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5 of the Best Places to Watch the Sunset in New York City

By Noah SilversteinMay 24 2022

There’s something to be said for sunsets in New York, especially because your chances of the sunset being blocked by skyscrapers are relatively high. Still, they’re among the most beautiful and frequently posted images on social media. For a city where one can often feel cut off from natural sunlight, New York City sunsets are highly sought after — and many will go to great lengths to see the perfect one. As the warmer weather arrives, there’s nothing that beats the comforting glow of summer sunsets, and, of course, there’s the elusive Manhattanhenge (this rare phenomenon next occurs on May 28 and 29).

But how do you find the most beautiful sunset in NYC? The secret to capturing that magical moment is to gravitate toward the elements: Head to the sky or the water. By getting away from the crowded crush of buildings, you’ll be rewarded with an unobstructed view of the horizon. Read on to see our top picks for the best places to see a majestic New York City sunset.

1. Top of the Rock

One way to see beyond the skyline to catch a glimpse of the glow this summer? Go straight to the top — Top of the Rock, that is. In the New York race toward the sky, 30 Rock boasts unbeatable panoramic views from midtown Manhattan. Inside, the tall, cathedral-like windows provide a picturesque view of the blinding, colorful sunset. Step out onto the observation deck and you’ll get a front-row seat to the cityscape illuminated in a golden aura. Look west as the sunset drops behind the city’s towers, the Hudson River, and New Jersey.

Discover our guide to visiting Top of the Rock here, and get your tickets here.

Zoha Kidwai

2. Brooklyn Bridge Park

With seemingly endless community activities, athletic facilities, and riverside views, Brooklyn Bridge Park is the ultimate way to spend a summer day capped off with a waterfront sunset view. From this well-manicured urban park, the sun descends behind Manhattan and creates a golden halo around the skyline. From roller skating, volleyball, and the famous Jane’s Carousel, there’s plenty for the entire family to enjoy before gathering to watch the sun go down.

Dimitry Anikin

3. Staten Island Ferry

Climb aboard one of New York’s most iconic and utilized methods of public transit to get a glimpse of Manhattan as only the ferry can offer. Unmatched sunset views from New York Harbor tend to include the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island — so if you time your ride correctly, you can capture magical landmarks and golden hour all at once. Gather your friends like an episode of Sex and the City, and take in everything this jaunt across the harbor has to offer.

Studio Bar, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 2022. Photograph by Matthew Carasella

4. Whitney Museum Rooftop

Perched along the West Side Highway, the ultramodern, industrial masterpiece that is the Whitney Museum of American Art offers unobstructed landscape views toward the west for that perfect sunset moment. Spend hours drifting through the museum’s hallowed galleries filled with the world’s greatest collection of contemporary art by icons such as Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Jacob Lawrence, and Jasper Johns. As the sun starts to slope down near the horizon line over Hoboken — you’ll see it through the museum’s massive floor-to-ceiling windows — make your way to the roof for a breathtaking sunset display that’s art in its own right.

Jens Fricke

5. Roosevelt Island Tram

A seldom explored, completely unique experience in New York is the suspended tram taking patrons between Midtown East to Roosevelt Island, the narrow strip of land in the East River separating Manhattan and Brooklyn. Though used primarily for commuters from the island, the placement in mid-air beside the Queensboro Bridge is an exhilarating, romantic way to view the stunning New York sunset. You’ll sit high above the river taking in the sun’s radiance over Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. And this experience is truly one-of-a-kind; there’s no other tram like this in the city, or in most American metropolitan hubs.

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