List of Largest Cities in New York (with Map & Photos)

Buffalo, one of the largest cities in the state of New York.
  • New York City, Buffalo, Rochester, Yonkers, and Syracuse are the five most populous cities in the state of New York.
  • New York City is also the largest city in the US by population and a world capital of culture and media.
  • Buffalo was home to America's first electric streetlights in 1902, as well as the world's first skyscrapers, but has since lost its international standing.
New York State is full of history, diversity, and exciting places and people. Approximately 19.45 million people call it home in 2020, making it the fourth most populous state in the country, behind California, Florida, and Texas.

In many ways, New York State is the land of opposites. It has a variety of the world's most famous urban settings, teeming with pedestrians in some places, and empty rolling hillsides with fields as far as the eye can see in other parts. In fact, some people are so connected to nature in New York State that they have developed new types of food. Scientists at Cornell University in Ithaca successfully bred SnapDragon and RubyFrost apples in 2013. New York City is about a four-hour drive from Ithaca, but it's easy to see how this famous hotspot is often called the “ Big Apple".

Buffalo, Rochester, Yonkers and Syracuse are the other largest cities in the state, rounding out the top five. Should you add them to your list of must-see places? Here's a look at the five largest cities in New York State.

Largest City in New York
Largest City in New York

New York

New York City is hands down one of the most exciting cities in the world. If you count the entire metropolitan area, including all five boroughs, it ranks as one of the largest cities in the world by population. From Broadway to Greenwich Village, from Manhattan to Wall Street, from Times Square to billionaires, criminals, presidents, superstars and more, New York has a new story around every corner.

New York is the city with the largest population in the US and the largest metropolitan space area in the world covering 4,585 square miles. Many people are crammed into a relatively small space in this city, making it the most densely populated in the US.

Located on the Atlantic Ocean on the northeast coast of the United States, New York City is a famous tourist center and has been described as a world capital of culture and media.

Largest City in New York
Largest City in New York


Buffalo is located south of the Canada-US border, straddling the Canadian province of Ontario and the US state of New York. As such, it is a popular shopping and gambling destination for visitors. Canadians. Although Buffalo is located in the state of New York, which is in the northeastern United States, its culture is considered by some to be more similar to that of the American Midwest.

In its heyday Buffalo was a prosperous city. In 1902, its streets were lined with America's first electric streetlights. These illuminated one of the world's first skyscrapers (Guaranty Building, 1894), as well as Ellicott Square, the largest office building in the world at the time.

Today, Buffalo is struggling with economic stagnation and a declining population. Manufacturing, once the city's lifeline, has been replaced by a growing service sector. As such, the city has yet to regain the status it once had in the US.

Largest City in New York
Largest City in New York


Rochester, the third most populous city in New York State, was named a 2020 All-America City by the National Civic League through a three-day virtual competition held online. It is located on the edge of Lake Ontario, on the northern border of the state. Known for its cultural institutions like the Eastman School of Music, it was also the birthplace of Xerox and the Wegmans supermarket chain. Like Buffalo, Rochester was originally a manufacturing hub, but its economy has since diversified.

Largest City in New York
Largest City in New York


The name of this town may bring to mind Neil Simon's famous play, Lost in Yonkers, but its people are certainly friendlier than some of the characters in the play.

Yonkers is located in Westchester County and has a population of nearly 200,000. Sitting on the east bank of the Hudson River, it introduces visitors and locals alike to Untermyer Park and Gardens, the Hudson River Museum, and a planetarium, among other attractions.

Largest City in New York
Largest City in New York


Syracuse is known for its cold and snowy winters, and also for giving the world actors Tom Cruise and Richard Gere. The city has a population of about 141,000 people, which has been declining slightly since the 1990s. Known as the economic and educational hub of Central New York, Syracuse's economic growth lags behind that of the US in overall, but its GDP grew in 2019, despite its declining population. Syracuse has been called "salt city" for the salt springs in the area that were the backbone of a thriving salt industry at the southern end of Lake Onandaga in the 19th century.

The area's roots are in industry and its name comes from Syracuse in Sicily, and the ancient Greek city of the same name.

Each of New York's largest cities has a unique flavor and history. While those outside of New York City generally trace their roots to manufacturing at some point, they are distinct. Current economic growth in the state's urban centers lags behind the country, but it was growing rather than stagnating before the coronavirus pandemic. The biggest driver of the state's economy is the financial sector, followed by transportation and professional and business services.

New York Map