Ready to experience the raddest and badass-iest picks for the best viewpoints in NYC?
If so then this sweet AF post on the best views in NYC is 110% for you.
Because I’m a 30+ year local who knows exactly where to go to find the top views in New York City.
And I want to share all my expert tips with you so that you can quickly and easily find all the top viewpoints in New York City.
So, stop stressing about where to find the most epic views around and start using this super nifty, easy-to-read post to plan a next-level trip of a lifetime.
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Table of Contents
Best Hotels in NYC
Not sure where to stay while checking out all the best views in NYC? If so then give this section a read.
It features secret local picks for the best accommodations in New York City – places that are well-located and perfect for any budget.
- Pod 39 (Budget) – DEFFO not the fanciest hotel in the city but Pod 39 is perfect if you want rooms under $120 per night (cheap for NYC) that include TVs, Wifi, comfy beds, and more. The hotel itself is also historic since it sits inside a building from 1918 in good old Murray Hill.
- The Duffy Times Square by Kasa (Midrange) – This epic midrange hotel sits around a beautiful central courtyard in Hell’s Kitchen. It also features rooms that come outfitted with Belgian linens, WiFi, iPod docks, and flatscreen TVs.
- Lotte New York Palace (Luxury) – A stunning, 4.5-star hotel inside a 19th-century mansion that is across the street from St. Patrick’s Cathedral. All the gorgeous suites here also come with WiFi, flatscreen TVs, and designer toiletries. There’s even a delish on-site French bakery to try too.
Best Viewpoints in NYC – Manhattan
1. Empire State Building
Seeing as it’s the city’s ultimate emblem, it goes without saying that the Empire State Building is the OG of the best viewpoints in NYC.
And Art Deco masterpiece has lorded over the skyline since 1931 and features its very own observatory.
Now, the Empire State Building has two platforms. One on the 86th floor and a second on the 102nd.
Speaking as a local, you don’t really need to pay almost double to visit the upper level.
Because the original deck already grants an unrivaled 360-degree view from its internal and external platforms. it’s also open air so you can actually take some pretty rad pics.
Of course, the building is more than a little popular. So, you’ll want to snap up Empire State Building skip-the-line tickets in advance.
Also, visit earlier in the day to avoid insane crowds. Or, if you’re an early riser, check out the sunset ticket.
Pro Tip: If the weather is crappy the day you visit one of the top viewpoints in New York City, ask to rebook your tickets since employees will do this for free.
Address: 20 W 34th St., New York, NY 10001, United States
Hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm, except on Friday/Saturday/Sunday when they open at 9:00 am.
Price: Tickets start at $44.00 per adult.
How to Get There: Take the 4/5/6 train to 33rd street and walk from there.
2. Top of the Rock (at Rockefeller Center)
So, the one drawback of visiting the ESB observatory is that you don’t get a view of the legendary tower itself.
Well, that’s where the Rockefeller Center comes in mighty handy as one of the best viewpoints in New York City.
Because Top of the Rock is without a doubt one of the best places in NYC to view the Empire State Building.
Plus, epic views from the top also sweep across Central Park and just about every other skyscraper in town.
This attraction also features an outdoor platform as well as an internal viewing area.
Per usual, you’ll need to buy your Top of the Rock observation deck ticket in advance.
And because checking out the festive decor at Rockefeller is one of the coolest things to do at Christmas in NYC, this is one of the best viewpoints in NYC to visit in either November or December.
Address: 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112, United States
Hours: Top of the Rock is open daily from 9:00 am to 11:00 pm.
Price: Tickets start at $40 per adult with the last entry at 10:15 pm.
How to Get There: Take the B/D/F/M to Rockefeller Center and walk from there.
3. SUMMIT One Vanderbilt
Of the five main NYC observation decks, SUMMIT One Vanderbilt is the youngest of them all.
Actually, you get a stellar view of this one from the Empire State Building.
Now, while the panoramic views from SUMMIT One Vanderbilt are worthy of the admission fee alone, there’s so much more to see at one of the top viewpoints in New York City.
Firstly, you’ve got Levitation – two transparent “skyboxes” that hover 1,000 feet above Manhattan.
Secondly, you’ll get to experience the interactive art experience, Air by Kenzo Digital.
Thirdly, you can splurge out on a bite or a cocktail at the super-sleek bar, Après, on the 73rd floor.
And last but not least, DEFF) upgrade your experience and ride in the glass-bottom elevator. Yup, it’s 100% worth it – especially if you only plan on visiting once.
No need to remind you but pre-booking your SUMMIT One Vanderbilt experience is a must. Plus, factor in additional time to explore the cultural attractions.
Address: 45 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017, United States
Hours: Open daily from 9:00 am to 11:00 pm.
Price: The SUMMIT Experience starts at $39.00 per person.
How to Get There: Take any subway to Times Square and walk from there.
4. Edge Observation Deck
Now, Edge is one of the best viewpoints in NYC for adrenaline seekers.
Because this supremely snazzy NYC observation deck is located at Hudson Yards and lays claim to being the highest outdoor sky deck in the Western Hemisphere.
It’s also one of the most innovative, design-wise.
So, what you need to know is that this platform protrudes out from the tower, creating the feeling of floating.
Plus, crafty architects oversaw the creation of 80-foot-tall glass panels that lean out over the ground at an angle.
Yeah, these will absolutely get your heart pumping at one of the top viewpoints in New York City.
However, if you need even more excitement, you can opt for the City Climb experience at Edge.
Essentially, you’ll scale the surface of the skyscraper and lean out for a sneak peek at the busy Manhattanites down below.
It’s all very Mission Impossible, but safe beyond belief.
And, you know the drill – snag your timed Edge Observation Deck admission ticket to avoid spending all day waiting in line.
Address: 30 Hudson Yards, New York, NY 10001
Hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm.
Price: Tickets start at $36 for adults.
How to Get There: Take the 7 train to 34th street and Hudson Yards station and walk from there.
5. One World Observatory
Now, there is one more observation deck in NYC that you need to mull over before you choose which one is perfect for you.
Now, as you can see, they’re all pretty different.
So, what differentiates the One World Observatory from some of the other best viewpoints in NYC is that it’s the tallest in the city.
And, it straddles the highest building in the Western Hemisphere: the One World Trade Center.
See, the platform rises 1,268 feet above Lower Manhattan. And fully enclosed, you’ll have free reign to roam the 100th, 101st, and 102nd floors.
Plus, stunning views stretch across Manhattan, Brooklyn, and New Jersey. You’ll also experience the thrill of the SkyPod elevator, clearing 102 stories in 47 seconds, flat.
As always, remember to purchase your One World Observatory skip-the-line ticket before you arrive.
And, you can also combine your trip with a visit to the 9/11 Memorial Pools and the Museum too.
Address: 285 Fulton St, New York, NY 10006, United States
Hours: Open daily from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm with the last admission at 8:15 pm (hours may change so check their website for more details).
Price: Tickets start at $38 per person.
How to Get There: Take the 1,2, or 3 train to Chambers Street and walk to One World Observatory from there.
6. New York Helicopter Tour
Okay, if you’re looking to elevate your experience of the best viewpoints in NYC to the next level, you can consider booking a helicopter tour of NYC.
So, yes, this constitutes one of the best views of NYC for luxury travelers or those with a bit of extra cash to spend.
But, it’s an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience when spending your birthday in NYC – or any other special occasion.
Now, the typical Manhattan helicopter tour lasts around 15-20 minutes.
And this will give you a comprehensive bird’s eye view of a forest of skyscrapers, Central Park, and the Statue of Liberty.
But, a private Manhattan helicopter tour will grant 30-45 minutes in the air plus extra sights, like Yankee Stadium.
With the private tour, you’ll also have a say in the departure time – with options to fly at either sunset or night.
Address: Ross Aviation, 67 Tower Road, Harrison, NY 10604.
Hours: Flights depart every half an hour between 4:30 pm and 7:00 pm daily.
Price: $730 for a group of three or $244 per person. FYI, the 7:00 pm, sunset flight is more expensive and costs $1000 for three people.
How to Get There: Go to Grand Central, take a Harlem line train to White Plains station, and then a taxi from the station to the airport.
7. Central Park
Central Park is here to show you that you don’t have to spend a dime if you want to experience some of the best viewpoints in NYC.
Covering 843 acres, this vast park serves as the lungs of Manhattan and charms visitors from all around the world during all four seasons.
Now, this whole park is awash with photo spots and dreamy views. But, head to Bow Bridge for a gorgeous view of the skyscrapers rising above the foliage.
Then, down in the southeast, the Pond is rich with city views that are perfectly accented by serene water and vegetation.
Essentially, every visit to Central Park is sure to offer up a new perspective on this gorgeous city.
And if you’ve got an eye for photography, visit the best views in NYC in the morning for softer lighting.
Also, be sure to make Central Park your priority in the fall or if you’re lucky enough to catch the city beneath a blanket of snow.
Address: Central Park
Hours: Open daily from 6:00 am to 1:00 am.
How to Get There: Take the 1 train to Columbus Circle and walk from there.
8. Belvedere Castle
So, Belvedere Castle is technically another spot in Central Park to pin to your Google Maps.
But, straight out of a storybook, this place deserves its moment in the limelight as one of the best viewpoints in NYC.
Because with its turrets, a fusion of Gothic and Romanesque elements, and elevated position over Turtle Lake, this is one of the most beautiful castles in New York.
It’s also free to visit, and seeing as it’s built on a rocky outcrop, you can get a stellar panoramic view from the upper terrace.
And because Belvedere Castle is set back from Midtown, you’ll also get a unique perspective of NYC.
Plus, who doesn’t love a castle?
Address: Central Park, New York, NY 10024, United States
Hours: Open Wednesday through Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
How to Get There: Take the C train to 81st Street/Natural History Museum and walk from there.
9. Staten Island Ferry
If you’re not already familiar with the Staten Island Ferry, get acquainted.
Funded by the City of New York, the service is entirely free – regardless of whether you’re a local or a tourist.
Now, the ferry operates 24/7 and links South Ferry with St. George in Staten Island.
And while you’re crossing the Upper Bay, you’ll get a killer view of Manhattan and Lady Liberty herself.
So, if you don’t have the time (or the cash) to take a Statue of Liberty tour, this is a great alternative.
Plus, if you’re traveling in NYC with kids, this is a totally family-friendly option.
However, definitely avoid riding the ferry during peak commuter hours. Otherwise, your epic skyline view will be replaced with a close-up of a sweaty armpit.
Address: Staten Island Ferry Terminal, New York, NY 10004
Hours: Ferries depart every 15 to 20 minutes 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
How to Get There: Take the 4 or 5 train to Bowling Green and then walk to the ferry terminal in Battery Park.
10. The High Line
Ready to hike for a view?
Well, grab your camera, slip on your sneakers, and experience possibly the most unusual park in New York, aka the High Line.
See, this abandoned railroad was saved from demolition by the local community who thought it would make a lovely neighborhood park.
Of course, they were right.
And spanning an impressive 1.45 miles, this park offers one of the best views in NYC while connecting Chelsea with Hudson Yards.
Also, because this elevated park is open year-round, you can get a dose of fresh air during any season. However, the flowers are at their best in summer.
Plus, this is one of the best viewpoints in NYC to visit solo, with your SO, or with the kids. So, yeah, it’s perfect for everyone.
Address: Since the Highline spans 1.5 miles, check here for an entry point near you.
Hours: Open daily from 12:00 am to 8:00 pm
How to Get There: Check here for transportation information since it will depend on your starting point.
11. Cantor Roof Garden Bar at the MET
Now, there’s no shortage of rad rooftop bars in NYC where you can sip on a Manhattan with a view.
However, the roof garden at the Metropolitan Museum of Art knocks it out of the park.
Officially the Cantor Roof Garden Bar, this joint is located on the fifth floor of NYC’s number one museum.
Access – permitted with your MET admission – operates on a first-come, first-served basis.
So, once there, you can swirl a cocktail with the Upper East Side and Central Park all around you. Plus, there are often sculptures to pore over and some live music to enjoy too.
Bear in mind, the roof garden is only open in summer and inclement weather can affect opening hours.
Address: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028
Hours: Open mid-April through October, Sunday through Thursday from 11:00 am to 4:30 pm, and Friday and Saturday from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm.
Price: Admission to the MET is $25.00 per person.
How to Get There: Take the 4,5, or 6 to 86th Street station and walk to the MET from there.
12. Roosevelt Island
Now, Roosevelt Island is one of the best viewpoints in NYC that is a bit off the radar.
Because, with all the wonders of Manhattan and Brooklyn, this little slither of floating green space is often overlooked.
Now, just in case you have no idea where this place is, Roosevelt Island is located on the East River, just off the Upper East Side.
Getting there, you have the option of riding the aerial tram. Naturally, the trip is worth it for the views alone.
Anyway, all you need to do is swipe your MetroCard.
Then, once your feet touch the island, you can explore the parks here at your leisure – heading north or south.
However, the views are actually better from Southpoint Park since there are unobstructed views of Manhattan and the river.
And if you can, do try to visit during early spring when the cherry blossoms are in bloom!
Although, if time permits, do wander north towards the lighthouse.
Address: E 59th St & 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10022
Hours: Open Sunday through Thursday from 6:00 am to 2:00 am and Friday and Saturday from 6:00 am to 3:30 am.
Price: Swipe of your Metrocard.
How to Get There: Take the N/R/W train to 59th street and Lexington station and walk to the tram from there.
Best Viewpoints in NYC – Brooklyn
13. Brooklyn Bridge
Of all the landmarks in the Big Apple, the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most iconic. So, naturally, you’re going to want to enjoy some of the best views in NYC from the structure itself.
However, you should also pay a visit to the pedestrian walkway and survey the landscape from the bridge.
Linking DUMBO, Brooklyn, with Lower Manhattan, the bridge is around a mile long. So, it can take anywhere from 20 minutes to over an hour to walk one way.
But, ultimately, you’ll want to stop a lot for oohing and ahhing (and, photos).
Seeing as NYC has a reputation for never sleeping, this is one of the best viewpoints in NYC at midnight.
Because, this way, you get to soak up the magic of NYC after midnight, when Manhattan is aglow with lights.
And, not to mention, you avoid having to deal with busy locals and shouting at your travel buddy over the traffic.
Address: Brooklyn Bridge, New York, NY 10038, United States
Hours: Open twenty-four hours
How to Get There: Take the A or C train to High Street/Brooklyn Bridge station and walk to the bridge from there.
14. Green-Wood Cemetery
Now, this is one of the secret viewpoints that only locals know about.
Because Green-Wood Cemetery is tucked away in between Brooklyn’s Park Slope and Sunset Park.
Once a Revolutionary War battle site, this green space now serves as the final resting place for notable Americans from all walks of life.
It’s also beautifully maintained, with ornate tombs and monuments interspersed with water features. Plus, Battle Hill represents the highest point in the borough and one of the best viewpoints in NYC.
So, once at Battle Hill, you can head to the statue of Minerva, the Roman goddess of war and wisdom. From there, you’ll see Manhattan off in the distance.
Plus, this is one of the best views in NYC if you want to catch a peak at the Statue of Liberty.
Address: 500 25th St, Brooklyn, NY 11232, United States
Hours: Open daily from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm.
How to Get There: Take the 2/3 train to Barclays Center and transfer to the N/R. Ride the N/R for four stops, get off at 25 street station, and walk to the cemetery from there.
Best Viewpoints in NYC – Queens
15. Gantry Plaza State Park
Rounding out this list with Gantry Plaza State Park, this is one of the best viewpoints in NYC in Long Island City, Queens.
Spread across 12 acres, this waterside oasis consists of a scenic boardwalk and picturesque lawn space.
So, if you visit in summer, you might want to bring a picnic lunch or a book to read.
From here, you can admire the concrete jungle that is Manhattan, and spot the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building.
And while you can visit the state park at any time of day, it’s particularly special at sunset.
It’s also free to visit and an awesome place to take the kids. But, do bring cash since the food trucks are hard to resist.
Plus, you can upgrade your experience by riding the ferry over from Manhattan.
Address: 4-09 47th Rd, New York, NY 10007, United States
Hours: Open daily from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm.
How to Get There: Take the 7 train to Vernon Boulevard and Jackson Avenue station and walk to the park from there.