The 10 Best Views of the New York Skyline for the Most Insta-Worthy Pics!

Apr 27, 2021

The 10 Best Views of the New York Skyline for the Most Insta-Worthy Pics!
By Rachel La Pointe

The 10 Best Views of the New York Skyline for the Most Insta-Worthy Pics!

New York City is truly the city that never sleeps with plenty of fun things to do in NYC at night or day. One of the best things to do no matter the time of day is to take in the stunning views of the cityscape. The Manhattan skyline, comprised of thousands of high-rises and hundreds of towering skyscrapers, is recognizable all around the world and there are plenty of spots in the city to enjoy the view. If you’re looking for a great spot to stay to get that perfect photo to commemorate your trip to the Big Apple, be sure to check out the hotels near Grand Central Station and Central Park. Keep reading to discover even more of the Best Views of the New York Skyline for the Most Insta-Worthy Pics!

1 | Top of the Rock | When you think of iconic New York City skyscrapers, the Empire State Building probably comes to mind first. But Top of the Rock is hands down the best spot to get a photo with the Empire State Building in the background. After all, you can’t see the Empire State Building if you’re standing on the Empire State Building! Located conveniently in midtown in Rockefeller Center, the Top of the Rock’s three observation decks allow you to take in breathtaking 360 views of Manhattan from 70 floors up, including views of Central Park, One World Trade Center, and yes – the Empire State Building. While some other observation decks in the city have wiring or fencing that can obstruct your view, Top of the Rock features glass paneling for unobstructed views of the city. You can buy your tickets ahead of time confidently knowing that if it ends up being cloudy or rainy during your scheduled tour time, they will gladly reissue your tickets for a later date or time when the weather is more Insta-worthy! It’s also important to note that, while Top of the Rock requires tickets with an assigned visit time, once you’re up on the observation deck, there is no time limit! So, buy your ticket for late afternoon or early evening when the skyline is washed in warm, golden hour light. Feel free to hang out up there until you score the perfect sunset shot.

2 | Edge at Hudson Yards | Located in one of the chicest and trendiest neighborhoods in the city, the Edge at Hudson Yards is one of the newest and most over-the-top experiences in sky-high Manhattan views. Suspended 1,100 feet in the air, Edge is currently the highest observation deck in the Western hemisphere. Part of its deck features a section of incredible glass flooring, allowing you to look 100 floors down on the city below. With other observation decks in the city, it can be really hard to get a great photo without a bunch of people in the background. At Edge, the suspended viewing deck is the shape of a triangle, so if you wait patiently and wiggle your way into the point of the triangle, you’ll be setting yourself up for some truly spectacular, totally unobstructed views of the city – just you and that iconic skyline! Also located in the neighborhood is the ultra-luxurious Shops & Restaurants of Hudson Yards and the Vessel – one of the most Instagram-able spots in all of Manhattan and a new and unique fixture in the NYC skyline.

3 | One World Observatory | If the thought of standing out on the Edge fills your stomach with the bad kind of butterflies, the entirely-indoors observation decks of One World Trade Center might be a better option for you, plus it’s currently the tallest building in all of New York City. One major benefit of its indoor observation decks? No pesky wind equals perfect Insta-worthy hair in every photo! Located in lower Manhattan, One World is able to provide some unique views of the bay, Brooklyn Bridge, and Statue of Liberty that its uptown rivals cannot. One World uses state of the art technology to enhance the visitor experience, including their display of hundreds of LED video screens that highlight the history of the skyline you’re about to see and their SkyPod elevators that climb 102 flights in just over 45 seconds. One World even offers the option to host a private, all-inclusive party that gives you exclusive access to the viewing platform for up to 10 guests for around $40 a person.

4 | Liberty Island | Consider leaving the island of Manhattan to take in views of the skyline from a different perspective. Liberty Island, home to the Statue of Liberty, offers stunning views of both Lady Liberty and the Lower Manhattan skyline framed by the waters of the New York Harbour. Only accessible by ferries departing from Battery Park, this small island offers ample green space to sit back and enjoy the sunshine and great views. Pack a picnic and plan to spend a few hours here, even if you don’t end up taking a Statue of Liberty tour. On a sunny day, you’re bound to score the perfect shot of the lower Manhattan skyline.

5 | Central Park | Have you ever noticed the large rock formations in Central Park? Umpire Rock, commonly known as the Big Rock, is an exposed mound of bedrock, the majority of which lies beneath the city, that is over 450 million years old! The huge rock offers picture-perfect views of the midtown skyline making it a very popular spot within the park. Central Park offers really unique views of the city, as your shot will most likely include a mixture of vibrant greenery, ancient rock formations, and modern skyscrapers. Located on the lower west side of the park, the Big Rock provides excellent views of some of the tallest residential buildings in the world!

6 | Empire State Building | Built in the 1930s, this art-deco style building is arguably the most recognizable skyscraper in New York City. For 40 years, the Empire State Building stood as the tallest building in Manhattan! While it no longer holds that title, it’s still one of the most popular to visit for drool-worthy photos of the city. Check out their open-air observation deck on the 86th floor or the one on the 102nd floor, offering unmatched, floor-to-ceiling views stretching up to 80 miles on a clear day. Inside, be sure to stop by their interactive and immerse photo attractions, placing you in the middle of the action – from sitting alongside construction workers on a steel beam to standing side by side with King Kong’s hands as he scales the building from the outside! The exhibits within the Empire State Building showcase the fabulous history of “the World’s Most Famous Building.”

7 | Times Square | Nowhere else do you feel the hustle and bustle of the city quite like in the heart of Times Square! Standing in the middle of Times Square feels like standing in the center of the universe – everything is happening all around you. You’re surrounded by some of the tallest buildings and brightest lights in New York City which makes the perfect backdrop for your Instagram photos. To help frame your shot, look for the big red stairs of the TKTS booth in the center of the square. From the steps, you have the perfect view of One Times Square, also known as 1475 Broadway – the tower that houses the famous “ball drop” on New Year’s Eve! Your photos here will stand out with pops of color from all of the huge electronic billboards and signs that light up the square.

8 | Staten Island Ferry | Hop aboard the complimentary ferry to feel the sun on your face, the cool wind in your hair, and to see the lower Manhattan skyline appear and then shrink into the distance as the boat makes its way over to Staten Island. The ferry runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – so the perfect time to hop on board is all the time! As the boat pulls out of the Whitehall Ferry Terminal in Manhattan, you’ll start to see the skyline form. When en route to Staten Island, try to secure a spot standing on the right side of the boat. This will provide you with the best views, not only of One World Trade Center and the rest of downtown Manhattan but also of the Statue of Liberty. Once you reach Staten Island, feel free to hop on board the next ferry right back into Manhattan and watch that beautiful skyline reappear!

9 | The High Line | A truly elevated experience, the High Line is a park in the city, 30-feet above the street, built into an old rail line. The park starts at Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District on the west side of town and runs nearly a mile-and-a-half through Chelsea, ending at 34th Street. Along the way, the High Line provides plenty of scenic overlooks and opportunities for some Insta-worthy pics perfectly set above the streets of Manhattan.

10 | Brooklyn Bridge | Something about walking across the Brooklyn Bridge feels so quintessentially New York. It’s one of the most iconic landmarks in the city, and it provides the most spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline. While the best time of day to get photos on the bridge with little to no people in the background of your shot is early in the morning, one of the most popular times to walk the bridge (and for good reason) is around sunset! Start walking toward Brooklyn in the early evening, stopping to taking all the photos your heart desires. By the time you complete the 1-mile journey across the bridge and turn around to go back into Manhattan, it will be dark, the skyline illuminated by the dazzling lights of the city.

Last Tips!

Ready to fill your followers with envy? Any one of these spots within the city is guaranteed to provide you with breathtaking views that will transform your Instagram feed into a picture-perfect shrine to the concrete jungle!

Remember – five of the locations on this list, Central Park, Times Square, the Staten Island Ferry, the High Line, and the Brooklyn Bridge are completely FREE for anyone to visit and enjoy! The other five – Top of the Rock, Edge at Hudson Yards, One World Observatory, Liberty Island, and the Empire State Building, all have admission costs ranging from $23.50-$75 per person. Thinking of hitting all these spots and more? Consider purchasing an NYC City Pass to save up to 40% on admission to six top attractions.


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