Building: A symbol of New York’s ambition and resilience, the Empire State Building offers panoramic views of the city skyline.
  • Broadway: Home to the world-renowned Broadway theater district, New York City attracts theater enthusiasts from around the world with its dazzling array of musicals, plays, and performances.
  • Ellis Island: Known as the gateway to America, Ellis Island served as the primary immigration station for millions of immigrants entering the US.
  • Wall Street: As the financial capital of the world, Wall Street is synonymous with global finance, housing the New York Stock Exchange and serving as the epicenter of economic power and influence.

If you are represented by an agent, this is not a solicitation of your business. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional advice from a medical provider, licensed attorney, financial advisor, or tax professional. Consumers should independently verify any agency or service mentioned will meet their needs. Learn more about our Editorial Guidelines here.
Alison Bentley

Alison Bentley

Alison is part of the Content Marketing team as a Content Marketing Specialist. In her 4 years at Redfin, Alison has written a variety of articles ranging from home design tips to housing affordability. A California-native, Alison currently resides in Seattle where you can find her catching a concert or exploring farmers’ markets. Her dream home is a cottage-style house with a chef’s kitchen and a cozy room to store and play vinyl records.

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