Whether it’s your first time in the Big Apple or you’re an old hand, a skyline view of the city is a must. But which storied skyscraper is best?
There's no better way to take in this magnificent city than from above, yet ticket prices for the best aspects can really dent your budget. loveEXPLORING’s feature writer Karlina Valeiko and editor Laura Jackson countdown their favourite spots to help you decide where to live the high life without breaking the bank.
There’s no doubting the credentials: this is the tallest building in the USA and the sixth tallest in the world. Does that make it the best? To get those 360° views over city you have to embrace the full experience including standing through a video presentation in a lift, a second video and a 'big reveal' where the screens covering the windows are raised. And unless you book the pricier tickets, queuing to exit can eat into your sightseeing time. If you can face all that, then seeing the city from nearly 1,800 feet above is certainly a Big Apple moment worth cherishing.
Book it: Basic tickets cost from £27 ($36).
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This is where Sleepless in Seattle culminates, where Chuck waited for Blair in Gossip Girl and, of course, the building King Kong climbs in the 1933 classic. Although you won’t be able to visit the building’s secret 103rd floor reserved for A-list visitors, the official observation decks on the 86th & 102nd floors offer some stunning views all around Manhattan. On your way out, don’t forget to take a peek at the stunning Art Deco lobby too.
Book it: It’s best to book tickets ahead of time to make sure you can visit on the day of your choosing. Prices start from £29 ($38) for 86th floor and £44 ($58) for 86th & 102nd floor and you can upgrade to visit twice in one day or book a premium experience, which includes a 90-minute guided tour.
There will be a moment, as you’re schlepping west towards The Press Lounge on the edge of Hell’s Kitchen, where you’ll curse ever reading this feature. However we promise the journey is worth the shoe leather, or indeed the price of a taxi. The Press Lounge’s off-the-tourist-route position on the top floor of the Ink48 hotel on 11th Avenue is what makes it special. Look one way and you’ll have a view of the Hudson, look the other and you’ll get an unparalleled panorama of Midtown.
Our top tip? Aim to get there for sunset to see the light wash the buildings in orange as you sip on one of the bar's fancy cocktails. Unquestionably the best vista you’ll get for under $15 (£11.50).
Book it: No booking required but Friday and Saturday nights are the busiest, so expect to queue.
Sure, Top of the Rock is no Empire State Building but that’s just the point: this viewing platform at the Rockefeller Center is where you should go to get the best view of the Art Deco icon. A breathtaking 360° aspect, it feels like you’re holding the whole of New York City in the palm of your hand. All of the most iconic cityscapes of the Central Park and the rest of the city are taken from here and thanks to the unique light in New York, they’ll all look wonderful no matter the weather.
Book it: To avoid lengthy queues, book tickets online. Prices start from $36 (£27) and you can upgrade to a sunset visit, or to visit twice within 24 hours to catch both daytime and nighttime views, book VIP access or a combined Top of the Rock and Rockefeller Center Tour ticket.
Life In Pixels/Shutterstock
Lead image: Freddie Marriage/Unsplash
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