New York City is known as the city of lights and tall skyscrapers, but with so many incredibly tall towers, how can you ever find the one with the best views? We can help with that because this list only features the skyscrapers – and a few other places – that offer the absolute best views of the city that never sleeps!
Read on to see our 15 favorite views in New York and figure out which seems the most beautiful to you!
One World Observatory is located on the 100-102nd floors of One World Trade Center – New York’s tallest building at 541 meters. The observatory is at an impressive height of 386 meters, allowing for truly breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline. You can see the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, the Rockefeller Center, and pretty much all the way to the Bronx from the observatory!
There’s a food court on floor 101, so you can enjoy these mesmerizing New York views while getting a drink or a bite to eat.
It’s no secret that the Empire State Building offers some of the views of the spectacular Manhattan skyline. The iconic tower boasts observation decks at the 86th and 102nd floors, with the latter one offering an unbeatable 360-degree view of the Manhattan skyline.
One thing to note is that the Empire State Building is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, so it’s usually crowded. Tickets should be purchased in advance if you want to be guaranteed entry without any wait.
Not every beautiful view in New York is from one of its skyscrapers. For some of the best views of the incredible Manhattan skyline, head to the Brooklyn Bridge Park. The waterfront park along the East River is free for visitors, plus it’s open year-round. Head to Pier 1 for some of the best views of New York’s tallest skyscrapers and towers, which are even more phenomenal when the night falls.
Brooklyn Bridge Park features a variety of things for visitors to do, and there’s even a restaurant on the grounds. Come here for a romantic sunset dinner followed by fabulous views of city lights for dessert, and you’re in for the time of your life!
The view of Manhattan from Brooklyn Bridge is so spectacular that it deserves its own spot on this list. It’s partly because it’s such a high bridge, so all those towers don’t seem quite as high while you’re walking towards them. It isn’t until you slowly start to descent into Manhattan that you’re again impressed by their grandeur.
Before you even get onto the Brooklyn Bridge, you should check out the narrow alleys near the river. Sometimes you’ll be able to get an amazing view of the bridge with Manhattan in the back, making the entire trip to Brooklyn more than worth it!
One of the best views of Manhattan is from the water. The Staten Island Ferry is the easiest and quickest way to see the island from the river, and you can be back on solid ground within an hour.
The ferry operates 24 hours, with surprisingly cheap tickets. Most ferries can make the journey from Manhattan to Staten Island in about 25 minutes, and there’s a new boat every 15-30 minutes – they’re more frequent during peak hours. It’s certainly not the most luxurious “cruise” experience you’ll have in your life, but it’s certainly a great way to get a different perspective on the Big Apple.
Head to Times Square for the best views in New York that you can get from the solid ground! The bright billboards and all the neon lights make NYC’s most famous plaza truly spectacular. For the best Times Square experience, you’ll want to visit in the evening when all the bright displays light up the street like it’s broad daylight.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is located in Central Park, and its rooftop garden bar is the best place to go for fabulous park views. Although the vast green space is the size of Monaco, it’s not that easy to see it from the skyscrapers, since the tall towers obstruct the views of the park. It’s incredible to see so many trees and ponds in front of you, and then turn around to see the countless glass towers.
While we’re on the subject of Central Park, I must mention the horse-drawn carriages that take you on rides in the park. It’s a great way to see more of the park, but without having to walk all the way around it since it is absolutely massive. The carriages take you on a quicker tour of all the beautiful park sights, plus they’re incredibly romantic.
You should keep in mind that the views will be spectacular, but the smells less so – the carriage is drawn by horses, so you might want to bring something minty to put under your nose.
New York’s Roosevelt Tram is an aerial tramway that runs from 59th Street and Second Avenue to the Tramway Plaza on Roosevelt Island. Tram tickets are inexpensive at about $2.75 in each direction, making this one of the cheapest ways to experience some stunning NYC views.
The highlight of the tram ride is when you’re descending towards Roosevelt Island and flying over the East River. At least it feels like you’re flying, and the views of the river and the tall Manhattan skyscrapers from up in the air are simply iconic.
It should come as no surprise that New York has countless rooftop bars, thanks to all the skyscrapers in the city. They all offer fabulous views of the iconic skyline, so it doesn’t really matter which rooftop bar you decide to visit – just that it’s at the top of a skyscraper.
Naturally, the taller the tower the better the view. The Spyglass Rooftop Bar is one of the most popular destinations in NYC. It’s atop the Archer Hotel and it offers phenomenal views of the Empire State Building and other NYC landmarks. Other popular rooftop bars in Manhattan include the 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar, St. Cloud Rooftop Bar, and the Roof at Park South.
A helicopter ride is a great way to experience any city, but a helicopter ride over New York City? That’s one for the bucket lists!
There are quite a lot of different helicopter tours to choose from, ranging from $155 to $10,000+. The cheaper tours will just take you on a quick ride over Manhattan, and the more money you spend the more you can expect from the helicopter ride. But even with the cheapest option, you’re still going to enjoy some Now York views that are simply out of this world.
Head to the Top of The Rock for another enchanting view of the iconic Manhattan skyline. It’s the observation deck in Rockefeller Center and it’s the best place to go to get a great view of the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building.
Top of The Rock is a very popular observation deck, but it’s still not as popular as the one in the Empire State Building. There won’t be as many people around, and it’s more likely you’ll be able to get in without waiting, even if you didn’t buy tickets in advance.
Although it’s not technically in New York but rather in New Jersey, the views from Liberty State Park still count as some of the best views of New York you can experience. Not only do you get to see the astounding Manhattan skyline with the Hudson River in the foreground, but you’re also pretty up close and personal with the Statue of Liberty.
The iconic NYC monument is just mere minutes away from Liberty State Park and you’ll have great views of it from the park. It’s worth noting that, while you’re already in New Jersey, you should make time to see the Columbus Monument and the Empty Sky Memorial – both are within the state park, and just a short walk away from one another.
Gantry Plaza State Park is in Queens, and it’s a great place to go with beautiful waterfront views of the Manhattan skyscrapers. You’ll find several observation decks along the East River, all of them offering similar spectacular views of NYC.
Also, the views of Manhattan aren’t the only beautiful views you can enjoy here – the former dockyard is now a vast park with 12 acres of green space for locals and it boasts pretty views all around!
The High Line is another example of how old structures can be reused to benefit the residents and intrigue the tourists. It used to be an old railway some 30 feet above street level. It has since been turned into a park, and it’s New York’s only elevated park. Walk down the former railway to experience some rather unique views of NYC buildings, as well as plenty of scenic Hudson vistas.
Anna is the co-owner of expert world travel and can't wait to share her travel experience with the world. With over 54 countries under her belt she has a lot to write about! Including those insane encounters with black bears in Canada.