Summary of content of this post
I guess you’ve noticed that New York is one of our favorite cities in the world, so we love to look at it from every possible angle. That’s why in this post we want to tell you where the best views of New York are. And no, they’re not all towering skyscrapers that cost an arm and a leg. We also want to show you a lot of sites that are completely FREE. Will you come and take a look? 😉
COMPLETE GUIDE TO NEW YORK
Before you start, in case you are planning a trip to New York, you should know that we have a lot of articles with useful information for your trip. You can find the most important ones here: New York neighborhoods, essential in New York, New York neighborhoods, the best travel insurance for New York, how to find cheap flights to New York, how to get around New York or the best activities, excursions and tours in New York.
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We always like to make content for a wide range of budgets, so let’s talk about the best views of New York for free, the best views of New York paying a little and the best views of New York paying a little more for those for whom the budget is not a headache.
As always, we have compiled them all into a super useful map for you to save on your Google Drive and use on your mobile whenever you need it (green for free sites, yellow for sites for which you have to pay something and orange for sites for which you have to pay a little more):
The best views in New York… FREE!
Let’s start this listing with the best views of New York for free. Because, contrary to what it may seem, this city has a lot to offer without paying a single euro. Shall we start?
1. Ferry to Staten Island
South of the city, next to Wall Street, is the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. This ferry, which connects Manhattan to the opposite shore, is completely free and you get magnificent views of the city’s southern skyline. If you get the chance, take it day and night so you can appreciate the city from both points of view.
The best views of New York: views from the Staten Island ferry
2. Brooklyn Bridge
It is an emblematic place in New York where you can find them, not only because of its beauty, but also because of the great views it offers of that part of Manhattan. If you cross it on foot you will understand what I mean 😉 The walk of almost 2 kilometers over the bridge is spectacular, so do not miss it.
The best views of New York: Brooklyn Bridge
3. Brooklyn Bridge Park
Once you cross the bridge, you’ll find a beautiful park perfect for watching the sunset as you watch the city lights come on. Without a doubt, this park has some of the best views in New York for free.
The best views of New York: Brooklyn Bridge Park
4. Main Street Park, one of the best views in New York
Also in this area of Brooklyn, but a little further north, is Main Street Park and ‘Brooklyn Beach’ as I like to call it (its real name is Pebble Beach). From here, you’ll have a great view of New York with Jane’s Carrousel and the Brooklyn Bridge in the foreground. Just great!
The best views of New York: Pebble Beach
5. Liberty State Park
If we go to the opposite shore, from New Jersey’s Liberty State Park you’ll find another of the city’s best views. Brooklyn and eastern New York have a reputation for having the best views in Manhattan, but western New Jersey is not far behind.
A little further north than the previous one, but also in New Jersey, we find the area of Hoboken, from which you will be able to take some magnificent photos of the city’s skyline with the Hudson River in the foreground. It’s true that this area faces the Greenwich Village neighborhood (which doesn’t have the tallest buildings in the city), but if you look to the right, you can enjoy views of the entire financial district and if you look to your left, you’ll find all the skyscrapers of Midtown.
7. Gantry Plaza State Park
Without a doubt, one of the classics to get the best views of New York for free. We’re back in the East River area, but this time a little further north of the Brooklyn Bridge. This park is perfect for enjoying a view of the tallest buildings in Midtown, including the Chrysler Building (one of our favorites) and the Empire State Building.
The best views of New York: Gantry Plaza State Park
8. East River State Park
This is undoubtedly one of the best known parks in the Brooklyn neighborhood, one of the best views of the Manhattan skyline and the best one to take a walk or rest. From East River State Park you will have an almost complete view of the city’s skyline, as you can see from the area where the One World is, to the Empire State Building, the Chrysler and the new buildings that are being built on the south side of Central Park.
9. Manhattan Bridge
This is undoubtedly one of the most typical pictures of New York in recent years, but from the Manhattan Bridge itself you get very good views of the city. We crossed it when we did the contrast tour and loved the view.
The best views of New York: from the Manhattan Bridge
10. Central Park
There are two perfect areas to admire the Manhattan skyline from Central Park: one is Sheep Meadow and the other is the area of The Pond, where every year they set up the skating rink. So when you’re doing your tour of Central Park, don’t forget to look up from time to time 😉
The best views of New York from The Pond in Central ParkBest views of the city from Central Park
11. High Line, one of our favorite views of New York
That High Line is one of my favorite places in New York you should know already because I think I’ve said it many times, but it’s just that by doing this tour completely, you’ll get an alternative view of the city’s buildings. Also, at 456 High Line there’s a great lookout point on 10th Avenue.
The best views of New York: High Line
12. Four Freedoms State Park
Returning to the East River and crossing to the south of Roosevelt Island, we find another of Manhattan’s best views: Four Freedoms State Park. The best thing about this view, is that it is the closest to the skyscrapers (being outside of Manhattan) of all those we have seen so far. Chrysler lovers, there you go! 😉
The best views of Manhattan: Four Freedoms Park
The best views of New York for a little money
1. New York Ferry
From Pier 1, located north of Brooklyn Bridge Park, ferries leave across the river to the Wall Street area, so it’s a great option if you want to return to Manhattan after crossing the Brooklyn Bridge and tour the area while getting some brutal views of the city. Each trip on these ferries costs 2.75 USD.
2. Cable car to Roosevelt Island
A little further up we told you about the park south of Roosevelt Island, the Four Freedoms State Park, but from the cable car that takes you to the island you will also be able to enjoy great views. Each trip on this cable car costs the same as a subway ticket and can be paid for with the Metrocard, which we told you about in our post about getting around New York.
3. Rooftop Bar 230 Fifth
This rooftop terrace is home to one of the most famous bars in the city. From its terrace you will be able to see the Empire State Building in the foreground, immersed in a sea of buildings that are incapable of shading it. It’s open every day from 2:00 p.m. According to their website you are not obliged to consume to go up, but what less than to take something with these views, right? Cocktails are around $15. If you feel like eating something, they also have snacks and some more elaborate dishes.
*If you go, remember to carry your ID card with you, because you will most likely be asked to prove your age.
Best Views of New York: Roof Bar 230 Fifth
4. Renaissance Hotel Bar in Times Square
If you have a budget to stay at this hotel, don’t hesitate to do so because it has rooms with views that are just amazing. Seriously. If on the other hand you have a slightly more limited budget you can have a drink at their bar enjoying the bustle of Times Square.
5. Rooftop Bar Top of the Strand
We’re still on rooftop bars! Because if you’re a lover of this kind of place, you can’t miss Top of the Strand. You can have a beer for 10 USD or a cocktail for 18 USD while enjoying the views with the Empire State Building as the protagonist. It opens every day at 5:00 p.m.
The best views of New York: Top of the Strand
6. Hotel Terrace Pod 39
It’s tiny, but it has a special charm, so if you have time, be sure to come by. From this terrace you can admire the Chrysler and the Empire State Building while having a cocktail (prices are around 13 USD). It is open every day from 4 p.m.
The hotel, as a hotel, is also a good option, so if you are looking for accommodation, you can kill two birds with one stone 😉
7. Ferry to Liberty Island
It is true that this option is a little more expensive than the previous ones, but it is still cheap and you get a 2×1: you visit the Statue of Liberty and you get great views. And if you’re lucky and it’s a nice day, you can take pictures like this one down here, with the Statue in the foreground and Manhattan in the background.
The most basic ticket to visit the island costs less than 20 USD and is included in most New York sightseeing passes, so you have no excuse.
The best views of New York: ferry to the Statue of Liberty
8. The MET terrace
Without a doubt, along with the MoMA, the Metropolitan is my favorite museum in New York, because it houses one of the most important collections in the world. In addition, another attraction of the MET is its rooftop garden, from which there are wonderful views of New York and Central Park.
Admission to the Metropolitan Museum costs 25 USD per person, and unlike the rest, it does not offer a ‘pay what you wish’ option. In addition, admission is included in the following New York cards: City Pass and New York Pass.
9. The View Restaurant, one of the best views in New York
Can you imagine a restaurant on top of a building that turns on itself so you get a 360º view of the city? Well, that’s The View. You can go for dinner (we recommend you to book here and we warn you from now on that it’s not cheap) or just for a drink. However, the minimum consumption is one drink per person and they have a ‘night surcharge of 8 USD per person from 20:00 hours.
The best views of Manhattan: The View Restaurant
The best views of New York for a little more money
We go now with the best views of New York for carefree pockets. Because it’s true that climbing to the top of the most famous skyscrapers doesn’t come cheap. Mind you, our recommendation is that you get on at least one of them. Our favorite: Top of the Rock.
1. Top of the Rock, one of the best views of New York
Without a doubt, Top of the Rock is for us the best viewpoint in town. Climbing the Top of the Rock is one of the most exciting experiences in New York because it allows you to have one of the best views of the city and the most important buildings, such as the Chrysler or the Empire State Building.
For us the best time to climb to the top of Rockefeller Center (the 70th floor of the Comcast building) is a while before sunset (although it’s more expensive and crowded), because the sunset from up there is simply fascinating and you can also enjoy the views during the day.
The price for going up to the Top of the Rock main deck is 42 USD per person (approximately, because it depends on the type of ticket, but keep in mind that if you want to go up at sunset you will have to pay 10 USD more) and the entrance is included in the following New York tourist cards: Sightseeing Pass, NY Pass, City Pass and Explorer Pass. At Get Your Guide you can buy your ticket in advance and avoid queues (which is strongly recommended due to the crowds) from 37 EUR.
TICKETS FOR THE TOP OF THE ROCK
The Top of the Rock is open every day from 08:00 to 00:00 (the last lift goes up at 23:00) but if you want to avoid crowds, it is best to go up early or late. Sunset is when you’re going to find the most people.
The best views of New York: Top of the RockThe best views of New York: Top of the Rock
2. Empire State Building
In addition to one of New York’s most emblematic buildings, the Empire State Building is one of the city’s most classic viewpoints. Of course, it’s not prettier than the Chrysler, nor is it taller than the Rockefeller or the One World, but the Empire State Building is one of the buildings without which the city skyline would not be the same.
The price for going up to the main deck on the 86th floor of the Empire State Building is $38 USD per person (tax included) and the entrance is included in the following New York City Tourist Cards: NY Pass, City Pass and Explorer Pass. In Civitatis you can buy the ticket in advance and avoid queues (something completely recommendable due to the crowds) for 35 EUR.
TICKETS TO THE EMPIRE STATE WITHOUT QUEUES
There is another viewpoint on the 102nd floor and it costs another 20 USD to climb up to it. The Empire State Building is open every day from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m., but if you want to avoid crowds, it’s best to go up early or late. Sunset is when you’re going to find the most people.
The best views of New York: Empire State Building
3. One World Observatory
This beautiful skyscraper houses the highest observatory in the whole city on its 102nd floor, from which you can get a 360-degree view of the entire city. Although it is the highest viewpoint, being surrounded by buildings lower than it, the views are less impressive than the one on Top of the Rock, for example.
The cheapest entrance to the One World Observatory costs 35 USD per person (you can upgrade it with flexibility in schedules, drinks or other benefits such as lunch or dinner) and is included in the Sightseeing Pass. You have to take into account that the tickets go with time, that is to say, you cannot go up when you want, and that you will have to go first thing in the morning if you do not want to suffer many queues.
The observatory is open every day of the week, but depending on the season, it opens more or less hours. It is usually open from 9:00 to 20:00, although there are seasons when it opens at 8:00 and closes at 21:00 (please note that the ticket office closes 45 minutes before the official closing time). You can check the full schedule here.
ENTRANCE TO THE ONE WORLD OBSERVATORY WITHOUT QUEUES
The best views of Manhattan: One World Observatory
4. New York from the sky
This option is really for pockets, but what about enjoying the New York skyline on board a helicopter? All you need is 200 euros that you don’t want to spend on anything else. If you want to book this option, you can do it from here.
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Thinking of organizing a trip to New York like ours?
Find cheap flights to New York here.
The best accommodations in New York at the best price here.
Get 25 euros for your apartment with Airbnb here.
New York Tourist Cards: NY Pass – City Pass – Sightseeing Pass – Explorer Pass.
Book your private transport transfer Aeropuerto⇆Nueva York here.
The best tours and excursions in New York here.
What are the best travel cards?
Change money at the best price here.
Take out your travel insurance with a 5% discount here.
The best guides of New York here.
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If after reading this post about where the best views of New York are, you have other questions about your trip to New York, we recommend that you visit our New York travel group on Facebook where people from all over the world share their doubts, experiences and give advice to help future visitors to New York. So stop by the group and ask anything you need to plan your trip to the Big Apple – we’ll be happy to help!
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