▷ The 9 Best Observation Decks in New York City 2024 (2024)

What is the Best Observation Deck in New York?

▷ The 9 Best Observation Decks in New York City 2024 (1)

Steffen

28. June 2023

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249 ratings

New York City hasmany observation decksthat give youspectacular 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.

You'll also love this:

  • One World Observatory
  • Edge at Hudson Yards
  • Empire State Building

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!

Table of Contents

The 9 Best Observation Platforms in New York

These are ourfavorite observation decks in NYC:

  1. 01

    One World Observatory – New York highest platform

    Building inFinancial District

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    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!

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    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.

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  3. 03

    The Edge Observation Deck – the one with the glass floor

    Building inHudson Yards

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    The Hudson Yards observation deck called Edge is New York’s newest and highest open observation deck. It opened in March 2020 and we were there – the view from up here is just sensational, and through the glass floor you can see over 100 floors straight down!

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  4. 04

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

    Building inMidtown Manhattan

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    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 is located at the top of the One Vanderbilt Building and is called The Summit. This deck is the second-highest outdoor deck in NYC which follows the Edge and has been open since October 2021.

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  5. 05

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

    Building inMidtown Manhattan

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    The observation deck at Rockefeller Center is also known asTop 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!

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  6. 06

    The Vessel Hudson Yards

    Building inHudson Yards

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    Note: The Vessel is unfortunately still closed at the moment. You can only enter at the bottom, the stairs are still closed and it is not known if and when they will be open to the public again.

    The Vessel is an 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!

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  7. 07

    Observation platform in the crown of the Statue of Liberty

    Building inLower Manhattan

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    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.

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  8. 08

    Green-Wood Cemetery

    Other Attraction inPark Slope

    ▷ The 9 Best Observation Decks in New York City 2024 (9)

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    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.

  9. 09

    Chrysler Building Observation Deck

    Building inMidtown Manhattan

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    It was discussed for a long time and now it has finally become reality: The Chrysler Building is to get an observation deck! This is to be built on the 61st floor and transform the current north and south terrace into an observation deck with a view over Midtown, the East River and One Vanderbilt Summit.

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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!

Get personal tips & tricks, specifically tailored to your trip!

▷ The 9 Best Observation Decks in New York City 2024 (11)

We will provide you with individual tips & tricks as you prepare for your trip. How to plan, save money and make sure you experience the most of NYC are only some of the topics covered!

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. Ourtip: the rooftop bar 230 Fifth orSpyglass– 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:

The 45 Best Rooftop Bars in New YorkNew York’s rooftop bars are one of our personal highlights. Think about it - what could possibly be better than enjoying stunning views of the city while slurping delicious co*cktails? For that reason, we created...FIND OUT MORE

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:

One Vanderbilt - The Summit

One World Observatory

Empire State Building

Hudson Yards Observation Deck - Edge

Top of The Rock

Statue of Liberty Crown

Image

Image

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Claim to Fame

Claim to Fame

Will overlook Madison Ave and floor to ceiling glass windows

Highest observation deck in New York

NYC's most famous observation deck

Tallest outdoor observation deck in Western Hemisphere. Glass floors

Best view of NYC, Empire State Building & Central Park

Observation deck in the water

Location

Location

Midtown

Downtown

Midtown

Hudson Yards

Midtown

Liberty Island

Opened

Opened

October 2021

2015

1931

2020

1936

1886

Observation Deck Height

Observation Deck Height

Just over 1000 ft

1250 ft.

102nd floor - 1224 ft.

1131 ft.

840 ft.

305 ft

Floor(s) of observation deck

Floor(s) of observation deck

57th - 59th floor

n/a

86th and 102nd floor

100th floor

70th floor

n/a

Floor(s) with panoramic windows

Floor(s) with panoramic windows

57th - 59th floor

100th and 102nd floor

102nd floor

100th floor

67th and 69th floor

n/a

Included in the New York passes?

Included in the New York passes?

n/a

COMPARE

COMPARE

COMPARE

COMPARE

Tickets

Tickets

BUY

Our Insider Guide

Our Insider Guide

Read our guide to One Vanderbilt

Read our guide to One World Observatory

Read our guide to The Empire State Building

Read our guide to Hudson Yards Observation Deck - Edge

Read our guide to Top of the Rock

Read our guide to the Statue of Liberty

▷ The 9 Best Observation Decks in New York City 2024 (2024)
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