4 places to get sky high views in Manhattan, New York

If like me you love a good view from a high vantage point, make sure you check out these 4 places to get sky high views in Manhattan, New York.

1. The Edge

 The Edge is one of my favourite viewing platforms in New York.  Located at The Hudson Yards, The Edge is on level 4 of the shopping mall.  It’s amazing to look at from below — the triangular platform literally sticks out from the 100th floor.  When you’re on the platform, you really do feel like you’re at the edge.

My favourite

For me, it has the best uninterrupted view over the city — only surrounded by pure glass meaning pictures are easy without needing to angle through wire or gaps.  However, you’ll need to watch out for reflections or glares on sunny days.  The Edge also has a glass floor allowing you to see the city below.   I went up on a great day with beautiful blue skies.

New York Manhattan - Entering The Edge_RiA Vistas
Entering The Edge
New York Manhattan - Glass floor at The Edge_RiA Vistas solo traveller
Glass floor at The Edge
New York Manhattan - The Edge viewing platform_RiA Vistas solo t
At The Edge of it all
New York Manhattan - The Edge store_RiA Vistas
The Edge store

At the Edge you’ll find…

  • The Edge, Skydeck – viewing platform
  • A champagne bar
  • The Peak – its bar and restaurant
  • The Skydeck Store – for souvenirs

There’s also free Wifi available everywhere just look out for signs with the network and password.

Address: 30 Hudson Yards, New York, NY 10001


Uninterrupted views at The Edge platform - New York_RiA Vistas doll travel
Uninterrupted views - The Edge

2. Top of The Rock

Along with The Edge, Top of The Rock is another one of my other favourite viewing platforms in Manhattan.  While it’s almost like The Edge, with its full height viewing glass surrounding the platform, it has a stone wall behind half of it.  This means you lose out on getting completely uninterrupted vistas over the city like The Edge.  Regardless, it still one of my favourites mostly because you get a great view over Central Park as well as a great view of the Empire State Building.

RiA at Top of The Rock - Manhattan New York_RiA Vistas solo trave
Me at Top of The Rock, Manhattan
Spectacular sunset views

While it may not be one of the highest viewing platforms, it’s great and especially at sunset!  You’ll have to pay a little more to visit during sunset hours, even if you have a city pass like the Go City one, but it’s worth it.  I loved it and was able to get some great photos.  I couldn’t just see the view at sunset without seeing it during the day too, so of course I ended up going back to Top of the Rock on my second visit to New York.

Address: 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112


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3. Empire State Building

Known as the World’s Most Famous Building, the Empire State Building was completed in 1931.  Its height and scale made it the world’s tallest building and a Wonder of the Modern World.  It rose to its finish with breath-taking speed in only 13 months.

On the first attraction floor, the 80th, you’ll find it’s completely enclosed.  It has the exhibition area and views over the city but only through large windows.  There are large binoculars allowing you to see videos of areas in the distance.

Higher floors

The 86th floor has heaters — great for a cold or windy day.   You’ll have the famous views which you’ve probably seen in films, but the view obstructed slightly through the diamond patterned fencing.

Inside the Empire State Building - New York Manhattan_RiA Vist
Inside the Empire State Building
Warmth at The Empire State Building - New York Manhattan_RiA Vis
Warmth at The Empire State Building

A few floors up and you reach the 102nd floor.  As the highest viewing level, you’ll need to pay an extra $38 dollars to upgrade your ticket.   It is also enclosed, so no outdoor viewing.  I didn’t go up to this level, but I heard that the view is not that different from the 86th floor.

Address: 20 West 34th Street, New York, NY 10118  (The building is located between 5th & 6th Avenue).

Website: https://www.esbnyc.com

4. One World Observatory

At 1776 feet (541m) tall, One World Observatory has 104 floors.  It’s located in the One World Trade Center building.

It’s the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and has the fastest lift – the SkyPod Elevator.  Believe it or not, it takes just 47 seconds to reach the 102nd floor.   The ride up is an experience.  It shows a video highlighting the transformation of New York over 100s of years.

One World Observatory - New York Manhattan_RiA Vistas
In the distance, One World Observatory
Inside One World Observatory - New York Manhattan_RiA Vistas solo travel
Inside One World Observatory
View up of One World Observatory - New York Manhattan_RiA Vistas solo traveller
View up of One World Observatory
The Horizon Grid at One World Observatory - New York Manhattan_RiA Vistas
The Horizon Grid at One World Observatory

You then have the Horizon Grid.  The  Grid is a multimedia digital display with more 14o individual displays. The Horizon Grid presents visitors with a history of Lower Manhattan.  Once you’re past the Grid and the elevator (lift) experience, you’ll have the See Forever Theatre.   This is a large, audiovisual screening of the city which lifts at the end of the feature to show a little initial glimpse of the New York skyline.

The view from One World Observatory - New York Manhattan_RiA Vis
The view from One World Observatory
Stunning views at Οne World Observatory - New York Manhattan_Ri
Stunning views at Οne World Observatory

Address: 117 West Street, New York, 10006

Website: https://www.oneworldobservatory.com

  • I’d say where you don’t need to book in advance, don’t.  Why? Well, I can imagine you’d want a nice, clear, or sunny day for any of these attraction platforms.
  • Imagine if you had a rainy or very cloudy day obscuring your view?  Book a day or two before or just turn up early on the day, you have a better idea of the weather.
  • Most of the major attractions will require you to go through security scanners or complete bag searches. To make sure you don’t have many items to take off, just carry a small bag with you.

If you’re short on time, you could easily do all four in a day.  Just get up and get out early — it always the best option as there’s usually less crowds in the morning.

Trip map courtesy of Wanderlog, a trip planner app on iOS and Android

Let me know which is your favourite sky-high viewing platform in Manhattan!

Heading to Europe? Check out my tips, advice and reviews for Greece, one of my favourite countries in Europe!

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