Best Views in New York
The best views in New York are from the top of the city’s viewpoints. 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
There is no better way to take in all of Manhattan than to take 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 6000 highrises. 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 metres tall including its antenna and without it, it’s just as high as the Twin Towers once were: 417 metres 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, 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 from a rooftop bar while having a drink or enjoying a party? Choose one of the many bars to admire the New York view. My favourites are the Gansevoort Hotel and 230 Fifth; you can dine and drink at both. 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. Having a hard time deciding? Then the rooftop bar tour is perfect for you! Note: the minimum age is 21. Not 21 yet? You might be able to get into the lounge clubs in the afternoon.
Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty, on Liberty Island (which is a national park) is accessible by boat, from Battery Park in Lower Manhattan. There are two viewpoints: the pedestal and the crown. Bear in mind that for the crown, there are limited tickets available, they often sell out months in advance. You also have to take the stairs, up a very narrow staircase to get there. For stunning skyline views, you don’t even have to enter the Statue: you can 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. Taking a boat, standing on top of a bridge, or relaxing in the park with the water in front of you only adds to the beauty of 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 kiosk on board where you can get coffee and snacks as well as beer and wine.
Staten Island Ferry
Want a beautiful view without paying a penny? Hop on the Staten Island Ferry! A free ferry that connects Staten Island to Manhattan. It shuttles 104 times a day. This way, you can enjoy Manhattan’s skyline, for free at any time of day. In addition, you sail right past the Statue of Liberty. Make sure to look the other way as well, to see the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges.
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Brooklyn Bridge is a real attraction, I’m sure walking across it is on your to-do-list. Don’t forget to combine it with a visit to Brooklyn Bridge Park. Walk down Washington Street and you’ll spot the park right away. There is an amazing view of Manhattan from here! The perfect place to relax and see Manhattan from a distance.
The Manhattan Bridge connects Canal Street in Chinatown to Downtown Brooklyn. From the Manhattan Bridge there’s a good view of Chinatown as well as Manhattan’s skyline. It’s easier to take a skyline photo from this bridge than from Brooklyn Bridge, because you won’t have any steel wires in your photo. The footpath runs along the side, so the view is unobstructed.
Weehawken is on the other side of the Hudson River, in New Jersey. As Weehawken’s boulevard is opposite Manhattan’s skyline, you can imagine the wonderful views. Take a Hudson River Ferry from Manhattan in 20 minutes. Depart from the World Financial Center terminal, Manhattan Pier 11 / Wall Street terminal or Manhattan Midtown / West 39th Street terminal. From West 39th Street terminal, one way costs $9 and children aged 6-11 pay $6. Enjoy some nice views while crossing the Hudson River and once in 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, it’s a spectacular view, especially at sunset!