There are many iconic city views in the world, but perhaps the most iconic of all are in New York City. Wherever you are in the Big Apple, there’s a breathtaking view to enjoy. But of all the NYC skylines, which is the most awe-inspiring?
Answering this question is tough. There are just so many NYC skylines to choose from. You have to know exactly where to go for the ultimate view of the city that never sleeps.
We’ve put together a list of 10 ideal vantage points for stunning NYC skylines. Whether you’re looking for a romantic location for a proposal or somewhere to gaze in awe at the city, you’ll find what you’re looking for right here.
1. Top of the Rock
Apart from the NYC skyline, the other iconic image of New York is that of Central Park. What if you could capture both images at the same time? Well, you can if you head to Top of the Rock in the world-famous GE Building. The Top of the Rock Observation Deck provides you with panoramic views of the city’s skyscrapers, as well as Manhattan’s biggest and most famous park.
Once you reach the top of the city’s 10th highest skyscraper, you’re in for a real treat. You’ll see many of NYC’s most famous landmarks, including Grand Central Station, the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, the city’s bridges, and the East and Hudson rivers. And all of this architectural beauty is set against the stunning greenery of Central Park.
You’ll need to head to the 67th floor to gain access to the observation deck. But if you want to view the city in the open air, go to the 70th floor. The whole experience is jaw-dropping. Visitors can watch a series of videos and visual effects to enhance the spectacle. Glass elevators take you to the top of the building in less than a minute. And a light show makes the ascent something you’ll never forget.
2. The View, New York Marriott Marquis
If you’re looking for a spectacular location to propose marriage, they don’t get more spectacular than The View at New York Marriott Marquis. You get to enjoy a panoramic view in all directions, thanks to a revolving restaurant. The eatery in the sky revolves 360 degrees every hour, ensuring you get to see everything the NYC skylines have to offer.
The View specializes in seafood, and among the house specialties are salmon and crab cakes. But there’s also an extensive grill selection, which includes several mouth-watering USDA Prime steaks. Or you can treat the person you love to a romantic brunch. The View provides a stunning late-morning experience every Sunday, when eggs Benedict and mimosas are the stars of the show.
This is the ultimate in romance and sophistication. The dining style is formal, complete with white tablecloths, fine china, candles, and opulent surroundings. But the best thing about dining at The View is, of course, the view. Sip cocktails until the early hours, and gaze at the city’s skyline as it twinkles its way into your heart.
3. Empire State Building
The Empire State Building is one of the world’s most iconic structures. Once the world’s tallest building, it features in countless movies and TV shows. This unmistakable feat of engineering rises a quarter of a mile in the sky. But you need to head to the 102nd floor, where you’ll find the famous open-air observation deck.
If ever there was an iconic photo opportunity, this is it. Wherever you stand for a photo atop the Empire State Building, you’ll find spectacular backdrops and romantic vistas. And on a good day, you can see as far as Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.
For the best possible experience, ascend the Empire State Building just before sunset. Get some photos as the sun disappears over the horizon. This is the time when the city starts to light up, which makes the entire experience even more exhilarating. And watch out for special events. The skyscraper is often lit up in colored lights to celebrate the likes of Valentine’s Day, the Super Bowl, and various national holidays.
4. Fort Tryon Park
Fort Tryon Park is home to one of the most photogenic NYC skylines. Located in Hudson Heights, this public space provides a little oasis of nature within the Big Apple’s urban sprawl. This beautiful area of the city gives you access to one of the highest natural spots in New York.
Once a dense forest, Fort Tryon Park is the brainchild of Frederick Law Olmstead Jr — the son of the man who designed Central Park. You get a real sense of history when you relax in the park and gaze at the awe-inspiring NYC skylines before your eyes.
You can enjoy a great family day out at Fort Tryon Park. But the area is also conducive to romance. Wind your way along the many paths. Enjoy a relaxing stroll along the shaded promenades. Or explore what Mother Nature has to offer in the park’s many groves. And stop with a picnic as you take in the vistas. You’ll see several landmarks from here, including the George Washington Bridge, the Hudson River, and the New Jersey Palisades.
5. Brooklyn Bridge Park
Brooklyn Bridge Park delivers the eye-catching contrast of the urban and the natural. Whether you sit on the grass between the trees or walk along the promenade, the views of Lower Manhattan and its various docks will burn their way into your long-term memory.
This is one of the best vantage points for views of One World Trade Center. And whether you’re there on a summer’s day or a cold winter’s evening, romance and wonder surround you.
You can spend an entire day at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Spend an hour or two taking in the NYC skyline. Then wander over to the newly refurbished piers. There, you’ll be able to grab a bite to eat from one of the many local food vendors. There are regular outdoor movie events, as well as poetry readings and live music.
6. Liberty State Park
For an uninterrupted view of NYC skylines, head to Liberty State Park in Jersey City. While the trip may be a little longer than you might prefer, the reward is quite simply breathtaking. From across the Hudson River, you’ll get a panoramic view of a huge swath of the city.
The great thing about making this trip is that you’ll have a little room to breathe when you get there. Liberty State Park is a lot less crowded than Manhattan’s public spaces. If you have a large family, or if you’d like a little privacy for a romantic date, there’s no better place to be.
Take a picnic, and enjoy it on the grass as you take in the sight before you. Or take a stroll along the park’s beautiful promenade. From there, you’ll get to enjoy uninterrupted views of the city’s famous Financial District. And when you’re done, enjoy a breathtaking ferry ride back to the city — under the night sky.
7. Brooklyn Heights Promenade
Head over to Brooklyn, and you’ll be able to enjoy a combination of stunning river views and NYC skylines. This is the perfect place to walk hand in hand with the person you love. This cantilevered walkway delivers the most gorgeous views of Lower Manhattan and New York Harbor.
Built in the 1800s, the promenade winds its way along the waterfront — and past many beautiful buildings. The Brooklyn Bridge Park is nearby, so there’s a real sense of fun and excitement at every turn.
You can have a full day of fun at Brooklyn Heights Promenade if you plan your day in advance. Whether you want to rollerblade along the East River or enjoy a picnic on the grass, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to views of Manhattan.
If you feel like a little retail therapy, head to Montague Street. This hive of activity is home to several cafes, restaurants, and boutiques. Close by is the Brooklyn Historical Society, which features a range of exhibits and a stunning, wood-paneled library.
And don’t forget to explore the beautiful homes and architecture of Brooklyn Heights. This iconic area of the city has been home to many famous people over the years, including Truman Capote, Arthur Miller, and H.P. Lovecraft.
8. Governors Island
Getting the perfect view of the Statue of Liberty isn’t easy in Manhattan. Wherever you stand, you always see the iconic landmark from an angle. But from Governors Island, you can drink in its beauty from the perfect vantage point. A former base for the U.S. Coast Guard, the island features a beautiful promenade and a series of tranquil parks.
It’s very easy to spend an entire day on Governors Island. Rent a bike and explore the breathtaking vistas along the shore. You get some truly jaw-dropping views of Lower Manhattan and New York Harbor from here. Or if you’re visiting during the summer, catch a theme day, an open-air art exhibition, or a music concert.
Governors Island has a rich and fascinating history. Once a military asset for American and British forces, the island was first settled by the Dutch during the 17th century. This makes it one of the oldest European settlements in North America. There are many examples of historical architecture here, including chapels and military installations at Castle Williams and Fort Jay.
Pack a picnic, and prepare yourself for a lot of walking. While you can tour Governors Island on a bike, the best way to drink in the many vistas that surround you is on foot. But don’t worry, there are lots of places to stop, rest, and re-energize along the way.
9. Refinery Rooftop
Located atop the Refinery Hotel on West 38th Street, the Refinery Rooftop is a bar unlike any other. Sip cocktails, stare longingly into the eyes of the person you love, and gaze in awe at the NYC skylines that surround you. Whether you’re grabbing a bite of lunch or partying into the wee hours, this place is perfect for drinking in all that New York City has to offer.
This is the perfect venue for a romantic dinner date. There’s an extensive dinner menu, which features specialties such as griller hanger steak, seared yellowfin tuna, and Little Gem Caesar Salad. There’s also an in-house mixologist on duty at all times. So you can order one of the house specialty cocktails for that special someone in your life — or create one of your own.
There’s a 360-degree view of Manhattan at the Refinery Rooftop. But the most jaw-dropping view awaits you when you look up — wherever you are inside this breathtaking venue. You’ll see the Empire State Building through the panoramic glass ceiling. The view is at its most impressive at night, so drink in the imagery before you with dinner and cocktails.
10. Manhattan Bridge
If you’re in the mood for a stroll, make your way to Manhattan Bridge. Stop in the middle, and you’ll see one of NYC’s oldest and most iconic structures — the Brooklyn Bridge. And beyond that, the towering monoliths of the city’s Financial District will give you a view you’ll never forget.
Start your adventure in New York’s Chinatown district. Get onto the bridge, and slowly make your way across. Take as many photos as you can, as the view changes considerably every few steps. Once you make it to Brooklyn, you’ll find yourself in the DUMBO neighborhood. Spend a few hours visiting art galleries, attending gallery openings, and speaking with local artists. There are also dozens of great eateries and bars in the district, many of which offer al fresco dining.
All of these incredible locations deliver views you’ll never forget. Plan your day around them, and you’ll see the very best of this wondrous metropolis.