BEST OBSERVATION DECK IN NEW YORK: THE BEST VIEWS OF THE CITY!

Check out the best observation decks in New York!

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

And although you can enjoy the views of Manhattan from 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 should already be included in your selection of must-sees.

Here is a list of the 10 best viewpoints in New York City!

The best observation decks in New York

Top of the Rock, what a great view!

The Top of the Rock is for us the best viewpoint in New York. It allows you to have magnificent views of the northern part of the island of Manhattan, which includes the iconic views of the Empire State, and a piece of Central Park, the green lung of the city.

This large observation deck on the 70th floor is located in the Rockefeller Center shopping mall complex and has a glassed-in and open-air area, which gives you clearer panoramic views of the entire city. There are usually long lines 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 in the rush hour.

Note that the entrance is included if you have the tourist cards CityPASS, New York Explorer Pass, and New York Pass, but you can also book it in advance from its page. In all these cases you will skip the lines, something very important if you don’t want to waste too much time and make the most of the day.

The best time to go up to the Top of the Rock is one hour before sunset, so you can enjoy New York in the sunlight and then watch the sun go down while the skyscrapers and buildings of New York are gradually illuminated.

Visiting hours: daily from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm; the last elevator ride goes up at 9:10 pm.

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Brooklyn Heights Promenade

You will enjoy beautiful views of the Manhattan skyline, with the iconic Brooklyn Bridge on one side.

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

During the walk, you will find benches where you can sit and 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 logs emerge from the water, from where you can take some of the best pictures of New York at night.

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

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

It’s remembered for the movie King Kong, and it was the tallest skyscraper in the world.

From its uncovered observation deck, there are incredible views of the southern part of Manhattan, and its antique iron binoculars, scattered throughout the terrace, give it a special charm.

We recommend going a little before sunset, although if you have already climbed to the Top of the Rock at this time, you can go at noon.

The entrance is included in the New York tourist cards, but if you do not have them, you can book in advance and skip the queues. You can choose between its two observation decks: on the 86th floor and on the 102nd.

Visiting hours: daily from 9 am to 2 am.

One World Observatory

Another of the best viewpoints in New York is the imposing One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the city and the seventh-tallest in the world with its 1774.93 feet, i.e. 541 meters.

Its construction began in 2005, five years after the 9/11 attacks, next to the former Twin Towers and opened in 2015 as an office building, culminated with several 360-degree observation decks, located on the 100th, 101st, and 102nd floors, more than 400 meters high.

The views from the One World Observatory observation deck are some of the most spectacular in New York, as its great height allows you to have a view of almost the entire city, the rivers, and the bay.

The drawbacks of the viewpoint are: the high price (34 dollars per person), that it is all enclosed with glass, and also that you can not get 100% close to the windows as there is a kind of step that prevents it.

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

Staten Island Ferry

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

An excellent time to enjoy the views and the ride of just over 20 minutes on the Hudson River, considered one of the best free things to do 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 New York skyline illuminated.

Keep in mind that the ferries leave every 15 minutes 24 hours a day and are filled with working people staying on Staten Island, so we recommend you get to the front of the queue and go straight to the back where most tourists are concentrated.

Exchange Place and Hoboken in New Jersey

Cross the Hudson River below on one of the PATH trains, and you will arrive in New Jersey, which has some incredible viewpoints overlooking Manhattan.

The Path can be taken from the One World Trade Center or 33rd Street subway stations, and the ride takes anywhere from 10 minutes to half an hour, depending on which New Jersey station you get off at.

Please note that the Metro card, New York’s transportation card, does not work either for the Path or the New Jersey subway, so you will have to pay for the rides separately.

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

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

The Edge and The Vessel

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

Although The Vessel stands out more for its futuristic design with its vessel-like shape and more than 2,500 steps than for its views, it has several observation decks to recharge your batteries and see the surroundings.

If the views from The Vessel don’t impress you, we recommend climbing The Edge, the highest open-air observation deck in New York (1131.89 feet/345 meters high), which has a part of a transparent glass floor that will make you release adrenaline.

230 Fifth Rooftop

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

The weekend brunch is priced at $45, which, although it may seem expensive, we believe that for its location, quality, and quantity of food, is quite tight for New York. If you want to eat something we recommend you to book from their website and if you just want to have a drink, you can go up directly, but keep in mind that on weekends and rush hours it is usually full!

Other good terraces to have 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.

Helicopter

While all the New York City observation decks mentioned above offer incredible views, they can’t compare to those offered by a helicopter ride.

These flights, which depart from Pier 6 East River and usually last between 15 and 20 minutes, offer unique panoramic views of iconic sites 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 the year, although in general, it is at noon when the sun is at its highest point, and you don’t have backlighting. Also, if you are lucky and because of your weight you are placed in the front, next to the pilot, you will have even more spectacular views!

The Summit One Vanderbilt

The last viewpoint that has joined the list of the best viewpoints in New York is The Summit, located in the spectacular One Vanderbilt building 1400.92 feet/ 427 meters high.

Climbing to this viewpoint, opened in October 2021, will be one of the first things you have to do when you arrive in New York as the views from over 1082.68 feet/ 330 meters high are said to be unparalleled!

The ascent to the observation deck can be done with the Ascent, two glass elevators that reach in a few seconds 1210.63 feet – 369 meters – on the outside of the building and give you the feeling of floating above the city when they stop for a few seconds. And if you still haven’t had enough adrenaline, you can walk through the Levitation area (92nd floor), transparent glass cubicles that protrude from the facade and suspend you over Madison Avenue.

What do you think? We bet you want to go to all of these places!

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