The Best Aerial View Of New York City
When you’re walking the streets of New York City, you see everything from the bottom up. The skyscrapers are impressive. The people bustle around you at all times. Sometimes, life in NYC can feel hectic. Rise above it all by visiting a place with the best aerial view of New York City.
One World Observatory
One World Observatory is situated at the top of the Freedom Tower, the tallest building in NYC. This means that you’ll probably get the best aerial view of New York City from this location.
The Freedom Tower is located downtown and is easy to access. After buying tickets, you’ll get in a SkyPod elevator, which will shoot you to the observatory in 47 seconds.
The experience offers more than an aerial view of New York City, though. You’ll learn about the history of the building through an extraordinary audio-visual experience. Then, you can spend as much time as you’d like in front of the floor-to-ceiling windows, acquainting yourself with the city. You can see for miles.
If you’re hungry, you can grab a bite at ONE Dine, the bar and restaurant at the Observatory. You’ll need reservations if you plan on eating there. The eatery features incredible American fare as well as a full bar.
Before you leave, grab a souvenir to remember the experience. The memories of this awe-inspiring view will linger for a long time.
If you want to keep moving, consider booking a helicopter tour. This is the best way to experience an aerial view of New York City that’s constantly changing. Many companies offer helicopter tours of the city. Prices range from about $180 to $300, depending on the length of the ride and the company that offers the experience.
There are four primary helicopter ride providers in NYC. These include New York Helicopter, Liberty Helicopters and Zip Aviation. Most of the helicopter tours leave from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport, but they take different routes once they’re airborne.
You should schedule your helicopter ride in advance. Most companies require you to arrive about 45 minutes before the tour.
Keep your eye on the forecast, though. If you book your tour a week or two in advance, you should have a fairly accurate idea of the weather predictions. Scheduling the trip ahead of time can also ensure that you’ll get a spot. There aren’t any helicopter tours on Sundays, which means that the other days of the week may fill up quickly.
The best time to take a helicopter over the city is on a bright, clear day. Check with your tour provider to learn what your options are if it happens to be overcast on the day that you scheduled your ride.
The New York Deluxe Helicopter Tour lets you see the most sights. On your 20-minute ride, you’ll see the following landmarks:
• Statue of Liberty
• Times Square
• Empire State Building
• Chrysler Building
• Rockefeller Center
• Brooklyn Bridge
• Ground Zero
• Central Park
• Yankee Stadium
• Northern tip of Manhattan
Empire State Building
The Empire State Building has one of NYC’s most well-known observation decks. This art deco building has a romantic and nostalgic vibe. It has been featured in numerous movies, TV shows and books about the city.
You can visit two different observatories at the top of the Empire State Building. The observation deck on the 102nd floor was recently renovated. The indoor space is protected from the elements, making it the perfect place to view panoramic views of the city even in inclement weather.
The main deck is on the 86th floor and is the highest open-air observatory in the city. Get a better glimpse of Central Park, the East River, the Hudson River, the Brooklyn Bridge the Statue of Liberty and other landmarks by using the high-powered binoculars.
In addition to seeing New York City as it is today, you can go back and time by viewing the exhibits on the 2nd floor. These galleries will encourage you to travel through time, viewing the site in the 1920s, watching how the building was constructed and catching a glimpse of the building’s interior.
If you can’t make it to the Empire State Building, check out the EarthCams, which show you what visitors to the famous landmark are looking at.
New York City and Statue of Liberty Aerial View
The Statue of Liberty might be NYC’s most famous landmark. It’s also a national monument. The copper statue was given to the U.S. as a symbol of friendship by the French and dedicated in 1886.
One of the best ways to catch an aerial view of New York City is by visiting the crown. Because there is no elevator, visitors must be in good physical shape to embark on this mission. You’ll climb up 377 stairs to the crown platform from the lobby. If you’re not sure that you can handle the height, you can stop at the top of the pedestal. You’ll get a great aerial view of New York City either way.
If you don’t want to travel to the top or have a fear of heights, you can take advantage of plenty of other activities on Liberty Island. The 12-acre tourist attraction features exhibits and educational resources that teach you more about the city and the landmark.
The Brooklyn Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world until 1903, when the Williamsburg Bridge surpassed it by a few feet. When it was built, the bridge connected two different cities; Brooklyn was not yet part of NYC. Today, cars are often whizzing along the Brooklyn Bridge.
Did you know that people can walk or bike along a pedestrian pathway that spans the distance between Manhattan and Brooklyn? You can travel across the bridge in both directions. Plus, in a city that can easily drain your wallet, you can enjoy a budget-friendly experience. It’s free to walk, bike or drive across the Brooklyn Bridge even though it cost a penny to traverse the bridge by foot when it first opened.
The Brooklyn Bridge doesn’t give you the best aerial view of the city. However, the raised walkway offers ample panoramas of the gorgeous NYC skyline when you’re making the trip from Brooklyn to Manhattan.
Although the views from the bridge are beautiful any time of day, sunset is particularly magical. You’ll get to witness a completely different atmosphere as the lights come on across the skyline. In the city that never sleeps, you’ll get a great aerial view of New York City at night when you cross the Brooklyn Bridge.
Furthermore, pedestrian traffic across the bridge is abundant until about 11 p.m. You’ll be safe even if you’re walking across as it gets dark.
Roosevelt Island Tramway
If you want to get above the city in a whole new way, consider boarding the Roosevelt Island Tramway. MTA Metrocards are accepted, and adults can bring up to three children 44 inches tall and shorter for free.
People of all ages will enjoy this trip, which leaves from 59th Street and Second Avenue in Manhattan. The trip terminates at Tramway Plaza on Roosevelt Island.
This journey isn’t just about getting from here to there. It’s a sightseeing trip and gives you breathtaking views of the city.
Once you arrive at Roosevelt Island, you can wander around the quiet area and explore the historic buildings. The Octagon was built in 1834 and was once the entrance to the New York City Lunatic Asylum.
The Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park extends down the tip of the island. Walk from there to nearby Southpoint Park to capture scenic views of the city and meander around the winding paths.
Rooftop Bars and Restaurants
If you don’t want to do the tourist thing, you can catch an aerial view of New York City from the many rooftop bars and restaurants. These hangouts are ideal for watching the sun go down in the spring, summer and fall. Many have heat lamps to keep you cozy in the winter. Dining or drinking at a rooftop bar in NYC is a memorable experience.
Some of the best rooftop bars in NYC include
• The ROOF at Public Hotel – Communal tables and lounge areas are made for gathering and making friends.
• The Fleur Room – This lounge is encased with glass, making it a perfect place to scope out an aerial view any time of year.
• Lemon’s at Wythe Hotel – You’ll feel like you’re in the Mediterranean when you look out over the water from this colorful terrace.
• Jimmy at the James New York – One of the best things about this bar and roof deck is the swimming pool that lets you float while overlooking Manhattan.
• Harriet’s Rooftop and Lounge – This rooftop oasis features a grand view of the skyline and creative cocktails.
Top of the Rock
Rockefeller Center is a quintessential NYC landmark. Visitors flock there to see the Christmas tree during the holidays and go ice skating. Guests can also head to Top of the Rock, the observatory on the 70th floor. It offers sweeping, 360-degree views of Manhattan. It’s one of the most popular places to visit in the city during the winter.
Three indoor and outdoor viewing decks make it easy to enjoy your time even when it’s cold outside. But there’s more to do than just look at the city.
Walk through the Breezeway, where every visitor is assigned a color that follows them throughout the room. The Radiance Wall is made of Swarovski crystals, glass panels and fiber-optic lighting. Miniature animals and crystal figurines are tucked inside the glass.
While you’re there, grab a drink at BarSixtyFive at the Rainbow Room. Sit on the outdoor terrace for spectacular views of the skyline. Make reservations to ensure that you get a table.
Time Warner Building
Another place to capture top-notch views for free is in the Time Warner Building. The fourth floor offers beautiful views of Central Park and the city’s skyscrapers. If you want to get a higher vantage point, consider booking a room at the swanky Mandarin Oriental.
The Aviary NYC is the bar at the Mandarin Oriental. Visit for afternoon tea, and take an hour or two to relax after a long day of shopping and sightseeing. You’ll enjoy the views while providing some much-needed self-care.
While you’re up there, you can scope out Central Park. After your visit, stroll through the famous green space. This is an experience that children and adults will enjoy.