Looking for the most amazing Empire State Building views in the city? We’ve got you covered, this guide will help you find the best photography spots and viewpoints of the Empire State Building throughout New York City, arguably one of the most famous skyscrapers in the world let alone an iconic symbol for The Big Apple, The City that Never Sleeps, The Best City in the World (admittedly biased), you know it, the famous song sung by Sinatra himself, New York, New York.
This infamous city is well known by people all over the world. In New York City, we have endless history and are a melting pot of cultures. A lot of that historical culture can be found in our buildings.
One of the most famous historic buildings in NYC is the Empire State Building. Named after the state’s nickname, this building was built during the Great Depression. Standing tall at 102 stories, during this time, it was given the title of the world’s tallest skyscraper. It is a total of 1,454 feet, measuring up to the tip of the rod. This title was held for 39 years, up until 1970.
This building has an Art-Deco feel, meaning that the architecture is simply stunning! Shreve, Lamb, and Harmon Associates did a phenomenal job with the plans. The building is appealing to the eye, and the structure was builder-friendly (for that time). It’s been said that the design was meant to mirror the likes of a pencil. (Editors)
In this article, I’ll provide you with 15 incredible viewpoints of the Empire State Building. Go check them out and let me know; does it look like a pencil to you?
Empire State Building Street Views:
To start, let’s chat about the Empire State Building street views. These are easy to get to, and best of all, they’re open to the public for free!
Macy’s & Herald Square
Every year the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade makes its way from Uptown Manhattan to Macy’s Herald Square. The Empire State Building’s street view from here is just marvelous especially if you happen to come during the parade.
Can’t come on Thanksgiving Day? No worries, the Empire State Building views are always here. No matter what direction you’re coming from, as long as you’re walking towards Herald Towers, the Empire State Building will be there, gleaming tall for all to see!
To catch the best view of the Empire State Building, head towards Herald Square Station. Right across from 34th Street, you’ll see Herald Towers with the Empire State directly behind it. Or pretty much along the entire Macy’s Store on 34th Street offers great views.
Williamsburg Waterfront & Domino Park
One of the best views of the Empire State Building can be found from the waterfront Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg. Pretty much all along the East River waterfront, you can find some of the best skyline views of NYC from Brooklyn.
Domino Park is one of the best parks in Brooklyn located right on the Williamsburg East River waterfront. It has an amazing history as it’s the site of the former Domino Sugar Refinery turned public park around the ruins of the factory with incredible views of the Midtown Manhattan skyline. This park offers five acres of viewpoints to the Empire State Building.
Including sights from the elevated walkway and a 1,200-foot-long esplanade following the edge of the river. Enjoy the Empire State Building views while indulging in the industrial history of Brooklyn!
For more views, head to the North 6th Street and North Williamsburg Ferry stop next to Marsha P Johnson State Park. The pier here offers gorgeous, unobstructed views of the skyline including the Empire State Building!
Madison Square Park
In the Flatiron District, Madison Square Park has a wondrous street view of the Empire State Building. Towards the north side entrance, on 26th and 5th Street, there’s a direct shot of the Empire State.
Take a stroll up and down 5th Avenue to see the many other viewpoints the Empire State Building has to offer, basically each block offers its own viewpoint!
While you’re at Madison Square Park, don’t miss another iconic NYC landmark and building, the Flatiron Building.
Penn Station 34th Street
Penn Station is located in Hell’s Kitchen and offers a farther street view of the Empire State Building than that of Herald Square. Catch this sight on 33rd Street between 7th and 8th Avenue. The Empire State Building almost looks taller from here!
Also, be sure to check out the new Moynihan Train Station expansion of Penn Station, particularly the East End Gateway to the LIRR Concourse. Take a ride up this escalator for an unbelievable view of the Empire State Building with the natural light pouring in on your journey up the moving staircase.
Under the Arch at Washington Square Park
On the west side of Lower Manhattan lies the beautiful tree-lined streets and charming neighborhood of Greenwich Village. At the center of Greenwich is one of the city’s best-known landmarks and famous parks in NYC, Washington Square Park.
This public park is famous for its beautiful marble arches. This location offers multiple viewpoints of the Empire State Building, but the best view of the Empire State Building is definitely from under the arch!
If you catch the sun setting just right, the Empire State Building will glow!
First, are you wondering what DUMBO means? It stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass (DUMBO). Check out all the best things to do in DUMBO, a swanky Brooklyn neighborhood with waterfront views of the city.
This view of the Manhattan Bridge is insta-famous and one of the best Instagram spots in Brooklyn! It’s easy to find, just follow the crowd to the intersection of Washington and Water Streets.
People stand in line waiting for their turn to get the perfect, IG-worthy photo with the Empire State Building perfectly lined up under the opening of the base of the Manhattan Bridge and the cool, industrial warehouses of DUMBO in the foreground.
Although the Manhattan Bridge may appear to be the showstopper, this by far is one of the best views of the Empire State Building.
One of the best parks to visit in NYC is Bryant Park in Manhattan. This is where you can find the gorgeous New York Public Library at one end of the park and the rest of the park has outdoor and al fresco dining, some of the best public bathrooms in the city, and kiosks full of shopping and eating options not to mention the famous Winter Village during the holiday season including ice skating!
From this location, you can see the tip of the Empire State Building peeking above just above the surrounding buildings, standing tall and mighty. You can see how it held its title as the world’s tallest skyscraper for so long.
And because of the location and everything to do here no matter what the season is, this is one of the best Empire State Building views and viewpoints!
For another magical Empire State Building street view vantage point head to the lively Little Italy neighborhood where before or after getting your view you can dine at many of the delicious Italian eateries or the oldest pizzeria in the United States at Lombardi’s and shop for souvenirs at the little touristy shops that are scattered about over here!
For some of the best views head to Mulberry Street. This long street runs through Chinatown, Little Italy, and NoLita, ending in NoHo. For the best view of the Empire State Building, I personally like the intersection of Mulberry and Broome or Mulberry and Grand Streets!
Best Views of the Empire State Building Rooftops & Observatories:
So, you’ve checked out the Empire State Building street views, but now you want more! Maybe you’re hungry, or you just want to grab a drink. Or perhaps it’s time to visit one of the most popular observatories in town!
Below is a list of rooftops and observation decks that offer some of the best Empire State Building views in all of NYC! You have to check them out.
Also, be sure to check out our picks for best rooftop bars in NYC and best rooftop bars in Brooklyn, all of which offer insane views of the skyline not to mention many have views of the Empire State Building, the ones selected below are just a few of our favorites.
Top of the Rock (Observation Deck)
When we’re comparing New York City skyline views, and want the best view of the Empire State Building, we have to include visiting the Top of the Rock.
The Top of the Rock offers sweeping 360-degree panoramic views of the Midtown Manhattan skyline from atop of the Rockefeller Center, the famous building where many of your favorite television shows are filmed and of course the famous Christmas tree and ice skating rink during the holiday season.
The Empire State Building viewpoint is front and center, being your main focus. What’s lovely about this observatory is that it’s a whole 3-tiers! Included in the 360-view is Central Park. Just look down (if you aren’t afraid of heights)!
In the mood for a wine tasting? We have a rooftop for that! Over in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, there is a rooftop vineyard (yes a vineyard), known as Rooftop Reds. They partner with Point of the Bluff Vineyards in the Finger Lakes to bring the first elevated urban rooftop winery in the city!
From here, the Empire State Building view likes to play peekaboo, but that rod sure does shine bright at night and is extra magical at sunset.
Reservations are required for this hot spot, and all reservations charge a holding fee that isn’t refundable and doesn’t go towards your bill. Just keep that in mind so it doesn’t spoil your experience. This is one of the most romantic date ideas in NYC and one of the best rooftop bars in DUMBO and the surrounding area!
230 Fifth Rooftop Bar
Check out the Empire State Building viewpoints from this rooftop bar in Midtown Manhattan! This is one of the best rooftop bars in NYC that’s open all year round. In the winter, cozy up in one of their winter igloos under the Empire State Building.
This scenic bar and restaurant offers two different floors of views making it cozy and comfortable in any season or weather. The first floor is closed off with the second being completely open air with views since the Empire State Building is right next door.
Make a reservation to secure a spot at this high in demand spot and epic viewpoint of the Empire State Building.
Cloud Social Rooftop
Up in the clouds of Koreatown is a vibrant bar known as Cloud Social Rooftop. Located on the 17th floor of the New York Manhattan Hotel (NYMA), it’s just steps away from the Empire State Building.
Offering an indoor and outdoor setting, the views of the Empire State Building, and the surrounding Midtown Manhattan skyline can’t be missed. No reservations are needed to try the cocktail of the week up in the sky, unless you’re a party of over 10 then you need to call ahead!
For your best chance of getting this spot all to yourself, show up right when they open to pick a prime seat!
Westlight at William Vale
Views of the skyline from Brooklyn are the best, and that’s why we love the Westlight at William Vale, one of the best bars in Williamsburg! On the East River waterfront in Williamsburg, this rooftop offers panoramic skyline views of Manhattan from its terraces and glassed-in lounge.
Reservations are highly recommended if you want to catch this magical Empire State Building view, it’s always better to be safe rather than sorry. Take advantage of the viewfinders, they only add to this mystifying experience and one of the best rooftop bars in Williamsburg!
Let us see your good side! This location allows us to bask in some delicious viewpoints of the Empire State Building’s angles and all their glory.
Located at the top of the Refinery Hotel in Midtown South Manhattan, views of the Midtown skyline are just wondrous. Indoor and outdoor seating is provided, with no reservations required but strongly recommended if you want to ensure a spot here!
Both indoor and outdoor seating offer beautiful views of the iconic Empire State Building directly from this popular rooftop bar paired with great appetizers and bites to eat with friends.
This is also an amazing NYC hotel with views to stay at too if you’re in the hotel hunting phase of your trip planning!
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One of the best views of the Empire State Building can be found at the Spyglass Rooftop! The Empire State Building sits so close to the Archer Hotel, you can practically touch it!
Located in Midtown Manhattan at the Archer Hotel, this rooftop bar is known for its breathtaking views. There is both indoor and outdoor seating provided on the 22nd floor. You can really see the similarities in pencil structure to the Empire State when you’re sitting this close. Be sure to take advantage of the viewfinder to get a closer view!
One of the best observatories in NYC and newest also offers one of the best viewpoints of the Empire State Building. Located in Hudson Yards, the Edge SkyDeck allows you to literally float above the skyline at the highest outdoor skydeck in the Western Hemisphere!
Besides offering plenty of incredible photo opportunities both outdoor and indoor you can grab a drink at the top to toast to the view of the greatest city in the world! From up here, you can see everything from Central Park to views of the Statue of Liberty.
This is one of the most popular observatories and reservations in advance are required. Buy a skip-the-line ticket here to avoid waiting in any lines and secure your spot to one of the most incredible views in the city!
PS, you can also buy a NYC sightseeing pass which saves you hundreds of dollars on attractions all over the city including The Edge observatory.
CityPASS offers a 3 attraction pass or a 6 attraction pass with over 12 city attractions to choose from including popular observatories like the Empire State Building, Top of the Rock, 9/11 Memorial & Museum, Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island, the Guggenheim, and The Edge!
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 including the Edge.
Summit One Vanderbilt
Probably the best birdseye views of the top of the Empire State Building can be seen from the newest, hottest immersive observatory in town at Summit One Vanderbilt observatory located on the 91-93rd floors of the Summit One Vanderbilt building in Midtown.
There are several vantage points of the Empire State Building from the observation floors including floor to ceiling reflective mirrors on the multi-level observatory including an outdoor Skydeck, views from their incredible cafe, Apres, and from the 12 story elevator ride called Ascent you can get if you upgrade your ticket to include this experience and incredible views.
The entire experience includes incredible immersive art installations by artists like Kenzo Digital and Yayoi Kusama. If you plan on enjoying the Empire State Building views from here be sure to secure tickets in advance.
Did we share your favorite viewpoint of the Empire State Building? Let us know in the comments below! If you enjoyed this guide to the best views of the Empire State Building bookmark for later or share the love below on Pinterest!