Must See National Historic Landmarks in New York State

When we think about New York state, the first thing that comes to mind is New York City. However, people often forget that this beautiful state offers more than the Big Apple. So, what are the must-see national historical landmarks in the state?

Must-see national historic landmarks in New York state include the Rockefeller Center, Trinity Church, Delaware Apartments, and the African Burial Ground. Fort Crown Point, Lightship Ambrose, and Sagamore Lodge are other historical landmarks.

Since there are literally hundreds of national historic landmarks in New York state, continue reading this article where I list only those you absolutely mustn’t miss out on when you visit this wonderful state.

1. Fort Crown Point

National Historic Landmark since 1968.

Crown Point, NY, is best known for its military fort that bears the same name. The fort is made of two military complexes that are now partially collapsed walls. British colonialists built Fort Crown Point in the mid-18th century to deter French attacks, but during the American Revolution, however, it was taken by the revolutionaries.

Today, you can see traces of the fort’s old glory, and its high and thick walls still decorate the landscape of Crown Port. Once you get there, you’ll be immersed in the colonial past through the fort’s ruins, miniature models, and archeological finds. Be sure to use the various trails surrounding the fort and the nearby Chaplain lake.

2. Washington’s Headquarters

National Historic Landmark since 1961.

This is undoubtedly one of the most important national historical landmarks, not just in New York State but in the US. As the name suggests, Washington’s headquarters (also Hasbrouck house) served George Washington as his military headquarters during the American Revolutionary War.

Washington’s headquarters is located in the Hudson River Valley in Newburgh, NY, and it became the very first publicly owned landmark in the US when it was bought by New York State in 1850.

Although the house looks modest and tiny, it’s where Washington spent most of his time during the war and made some of the most important decisions that affect the US even today. Today, the house is a museum with around 1300 historical items and occasional reenactments.

3. Delaware and Hudson Canal

National Historic Landmark since 1968.

You can’t miss this 108-mile-long (173 km) canal that stretches from Pennsylvania and the Hudson river. It took almost the entire 19th century for this canal to be built. Once it was constructed, it was used for transporting goods, namely anthracite coal, that was later sold in New York City.

The Delaware and Hudson canal was part of a larger endeavor of private companies to expand means of faster transportation. The canal was built when trains became popular, so its significance wasn’t long-lived. Today, however, you may enjoy striding along the canal for as long as you want to.

4. Lightship Ambrose

National Historic Landmark since 1989.

Let’s stick around water for this one, also. That’s because the next absolute must-see that New York State has to offer is Lightship Ambrose. Named after the canal that this lightship sailed, the Ambrose ship is now harbored in South Street Seaport Museum at Fulton Street, New York City.

Today, you can visit this ship and inspect its cabins and deck, where everything is kept according to the original design. This is a remarkable thing, given that the lightship set sail as early as 1908. More importantly, however, the tickets are free! Once you find dock 16, you’ll enjoy an interesting tour of Ambrose ship.

Wait, what is a lightship anyway? Well, it’s a moving lighthouse that was supposed to steer other boats and ships entering the Ambrose canal to safety.

5. African Burial Ground

National Historic Landmark since 1993.

Situated on Elk and Duane Street in New York City, the African Burial Ground is one of the few national monuments you need to see, and pay your respects. In 1991, the burial ground was accidentally discovered, and it soon became clear that it was a burial place for Africans who were either free or still slaves.

The African Burial Ground contained as many as 15,000 skeletons. Today, you can visit this monument to pay respect and bring your kids for some fun activities available there. The three main activities the African Burial Ground offers for the kids include:

  • The Archeological Program
  • Rangers
  • Visiting the park free of charge (for 4th graders)

6. 69th Regiment Armory

National Historic Landmark since 1996.

Okay, this one might not sound interesting or worth visiting–after all, it’s regiment armory. However, that’s far from the truth. The 69th Regiment Armory is special for many different reasons.

Firstly, this armory was built in the beaux-arts style instead of the more traditional fortress-like armories. Because of this, the armory still has that blocky look from traditional armories but also has many additional elements:

  • The Mansard roof
  • Decorative cornices
  • Friezes
  • Memorable brown bricks

If this doesn’t sound interesting, wait until you hear that the 69th Regiment Armory is used by National Guards, but also for various luxurious social events. One of those was Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

7. Brooklyn Bridge

National Historic Landmark since 1964.

When we think about New York City (and even New York State), one of the first things that come to mind must be the famous Brooklyn bridge. The bridge spans from Brooklyn to Manhattan over the East River and was built in 1883.

If you’re looking for a national historic landmark in NYC, then you’re in luck–you can cross the Brooklyn bridge’s 6000 feet (1828 m) free of charge. You can also use bike lanes if you’re a fan of cycling or car lanes if you’re driving.

8. Louis Armstrong House

National Historic Landmark since 1976.

After he died in 1971, Louis Armstrong’s wife, Lucille, worked hard to make their home in Queens, New York City, a national historic landmark. Five years later, in 1976, that happened. Today, you can visit Lous Armstrong House, which is now a museum, and enjoy a unique experience.

Louis Armstrong House offers:

  • Seminars
  • Workshops
  • Concerts
  • Guided tours

The house doesn’t look like much on the outside, but the experience of being in the space where one of the most famous jazz musicians lived is like nowhere else. The price ranges from $15 for adults to $12 as the discount price, and it’s worth every penny.

9. Montauk Point Lighthouse

National Historic Landmark since 2012.

Our next national landmark (and a recent one at that) in New York state takes us to Long Island. Right at the farthest eastern end of Long Island lies Montauk Point Lighthouse. The scenery you can see from the top of the lighthouse is enough and worthwhile for your visit, but there’s more.

The reason this lighthouse has a special place in New York state’s (and the US’s) history lies in the fact that George Washington himself ordered its construction in 1796. As such, Montauk Point Lighthouse is the fourth oldest lighthouse in the US.

Once you’re there, you can climb the lighthouse itself but also explore the grounds and enjoy the unbelievable landscape. The blue sea covers the horizon on one side and beautiful green meadows on the other.

10. Top Cottage

National Historic Landmark since 1997.

Top Cottage served as a retreat for President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and today, it’s part of the National Park Service’s Home of Franklin D Roosevelt site, which includes other buildings as well. It’s a fairly small cottage located in Duchess County, NY.

The site is surrounded by forest, and the cottage seems to be a perfect fit for the natural environment there (partly because it has only one floor, so it’s quite low and built out of gray stone).

The name, Top Cottage refers to its geographical location. The cottage is located at the top of a hill near Hyde Park in Poughkeepsie, NY, where Roosevelt owned some land.

11. Brooklyn Heights Historic District

National Historic Landmark since 1965.

Brooklyn Heights is roughly 150 acres (60.7028 ha) of land filled with 19th-century buildings in various architectural styles, and is close to the East River. One thing’s for certain, though, when you walk through this historic district, you’ll feel like you are traveling back in time.

There are no fees to visit Brooklyn Heights Historic District. You can walk down the famous sidewalks and admire beautiful brown-brick residential buildings, churches, or stores.

Some of the things you can see in the Brooklyn Heights Historic District are:

  • Plymouth Church
  • Rowhouses (Remsen Street)
  • Wooden homes (Middagh Street)
  • Packer Collegiate Institute

When you’re finished sightseeing, take a stroll down the Cadman Plaza, which is a huge park at the border of this historic district.

12. Trinity Church

National Historic Landmark since 1976.

Trinity Church is located on Broadway and Wall Street and stands as a wonderful contrast to those tall and gray buildings spreading across the two famous NYC streets. Trinity Church, as we know it today, was built in the 19th century for the third time.

Today, the church is open to the public, and you can enjoy regular religious rituals or group tours.

What’s more, Trinity Church is the only church in the entire US with not just one but twelve ringing bells that can rotate 360 degrees. So, if you happen to be in New York City on a Sunday, visit Trinity Church, where you’ll hear these bells working their magic.

13. Dakota Apartments

National Historic Landmark since 1976.

Another building that defies modern times with its traditional architectural style is the Dakota Apartments, or simply the Dakotas. They were built in 1884 and, if you find yourself near Central Park, be sure to visit this national historic landmark also. It’s located at 1 West 72nd Street in Manhattan.

Dakota Apartments are still home to many celebrities and influential people in the US, and its luxurious style and castle-like appearance have stood the test of time. Nowadays, it’s a magical pearl among busy NYC life and the high concrete buildings. You won’t be able to miss it.

Since Dakota Apartments is still an apartment building, you won’t be able to enter and explore its beautiful halls or courtyard at the center of the building. Still, it’s a landmark worth seeing from the outside. Who knows, you might spot some celebrities nearby.

14. Elizabeth Cady Stanton House

National Historic Landmark since 1975.

This national historic landmark isn’t worth visiting because of the magnificent architecture or location that some other landmarks from this list have. It’s an ordinary-looking farmhouse surrounded by a few acres of green land, and that’s pretty much it. However, it bears an important historical significance.

This house was home to Elizabeth Cady Stanton–one of the most prominent suffragists of the 19th century–for many years. It’s located at 32 Washington St. in Seneca Falls, NY.

Today, Elizabeth Cady Stanton House is a valuable piece of Women’s Rights National Historical Park because it was one of the places where history was made for women’s rights.

If you find yourself in Seneca Falls, NY, be sure to visit this small piece of history.

15. Central Park

National Historic Landmark since 1963.

This national historic landmark lies at the center of Manhattan, New York City. It’s a massive urban park filled with green terrain, lakes, walking trails, and picnic spots. After a long day’s sightseeing around NYC, there’s nothing more refreshing than spending some time in nature.

There are countless activities you can do in Central Park. According to its website, you can:

  • Cycle
  • Do yoga
  • Have a picnic
  • Have a carriage tour
  • Have a pedicab tour
  • Rent a boat or a gondola
  • Walk around the park
  • Run or do other exercises

Apart from that, Central Park offers unique attractions, only some of which include:

  • American Museum of Natural History
  • Balto and Alice in Wonderland statues
  • Belvedere Castle
  • Bethesda fountain and terrace

If you’re feeling tired, you don’t have to visit all these places. You can just relax at Central Park’s Sheep Meadow, a vast open plain where hundreds of people have picnics, or just sit around, surrounded by the many high skyscrapers.

16. Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner House and Studio

National Historic Landmark since 1994.

If you’re a fan of art, Jackson Pollock, and Lee Krasner, you’ll absolutely adore this landmark. Located in Long Island, NY, Pollock-Krasner House, and Studio is a tiny barn these two artists used as their living and professional space.

Stony Brook University (its current owner) offers guided tours in a limited capacity, and you can visit this landmark in May and during the summer months. Once there, you can admire some artwork on the barn’s walls and the original wood floor covered in artistic streaks of paint.

There are occasional exhibitions as well, so make sure you visit this amazing place if you find yourself in East Hampton in Long Island, NY.

17. Rockefeller Center

National Historic Landmark since 1987.

Another hallmark of New York City is the Rockefeller Center. It’s one of the most popular tourist spots in New York State, and for a good reason, I’d say. The Rockefeller Center covers a large area between 48th and 51st St. in Manhattan, NYC, and contains 19 buildings filled with various activities and attractions.

Some of the most popular attractions in Rockefeller Center include:

  • Top of the Rock
  • The famous ice-skating rink
  • Rainbow Room
  • Wedding venues
  • Christmas tree lighting (around Christmas time only)

One of the unique experiences Rockefeller Center offers is certainly Top of the Rock. The price isn’t exactly cheap (it’s $40 for adults), but it’s the Big Apple, after all. Plus, once you get to the 70th floor and see NYC spread across the horizon, you’ll be glad you bought a ticket.

18. Sagamore Lodge

National Historic Landmark since 2000.

This national historic landmark is a perfect combination of enjoyment and touring. In Sagamore Lodge, you can have a relaxing time in luxurious rooms, but at the same time, you’re visiting a piece of history (it’s over 100 years old).

Sagamore Lodge lies right next to Lake George on Green Island, Bolton, NY. Apart from luxurious rooms, you’ll be able to enjoy:

  • The Lodge’s pool
  • Golf courses
  • Tennis courts
  • Hiking
  • Spas
  • Boat tours
  • Fishing

Depending on your seasonal preference, you can decide to visit Sagamore Lodge in the summer or winter. Summers, however, offer more activities.

19. Boston Post Road Historic District

National Historic Landmark since 1993.

Don’t be confused by the name because Boston Post Road Historic District is located in the city of Rye in Westchester, NY. It’s a district spread across 286 acres (116 ha). The main five properties that you can visit include:

  • The Jay Estate
  • Whitby Castle
  • The Jay Cemetery
  • Lounsbury
  • Marshlands Conservancy

Many of these properties include parks and golf courses in their acreage. However, the true gem is Whitby Castle. This mansion’s exterior won’t only take you back to medieval times but to a fairy tale land. Whitby Castle is one of the most popular celebrations and special-events venues in New York state because of its magnificent ballroom.

The McClain Family

We hope we helped. Please let us know of any place that you want to know about in NYS or if we did a poor job with any part of this. Our goal is to help as many people as possible.

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