North America

▷ Observation Decks in NYC

New York City has many observation decks that give you spectacular views of the city. There is hardly anything more spectacular than standing far above the city streets and looking down over the expansive concrete jungle. Which observation decks there are, which ones are free, and a few insider tips are all included in our list of best observation platforms in NYC.

Further down you will find all 👉 observatories of New York on a map.

By the way: it’s really nice when you can enjoy  New York already when you wake up. Take a look at my Hotels in New York with a view!

The Best Observation Platforms in New York

These are our favorite observation decks in NYC:

  1. 01

    One World Observatory – New York highest platform

    Building
    in
    Lower Manhattan


    The One World Trade Center is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere meaning that is the ultimate place for an observation deck. The One World Observatory offers amazing views over the whole of Manhattan, the Hudson and East Rivers and of course the Statue of Liberty. As one of NYC’s newest attractions the modern building and its observation deck have many amazing features that make this well worth the visit!

  2. 02

    Empire State Building – The iconic observation deck

    Building
    in
    Midtown

    Empire State Building

    With its observation deck on the 86th Floor, the Empire State Building offers the highest open observation deck in New York! Due to the fact that it is not encased in glass or covered with a roof, it is one the most popular observation decks of the city and definitely one of the most spectacular. Additionally, the Empire State Building has a second observation platform on the 102nd floor that is enclosed and features large panoramic windows.

  3. 03

    The Edge Observation Deck – the one with the glass floor

    Building

    Our Highlight

    Edge_Hudson_Yards_200311150024031

    The Hudson Yards observation deck called Edge is taking shape. Slowly things are getting serious around the major project Hudson Yards. Since 2005, the new, gigantic Hudson Yards business district has been under construction in Midtown. With a proud 25 billion dollars construction cost, it is also the most expensive project in American history.

  4. 04

    Top of the Rock – The observation deck with the best view over Central Park

    Building
    in
    Midtown

    Top of The Rock NYC

    The observation deck at Rockefeller Center is also known as Top of the Rock. This is definitely our favorite observation deck of the city as it gives you great views of the Empire State Building as well as Central Park. It also allows you to take the typical NYC picture of the Empire State Building standing tall among the other skyscrapers of Central Manhattan, as in the header picture above. Another advantage of the Top of the Rock observation deck compared to the others is that it is much less crowded thanks to the timed entry system. Instead of waiting in line, you will receive a time to come back when you purchase your tickets. This time management not only makes the observation deck much less busy but it also allows you to cut down on the time spent in the queue waiting to get to the top!

  5. 05

    One Vanderbilt The Summit – The newest observation deck in New York

    Building
    in
    Midtown

    Summit_Aussichtsplattform_New_York_210511202847002

    The New York City skyline is one of the most famous and recognizable skylines in the world. It’s a city filled with skyscrapers and tall buildings. In most recent years, it has been expanding which made way for new observation decks. The newest observation deck coming to the city will be located at the top of the One Vanderbilt Building. This one will be called “The Summit”. This deck will be the second-highest outdoor deck in NYC which follows the Edge and is about to open on October, 21st!

  6. 06

    The Vessel Hudson Yards

    in
    Hudson Yards

    Vessel-Hudson-Yards-190318151239001

    The Vessel is the newest attraction in the Hudson Yards – and it’s free! Designed by British Thomas Heatherwick (designer of the “Rolling Bridge and UK Pavilion at Expo 2010), “The Vessel” offers around 2,500 steps to climb up and down. The symmetrical steel structure, connected by 154 interwoven stair segments, attracts tourists from all over the world to climb the vertical distance of about one mile!

  7. 07

    Observation platform in the crown of the Statue of Liberty

    Building
    in
    Lower Manhattan

    statue_of_liberty_and_ellis_island_NYC_Sightseeing_Tour_180306111924010

    The crown of the Statue of Liberty is very popular with tourists. We have climbed the stairs to the crown ourselves and, to be completely honest, found the experience somewhat overrated. Long wait lines and a small, tight viewing area in the crown did persuade us this was worth the visit. Our tip: if you want to see the Statue of Liberty up close, take a boat cruise around Manhattan or take pictures from the free Staten Island Ferry. The view from the top of the Statue of Liberty is not that great either, due to being quite a distance from Manhattan most of what you see is water.

  8. 08

    Green-Wood Cemetery

    Other Attraction
    in
    Park Slope

    Green_Wood_Cemetery_6_170209111733020

    The cemetery is located about 10 minutes walking distance from Prospect Park. On an area of 1.9 km² there are about 600,000 graves and on the hill Battle Hill you can enjoy a great view of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.

Free observation decks in New York

Just like everybody else, we love free things at Loving New York. What’s even better is if you can get something for free that you wouldn’t mind paying for. Free observation decks definitely fit into that category! There are two different ways of enjoying great views of New York for free.

 You have a New York pass

The very popular observation decks on top of the Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center (Top of the Rock) are included in the New York passes. With sightseeing passes, you pay a fixed amount upfront, and can then visit many attractions for free. It is basically a flat rate for NYC attractions. Take a look at the Comparison of New York passes. With a pass, you can save up to 70% compared to the cost of purchasing regular tickets individually!

You go to a rooftop bar

If you want to enjoy New York high above, another option is to go to one of the many rooftop bars and lounges the city has to offer. Our tip: the rooftop bar 230 Fifth or Spyglass – both will give you stunning views of the Empire State Building and are definitely some of our favorite rooftop bars in the city.

You can find the best rooftop bars in New York in my list:

Which observation deck in New York is the best?

That’s a tricky one – each of them is worth visiting. To get a quick overview I have this comparison for you:

The Best Observation Platforms in New York on a map

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