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5 NYC Skyline Views Every Photographer Should See

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5 NYC Skyline Views Every Photographer Should See

Whether you’re a lifelong New Yorker or a first-time visitor – professional photographer or casual enthusiast – the New York City skyline is a marvel to behold.

You see it in movies, TV shows, ads and photos, but notoriety isn’t what makes it special. A big part of photographing NYC’s skyline is the inspiration you feel while you’re in the moment. Here are five places to find that breathtaking New York moment (not to mention an awesome skyline photo):

Top of the Rock

The Empire State Building gets all of the attention, but a short stroll uptown will bring you to Rockefeller Center, where the Top of the Rock offers arguably the best panoramic views in the city (and easily the best view of the Empire State Building). You can see for miles in every direction. Looking north, you’ll get an unrivaled perspective of just how immense Central Park is. To the south you’ll see all of Midtown and Downtown Manhattan, while the east and west reinforce the region’s density across Queens, Brooklyn and New Jersey.

Top of the Rock

Photo Credit: Flickr User Cebb Photographies – NYC

One World Observatory

New York’s newest observatory is also its highest. Visitors at One World Observatory are taken 100 floors up to “See Forever” from the top of One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. While the vistas of New York’s landmarks and waterways are incredible, the experience itself is homage to the city’s resiliency and the Financial District’s decade-long recovery after 9/11.


Photo Credit: Spencer Platt, Getty Images

Empire State Building

You didn’t think we’d neglect the Empire State Building, did you? The Observation Deck at the top of NYC’s most recognized icon is a must for any photographer looking to feel closer to the city. For longtime New Yorkers, especially, visiting the Empire State Building is a reminder of how spectacular New York is.


Photo Credit: NYC & Company / Empire State Building

Long Island City, Queens

With three observatories lined up, you might start to feel a little too immersed in the tourist scene. There are some great views on the Brooklyn waterfront, but they can be a little touristy, too, so we’ll cover them another time. For now, let’s get you out of the crowds and across the river to Long Island City, Queens. Located on the East River directly across from Midtown, L.I.C. has an unmatched view of the Empire State Building and Chrysler Building. After wandering the waterfront, hit up one of the many hip cafes and restaurants in this thriving Queens neighborhood.


Photo Credit: New Construction Manhattan

Weehawken, New Jersey

Most New Yorkers scoff at the thought of going to New Jersey, but more and more tourists are discovering New York City from across the Hudson. If you’re feeling adventurous, make the trek out to the quiet township of Weehawken, just north of Hoboken and Jersey City. Funny thing is, it’s actually not that much of a “trek” at all; you can take a scenic, 7-minute ferry ride on NY Waterway and be dropped off at Port Imperial – right where you want to be for a full view of the city and quick access to other perspectives up and down the river.


Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

What’s your favorite view of New York City? Show us on Twitter or Instagram and we’ll include your photo in our next round of skyline recommendations.


  1. Great article especially for photographers like myself to see the best views of the city that don’t live near NYC and we have limited time when we are in NYC. Please present more articles like this one in future newsletters even cities outside the US. I would love to see the best views of the major cities in Europe and how to get to those viewing locations

  2. How amazing it must be to be so close to such a worndeful city. Lovely pictures! I definitely recommend China Town although I ran across some pretty shady people hanging out around the area so be careful love.<3

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