Famous for its skyscrapers, the New York skyline is one of the most wonderful in the world. And, some of the tallest high risers are open to the public and offer the best views in New York.

Now we are well into April, it’s one the best times to see the city with the clearest and crispest views. So where are the best views of New York?

Empire State Building

No New York visit is complete without a visit to the Empire State Building. One of the most famous buildings in the world and New York’s oldest skyscraper, it is open 365 days a year from 10am to 11pm – sometimes until midnight – or later (check out its opening times here) – and with options to see New York from the 86th or 102nd floors.

The Empire State Building from below.
One of the best views of New York from Top of the Rock.

The 86th floor is open-air with 360 degree views of the City. You can see Central Park, the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge and the other observation deck giants too, such as One World Observatory and Top of the Rock. It’s often a little busier than the 102nd floor but it’s where you can have your Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks moment.

The 102nd floor is over 60m higher, though. And, it’s views are unmatched. Anyone who’s been to the 102nd floor completely advocates its worth. It’s amazing and worth the upgrade.

Entry prices are slightly over $40 for adults and children – but, free with the Sightseeing Pass.

It does get so busy and the best times to visit the Empire State Building are just as it opens or just before it closes. Though remember, last admission is 45 minutes before closing time. And, remember, it does get chilly up there!

One World Observatory

Higher than the Empire State Building is the One World Observatory, on the 102nd and 103rd floors of the One World Trade Center. Built to remember 9/11, the One World Observatory is one of the newest and most striking New York attractions. It also offers 360 degree views of New York but in lower to mid-Manhattan – so a little different from the Empire State Building.

One World Trade Center view from below.
One World Trade Center and New York City's skyline.

The observation decks are indoors but there is also a restaurant and a bar, which means you can enjoy the views more casually and in a little more luxury. Getting to the observation decks, you take a SkyPod, which is one of the world’s fastest lifts and you see New York streets disappear as you go up. It’s actually quite an experience too!

Its opening hours are from 10am to 6pm and most busy just after 11am. It costs around $40 too, but is also free to enter with the Sightseeing Pass.


With the highest outdoor deck in the whole of the Western Hemisphere, the Edge observation deck is an absolute must. Like the others, its views of New York are 360 degrees but what makes it more exciting is that the deck is suspended mid-air so it feels like you are floating above the New York City streets. And, it has a glass floor too, so one for a little bit more of a thrill.

Edge Observatory deck - glass floor.
Edge suspended observatory platform, New York.

It is situated in Hudson Yards and there are plenty of nearby restaurants and bars. There is a bar on the deck too, so you can sip champagne and watch the sunset over the New York City skyline, which has to be one of the best views of New York.

Edge observatory platform, giving one of the best views of New York.

It is open from 10am and closes at 10pm, which is later than the One World Observatory. Last entry is just after 9pm. Entry is free, again, with the Sightseeing Pass. Another $40-50 per person you could save for a view that is epic.

Top of the Rock at the Rockefeller Center

The Rockefeller Center is a New York attraction in itself, and offers a lot to see. However, taking a Sky Shuttle 260m up to the 70th floor, you reach the Top of the Rock, where there are indoor and outdoor viewing areas looking out over lower Manhattan, the Empire State Building and Central Park. The view of the Empire State Building is one of a kind and definitely worth the trip to see it – just look at the Top of the Rock’s Instagram images – just wow!

The Rockefeller Center from below.
View form the Top of the Rock.
View from the Top of the Rock over New York City and of the Empire State Building.

Although it is not the highest, it gives a more dimensional view of the city in that you are within it as well as above it. It is pretty special. It is open later than most of the others – until 11pm – so the Top of the Rock is great for a sunset view of New York City’s skyline, or New York at night.

Again, the Sightseeing Pass grants free admission to the Top of the Rock, another saving of over $40 per person.

Rise NY

Just in case you are absolutely petrified of heights but are going to New York and want to be immersed in the best views of the city, Rise NY is a simulation ride that soars over New York.

It is a journey of three-parts connecting you with New York City’s most famous sites and moments in history. The best part is that you fly over the iconic skyline on a soaring ride that suspends you 30 feet in the air! So whether you brave the observation decks or not, Rise NY brings you another wonderful view of New York City.

The Sightseeing Day Pass

It would cost over $185 for one adult to visit all these observation decks. A Sightseeing Day Pass costs $149 and grants free access to all four observation decks and the Rise NY experience, as well as free entry to so many other NYC attractions.

Check it out here. If you’re going to New York, it’s one of the best things you can buy to save you money and do all the touristy stuff. Well worth it!