New York City is home to one of the world’s most iconic skylines and some spectacular views. Here’s our 9 best viewpoints in New York.
1. Top Of The Rock
We visited Top of the Rock on the first evening we arrived in NYC. It’s at the top of most peoples ‘things to do in New York‘ list for a reason!
This 3 tiered observation deck is located at the top of the Rockefeller Center. It gives you absolutely stunning, unobstructed 360 degree views of the New York City skyline.
The views stretch out from the heart of midtown Manhattan to New York harbour, Central Park and the Hudson River.
Top of the Rock operates on a timed ticketing system and you can book your Top of the Rock Observation Deck Ticket in advance.
Directly in front of you you’ll find The Empire State Building, as well as SUMMIT One Vanderbilt, and One World Observatory and the Statue Of Liberty in the distance.
Furthermore, watching the sun going down and then New York city lighting up, from this viewpoint is spectacular.
We would definitely count Top of the Rock as one of the best viewpoints in New York.
For all tourists visiting New York we recommend purchasing either the New York: Go City Explorer Pass with 95+ Tours & Attractions or the New York CityPASS®: Save 40% at 5 Top Attractions.
These are a great way of saving money when visiting multiple tourist attractions during your stay in New York.
- Top Of The Rock
- Empire State Building
- Statue of Liberty
- American Museum of Natural History
- 9/11 Memorial and Museum
- And many more!
2. SUMMIT One
Located in Midtown Manhattan, SUMMIT One is the observation deck that sits at the top of the One Vanderbilt building.
A popular part of SUMMIT One is AIR, an immersive art experience that creates the illusion of boundless space. AIR is made up of three different installations – Transcendence, Reflect and Affinity.
Other experiences available are LEVITATION, glass-enclosed skyboxes that extend out over 1,000 ft above Madison Avenue. As well as ASCENT, a sensory defying glass elevator reaching SUMMIT’s highest elevation (1,210 ft) above Midtown.
With its multi sensory experiences and stunning views, SUMMIT One Vanderbilt is one of the best viewpoints in New York.
As with everything in New York, we recommend booking your SUMMIT One Vanderbilt Experience Ticket in advance.
3. Empire State Building
Located in Midtown Manhattan, the Empire State Building is an iconic, 102 storey skyscraper with observation decks on three different levels.
The observation deck on the 80th floor is the newest observatory, opening in 2019. This is an indoor observatory, therefore you will see the amazing views through glass.
However, the 86th floor deck is the original observation deck and home to the famous telescopes. Here you will find an outdoor viewing area which wraps around the whole building, giving stunning 360 degree views.
Finally, on the 102nd floor, is the highest deck, located in the spire of the building and featuring floor to ceiling glass windows. Furthermore, with most tourists choosing not to pay the extra price for the 102nd floor, this spot will likely be less busy.
Again, we recommend booking your Empire State Building General & Skip-the-Line Tickets in advance.
If visiting the big apple, a trip to the Empire State Building is a must on your New York Itinerary.
As well as the fascinating history of this iconic building it also offers you another one of the best viewpoints in New York.
4. Helicopter Tour
For a totally different perspective of the ‘Big Apple’, why not try taking to the skies in a helicopter. From here you will get a birds-eye view of New York City’s breathtaking skyline.
There are various tours to choose from, with most rides lasting 15 minutes, 20 minutes or 30 minutes. Some of the iconic sights you can see are the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and most of Lower Manhattan.
You can check out the New York City: Manhattan Helicopter Tour or New York City: Manhattan Island Helicopter Tour for prices and booking info.
With a live on-board commentary, you are certain not to miss any of the famous New York City sights. So don’t forget your camera because you will get some amazing and unique photo opportunities during the tour.
For a truly breathtaking experience, a helicopter tour is one of the best things to do in New York and will give you one of most unique viewpoints of New York.
5. Liberty Island
We visited Liberty Island and the famous Statue of Liberty the morning after our trip to Empire State Building.
You pay for a Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island Ticket which gives you access to both islands.
It was nice to have a little break from the city and take to the water on the 15/20 minute ferry ride over.
If going up to the pedestal at the base of the statue there are nearly 200 steps to climb but the views of Manhattan, once up there, are definitely worth the climb.
Access to the crown on the Statue of Liberty is limited due to safety and accessibility requirements.
It was not open on the day we visited but is apparently worth the 315 steps to get up there, just for the views, when it is open.
The viewpoint above the museum though is where you’ll find a great view of the city as shown below.
So, for some of the best viewpoints in New York, a trip over to Liberty Island is definitely worth your while.
6. One World Observatory
One World Observatory is the observation deck on top of One World Trade Center. Moreover, standing at 541m high, it’s officially the tallest building in New York, towering over the 381m Empire State Building.
This observation deck is completely enclosed in glass, so you have stunning 360 degree views that include the Hudson River, Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, New York Harbour and all of Manhattan.
Whilst there you also have the opportunity to stand on the Sky Portal, a 14ft wide circle of glass, where you can look down at the city 100 stories below!
In addition, the fantastic use of technology on your way to the observation deck, telling the story of the building, makes it a great immersive experience.
Again, we recommend booking your One World Observatory: Skip-the-Line Ticket in advance.
As the highest point in New York City, One World Observatory has to be one of the best viewpoints in New York and is definitely worth a visit.
7. Brooklyn Bridge
Spanning the East River between the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn, Brooklyn Bridge is just over 1 m or 2 km across.
Walking across the bridge you will have time to take in the spectacular views that stretch out in every direction you look.
From the skyline of Manhattan, with the distinctive Woolworth Building and One World Trade Center, to the sweeping views across Brooklyn Heights as well as Red Hook, there is plenty to see.
As well as the amazing scenery you also have the changing views of the iconic Brooklyn Bridge itself as cross it, with its sweeping cables and soaring suspension towers with Gothic arches.
Walking across Brooklyn Bridge will give some amazing views and has to be on our list of best viewpoints in New York.
One of the most popular ways to see the bridge is via the NYC: 1-Hour Cruise Around Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island.
If you’re more of a adrenaline junky then the New York City: Manhattan Helicopter Tour is a huge bucket list tick!
Edge is the highest open air observation deck in the Western Hemisphere. In fact, at 1100 feet high, it’s 50 feet higher that the Empire State Building’s open air observatory.
We visited after visiting Chelsea Market in the morning then following The High Line to the entrance of Edge.
Situated on the 100th floor of the 30 Hudson Yards building it extends 80 feet off the side of the building. Consequently this triangular shaped observation deck with its glass floor is a unique sight to behold.
As well as a glass floor, Edge also has glass panel sides that lean away from the suspended deck making it feel like you are floating in the sky. This really is an astounding piece of architecture.
Standing on this observation deck, you will have amazing, 360 degree views across New York City. For instance from the tip of Central Park to the Statue of Liberty and beyond, making for some awesome photos.
We recommend booking your Edge Observation Deck Admission Ticket in advance.
This very unique observation deck is well worth a visit and is certainly one of the best viewpoints in New York.
9. A Rooftop Bar (Bar 54)
With literally hundreds of really great rooftop bars in New York with amazing views, you are spoilt for choice. However, we visited Bar 54 in Times Square.
Located on the 54th floor at the Hyatt Centric Times Square, Bar 54 is one of the highest in New York City. Moreover it offers stunning views of Times Square and the whole of Lower Manhattan.
As well as the amazing views, Bar 54 has an extensive drinks menu including a collection of really delicious sounding cocktails, wines, beers, spirits and some light food snacks.
With its intimate indoor area and larger outside terrace, Bar 54 has a really nice relaxed vibe and atmosphere. Therefore it had to be on our list of best viewpoints in New York.
Where To Stay In New York
Luxury – The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park
This Manhattan hotel in Midtown overlooks Central Park and is within walking distance of Fifth Avenue and Rockefeller Center.
Free cable and a bathrobe are provided in every room at the New York Central Park Ritz-Carlton. All rooms are elegant, with wood furniture and light colors. Many rooms also include a city or park view.
La Prairie Spa at the Ritz-Carlton New York Central Park offers massage and facial services, as well as a sauna. Guests can also work out in the state-of-the-art fitness center.
The 57th street subway station is just 2 blocks away, providing easy access to the city. Radio City Music Hall and the Broadway Theatre District are also both within 1 mile of the hotel.
Mid-Budget – citizenM New York Times Square
Located right in the heart of Manhattan, this hotel is just 1 minute’s walk from Times Square. It’s also within 5 minutes’ walk of Central Park and Columbus Circle.
A flat-screen TV and a small refrigerator with free water are available in citizenM’s rooms. Bathrooms include Hansgrohe rain showers and oversized bathroom amenities.
With the room iPad, all guests can control room lights, black-out blinds, curtains and temperature. As well as TV and radio channels.
Free high-speed Wi-Fi and express check in are on offer at citizenM New York Times Square.
Three outdoor terraces are provided at the New York Times Square citizenM. They feature a state-of-the-art fitness centre with yoga facilities.
After working out, guests can relax with drinks and sweeping views of the city on the exclusive rooftop bar.
Budget – Central Park West Hostel
Located in New York City’s Upper West Side, this hostel is a block from the 86th street underground station and 2 blocks from Central Park. It offers Wi-Fi and staff-organized events.
A shared kitchen, café area, and spacious lounge with a flat-screen TV are part of the facilities at the FIT Hotel. Lockers are also provided in the dormitory rooms and luggage storage is available.
The front desk of this New York City hostel is open 24 hours a day. It features daily housekeeping and free linens.
Times Square is only 10 minutes via underground journey.
For more places to stay in New York, you can check the latest prices on Booking.com.
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