Looking for the best views in NYC? You’ve come to the right place! New York City is known for its absolutely stunning skyline that has been featured in countless movies, tv shows, and pop culture.
This guide covers NYC views of iconic landmarks in the Big Apple’s skyline from the Empire State Building, World Trade Center, the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, and Brooklyn Bridge to name a few.
There really is no shortage of stunning vistas and viewpoints in New York. Whether you’re a local looking for a cool new vantage point and NYC skyline views or a tourist looking to see the best Manhattan skyline views in NYC – we got you.
From panoramic skyline views from the city’s best rooftops, the hottest attractions in the city like our observation decks, views from our sprawling urban parks, and even from the waterfront!
We’ve rounded up some of the top spots to take in panoramic cityscapes, highlighting both well-known landmarks and hidden gems that offer unique perspectives on the Big Apple’s famous skyline. So grab your camera and get ready for some awe-inspiring sights!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.
Best NYC Skyline Views
1. Brooklyn Bridge
One of the most iconic New York skyline views can be seen from one of the most iconic things to do in New York City! If walking the Brooklyn Bridge isn’t on your New York City itinerary, it should be!
Walking from Brooklyn into Manhattan, Brooklyn Bridge is a favorite among visitors and locals alike. This famous bridge not only has some of the best skyline views in NYC including views of One World Trade Center all the way to the Empire State Building. Not to mention you’ll get a great view of the Statue of Liberty, East River, and New York Harbor as well.
Also, by visiting Brooklyn Bridge you’ll get to enjoy two boroughs at once as it offers the best viewpoints in New York for both Manhattan and Brooklyn.
You can obviously go both ways, but we recommend walking from the Brooklyn side over to Manhattan where you will end at City Hall. The entire walk takes anywhere from 40 minutes to and hour depending on how many stops for photos you make!
You will be treated to one of the most quintessential experiences in the city by visiting Brooklyn Bridge. It’s best to visit earlier in the day or a weekday to avoid crowds.
2. NYC Observation Decks
Without a doubt, some of the best New York City skyline views can be seen from the very skyscrapers that make up the New York skyline! If you’re able to, we recommend doing all the observation decks to see all the different vantage points, but we realize that’s difficult as some people might be short on time – or money.
If that’s the case, you can decide which you’ll want to see by checking out our guide to the best observation decks in New York City where we break down the pros and cons of each including what each view is!
Now, speaking of money. These popular NYC attractions can add up. If you plan on doing multiple attractions during your New York City trip, then perhaps you’ll want to take advantage of an attraction pass. Here are the two best attraction passes for observation decks and attractions that have some great NYC views!
CityPASS offers a 3 attraction pass or a 6 attraction pass with over 12 city attractions to choose from including some of the best NYC observation decks like the Empire State Building, The Edge, Top of the Rock, 9/11 Memorial & Museum, Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island, the Guggenheim, and more!
Another great option is the New York Pass which you can purchase anywhere from a 1 Day Pass to a 10 Day Pass that gets you into over 100 attractions. Once you purchase your New York Pass you download the Go City app and use that to get up to 45% savings on popular attractions as well as a few hidden gem attractions ranging from the Empire State Building to the Museum of Ice Cream and many of the NYC experiences mentioned in this guide!
CityPASS includes these New York City Observation Decks:
- Empire State Building
- Top of the Rock
- Edge at Hudson Yards
New York Pass includes these New York City Observation Decks:
- Empire State Building
- Top of the Rock
- Edge at Hudson Yards
- One World Observatory
Empire State Building Observation Deck
Being 102 stories tall, the Empire State Building is one of the tallest buildings in the country and offers a magnificent panoramic view of the New York skyline.
While riding the elevator visiting the Empire State Building, you’ll get to see one of the best Manhattan skyline views in NYC—not to mention views of the One World Trade, Chrysler Building, and Central Park. Book here.
Top of the Rock Observation Deck
One of the best things to do in Midtown is visiting the Top of the Rock, a three-tier deck (one indoor and two outdoor) located at Rockefeller Plaza. It’s during your visit to the Top of the Rock you’ll see what many consider to be the best view of the Empire State Building—but you’ll also be treated to a magnificent view of Central Park as well! Book here.
The Edge Skydeck
Standing as the highest outdoor skydeck in the western hemisphere, The Edge at Hudson Yards offers you one of the most unique viewpoints in New York.
At this outdoor sky deck, you’ll get to see some of the best views of the Empire State Building, One World Trade Center, Ellis Island, the Verrazano Bridge, and even Staten Island to name a few! Book here.
One World Observatory
One World Observatory (A.K.A. Freedom Tower) has a lot to offer thanks to its Lower Manhattan location. While you’ll get great views of the New York Harbor including views of the Statue of Liberty, the East River a cool vantage point of the Brooklyn Bridge, and New York skyline landmarks like the Empire State Building.
This New York skyline lookout is completely indoors, making it one of the best things to do on a cold, winter day.
Summit One Vanderbilt
Hands down, my favorite observation deck for New York City skyline views is Summit One Vanderbilt, located in Midtown. Serving as the most artsy of the group, Summit One Vanderbilt is the kind of observation deck that really pulls you in thanks to its unique use of reflection and mirrors. There are also several art installations that are a part of this one of a kind experience.
Summit One also puts you at a great vantage point for viewing the Empire State Building—since you’ll be conveniently placed right next to the building as well as the Chrysler Building and One World Trade Center! Be sure to go inside the bathrooms while you’re here too. Book here.
3. DUMBO, Brooklyn
One of the most popular spots in New York for taking in the skyline views is the waterfront Brooklyn neighborhood of DUMBO. Of all the amazing things to do in DUMBO, one is enjoying some of the best views of New York City!
Not only will you get to enjoy the entire panoramic view of the New York City skyline from the Brooklyn Bridge Park waterfront—but from Empire Stores’ 4th floor (at Time Out Market) you’ll get some breathtaking views of the Brooklyn Bridge and even have some great places to grab a bite to eat.
And from Jane’s Carousel, you’ll get to see some of the best views of the Lower Manhattan skyline as well as the Manhattan Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge.
DUMBO has some of the best views in New York City for seeing the skylines and has the perfect viewpoints in New York for picture taking, not to mention this is a great place to start your Brooklyn Bridge walk to enjoy more New York skyline views on your way back to Manhattan.
4. Marsha P Johnson Park
Existing right on Williamsburg’s waterfront—Marsha P Johnson Park (Or East River State Park) offers you some of the best views in NYC as well as some of the most beautiful views of the Empire State Building!
Take a walk through this spacious park and find one (among many) great spots for sitting down and having picnic. Come visit this waterfront park and gaze over the East River and enjoy some of the best Manhattan skyline views in NYC.
And outside of having great skyline views in NYC, Marsha P Johnson State Park is known for offering native meadow planting (within the historic rail yard remnants)—plus it’s known for hosting local food events!
5. Domino Park
Another Williamsburg hot spot, great for NYC skyline views, is Domino Park. Like Marsha P Johnson Park, Domino Park benefits a lot from its location across the East River and gives New Yorkers one of the best viewpoints in New York to see the entire Manhattan skyline.
Come visit this park and not only will you get to enjoy views of the Empire State Building and the Manhattan skyline, but you’ll also be treated to some unbeatable views of the Williamsburg Bridge as well!
Another interesting fact about this park— it sits where Williamsburg’s Domino Sugar Refinery used to exist with remnants of this large factory being incorporated into this same park’s design!
6. Governors Island
Another area where you’ll find some of the best Manhattan skyline views in NYC is Governors Island! Here you’ll get some up close and personal views of the Statue of Liberty, as well as some of the best views of the World Trade Center and Lower Manhattan.
And as for the best NYC skyline views themselves—you’ll definitely want to veer toward the northern region of the island.
Offering some of the best green space in NYC, Governors Island also serves as the perfect spot for a daytime getaway from the city never sleeps. While vehicles are not permitted on this famous island, this is a great spot to walk (or bike) thanks to all the open space!
And another great spot here offering some of the best views in New York City is from QCNY Spa which has heated outdoor pools open year-round offering a relaxing and unbeatable view of Lower Manhattan.
There are also tons of cool things to do on Governors Island like biking around, lazying in a hammock, and climbing up to Outlook Hill for more great NYC views! Oh, and you can also enjoy glamping on Governors Island seasonally where your luxury yurt overlooks the Statue of Liberty or Lower Manhattan skyline!
7. Brooklyn Heights Promenade
Brooklyn Heights Promenade has some of the best Manhattan skyline views in NYC including panoramic views of the NYC skyline, New York Harbor, Brooklyn Bridge, and Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 5 which rests right below the platform.
On one of the sides of Brooklyn Heights Promenade’s pedestrian walkway, exists historic mansions with plenty of benches to sit at—making Brooklyn Heights Promenade a great spot whether you want to enjoy skylines views in NYC or just read a book!
Walk over to the Squibb Park Bridge, which is technically a part of Brooklyn Bridge Park for more unbelievable views of the NYC skyline, particularly One World Trade before making your way down to the waterfront park for more of the best views in NYC.
8. The High Line
One of the coolest places for New York City views is The High Line, which is an all-around great recommendation for visitors in general, but it’s especially recommended to those looking for the most awe-inspiring skyline viewpoints in New York.
This old railway has been converted into an elevated park with gardens, cool architecture, and of course cool NYC views. From the sky bridge, you’ll be treated to some gorgeous Manhattan street views. There are also plenty of sitting areas and benches where you’ll get to see oncoming traffic from a bird’s eye view. The seating area at the High Line’s Amphitheater is highly recommended for street views of Manhattan’s 10th Ave!
And don’t forget to check on the surrounding beautiful murals including Eduardo Kobra! What’s awesome is that along this walk you can also take a pit stop at Chelsea Market for food, drink, and shopping needs or if you’re in the mood to see some art galleries, there’s an ample amount in this neighborhood!
9. Roosevelt Island
Roosevelt Island is known for many things. Their cat sanctuary (via Wildlife Freedom Foundation), their memorial (Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park), and their cool tramway you can use to access the island, but another thing this island specializes in, is having some of the best views in NYC. At Roosevelt Island, visitors will get to see some of the best Manhattan skyline views in NYC.
And once you’re done taking in all the beautiful sights, stop by Panorama Room—a great cocktail bar that offers more NYC skyline views.
Also, as mentioned, a ride on the Roosevelt Tram, the cable car that you can choose as your mode of transportation to and from the island not only provides some great NYC skyline views but is a fun ride in and of itself. And lucky for you, riding the tram is only just one MetroCard swipe away!
10. Staten Island Ferry
To experience some of the best views in NYC, look no further than the Staten Island Ferry! This ferry not only has some great NYC skyline views, but it also offers the best views (that are free) of the Statue of Liberty as well!
As you leave Lower Manhattan and head to Staten Island, visit the outdoor deck area (towards the back of the ferry) where you’ll get great NYC skyline views. And then, as you get closer to the Statue of Liberty—walk over to the right side of the ferry for the best views in NYC of Lady Liberty herself!
While embarking on one of the best free things to do in NYC, you’ll have a chance to get more great New York City skyline views in Staten Island before returning back to Lower Manhattan. Walk about 15 minutes from the ferry terminal to Postcards and the September 11th Memorial on Staten Island.
Oh, and another inside tip. You can BYOB onto the ferry! You can either stop at a little shop or even buy a drink to go in the ferry terminals before getting on the Staten Island Ferry! Give Lady Liberty a cheers!
11. Tudor City Overpass
A bridge located at East 42nd Street—Tudor City Overpass is a hidden gem, perfect for photography thanks to the historic location having such great viewpoints in New York!
The astonishing views of Manhattan traffic (with the occasional yellow taxi cab) will surely knock your socks off. This overpass also features one of the best views in New York City for seeing the Chrysler Building and all its glory.
With some of the best views in New York City for picture taking, bringing your best zoom camera is a must at Tudor City Overpass!
12. Rooftop Bars
Some of the best views in NYC can be found from many of the city’s rooftops, in particular the rooftop restaurants and bars where you not only get to witness panoramic views of New York but enjoy a drink to toast the city or even enjoy a great meal.
There are tons of great rooftop bars in NYC, here are a few of our favorite ones with great NYC skyline views!
A bar and lounge best known for their frozen drinks and toasty igloos in the winter months —230 Fifth also offers some of the best views in New York City for seeing the Manhattan skyline as well as the Empire State Building. Located in the heart of New York, viewing the sights from 230 Fifth is a must!
Westlight is a cocktail bar located in the luxurious William Vale hotel in Williamsburg and has some of the best views in New York City for seeing the sunset. Not only are the visuals breathtaking, but the bar itself happens to be one of the best rooftop spots in the city thanks to its unique cocktails.
Located in the luxurious Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Nubeluz has the best views of New York City’s sunset that can’t be matched! Stop by this rooftop bar for some great NYC skyline views of the Empire State Building and once you’re done—be sure to also try one of the bar’s fun cocktails or “bites”!
One of the most fun things to do in NYC at night is head to the whimsical rooftop bar, Magic Hour(located at The Moxy Hotel) offers a whirlwind rooftop experience with its rotating tables as well as their pink decor.
With that said, Magic Hour also has some of the best views of the Manhattan skyline (Midtown) and the Empire State Building, so don’t forget to view these sights while visiting this spot!
13. Gantry Plaza State Park
Located in Long Island City, Gantry Plaza State Park is easily one of the most underappreciated parks in the city as it serves as one of the best spots to see free skyline views in NYC.
From this 12-acre park, you’ll get to feast your eyes on some of the most beautiful views of the Midtown Manhattan skyline—not to mention the Empire State Building! And during your trip, you can also check out their mist fountain, as well as the huge Pepsi-Cola sign also located in the park.
Gantry Plaza State Park is pretty easy to get to, especially if you’re coming from Midtown Manhattan (as it is only a couple of stops away via the subway), making this a perfect follow-up spot after visiting one of the many Manhattan entries on this list!
14. Helicopter Ride
One of the best viewpoints in New York is from a bird’s eye view! See the New York City skyline from above from one of the best helicopter tours in NYC!
This New York City Manhattan Skyline Tour departs from downtown Manhattan and is a great way to get the best views of New York City. This narrated tour brings you extremely close to the Statue of Liberty before flying you further uptown to Central Park and beyond including the Brooklyn Bridge and the lights of Broadway. You can also choose the length of your journey too!
Another great option is this Manhattan Highlights helicopter tour, which is appropriately named, as passengers will get to see some of the most gorgeous views of the city skylines through this ride. Departing from the downtown area, this tour takes you to see Central Park, The Empire State Building as well as the Statue of Liberty.
FlyNYON’s Doors-Off Helicopter Ride offers brave souls the thrilling and unique experience of riding through the New York skyline and skies without helicopter doors. While this ride does depart from New Jersey, FlyNYON’s tour ride will allow you to explore the downtown area like never before. You’ll get to see the World Trade Center, Battery Park, and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge—and you’ll want to definitely take plenty of pictures during this crazy ride.
15. Deutsche Bank Center (formerly Time Warner Building)
Located at Columbus Circle just along Central Park is the Deutsche Bank Center (formerly the Time Warner Building) is another opportunity for great views in NYC! Located on the 4th Floor from the Ascent Lounge, visitors can enjoy unbeatable NYC views of Central Park!
Another option for NYC skyline views here is from Center Bar, an elegant cocktail and wine bar with a great view of Columbus Circle.
Porter House Bar and Grille is one of the best steakhouses in NYC with a Michelin star and some of the best NYC views overlooking Central Park and Columbus Circle!
16. Met Museum Rooftop
One of the best views in NYC can be found at an unlikely spot, from the rooftop of one of the most iconic museums in NYC! Located at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, aka the Met, you know the largest art museum in the country housing over 5,000 years of art has a seasonal rooftop where you can enjoy a cocktail or a snack overlooking Central Park and the New York skyline during the summer and early fall.
The Cantor Rooftop Garden also has rotating sculptures on display too.
Best NYC Skyline Views (Post Summary)
- Brooklyn Bridge
- NYC Observation Decks (Empire State Building, Top of the Rock, The Edge, One World Observatory, Summit One Vanderbilt)
- DUMBO, Brooklyn
- Marsha P Johnson Park
- Domino Park
- Governors Island
- Brooklyn Heights Promenade
- The High Line
- Roosevelt Island
- Staten Island Ferry
- Tudor City Overpass
- Rooftop Bars
- Gantry Plaza State Park
- Helicopter Ride
- Time Warner Building
- Met Museum Rooftop
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