New York City's ever-changing skyline is worthy of seeing on each and every visit to the city.
From newly opened observatories in 2020 to rooftop bars, museums, shopping destinations and amusement parks, visitors can pair amazing views with a range of culinary, art, shopping and adventurous experiences. Here are 30 ways to see New York City from above in 2020.
- Hudson Yards: Edge Observation Deck
- Empire State Building: Renovated 102nd Floor
- One World Trade Center: One World Observatory
- Rockefeller Center: Top of the Rock Observation Deck
- Rooftop Bars & Restaurants
- Shopping Destinations
- Parks & Green Spaces
- Amusement Parks
- Trains & Trams
Hudson Yards: Edge Observation Deck
Visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the Hudson River and the New York City skyline, as well as walk across a section of the see-through glass floor.
For another nearby vantage point, climb the bronze spiral staircases of Vessel, an interactive public landmark at the center of Hudson Yards’ Public Square.
General admission for specific dates and times are $36 for adults; $31 for children 6 -12; and $34 for seniors. Flex passes for any time on a specific day are $56 for adults; $51 for children 6 - 12; and $54 for seniors.
Empire State Building: Renovated 102nd Floor
The Empire State Building has been completely reimaged over the past year with a newly renovated 102nd floor observatory with 360-degree views through floor-to-ceiling glass windows.
The Main Deck on the 86th floor is where you will find the most famous observatory in the world. It's also the highest open-air observatory in New York.
Tickets for the Empire State Building start at $42 for adults; $36 for children; and $40 for seniors. Pricing differs based on which levels you want to access.
One World Trade Center: One World Observatory
Celebrating its fifth anniversary throughout 2020, One World Observatory boasts views from the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.
The special "skypod" elevators to the top are covered inside in LCD screens, on which you’ll watch the changing face of New York from the 1600s to today while ascending 102 floors in just 42 seconds General admission is $35 with upgraded experiences available.
Rockefeller Center: Top of the Rock Observation Deck
With breathtaking views on three different levels, the Top of the Rock Observation Deck offers 360-degree views of New York City, including Central Park, from Rockefeller Center. Tickets are $38 for adults; $32 for children 6 - 12; and $36 for seniors.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.
After exploring some of the latest exhibitions, head up to the roof for artwork, refreshments and splendid views of Central Park. Tickets to the MET are $25 for adults; $17 for seniors; $12 for students.
At the New Museum on the Bowery in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, explore cutting-edge contemporary art plus top-floor views of Lower Manhattan through the Sky Room’s floor-to-ceiling windows and wraparound terrace.
The Sky Room is open to the public during Museum hours unless it is closed for a private event, which will be noted on their website advance. Admission to the Museum is $18 for general; $15 for seniors; $12 for students; and free for members.
Whitney Museum of American Art
The Whitney Museum of American Art offers outlooks from 13,000 square feet of outdoor exhibition space and terraces.
Look for the Hudson River, High Line and the trendy Meatpacking District below, as well as icons including One World Trade Center. Tickets are $25 for general admission and $18 for seniors and students.
Rooftop Bars & Restaurants
In Brooklyn Heights
In picturesque Brooklyn Heights, head up to Harriet’s Rooftop at 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge for inventive cocktails and cuisine alongside a rooftop pool and panoramic views of Lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge.
For a sophisticated rooftop crawl, visit Williamsburg’s best hotel bars and restaurants. With elevated cocktails and skyline views, explore these options within a five minute walk of each other: Lemon’s at the Wythe Hotel; The Roof at the Williamsburg Hotel; Summerly at The Hoxton, Williamsburg; and Westlight at the William Vale.
In Long Island City
Stunning sunsets overlooking the East River, Manhattan skyline and Queensboro Bridge await in Long Island City, Queens, with views from up high at Boro Hotel’s Rooftop Bar.
The TWA Hotel at JFK Airport in Queens offers a truly one of a kind unique rooftop experience. The hotel’s rooftop infinity pool and bar overlooks the airport runway, so guests can watch airplanes taking off and landing in real-time. The pool is also heated, making swimming a delight year-round.
There are no shortage of impressive rooftop dining options in Manhattan. Some new additions to the vibrant scene are the luxurious Equinox Hotel Hudson Yards, with an outdoor terrace at their restaurant Electric Lemon, as well as a separate outdoor space where guests can lounge in a pool overlooking the Vessel; Hendricks Rooftop at Hotel Hendricks, which includes both outdoor and indoor spaces for cocktails; Manhatta, a dazzling 60th floor restaurant by Danny Meyer in the Financial District; the Rooftop at Moxy East Village, a relaxed space with eclectic decor opening Spring 2020; and part of Saks Fifth Avenue’s $250 million renovations, L’Avenue serves Parisian cuisine in a two-story space overlooking St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Rockefeller Center.
Empire Outlets, New York City’s only outlet shopping destination, offers incredible views of Lower Manhattan from its multilevel space and sustainable green roof in St. George, Staten Island.
The Shops at Hudson Yard
The Shops at Hudson Yards, one of the City’s newest hot spots, features amazing views of the Vessel, Shed and Public Square from Neiman Marcus and many of their restaurants, particularly on the fifth and sixth floors.
The Shops at Columbus Circle
For retail, dining and even jazz music, visitors can head to The Shops at Columbus Circle. Rain or shine, it’s one of the most visited locations in New York City where you can cool off, shop, eat, play, rest, and take in spectacular views of treetops and cityscape.
Parks & Green Spaces
Statue of Liberty Museum
A new addition to one of the most iconic places in NYC, visit the Statue of Liberty Museum, including a climb to the building’s green roof, which offers unobstructed views of Lower Manhattan and Liberty Island, including the statue herself.
Admission is completely free to all visitors. However, you need to pay the ferry ride to the island.
Open seasonally from May to October, Governors Island offers a natural retreat from the bustle of the City via 7-minute ferry from the Battery Maritime Building.
Rising 70 feet above sea-level, the island's man-made hills give visitors breathtaking never-before-seen views of the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor.
The Javits Center boasts a state-of-the-art nearly 7-acre green roof—that includes gardens, produce and even honeybees—with arguably the best view of Hudson Yards the City has to offer.
From April to October, the Javits Center offers free tours of its 6.75-acre green roof. Tours are typically provided Monday through Friday, and the time of the tour can vary depending on their event schedule.
Brooklyn Grange’s Urban Farms
Brooklyn Grange’s urban farms at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, and Long Island City, Queens, offer visitors farmers’ markets, workshops, yoga and more along with three unique vantage points of New York City.
Luna Park @ Coney Island
Coney Island’s famous amusement park Luna Park has rides for travelers of all ages and thrill levels, including new developments coming in 2020 such as a ropes course and zipline.
Whether on the Wonder Wheel or famous Cyclone roller coaster, try to keep your eyes open to see the Atlantic Ocean and Brooklyn from up high. Day passes are $40 - $65 online.
Bronx Zoo Treetop Adventure Climb & Zipline.
The Bronx Zoo Treetop Adventure Climb & Zipline allows thrill-seekers to escape the concrete jungle either by climbing through ropes courses among the trees or ziplining above the Bronx River.
Single-day tickets for climbing and ziplining are $60; climbing only $50, and ziplining only $25.
Trains & Trams
Queens, known for being New York City's most diverse borough, is particularly known for its creative global fare. Hop on and off the elevated 7 train, often called the "International Express," for skyline views as you embark on a culinary field trip throughout Queens. Check out this guide on recommended food stops along the 7 Flushing Local train.
Roosevelt Island Tramway
The Roosevelt Island Tramway provides spectacular views of Manhattan and Queens as passengers rise through the city then descend across the East River to reach Roosevelt Island.
The tram runs every 7 - 15 minutes and follows the same fare structure as the MTA. Only MTA MetroCards are accepted. Passengers must exit the tram at each stop (either Manhattan-bound or Roosevelt Island-bound) and pay again to return to the other side.