The Best Skyscraper Lookouts in Manhattan

A women on top of the Empire State Building overlooking New York City on a cloudy day.
Photo Credit: Empire State Building Facebook

We’re often in such a hurry to get from point A to point B, so taking a minute to absorb NYC’s beautiful architecture is often missed. Besides stopping on the sidewalk to gaze, how else can we take in the Concrete Jungle? Look down! It’s a good thing we have plenty of skyscrapers on the island that are perfect platforms to take in the beautiful sights and sounds of New York. We’ve rounded up 4 spots to go in Manhattan for a fantastic view of NYC – and beyond!

A clear day overlooking New York City and the Hudson River from a skyscraper.
Photo Credit: One World Observatory Facebook

One World Observatory

Without a doubt, the most stunning views I’ve seen from a skyscraper in NYC have been from the top of One World Trade Center. Their motto is: “Start at One. See forever” – and it’s so true.

Get this: On a clear day you can see all the way to Connecticut!

A special bonus: In addition to taking in the views, you can also dine at the top. The 101st floor offers several options, from casual cafe fare at One Cafe (think: coffee and sandwiches) to a more formal bistro fare at One Mix (artisan cocktails and tapas) to a fine dining experience at One Dine, where tables are booked well in advance.

The price to get up: Standard admission will run you $34 for adults and $28 for children.

A glass with bright pink flowers in front of a clear window overlooking the New York City skyline from a skyscraper.
Photo Credit: Top of the Rock Facebook

Top of the Rock

Top of the Rock has a special place at the top of our skyscraper list because, due to its central Midtown location, you truly have incredible views of Central Park (perfect for photographs!). So if you’re planning an engagement photo shoot, holiday card photo op, or a gorgeous new cover for your Facebook page… Take note!

A special bonus: In addition to the view, you can choose to jump on a tour of Rockefeller Center. The skyscraper is filled with so much history and culture (including a secret rooftop garden!). Tours happen every half hour from 10 am–7:30 pm (excluding 6pm and 6:30pm) – 7 days a week.

The price to get up: Standard admission will run you $34 for adults and $28 for children.

An outdoor view of 230 Fifth's outdoor patio with lights and greenery overlooking NYC skyline at  night.
Photo Credit: 230 Fifth Facebook

230 Fifth

No matter how many rooftop bars I’ve been to, 230 Fifth takes my #1 spot because of its closeup views of the Empire State Building. I’m certain I’m not alone in this feeling, because last time I was there, a proposal was happening right at sunset – talk about magical!

A special bonus: Since 230 Fifth holds the title of being NYC’s largest outdoor rooftop garden, they come prepared with umbrellas for sunny summer days, heaters and blankets for cold winter nights, and an enclosed lounge option one level down if you wish to get out of the elements. Come for a drink, a snack, or a weekend brunch date – and stay for the views!

The price to get up: It’s free to go up, but be aware that you will be carded at the bottom, so this isn’t a skyscraper view suitable for the under 21 crowd.

A couple hugging on top of the Empire State Building at sunset with the NYC skyline in the background.
Photo Credit: Empire State Building Facebook

Empire State Building

While the Empire State Building might be the most “duh” on the list, we simply had to include it because, out of all the spots here, this for sure holds the trophy for being the most iconic.

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The Brittany – Luxury Upper East Side Apartments

There’s no place quite as versatile as the Upper East Side of Manhattan - especially in upscale apartments at The Brittany. With panoramic views of the Harlem River and East River, book a tour of this luxury building today!

A special bonus: It’s not a joke that waiting in line to get to the top of one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world can be a long, boring process. Our tip – get there first thing in the morning. If you’re visiting as a couple or adults only, go late at night (as in, after midnight), after an evening out of dinner and drinks. The ESB is open until 2am, so this will give you plenty of time to look around, take in the city lights, and not be surrounded by hoards of people!

The price to get up: Standard admission will run you $34 for adults and $27 for children.

Of course, these are just four of our favorite skyscraper views in Manhattan. Stay tuned for fantastic skyscraper views from the outer boroughs in a future post!

What’s your favorite skyscraper view in Manhattan? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter!

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