Best Views in New York
The best views in New York you’ll have standing on top of New York’s viewpoints. You can find many different viewpoints throughout the city. The most famous observation decks are the Empire State Building, Top of the Rock and One World Observatory. Not only high-rise buildings, such as rooftop bars, will give you a breathtaking view: You also have a splendid (skyline) view of the city that never sleeps from the Brooklyn or the Manhattan Bridge, the Staten Island Ferry and from many parks. I’ve made a list of my favourite viewpoints for you.
A Helicopter Flight
What better way to really take in the whole of Manhattan than to board a helicopter flight. It really is an unforgettable way to see all of Manhattan. So for the best views, memories and photos, I recommend booking a New York helicopter tour. I have done several flights myself and recommend it to everybody.
New York is home to almost 6,000 high-rises. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some of the highest and most famous ones are open to the public and you can go all the way to the top. These buildings offer you the most spectacular views of New York:
Empire State Building
The Empire State Building, open 365 days a year from 8:00 till 2:00 is widely regarded as one of the world’s most famous buildings. It’s a must-visit for every New York visitor. You can visit the 86th floor and even the 102nd for $20 extra! Enjoying the view from atop the Empire State Building is definitely worth it.
One World Observatory
One World Trade Center is New York’s tallest building. The skyscraper, formerly known as the Freedom Tower, is 542 meters tall including its antenna and without it, it’s just as high as the Twin Towers once were: 417 meters high. The observation deck called One World Observatory consists of three floors. On the 100th, 101st and 102nd floor you get a 360-degree view from behind the glass. You will see Downtown Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island, the Statue of Liberty and New Jersey.
Top of the Rock
Another beautiful and unique view of New York is from the 70th floor of Top of the Rock! The building is located right in the middle of Manhattan and you can take a 360-degree walk around the observation deck. The view is spectacular from every single corner. From Top of the Rock, you have the best views of Central Park, even better than the Empire State Building. You’ll overlook the Brooklyn Bridge, Empire State Building, Chrysler Building and more top attractions! Besides Manhattan, you also see Brooklyn, New Jersey and Queens.
Edge Observation Deck
The Hudson Yards neighbourhood in western Manhattan has its own viewing platform as well: Edge Observation Deck. Edge is the tallest outdoor platform in the Western Hemisphere, offering a whole new view of Midtown Manhattan. The slightly sloping glass walls of the terrace and the partly glass floor ensure that you can enjoy the view – and the height – in a very special way.
The Summit One Vanderbilt
Next to Grand Central Terminal you will find the One Vanderbilt building, which houses The Summit. Located at an elevation of 335 meters, this vantage point is uniquely located in the east of Manhattan. Due to its location, you have a very special view of the nearby Chrysler Building from this building. And you never saw the Empire State Building in this way as well. Although there are quite some other viewpoints in New York already, The Summit adds something special and I recommend everyone to visit it.
Who doesn’t want to enjoy marvellous views on a rooftop bar while having a drink or enjoying a chic party? Choose one of the many cocktail bars to admire the New York view, while sipping from your beverage. My favourites are the rooftop bars of the Gansevoort Hotel and 230 Fifth. You can dine and party at both bars. Once at the top you’ll be amazed, you’ll have a great bird’s eye view of Manhattan. You can also choose one of the many other rooftop bars, close to Times Square, for example, or in SoHo. Having a hard time deciding? Then the rooftop bar tour will be perfect for you! Note: the minimum age is 21 and up. Not 21 yet? You might be able to get into the lounge club in the afternoon.
Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is located on Liberty Island, you can reach it by boat from Battery Park (Lower Manhattan). Liberty Island is a national park. You can choose from two viewpoints: the pedestal and the crown. Keep in mind that for the crown the tickets are limited and often sold out months in advance and that you have to take the stairs through a very narrow staircase to go up. For stunning views of New York, you don’t have to enter the Statue of Liberty. You can already see a lot of New York from Liberty Island.
Views from the Water
Another great option is to admire city views from the water. You can head to one of the bridges over the East River, hop on a ferry or book one of the boat tours in New York. Standing on top of a boat, on top of a bridge or relaxing in the park with the water in front of you only adds to the view.
NYC Ferry is a network of ferry routes on the east side of Manhattan. For just $2.75 per trip, you can take a ferry ride and enjoy beautiful skyline views. There are a few different routes, for the best view, I recommend taking the East River Route or the South Brooklyn Route. All ferries have a bar onboard where you can get coffee and snacks as well as wine and beer.
Staten Island Ferry
Want a beautiful view without paying anything? Hop on the Staten Island Ferry! A free ferry that connects Staten Island to Manhattan. It shuttles 104 times a day and this way you can enjoy Manhattan’s skyline at any time of day. Moreover, you sail right past the Statue of Liberty. Make sure to look the other way as well, since you’ll be looking over the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridge that way.
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Brooklyn Bridge is a real attraction. I’m sure walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is on your to-do-list. Don’t forget to combine this with a visit to the Brooklyn Bridge Park. Walk down Washington Street and you’ll spot the park straight away. You have an amazing view of Manhattan from here! It is the perfect place to relax in peace and to see Manhattan from a distance.
The Manhattan Bridge connects Canal Street in Chinatown to Downtown Brooklyn. From Manhattan Bridge, you have a good view of Chinatown, but certainly of Manhattan’s skyline as well. It’s easier to take a skyline photo from this bridge than from Brooklyn Bridge since you won’t have any steel wires in your photo this way. The trail runs on the side, so the view is superb.
Weehawken is located on the other side of the Hudson River in New Jersey. As Weehawken’s boulevard is across from Manhattan’s skyline, you can imagine the wonderful views. You can take one of the Hudson River Ferries from Manhattan. It’s 20 minutes from Manhattan World Financial Center terminal, Manhattan Pier 11 / Wall Street terminal or Manhattan Midtown / West 39th Street terminal to Weehawken. From West 39th Street terminal one way costs $9 and children aged 6-11 can hop along for $6. You can enjoy some nice views while crossing the Hudson River! Once at Weehawken, cross the tram rails and take the stairs up. You’ll actually look down on the Hudson River. Walk down the boulevard and take a moment to sit down. It’s a spectacular view, especially at sunset!