With some of the finest architecture and most recognizable cityscapes in the world, New York City is full of eye-catching views. No matter the hour or season, there is a long list of overlooks that will provide a view amazing enough to stop you in your tracks. These are just a few of the best views in NYC.
Want to feel like you’re traveling the world, even if you have to stay in the five boroughs of NYC? Use this neighborhood guide to craft an around-the-world itinerary in the city!
The Brooklyn Bridge
Built in 1883 by John Augustus Roebling, the Brooklyn Bridge has offered some of the best views of the Manhattan skyline for over a century. Initially constructed for the use of horses and trains, the bridge that links the two boroughs now stands as one of New York’s most iconic attractions. No matter how you want to experience the bridge — walking, biking, or driving — it should be high on your itinerary.
The Empire State Building
Standing at 102 stories, the Empire State Building embodies the literal and figurative height of modern architecture. Since its construction in 1930, the building has been utilized in countless movies and TV shows, and ranks 28th on the list of the world’s tallest buildings. It’s famous for its view, so don’t be surprised to see swarms of people occupying the two observation decks (one on the 86th floor, and another on the 102nd). The hours are accommodating though, as it’s open from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. every day.
The High Line
Once an old railway, the newly-converted High Line is now an urban park on the west side of Manhattan. For 1.45 miles (2.3 kilometers), the raised walkway meanders through a sprawl of buildings lined with greenery and artwork, and is even home to an outdoor theater. While strolling through the city’s only elevated park, you will see plenty of views of the Hudson River and surrounding area.
Gantry Plaza State Park
Gantry Plaza is another beautiful example of how New York City reuses its finite land mass. Once a dockyard and manufacturing hub, the area now consists of 12 acres of green space for locals and visitors to enjoy. Located in Queens, this state park offers a beautiful view of Manhattan, which can be enjoyed while strolling along its many gardens and piers.
One World Observatory
Tucked into the southern tip of Manhattan is One World Observatory. This observatory parlor fittingly sits between floors 100 and 102 and boasts a number of restaurants and exhibits. While on top of the tallest building in the western hemisphere, you’ll be treated to views unlike any other in the city, ensuring an unforgettable experience.
The Cantor Roof Garden Bar
Sitting on top of the Metropolitan Museum of Art is the Cantor Roof Garden Bar. After exploring one of the world’s best museums, hop in the elevator and treat yourself to a drink with a view. While observing Central Park, you will be awed by the sheer density of trees and buildings that blend together to help make up this world-class city.
The Rock Observation Deck
For a staggering panoramic view of New York City, look no further than the Observation Deck at the top of Rockefeller Center. Though there is an entrance fee for the view, getting a prime view of the immense scale of downtown Manhattan (including the Empire State Building) is well-worth the cost. At 850 feet above street-level, there are so many different levels and viewpoints at the Top of the Rock, you may just be busy talking photos all day of the best views in NYC.
Tudor City Bridge
The Tudor City Bridge is located on the famous 42nd Street, one that the New Yorker called “New York’s most idealistic street.” The street is known for many things — namely its intersection with Times Square, the Chrysler Building, and the New York Public Library. It’s also well-documented that the street is home to what’s called Manhattanhenge, a phenomenon where both the rising and setting sun aligns perfectly with roads running east-west through Manhattan. For a perfect view of this storied street, climb the Tudor City Bridge and try to stop your jaw from dropping.
Header image by Jochen Enderlin.
Did one of your favorite views of NYC not make our best-of list? Tell us about them in the comments or on Twitter!