No skyline in the world can top the New York City one. Rooftop bars, skyscrapers, bridges and boats; there’s no lack of places in NYC that offer spectacular skyline views. Some are widely known, other best kept secrets. These are my ten favorite spots to catch a stunning view of the New York City skyline.
#1 – Webster Apartments | Chelsea
First on the list was my home for six months, the Webster Apartments. The spectacular rooftop terrace brings you up close with the Empire State building. In case you still don’t believe you’re in New York City, the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel takes all doubt away.
Stunning view of… Empire State Building and Midtown Manhattan
What it takes… A friend at the Webster and boobs – no boys allowed here
#2- Met Roof Garden | Upper East Side
From late spring to early fall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art opens up its amazing rooftop terrace to the public. At the Cantor Roof Garden Bar, you can sip on cocktails overlooking Central Park’s tree tops.
Stunning view of… Central Park
What it takes… A $25 ticket to the Metropolitan Museum of Art
#3- Brooklyn Bridge | Two Bridges
Not only is the Brooklyn Bridge an architectural masterpiece, it also boosts splendid views of both Brooklyn and Manhattan. One would expect a leisurely stroll, but nothing is less true. While you’re avoiding tourists who abruptly stop for pictures and bikers racing home, it might feel like you’ll never make it to the other side.
Stunning view of… Brooklyn on one side, Manhattan on the other
What it takes… Focus
#4- Jackie O Reservoir | Central Park
The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir in Central Park is surrounded by a popular 2.5 km jogging track. Be prepared to catch your breath a lot. Because of the NYC summer heat, but mostly because of the stunning view that follows you around.
Stunning view of… Upper East & West Side brownstones
What it takes… A sweaty ride on the subway back home
#5- Hudson River Park | Tribeca
Another popular running track is the Hudson River Park, spanning from 59th Street all the way down to the south tip of Manhattan. You might have to jump over the occasional rat, but that’s a minor hurdle when you see the One World Trade Center approaching with every step.
Stunning view of… One World Trade Center
What it takes…Bravery to face the blazing sun (daytime) or vermin (nighttime)
#6- Empire State Building | Midtown
New York City’s art deco masterpiece held the title of tallest building in the world for 40 years, until the World Trade Center took over. The open-air observatory at the 86th floor offers spectacular views of New York City and beyond. If you can’t decide between a day- or nighttime view, opt for a CityPASS; it allows you two visits in one day.
Stunning view of… New York City and beyond
What it takes… Tickets starting from $37
#7- Mandarin Oriental Lobby Bar | Lincoln Center
The Mandarin Oriental Group perfects the art of breathtaking views around the globe. The Mandarin Oriental Hotel at NYC’s Columbus Circle is no different. Luckily, you don’t have to stay in a five-star room; the birds-eye view of Central Park is complimentary with a cocktail in the 35th-floor Lobby Bar.
Stunning view of… Columbus Circle and Central Park
What it takes… A pricey (but perfectly crafted) cocktail
#8- Le Bain | Meatpacking District
Whether you’ll get to enjoy Le Bain’s spectacular view is entirely up to the doorman. Once you get past the douchiness, Manhattan lies at your feet. Le Bain is bustling every time of year, but summer weekends are especially popular. Grass-covered rooftop, lounge chairs, a bottle of rosé and unreal sunset views of NYC… need I say more?
Unique view of… Lower Manhattan and beyond
What it takes… The doorman’s good grace
#9- Top of the Rock | Central Midtown
The Rockefeller Center is the Empire State’s closest competitor when it comes to spectacular views of the NYC skyline. Top of the Rock tops the view from the Empire State Building for two reasons. One, you get a birds-eye view of the city’s green heart, Central Park. Two, the most iconic NYC building appears on the skyline.
Stunning view of... Central Park and the Empire State
What it takes… A ticket to the top, starting at $36
#10- Liberty & Ellis Island | Battery Park
The Statue of Liberty and neighboring Ellis Island are well worth a visit. Once you’ve retraced the steps of more than 12 million immigrants chasing the American dream, it’s easy to see why New York is such a diverse city. On top of that, you get a unique view of Lower Manhattan from the water. If you’re just after the view, the Staten Island Ferry is a free alternative.
Stunning view of… Lower Manhattan from the Hudson River
What it takes… A cruise to Lady Liberty, starting at $30
Tip: A CityPASS has you covered on four of these stunning views. Top of the Rock, Liberty Island, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and a double entry to the Empire State are all included in the pass.