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I’m using my non-existent psychic powers to predict that you’re here looking for some of the best views in NYC.

Am I right?

Of course, I am! Because yeah, my rather unoriginal title kind of gave it away. 

But, who can blame you?

I mean, New York City is home to one of the most iconic skylines in the entire world.

And as a native New Yorker who has lived here for well over twenty years, I know exactly where to go to find some of the best views in NYC. 

So, walk with me.

Or scroll down the page as the case may be. Because you’re about to explore the city that never sleeps with a real, live local.

A resident New Yorker who can show you exactly where to find some of the best views of the Manhatten skyline.

Because between stunning panoramic views from some of the tallest skyscrapers in the world to magical shots of the Statue of Liberty from the Staten Island Ferry to the sweeping panoramas from Dumbo’s waterfront parks, this city really does have it all (and then some).

So:

If you’re ready for some of the best NYC photo ops of your life, then cannonball with me into this splendiferous post about all of my most favorite views in New York City.

Because I pinkie promise, you’re in for the hoot-a-nanny of a lifetime. 

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more information. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.

***Not sure where to stay in NYC? Then check out 414 Hotel(Rooms at this chic, Hell’s Kitchen hotel start at $159 per night and include fridges, flat-screen TVs and iPod docks. There’s even a working fireplace in the lobby!), The James New York(Chic, modern rooms at this Soho hotel start at $177 per night and feature high ceilings, floor to ceiling windows, glassed-off bathrooms, plush linens made from natural materials, and more), The Bowery Hotel, (Rooms at this 5-star, Nolita hotel start at $300 per night and are cozy, but stylish, with free Wifi, free bike rentals, exquisite city views, and more). and Pod 39(Located in Murray Hill, this pod hotel sits inside a residential home from 1918. Rooms here start at $120 per night and are cozy and outfitted with queen-size beds or stainless-steel bunk beds with individual TVs and bedside shelves).***

Best Views in NYC: Brooklyn

1. Brooklyn Bridge

Some of the stunning views you'll be able to enjoy from the pedestrian walkway on the Brooklyn Bridge.

Some of the stunning views you’ll be able to enjoy from the pedestrian walkway on the Brooklyn Bridge.

Honestly:

Have you even really visited NYC if you haven’t walked across this 1.3-mile steel suspension bridge that connects Manhattan and Brooklyn?

And just in case you were wondering, the correct answer to that question is a hearty no.

Because the Brooklyn Bridge, and the sweeping NYC views that you’ll enjoy while you’re there, are truly the stuff that dreams are made of. 

I mean:

Believe it or not, this architectural wonder was actually first designed by Civil Engineer John A. Roebling in 1869.

Sadly though:

He, and 19 others, would eventually perish during the construction of this bridge, which would finally be opened in May of 1883.

So:

Hop on the 4, 5, or 6 train and walk, run, or bike across this feat of 19th-century engineering and its associated pedestrian walkway.

However:

Do try and go as early as humanly possible, like before the sun comes up so that you can get some Insta awesome shots without 10,000 of your not so closest friends. 

Best Views in NYC Local Tip: Start in Brooklyn and walk towards Manhattan so that you can get wicked awesome shots of One World Trade, the Chrysler Building, and the Empire State Building. Other top attractions in the area include the beautiful City Hall Park on the Manhattan side and DUMBO on the Brooklyn side, with Jane’s Carousel, Brooklyn Flea on the weekends, Juliana’s pizza, and more. 

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. 

Price: Free

2. Brooklyn Bridge Park

A view of the Brooklyn Bridge and the New York City skyline from Brooklyn Bridge Park.

A view of the Brooklyn Bridge and the New York City skyline from Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Nestled along NYC’s East River:

Brooklyn Bridge Park is an 85-acre recreational area that was once owned by the Port Authority and used for various industrial services.

Today though:

This expansive and straight up enchanting green space provides visitors with a much-needed respite from the chaos of the city.

It also offers you sweeping panoramas of New York’s financial district, as well as the famed Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge.

And if you’re somehow feeling extra energetic (or just ate a really big slice of pizza for lunch):

You can even walk the length of this 1.3-mile park, from Atlantic Avenue in the south, past DUMBO and the Brooklyn Bridge, to Jay Street in the north. 

Truth be told though:

No visit here would be complete without a ride on Jane’s Carousel, a stop at the Time Out food market, a pizza from Juliana’s, and a shot of the bridge from the corner of Washington and Water Street in DUMBO (Trust me, you’ll know it when you see it. This is the most famous photo spot in the city). 

However:

For even more awesome photo ops, head over to Old Pier 1, where you can see all of the old pier pilings jutting out of the water. 

From here:

You can snag a fantastic shot of the pier pilings in the foreground and the NYC skyline in. the background. 

***Want even more hot photo spots? Yeah you do! Then check out this post right now for more amazing NYC photography spots.***

Address: 334 Furman St, Brooklyn, NY 11201, United States

Hours: Open daily from 6:00 am to 1:00 am.

How to Get There: Take the 2 or 3 train to Clark Street and walk to the park from there. 

Price: FREE!

3. Green-Wood Cemetery

Discover some of the stunning views of the Manhattan skyline from Green-Wood Cemetery's Battle Hill.

Discover some of the stunning views of the Manhattan skyline from Green-Wood Cemetery’s Battle Hill. 

Founded way back in 1838:

Green-Wood Cemetery is a sprawling, incredibly peaceful, 478-acre green space that sits on the Western edge of Brooklyn.

And believe it or not:

Throughout the 1800s, Green-Wood Cemetery was actually one of the most visited tourist attractions in New York State – coming in second, in terms of total visitors, to Niagra Falls.

So yeah:

Clearly this place really is something extra special.

That’s why:

A quiet stroll through the rows of 500,000 headstones and elaborate Victorian mausoleums that line the quaint walkways here is the perfect addition to any NYC itinerary.

Especially since this cemetery also just happens to be the final resting place of famous people like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Leonard Bernstein, and Boss Tweed.

And yes:

You must say hi to the cemetery’s resident Monk Parakeets since yeah, they’re pretty dang adorable. Minus all the poop. 

However:

Before you leave, don’t forget to check out the exquisite Gothic arch at the main entrance and climb to the top of Battle Hill, for stunning views of the Manhattan skyline and One World Trade Center.

Best Views in NYC Local Tip: Before exploring the Cemetery, be sure to pick up a free map from any one of the cemetery entrances. The cemetery also offers fantastic, two-hour, twilight tours that begin around sunset and that include fun stories, a detailed history of the area, an up-close and personal look at the catacombs, and stops at the graves of some of the famous people buried here.  

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.

Price: Free!

Best Views in NYC: Staten Island 

4. Ride the Staten Island Ferry 

The Staten Island Ferry between Manhattan and Staten Island is one of the great, free ways to get an up-close and personal view with Lady Liberty.

The Staten Island Ferry between Manhattan and Staten Island is one of the great, free ways to get an up-close and personal view with Lady Liberty.

Broke like a joke but still want to enjoy some of the best views in NYC of the Statue of Liberty?

If so then say hello to your new best friend, the Staten Island Ferry.

Because unlike a pricey Statue of Liberty tour, the ferry between Manhattan and Staten Island is totally free. Making it one of the few things in New York City that is actually cheaper than it was in 1817.

Yup:

Totally unbelievable but totally true since the ferry cost $0.25 way back when.

So:

Hop on the subway, make your way to Whitehall Terminal in lower Manhattan, and prepare to be amazed by next-level awesome views of Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, Governors Island, and the Manhattan skyline. 

And no:

You can’t just stay on the ferry when it docks in Staten Island. You’ll have to get off the ferry and then get back on. 

***Really wanna live la vida loca and cruise around New York City in style? Then check out this amazing, 60-minute sunset cruise around New York Harbor. Because from this unique vantage point, you’ll be able to enjoy sweeping, sunset views of Lady Liberty, Ellis Island, the Brooklyn Bridge. and the Manhattan skyline. So, book now and stand in awe as the sun sets and the lights of the NYC skyline come alive.***

Best Views in NYC Local Tip: The Ferry can get uber-crowded with commuters during weekday rush hours, between 6:00 am and 9:30 am and between 3:30 pm and 8:00 pm. So, try to board the ferry at basically any other time of day. 

Address: 4 Whitehall St, New York, NY 10004, United States

Hours: The Ferry runs twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. However, service is most frequent, every 15 minutes or so, on weekdays between 6:00 am and 9:30 am and between 3:30 pm and 8:00 pm. At all other times, service is available every 30 minutes. 

How to Get There: Take the 4 or 5 to Bowling Green station and walk to the Whitehall Terminal from there. Or, take the 1 train to South Ferry station and walk to the terminal from there. 

Price: Free

Best Views in NYC: Manhattan

5. One World Observatory

A view of New York City from the One World Observatory.

A view of New York City from the One World Observatory.

Shocking to exactly no one is the fact that One World Observatory made it on this list of the best views in NYC.

Because even though the price tag is a bit steep, with tickets starting at $38 per person, the panoramic views here are truly some of the best in the world.

Especially since while you’re here, you’ll be standing among the clouds on the 102nd floor of the One World Trade Center.

And if you pay extra close attention, you’ll be able to spot NYC’s immortal Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, the Statue of Liberty, the Hudson River, and more.

Just do yourself a favor and check the weather forecast before you book your tickets since you really don’t want to visit on an overcast, cloudy day.

Best Views in NYC Local Tip: Book your tickets well in advance (like right now) to avoid spending the entire day waiting in line. Also, try and time your visit for sunset for ruly stunning views of the city. 

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).

How to Get There: Take the 1,2, or 3 train to Chambers Street and walk to One World Observatory from there. 

Price: Tickets start at $38 per person,

6. Empire State Building

The Empire State Building, one of the most famous buildings in all of New York City.

The Empire State Building, one of the most famous buildings in all of New York City.

Desperately seeking one of the best views in NYC?

Then look no further than the Empire State Building. Because if it’s good enough for King Kong then it’s obviously good enough for me.

All kidding aside through:

The art deco style and architectural grandeur of the Empire State Building is truly amazing.

I mean yeah sure, it’s no longer the tallest building in NYC.

But:

This iconic NYC landmark still has an open-air, observation deck on the 86th floor that is currently the highest viewing platform in the city. 

Add in some awe-inspiring, 360 degree-views of the Hudson and East Rivers, as well as the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Statue of Liberty and you really do have the stuff that Instagram stardom is made of. 

However:
 
If that still not amazing enough for you, then you can always explore the indoor observation on the 102nd floor (FYI, standard admission tickets won’t give you access to this part of the building) or check out the Dare to Dream Exhibit on the 80th floor, which details the history of this immortal skyscraper and introduces you to the 3,400 people who built the structure. 

Best View in NYC Local Tip: If you can, try and visit on a weekday between 8:00 am and 11:00 am, when the Empire State Building isn’t quite as crowded. Also, purchase an Express Pass (only sold in advance online) so that you can bypass the insanely long lines altogether. And while the view from the Empire State Building is even more awesome at sunrise and sunset, you will have to pay more to catch the view at this time of day. You’ll also have to book well in advance since both time slots are limited to 100 people per day. 

Address: 20 W 34th St, New York, NY 10001, United States

Hours: Open daily, literally every day of the year, from 8:00 am to 2:00 am, with the last elevator to the top departing at 1:15 am. 

How to Get There: You can take the D, F, or M train from Rockefeller Center to 34h Street/Herald Square station and walk from there.

Price: Tickets start at $42.00 per person. 

7. The Vessel

Head over to the Vessel in NYC's Hudson Yards and enjoy some stellar views of the Hudson River and neighboring New Jersey.

Head over to the Vessel in NYC’s Hudson Yards and enjoy some stellar views of the Hudson River and neighboring New Jersey.

Probably the NEWEST addition to the NYC skyline is the Vessel, or a wonky-looking, beehive-shaped structure that makes you feel as though you’ve stepped inside an MC Escher painting. 

Now at the heart of the city’s revitalized Hudson Yards:

The Vessel is one of those buildings where you’ll see it for the first time and probably won’t be able to decide if it’s pretty pretty or pretty ugly.

Well:

Regardless of how you feel, it’s still a super cool place to do some photography and get some amazing views of the Hudson River.

Plus:

Thee design of the building itself is super cool and unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

And while you can get your daily cardio workout by climbing to the top, for some stunning panoramic shots of NYC’s Hudson Yards and nearby waterfront, this activity is literally not for the faint of heart since you’ll have to climb a hefty, 2,000 stairs to make it to the top. 

But, on the plus side:

This creative, new, immersive art installation is totally free and open to all!

However, before you start popping a bottle of bubbly in celebration:

You might want to pre-book your tickets online up to 2 weeks in advance.

Or:

If you like to live dangerously, you can also try to score some same-day tickets when you get there.

However:

Not surprisingly, there is no guarantee that you’ll actually get tickets.

Best Views in NYC Local Tip: For the best photo op, go to the left and rear of the structure, if you’re facing the river. Trust me, this is the perfect angle from which to capture the structure in its entirety. And all without having 10 million people walking in and out of your shot. Also try and stop by sometimes befor sunset so that you can enjoy pure, unadulterated, lighting perfection.

Address: The Shops and Restaurants at Hudson Yards, New York, NY 10001, United States

Hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm, except between January 6 and February 29 when the Vessel is between 10:00 am and 7:00 pm.

How to Get There: Take the 7 train to 34th street and Hudson Yards station and walk to the Vessel from there. 

Price: Free (But you do have to reserve your ticket and timeslot online, in advance. You can also book tickets for free up to two weeks in advance. However, if you want to reserve tickets up to 6 months in advance, then you will need to purchase a $10, Flex Pass ticket from their website.). 

8. Ride the Tram to Roosevelt Island

The tram Roosevelt Island tram is an inexpensive way to enjoy some of the best views of the East River and the Manhattan skyline.

The tram Roosevelt Island tram is an inexpensive way to enjoy some of the best views of the East River and the Manhattan skyline.

Looking for the best view of New York City? 

Of course, you are! Because if the answer was “no”, then you really wouldn’t be reading this post right now.

But you are here.

Therefore, you clearly need to hop on the tram to Roosevelt Island and enjoy some of the splendiferous panoramas of the Manhattan skyline and the East River along the way. 

And all for the bargain-basement price of $2.75 each way (or $4 round trip).

Because if you want to get the best views of Manhattan, then sometimes you kind of have to leave Manhattan.

Which makes Roosevelt Island a pretty perfect since it’s a little sliver of land that is right in the middle of the East River, just under the Queensboro Bridge. 

So:

What are you waiting for? Just beeline it on over to 59th St and 2nd Ave and let the magic happen. 

Best Views in NYC Local Tip: While you’re on the island, try visiting amazing places like the Blackwell house and the North Point Lighthouse. Also, believe it or not, many locals actually live on Roosevelt Island. Therefore, I’d avoid the tram during weekday rush hours since many people use it to commute to work. And if you really wanna look like a local, let go of the handrails and ride the tram like a champ. 

***Looking for more hidden gems in NYC? Then check my insanely awesome list of 80+ unusual things to do in New York City right now!***

Address: 59th St and 2nd Ave, Tramway Plaza, New York, New York 10022

Hours: The tram runs every 15 minutes, between 6:00 am and 2:30 am.

How to Get There: Take either the 4,5 or 6 train to the 59th Street and Lexington Avenue station and walk from there.

Price: $2.75 each way or $4.00 round trip (You can just swipe your Metrocard).

9. Top of the Rock

For some of the best views of the Empire State Building, head to the Top of the Rock in Rockefeller Center.

For some of the best views of the Empire State Building, head to the Top of the Rock in Rockefeller Center.

Located in midtown Manhattan, and surrounded by an array of exciting stores and restaurants:

Rockefeller Center’s famed Top of the Rock is the perfect place to go to get breathtaking, panoramic views of New York City.

Just ride the elevator to the 67th floor and you’ll discover three different viewing platforms waiting for you. 

The first of which is an indoor area where you can peek out, through big, glass window panes, at the beauty of NYC below. 

That being said:

This definitely isn’t my favorite viewing area since this place is packed with hordes of selfie-stick toting tourists.

Therefore:

Try to climb to the 69th floor, where you can look down onto the ground below you, through giant glass window panes in the floor.

However:

Be sure to continue onwards to the 70th floor, where you can get marvelous, unobstructed views of the Empire State Building and Central Park.

Yup, no photo ruining glass window panes here. Just endless views for days.

Before you go though:

Do check the weather forecast and avoid visiting on a cloudy day, or during the weekends and on holidays when this place is basically overflowing with people.

Best Views in NYC Local Tip: Avoid visiting during peak, sunset hours since tickets will cost you an additional $10. Also try and book your tickets well in advance, with flexible dates, just in case the weather changes at the last minute. So yes, be sure to book your tickets now! And if you don’t want to pay for the Top of the Rock ticket, you can always go to Bar Sixty-Five at the Rainbow Room instead. Just know that you will need s reservation, especially if you want to visit during sunset. They also have a nice outdoor terrace that has a $65 minimum spend limit, which isn’t too difficult for two people to do in NYC. 

Address: 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112, United States

Hours: Open daily from 8:00 am to 12:00 am, with the first elevator going up at 8:00 am and the last elevator going up at 11:00 pm. 

How to Get There: Take the N, R, or W train to 59th street station and walk to the Top of the Rock from here. 

Price: Adult tickets start ar $38 per person. 

10. 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar

Enjoy an amazing, evening view of the Empire State Building from 250 Fifth Rooftop Bar in Manhattan (image sourced from Flckr.com) 

Known for being the largest indoor/outdoor rooftop bar in all of New York City:

230 Fifith is home to an expansive penthouse lounge and garden area that provides guests with some of the best views in NYC.

However:

In addition to some beyond stunning panoramas of the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building, this restaurant/bar also offers guests the chance to enjoy a fantastic Saturday/Sunday brunch.

A truly delectable meal that starts at just $29 per person, making it one of the best brunches in NYC

Or:

If you just can’t seem to drag yourself out of bed in time for brunch, stop by for either lunch or dinner and enjoy a wide variety of foods like pizza, tuna tartare, and a kale garden salad (which sounds delicious…if you enjoy grass clippings).

Per usual:

If you do plan to dine here, be sure to make a reservation since this bar is pretty dang popular amongst all the Instagram mavens of the city.

However:

Be sure to specify that you want to sit at a table of standard height since many of the tables here are only knee-high, making it almost impossible to savor the incredible views here.

Also:

The food here is good, not great. So, I’d definitely prioritize drinking over dining.

And added awesomeness?

This rooftop bar is actually open year-round and inundated,(between November and May, with the cutest, transparent, heated igloos that you ever did see. 

Best Views in NYC Local Tip: While you’re here, try either their Raspberry Mojito (Vodka, White Rum, and muddled with mint and fresh raspberries) or their Jalapeño Margarita (Tequila, lime juice, simple syrup, jalapeño, and topped with a lime wedge). Both are $14 each and super delish.

***Looking for more stunning rooftop views? Then check out my list of the top ten rooftop bars in NYC right now!***

Address: 230 5th Ave, New York, NY 10001, United States

Hours: Open Monday through Friday from 2:00 pm to 2:00 am and Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 am to 2:00 am.

How to Get There: Take the 4 or 6 to 28th street station and walk to the bar from there.

Price: Beers here are $6, wines are $7, and well cocktails are $8.

11. Cantor Rooftop Garden Bar (at The MET)

Marvel at some of the best views in NYC from the rooftop bar at the MET.

Marvel at some of the best views in NYC from the rooftop bar at the MET (image from flickr.com)

Nestled atop one of the greatest museums in the world is the Cantor Rooftop Garden Bar.

So:

After you’ve had your fill of art and culture in the Metropolitan Museum of Art below, be sure to head up to the roof for some awe-inspiring views of Central Park and beyond.

There’s even an intriguing, super unique Pierre Huyghe art installation on display in the bar’s lush and expansive garden area, which comes complete with sets of benches and tables for you to use. 

And while the food here really isn’t that great (mostly sandwiches and such):

You can always just savor some of the best views in NYC while sipping on a specialty cocktail or a glass of homemade lemonade.

Best Views in NYC Local Tip: FYI, you don’t actually have to buy anything while you’re up here and can just enjoy the view. And if you’re part of a group you can pre-order cocktails as part of your museum tour. Also, per usual, avoid long lines by purchasing your tickets way in advance. Like, right now would be a good time to buy them (hint, hint). 

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. 

How to Get There: Take the 4,5, or 6 to 86th Street station and walk to the MET from there. 

Price: You will have to pay $25 to get into the MET, unless you have a valid form of ID and are a resident of New York, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. Then, you can pay what you wish. 

12. Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle

A stunning view of Columbus Circle from the 4th floor of the Time Warner Center.

A stunning view of Columbus Circle from the 4th floor of the Time Warner Center.

Just a hop, skip, and jump away from Central Park is the Time Warner Building.

It’s a bustling hub of activity where you can relax, sip on a cup latte, do a bit of shopping, grab something to eat, and admire one of the best views in NYC.

So:

If you actually like stunning, free panoramas of the bustling city below (and I mean really, who doesn’t?), then head to the fourth floor for a dream view of Columbus Circle.

And if you have a bit of extra disposable income at hand:

Then head to the nearby Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

They offer a decadent but truly delightful afternoon tea in The Aviary, where you can enjoy sweeping views of Central park and Columbus Circle from the 35th floor. 

At least, after shopping at amazing, in-house stores like Micheal Korrs, La Maison du Chocolat, Williams Sonoma, and more. 

Address: 10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019, United States

Hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm, except Sunday when the building is open from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm. 

How to Get There: Take the 1/2, A/C, or B/D train to 59th street and Columbus Circle station and walk to the Time Warner Center from there. 

Price: Free!

13. The Highline

Head to New York City's famous Highline for some of the best views in NYC.

Head to New York City’s famous Highline for some of the best views in NYC.

Would this really be a list of the best views in NYC without a mention of the Highline?

I think not!

Because this beyond beautiful public park overlooks Manhatten’s West Side and was built atop a historic, 1.45-mile long section of a former freight rail line.

First opened in 2009:

The park was actually saved from demolition by local residents and has since become a popular, hybrid public space where visitors can stop enjoy nature, art, and design, as well as some of the best views in NYC.

So:

Get up early (to avoid wicked awful crowds) and take a nice, leisurely stroll along this elevated, pedestrian walkway, through Chelsea and the iconic Meatpacking District. 

Best Views in NYC Local Tip: If you get hungry along the way, stop by Artichoke Basille’s Pizza (located at 10th avenue) for an enormous slice of delicious, spinach and artichoke pizza. Afterward, head to the legendary Chelsea Market and explore some of the fun and funky shops there.

Address: New York, NY 10011, United States

Hours: Open daily from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm, with extended hours in the summer until 11:00 pm. 

How to Get There: Take the 7 train to 34th street and Hudson Yards station and walk to the Highline from there. 

Price; Free!

14. Belvedere Castle 

Climb up the winding stairs of Belvedere Castle and enjoy stunning panoramas of Central Park.

Climb up the winding stairs of Belvedere Castle and enjoy stunning panoramas of Central Park.

Opened way back in 1872:

This quaint little castle is hidden away in Central Park, just behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Perched high atop Vista Rock:

This historic structure is straight up, Harry Potter level magical, with an observation deck that offers guests exquisite views of iconic Central Park highlights like the Great Lawn, the Ramble, Delacorte Theater, and Turtle Pond.

So:

For some of the best views in NYC, climb up two flights of incredibly winding stairs, peek through one of the telescopes provided by the Henry Luce Nature Observatory, and prepare to be amazed.

Best Views in NYC Local Tip: While you’re here, you can also visit the in-house gift shop and visitor center, as well as the nearby Alice and Wonderland statue.  

Address: Central Park, New York, NY 10024, United States

Hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, with extended hours from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm throughout the summer. 

How to Get There: Take the A or C train to 81st street and the Museum of Natural History station and walk to the castle from there.

Price: The Castle is free but guests are asked to make a $2.00 donation. 

15. Governors Island

A bird's eye view of beautiful Governor's Island.

A bird’s eye view of beautiful Governor’s Island.

Who rocks the house?

Governors Island rocks the house!

Because in addition to hosting the iconic, Gov Ball musical extravaganza every year, this 172-acre island in New York Harbor is also home to some of the best views in NYC.

Plus:

This enchanting little island is a mere 800 yards south of Manhattan.

Therefore:

If you can endure a short, seven-minute ferry ride, then you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of lady liberty from the shores of this well-preserved island. 

Because another fun little factoid for you?

This island was once a military outpost that was off-limits to the public for well over 200 years.

However:

This lush, oasis of greenery finally opened to the public in 2006 and features a wealth of historic, military fortifications that are just waiting to be explored, like Fort jay, Castle Williams, and more.

Best Views in NYC Local Tip: This peaceful park is pretty big, so I suggest either bringing a bike with you on the ferry or renting one Bike and Roll once you’re on the island. You also might want to pack a picnic lunch since there really isn’t much in the way of food here. 

Hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm between May 23 and September 27.

How to Get There: Governors Island is only accessible by ferry, Therefore, take lines 2/3 or 4/5 to Borough Hall station and walk to the Battery Maritime Building from there, which is where the ferry departs from in Manhattan. 

Price: The ferry ride costs $2.00 round trip.

16. The Whitney Museum

Enjoy sweeping views for days from atop the Whitney Museum.

Enjoy sweeping views for days from atop the Whitney Museum.

Known for its impressive collection of 20th and 21st-century American art:

The Whiney Museum first opened it’s doors in 1931 and has become a veritable buffet of artistic beauty for culture vultures and photographers alike. 

Because in addition to showcasing pieces done by iconic artists like Edward Hopper, Alexander Calder, and Georgia O’Keefe:

The museum is also home to an expansive, top-floor, outdoor exhibit space that offers impressive views of the nearby Hudson River and surrounding Meatpacking District. 

And if you’re on a budget:

Swing by on a Friday evening, between 7:00 pm and 9:30 pm, when the museum has pay-what-you-wish tickets.

This way:

You can enjoy the more than 21,000 works of art on display here (done by 3,000 different artists), as well as some of the best views in NYC for a whole lot less. 

Best Views in NYC Local Tip: Purchase your tickets well in advance to avoid long lines. Also, try and visit on Thursday evenings, between 8:00 pm and 10:00 pm, when the museum is much less crowded. FYI, this museum also sits at the foot of the High Line, so you can easily see both New York City attractions at the same time. 

Address: 99 Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District

Hours: Open Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday from 10:30 am to 6:00 pm and on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 10:30 am to 10:00 pm (closed Tuesdays). 

How to Get There: Take the A/C/E train or the 1/2/3 train to 14th street station and walk to the museum from there.

Price: Standard tickets are $25 for adults. The museum also has pay-what-you-wish tickets on Friday evenings between 7:00 pm and 9:30 pm. 

17. Randall’s Island

An aerial view of Randall's Island and the Triboro Bridge.

An aerial view of Randall’s Island and the Triboro Bridge.

Separated from the rest of mainland Manhattan by the Harlem River, from Queens by the East River/Hell Gate, and from the Bronx by Bronx Kill, Randall’s Island is home to just 1,646 people.

A fact that makes even more sense when you understand that much of this 520-acre island is actually made up of expansive parkland.

Vast green areas that feature an impressive array of athletic fields, driving ranges, greenways, playgrounds, and picnic areas, 

Which is 110% fine by me since fewer people = more incredible photo ops.

So:

For some of the best views in NYC, head to the South end of the island for amazing shots of the Midtown and the Hell Gate, a railroad bridge that connects Randall’s Island with Queens, from Randall’s Island Park. 

Best Views in NYC Local Tip: If you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can head to the pedestrian walkway on the Triboro Bridge and take some amazing shots from there too. 
Address: 20 Randalls Island Park, New York, NY 10035, United States
 
Hours: The park is open daily from 5:00 am to 12:00 am. 
 
How to Get There: Take the 4 or 5 train to 123 street station. Once here, board the M35 bus, ride it for four stops, and get off at the Main Roadway and Golf Center Parking stop since you can walk to the park from here.
 
Price: Free!
 

18. The R Lounge in Times Square

Enjoy the bright lights of New York City amidst the quiet comfort of the R Lounge at the Renaissance Hotel.

Enjoy the bright lights of New York City amidst the quiet comfort of the R Lounge at the Renaissance Hotel.

Want killer views of Times Square but don’t want to deal with all the hordes of tourists or full-grown men accosting you in Elmo costumes?

If you’re emphatically nodding your head “yes” right now then say hello to R Lounge.

It’s tucked away inside the Renaissance Times Square Hotel and offers its patrons killer views of the bright lights and yellow cabs that are known to frequent the area.

And although drinks here ain’t cheap:

The bar is home to some of the best views in NYC. So, yeah, you can’t really blame them for charging $16 for a Rose All Day Cocktail.

A cocktail that, BTW, is flipping delicious since it’s made with a divine mixture of Bootlegger Vodka, seasonal fruit, cane syrup, fresh lemon/lime, and sparkling rose. 

So:

Sip on a drink, savor the swank AF ambiance and enjoy endless people-watching opportunities as the world seems to pass you by amidst the bright lights of Times square below. 

Best Views in NYC Local Tip: Skip the food. You’re just here for the view and a tasty drink or two. Also, avoid this place on weekends since it tends to get uber-crowded.

Address: 714 7th Ave, New York, NY 10036, United States

How to Get There: All roads lead to Times Square. So basically any subway line you take will eventually take you to Times Square, 

Price: Specialty cocktails here start at $16 each. 

19. The Sky Room Bar

This place is swank with a capital “S”.

So:

Before you arrive, be sure to shower and put on a relatively nice dress. 

On the plus side though:

There’s a no cover charge throughout the week and there are some pretty sweet happy hours deals between 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm.

A fact that makes drinking here a little less painful on your wallet. 

But, the mildly high rpice tag is worth it since this is New York’s highest rooftop bar.

It’s also spread across two buildings and includes a multitude of open-air terraces and chic lounges.

Areas that feature a wealth of decadent decor that is only out shown by sweeping views of the nearby Empire State Building and Hudson River. 

So:

If you’re imagining a high-energy, bar, overlooking 40th Street, that has five seperate spaces for guests to choose from, then that’s exactly what you’ll get from this Harry Potter level magical place.

Because your most difficult decision here will be choosing between the North Terrace (with its retractable roof), the South Terrace (with its private cabanas), the Times Square Lounge, the Cube Balcony, and the Candlelight Lounge.

And just in case you were wondering:

You should probably hang out in the top-level, South Terrace bar since it has plush furniture, soothing lighting, and a lush landscape that only enhances the stellar views all around you.

So:

If you happen to be rockin’ a pair of wickedly high heels and serious amounts of glitter that would make no less than Ke$ha herself proud, then this is the place for you since the bar and the dance floor both stay open until the wee hours of the morning. 

Best Views in NYC Local Tip: Try the Cocopom (Pama Pomegranate Liqueur, Sour Mix, and Pineapple Juice) for a light and refreshing cocktail. And if you plan to visit during the weekend, then definitely make a table reservation and expect to be treated to the sweet, sweet sounds of music from some live DJs.

Address: 330 W 40th St, New York, NY 10018, United States

How to Get There: Take basically any train to Times Square since you can easily walk to the bar from there. 

Price: Cocktails here are around $16 each. 

Best Views in NYC: Queens

20. Gantry Plaza State Park

Head to Gantry State Park in Long Island City for some of the best views in NYC.

Head to Gantry State Park in Long Island City for some of the best views in NYC.

Tucked away in the Hunters Point section of Long Island City is Gantry State Park. 

It’s a quiet, 12-acre stretch of green space that overlooks the East River and provides visitors with exquisite views of Manhattan.

Once a former dockyard and manufacturing area:

This park still has many remnants from its industrial past, including an old fishing pier as well as restored gantries that were once used to load and unload barges. 

So:

Meander along the walkway between 46th and 54th avenues and get some amazing shots of the Queensboro Bridge, the Financial District, and the Empire State Building. 

Best Views in NYC Local Tip: Use the refurbished gantries to frame any photos you take of the NYC skyline. Also, while you’re in the area, be sure to visit the famous Pepsi-Cola sign, which is a vestige from the old Pepsi-cola plant here.

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. 

Price: Free!

Best Views in NYC: New Jersey

21. Liberty State Park

An aerial view of Liberty State Park near Jersey City, New Jersey.

An aerial view of Liberty State Park near Jersey City, New Jersey.

Sitting just south of Jersey City is the 1, 200 acre Liberty State Park.

It was first opened in 1976 and is home to a beautiful waterfront promenade where you can go for a leisurely stroll and take in some stellar views of the Manhatten skyline and the Statue of Liberty.

The park even has a moving, Empty Sky Memorial, which pays tribute to all of the New Jersey natives who were killed during the September 11th attacks ion the World Trade Center. 

So:

If you want to experience some of the best views in NYC, then be sure to take the ferry to Liberty State Park.

Because spoiler alert:

This ferry will actually stops at the Statue of Liberty along the way – allowing you to quickly and easily kill two proverbial birds with one stone.

Because, yes, here at Girl with the Passport, we are all about travel efficiency. 

Address: 200 Morris Pesin Dr, Jersey City, NJ 07305, United States

Hours: Open daily from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm. 

How to Get There: Take the 2/3 train to Chambers Street station and walk to the World Financial Center Terminal. Once here, you can board the ferry to Warren Street and walk to Liberty State Park from there. The ferry ride will take around twenty-eight minutes. 

Price: Road trip ferry tickets to Liberty State Park, which include admission to both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, are $18 for adults.

22. Enjoy a Helicopter Tour of the City!

Nothing beats a stunning aerial view of New York City from a helicopter.

Nothing beats a stunning aerial view of New York City from a helicopter.

Umm, who doesn’t want to enjoy some of the best views in NYC during a once in a lifetime, helicopter tour of New York City?

I know I do!

Especially since nothing really beats a bird’s eye view of Manhattan’s iconic skyline (Hint, hint, Book your helicopter tour now!).

Unless of course, you’re scared of heights. Then this might not be the experience for you.

But if you’re a normie like me (at least when it comes to heights), then there really is nothing quite like a helicopter ride over Manhattan. Especially since most of these helicopters come fully equipped with fly AF, see-through, floor-to-ceiling, convex windows. 

Yup, feel free to be duly impressed.

Just be sure to actually pay close attention to the information that you’re given during your twenty-five-minute flight since you’ll be introduced to iconic NYC attractions as Central Park, Hudson River, New York Harbor, the Brooklyn Bridge, Rockefeller Center, Empire State Building, the World Financial Center, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, etc.

Address: 2 S Wood Ave, Linden, NJ 07036, United States (The meeting point for this tour is Linden station in New Jersey).

Hours: Flights are available any time between 7:00 pm and 9:00 pm, Friday through Sunday. 

How to Get There: Board the 112 Bus at Port Authority and ride it for 18 stops. Get off at Broad Street at Jersey Street and hop on the 57 bus. Ride this bus for 19 stops and get off at Wood Avenue and the Railway Station. 

Price: $200 per person. 

Before Your Leave, Check Out This Free, Interactive Map of 22 of the Best Views in NYC!

Insert extra snazzy jazz hands here ladies and gents because that’s all she wrote!

And this just about concludes my epic list of 22 of the best views in NYC!

So, if you found this post even a little bit helpful, then feel free to pin it now so that you can read it again later!

Looking for the best views of NYC? Then check out this local's guide to NYC! It's filled with expert NYC travel tips and secret places you can go to do some beyond epic NYC photography! . New York Travel | New York City Travel | New York City Travel Tips | NYC Itinerary | NYC Travel Tips #NYCGuide #TravelNYC #VisitNYC #NYCTips

Looking for the best views of NYC? Then check out this local's guide to NYC! It's filled with expert NYC travel tips and secret places you can go to do some beyond epic NYC photography! . New York Travel | New York City Travel | New York City Travel Tips | NYC Itinerary | NYC Travel Tips #NYCGuide #TravelNYC #VisitNYC #NYCTips

 

 

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