Best Viewpoints in New York

There are many viewpoints in New York that give you impressive panoramic views of the city, highlighting in many of them the perspective of the impressive skyline of the southern area of Manhattan, considered one of the most beautiful in the world.

And although you can enjoy the views of Manhattan from the terraces of bars or restaurants, hotels, museums or with a fantastic helicopter flight, the viewpoints offer more complete panoramic views and for that reason alone they should already be included in your selection of essentials.

We leave you with a list of the 10 most recommended viewpoints in New York.

Top of the Rock

The Top of the Rock is for us the best viewpoint in New York , as well as our favourite, since it allows you to have magnificent views of the northern part of the island of Manhattan, from which the emblematic Empire State stands out, and of a piece of Central Park , the green lung of the city.

This great viewpoint is located in the Rockfeller Center shopping center complex and has a glazed area and an open area, which offers you clearer views of the entire city. Normally there are long queues to buy tickets and you have to go before to reserve the time to go up, even if you have already bought the ticket, especially if you want to go up at a rush hour.

Keep in mind that the entrance is included if you have the CityPASS , New York Explorer Pass and New York Pass tourist cards , although you can also book it in advance from this page. In all these cases you will skip the queues, something very important if you do not want to waste a lot of time and make the most of the day.

The best time to go up to the Top of the Rock viewpoint is an hour before sunset, as this way you can enjoy New York in the sunlight and then watch the sun go down as they gradually light up the skyscrapers and buildings of New York.

Visiting hours: Every day from 10am to 10pm; the last elevator goes up at 9:10 p.m.

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Brooklyn Heights Promenade

Brooklyn Heights Promenade is a beautiful promenade located on the banks of the East River from which you will enjoy fantastic views of the Manhattan skyline, with the iconic Brooklyn Bridge on one side.

As a piece of advice, we will tell you that there is nothing better than starting this walk than buying and savoring one of the famous ice creams from the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory , which is also one of the best things to do in New York.

During the walk you will find benches where you can sit down to rest, tables and a grassy area where you can have a picnic with one of the best views of New York , especially at night and at sunset.

At the end of the walk you will see an area where a series of wooden trunks emerge from the water, from where you can take some of the best photos of New York at night.

After enjoying the views, you can head to the northern part of the promenade, crossing the Brooklyn Bridge below and reaching the Empire Fulton Ferry Park, with several viewpoints to see the Brooklyn Bridge illuminated with the skyscrapers of Manhattan in the background.

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Empire State Building, one of the best viewpoints in New York

The Empire State Building is the most famous skyscraper in the world and one of the most essential places to see in New York.

The Empire State Building, which will always be remembered for the final scene of the movie King Kong , was for a long time the tallest skyscraper in the world and even today it is one of the best viewpoints in New York .
From its open gazebo there are incredible views of the lower part of Manhattan and its old iron binoculars, scattered throughout the terrace, give it a special charm.

We recommend going a little before sunset, although if you have already climbed the Top of the Rock at this time, you can go up at noon, when the sun is at its highest point and there is no backlight.
Admission is included on New York tourist cards, though if you don’t have them, you can book here in advance and skip the lines.

Visiting hours: Every day from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m.

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One World Observatory

Another of the best viewpoints of New York is the imposing One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the city and the seventh in the world with its 541 meters high.

Its construction began in 2005, five years after the 9/11 attacks, next to the old Twin Towers and it was inaugurated in 2015 as an office building, culminating in several 360-degree viewpoints, located on floors 100, 101 and 102. , more than 400 meters high.

The views from the One World Observatory viewpoint are for us the most spectacular in New York, since its great height allows you to have a view of almost the entire city, the rivers and the bay.

The only drawbacks of the viewpoint is the high price (34 dollars per person), that everything is closed with glass and that you cannot get 100% closer to the windows since there is a kind of step that prevents it. Despite that, we totally recommend the visit and we can assure you that it far exceeded our best expectations.
You can buy tickets in advance from this page and thus avoid queues, which often last more than an hour.

Visiting hours: Every day from 10am to 6pm.

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Staten Island Ferry

The fantastic views of Manhattan Island and the Statue of Liberty from the open rear of the Staten Island Ferry make it another must- see in New York.

A great time to enjoy the views and the 20-minute ride down the Hudson River, considered one of the best free things in New York , is to leave Whitehall Terminal a half hour before sunset so you can watch the sunset on the way out and then, on the way back, the illuminated New York skyline.

Keep in mind that the ferries leave every 15 minutes 24 hours a day and are filled with working people who stay on the island of Staten Island, so we recommend that you stand in the first rows of the entrance queues and go straight to the back where most tourists are concentrated.

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Exchange Place and Hoboken in New Jersey

On our last trip to New York we crossed the lower Hudson River on one of the PATH trains and went all the way to New Jersey, which has some amazing views of Manhattan.

You can catch the Path from the One World Trade Center or 33rd Street subway stations and the journey takes between 10 minutes and half an hour, depending on which New Jersey station you get off at.

You must bear in mind that the Metrocard, the New York transportation card, does not work for the Path or the New Jersey subway, so you will have to pay for the journeys separately.

The two best viewpoints of New York from New Jersey are very close to the Hoboken and Exchange Place stations. Both areas have a wide promenade along the river with tables and grassy areas to comfortably enjoy the views and take one of the most incredible experiences of the trip.

At the Hoboken viewpoint you can see more of the central part of Manhattan with the Empire State as the protagonist, while from Exchange Place you can better see the skyline of southern Manhattan.

The best time to go depends on the position of the sun and always trying to avoid the damn backlight. In this case, thanks to the recommendation of Rubén and Lucy from the blog Something to remember , one of our favorite travel blogs and which we recommend you read, we went at 4 in the afternoon and it was a success.

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The Edge

Located in the fashionable neighborhood of Hudson Yards, The Edge and The Vessel are two of the new viewpoints in New York that you cannot miss.

Although The Vessel stands out more for its futuristic design with its vessel shape and over 2,500 steps than for its views, it does have several viewing platforms to recharge your batteries and take in the surroundings. You can book the free ticket in advance from this page.

2021 Update: The Vessel is closed until further notice to increase security and prevent potential suicides.

If the views from The Vessel have not impressed you, we recommend you go up to The Edge, the highest open-air viewpoint in New York (345 meters high), which has a part of transparent glass floor that will make you release adrenaline.

You can book tickets in advance from this page , although it is also included in most New York tourist cards.

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230 Fifth Rooftop

A good Saturday or Sunday plan in New York is to have the typical midday brunch on the spectacular terrace of 230 Fifth Rooftop with views of the Empire State Building.

The weekend brunch has a price of 45 dollars, which although it may seem expensive, we believe that due to its location, the quality and quantity of food, it is quite reasonable for New York. If you want to eat something, we recommend you book from their page and if you just want to have a drink, you can go up directly, although keep in mind that on weekends and peak hours it is usually full.

Other good terraces for a drink with a view are those of the William Vale Hotel in Williamsburg, with excellent views of Manhattan, and Le Bain at The Standard Hotel, with views of the Hudson River and New Jersey.

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Although all the viewpoints in New York that we have mentioned above offer incredible views, they cannot be compared to those offered by a helicopter ride.

These flights that depart from Pier 6 East River and usually last between 15 and 20 minutes, offer unique panoramic views of emblematic places and buildings of the city such as the Statue of Liberty, Governor’s Island, the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building , the Brooklyn Bridge or the Hudson River, among many others.
The best time to do this activity depends on the time of year, although in general it is midday when the sun is at its highest point and there is no backlight. Also, if you are lucky and because of your weight they put you in the front, next to the pilot, you will have even more spectacular views.

Among the most recommended tours by travelers who visit the city are this helicopter tour and this night tour to observe the illuminated city, both located among the best excursions in New York.

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The Summit One Vanderbilt

The latest viewpoint to be added to the list of the best viewpoints in New York is The Summit, located in the spectacular 427-meter-high One Vanderbilt building.

Going up to this viewpoint, inaugurated in October 2021, will be one of the first things we do on our next trip to New York since the views from more than 330 meters high say they are unmatched.

The ascent to the viewpoint can be done with the Ascent, two elevators that reach 369 meters outside the building in a few seconds and that give you the sensation of floating over the city, when they stop for a few seconds. And if you still haven’t released enough adrenaline with that, you can walk through the Levitation area (92nd floor), transparent glass cubicles that protrude from the façade and suspend you over Madison Avenue.
We are sure that the unique views it offers of places such as Bryant Park, Central Park, the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building, among many others, will place it in a short time as the best viewpoint in New York.

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