Experience the City from New Heights
New York City, is the city that never sleeps. The mesmerizing metropolis captivates millions of visitors every year. Its iconic skyline, filled with towering skyscrapers and architectural wonders, is a sight to behold. New York City is the perfect place for an adventure. With an endless supply of museums and iconic landmarks. But to truly appreciate the grandeur and beauty of the city, there is no better way than to head up to New York City’s observation decks. From these vantage points, you can experience the bustling city from a whole new perspective.
In this guide, we will take you on a journey through the best observation decks in New York City, offering breathtaking views, thrilling experiences, and memories that will last a lifetime. While the Big Apple boasts nine exceptional observation decks, we have also uncovered a few hidden gems that offer incredible views from lofty heights, ensuring your exploration of the city’s skyline is nothing short of extraordinary.
1. Empire State Building Observatory
Our adventure begins with an icon that needs no introduction—the Empire State Building Observatory. A beacon of history since 1931, it soars to 1,454 feet, gifting you a 360-degree cityscape like no other. As you ascend to the 86th floor, New York’s skyline unfurls in all its glory.
Day and night, the observatory welcomes you with distinct charms. Daylight unveils a panorama stretching to infinity. As the sun sets, watch the city metamorphose into a sparkling wonderland. To savor every moment, consider priority access or strategic timing to beat the crowds. This is your ticket to Manhattan’s marvels on a whole new level.
20 West 34th Street—Midtown West
2. One World Observatory at One World Trade Center
Next on our list is the One World Observatory, crowning the iconic One World Trade Center. A beacon of hope rising from the ashes, it is the heartbeat of the rebuilt World Trade Center complex. As you step inside, brace yourself for an enthralling journey through time with the “Voices” exhibit, a tribute to the visionaries behind the Twin Towers. Ascending to the 100th, 101st, and 102nd floors happens in a blink, thanks to high-speed elevators.
At the zenith, the Sky Portal beckons. Imagine a 14-foot-wide window to the bustling streets below, as if you’re floating on air. And don’t miss the “See Forever Theater,” where NYC’s luminaries lend their voices to your visit. This is your voyage through time, history, and the sky itself.
117 West Street New York—Financial District
3. Top of the Rock Observation Deck
For an entirely new take on the skyline, venture to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck in the iconic Rockefeller Center. It is a magnet for both locals and visitors, offering a panoramic spectacle of Central Park and the Empire State Building.
Step into the experience by hopping into a glass-ceiling elevator, whisking you away to the 67th, 69th, or 70th floor. The 70th-floor open-air deck is the pinnacle, granting unobstructed vistas and jaw-dropping photo moments. Here is the twist: you can admire the Empire State Building from a captivating distance, perfect for sunset snapshots.
Maximize your experience by securing timed-entry tickets online, bypassing queues, and indulging in a leisurely adventure. This is your backstage pass to a unique skyline symphony.
30 Rockefeller Plaza—Midtown West
4. Edge at Hudson Yards
Our next stop takes us to The Edge, a jaw-dropping masterpiece at Hudson Yards. Hanging triumphantly 100 floors above the ground. It flaunts a heart-pounding glass floor that tricks your senses into thinking you are soaring above the city. As you step onto this see-through stage, prepare for a pulse-quickening view of the streets below.
But there is more—the open-air deck unveils a fresh angle of the ever-awake cityscape. A pristine vista unfolds, painting a vivid picture of the skyline that never dozes off. This is the adrenaline rush and the cinematic view you have been craving.
30 Hudson Yards—Hudson Yards
5. The Vessel at Hudson Yards
Just steps away from The Edge stands The Vessel, an awe-inspiring masterpiece of interactive art. And guarantees an unparalleled observation adventure. Crafted with its intricate interlocking staircases and a mesmerizing honeycomb-like structure, The Vessel invites visitors to ascend and embark on a journey through its various levels.
With each step upwards, a fresh perspective emerges, painting an evolving cityscape right before your eyes. Do not forget your camera. Every inch of this architectural gem begs to be captured from every angle. This is your chance to step into a living masterpiece.
20 Hudson Yards—Hudson Yards
6. Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm
Take your adventure to new heights—set your course for the Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm. Far beyond its organic origins, this lofty oasis unfurls spellbinding cityscapes from a wholly unique vantage. Surrounded by thriving greenery, it becomes your exclusive perch for panoramic splendor, all while championing the cause of eco-conscious urban farming. Here’s where sustainability and scenery unite, a remarkable fusion that you can savor in one captivating breath.
63 Flushing Avenue, Building 3—Sunset Park
7. The Chrysler Building Observation Deck
Standing tall at 319 meters, the Chrysler Building claims the 11th spot among New York’s skyscrapers. Its prestigious address in Midtown Manhattan, at the crossroads of 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue, positions it a mere block from Grand Central Station. And a trifling three blocks from Bryant Park. Back in 1930, it once reigned as the tallest in the world until the Empire State Building eclipsed that record a year later.
The Chrysler Building is an icon, an indelible part of the city’s skyline. Its Art Deco architecture, the famed eagles perched on the corners of the 61st floor, and the luminous spire that comes to life at night make it an eternal standout.
And now, a dream come true. The Chrysler Building will soon feature an observation deck. Set to grace the 61st floor, it will transform the existing northern and southern terraces into a haven with sweeping views overlooking Midtown, the East River, and the One Vanderbilt Summit. This addition will mark the ninth observation deck in New York, promising remarkable vistas of Midtown Manhattan.
As a cherry on top, the 62nd floor will undergo a transformation to create an enclosed space akin to the likes of the Top of the Rock, the Empire State Building, One Vanderbilt Summit, and Edge Hudson Yards. While there is no precise timeline, the nod for construction was granted by the Landmarks Preservation Commission in 2020, signaling exciting times ahead for this architectural gem.
405 Lexington Avenue—Midtown
8. The Statue of Liberty Crown
Defying the norm of towering observation decks is the Statue of Liberty’s symbolic crown. Not your usual skyscraper perch, but no guide to New York City’s observation wonders is whole without a nod to the Statue of Liberty’s iconic crown. A beacon of liberty, it gifts visitors an utterly distinct city view. It is an embodiment of freedom.
Thee crown unveils an entirely unparalleled urban vista. However, please be prepared. Crown access is a prized rarity, and it is a good idea to have advance reservations. So, anticipate this once-in-a-lifetime chance to stand where liberty gazes over the city that never sleeps.
1 Liberty Island—Manhattan
9. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Roof Garden
Venturing beyond the conventional observation decks, the Roof Garden at The Met emerges as an urban sanctuary. It is a tranquil refuge from the city’s ceaseless rhythm. Here, art and nature harmonize, presenting a canvas where visitors can savor.
The strokes of artistic mastery and an unhindered vista of Central Park and the majestic Manhattan skyline. Tucked away like a treasured secret, this gem caters to souls yearning for a serene cocoon to drink in the metropolis’ allure, a haven of tranquility amidst the urban fervor.
1000 Fifth Avenue—Central Park
10. The Williamsburg Hotel Rooftop
Crossing the East River to Brooklyn unveils a gem in the form of The Williamsburg Hotel Rooftop. It is not just about the panoramic Manhattan skyline view here. But about indulging in a voguish ambiance while relishing cocktails and delectable bites against this breathtaking backdrop.
With a laid-back vibe tailor-made for unwinding, it is your front-row seat to catch the sun setting on the city. This rooftop is not just a vantage point. It is an experience that infuses style into your skyline adventure.
96 Wythe Avenue—Williamsburg
11. The Woolworth Building Observation Deck
Bringing our list to a crescendo, the venerable Woolworth Building commands attention. A once-unrivaled skyscraper, it retains its status as an architectural masterpiece. Ascend to the observation deck, perched on the 55th floor, and marvel at the breathtaking panorama of lower Manhattan and the bustling Financial District.
The echoes of history and its vintage allure transform it into a mecca for lovers of both architecture and the past. Whether you are an admirer of design or an avid history buff, this is a pilgrimage you will not want to miss.
12. Green-Wood Cemetery
Green-Wood is far more than a resting place for the departed. It is a living tribute that bridges the gap between the past and present. This extraordinary cemetery does not just honor the deceased. It breathes life into the art, history, and natural splendor of New York City.
Established in 1838 and now designated as a National Historic Landmark, Green-Wood holds the distinction of being one of America’s earliest rural cemeteries. By the early 1860s, it had garnered international acclaim for its breathtaking beauty, evolving into the most prestigious final resting place, drawing a staggering half-million annual visitors. It is second only to the awe-inspiring Niagara Falls. Families flocked here for serene outings, carriage rides, and to marvel at sculptures set amidst an impeccably designed American landscape.
Green-Wood’s allure played a pivotal role in inspiring the creation of iconic public parks, including New York City’s Central and Prospect Parks. Nestled just a 10-minute stroll from Prospect Park, this sprawling 1.9 square kilometer cemetery cradles around 600,000 graves.
For a spectacular panoramic view of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty, make your way to the commanding Battle Hill. Here, you will find not just a cemetery, but a living testament to the soul of New York City’s history and natural beauty.
500 25th Street—Sunset Park
Wrapping it Up
In conclusion, New York City’s observation decks provide an opportunity to see the city from a whole new angle. From the majestic Empire State Building to the poignant One World Observatory, each vantage point offers its own unique charm. And a chance to fall in love with the city all over again. Whether you are a first-time visitor or a seasoned New Yorker, a trip to these observation decks is a must-do to truly appreciate the grandeur and beauty of the Big Apple.
So, whether you are gazing at the city lights from the Top of the Rock or ascending the spiraling staircases of The Vessel, each observation deck on our journey will leave you with indelible memories and a newfound appreciation for the city that never sleeps. Embrace the heights and breathe in the skyline. And let New York City’s magic envelop you as you embark on this spectacular sojourn into the heart of the concrete jungle.