See the city at its best from high up skyscrapers to waterfront vistas. All fun places to take visiting guests.


 Summit One Vanderbilt

Visit the highest viewing point in midtown Manhattan at a new immersive observatory experience featuring multiple unique experiences.

Experience a trippy mix of transparency and reflectivity in mirrored observatory ‘Air,’  an immersive art experience designed by Kenzo Digital. Sort of like an infinity room with cityscapes. See yourself above the clouds – literally and figuratively in ‘Unity,’ an immersive cloud projected room. Step out onto transparent glass 1,063 feet above Madison Avenue in ‘Levitation’  sky boxes. Take an all-glass elevator with a transparent glass floor (‘Ascent’)for $20 extra.

Bring sunglasses; the reflective materials used throughout can blind.  Wear comfortable shoes (stiletto heels, steel toe boots, sports cleats, etc not permitted) and pants or shorts (the floor is mirrored).

Eat and drink at Après, a sky-high lounge and cafe with globally-inspired fare and innovative cocktails and mocktails. Choose from an indoor seating area with a fireplace and a stunning outdoor terrace with an open-air bar.

Closed Tuesdays.

Empire State Building

Play tourist at New York’s most famous open-air observatory. Take advantage of 360° views on the 86th Floor; see all of NYC including the Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, the Statue of Liberty and so much more.

For an extra $33, take a glass elevator to the reimagined 102nd floor with unmatched, floor-to-ceiling views stretching up to 80 miles on a clear day.

Also learn about the construction and history of the building – and see King Kong – at theEmpire State Building Museum on the 2nd floor.

Perk up at a new, 23,000-square-foot  Starbucks Reserve with a grab-and-go counter plus a full-service bar and restaurant on the third floor.


Top of the Rock

Experience incredible views from 70 floors up. Three indoor and outdoor viewing decks offer breathtaking 360-degree views of the city – you start on the lowest deck, then head up to the better, higher views so plan your photos accordingly. The decks are mostly glass enclosed so visit toward dawn or dusk for better photos with less glare.

One of the best places to take in Central Park.

Learn about the fascinating history of Rockefeller Center  in the lobby and take a green screen photo on a constriction beam (optional $27 to purchase).

See our guide to Rockefeller Center.


Look 100 stories down from the highest outdoor sky deck in the Western Hemisphere with with 360-degree views of the Statue of Liberty, Central Park and beyond. Lean out over the city on angled glass walls and relax in a large lounge with food and drinks available for purchase.

Brave teens & adults can scale the outside of the building, more than 1,200 feet above the ground with City Climb (ages 13+, $185).

See our guide to Hudson Yards.


Staten Island Ferry


Take a free ferry ride from Whitehall Terminal in Lower Manhattan to Staten Island and back for great views of The Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan & Brooklyn skylines. 25 minute trips (1 hour round trip) depart every half hour (every fifteen minutes during rush hour). Masks required.

For a quicker trip, take the $3 ferry ride to Governor’s Island, which has excellent views of the Statue of Liberty from Outlook Hill (or visit the actual Lady Liberty).

The Statue of Liberty


Take a ferry to Liberty Island, home of the iconic statue. After a lovely 15-minute boat ride with amazing views and no crowds. Walk among paved, stroller-friendly paths  and relax in shady grassy areas. Reserve tickets in advance to guarantee access to the Statue of Liberty Pedestal (crown tours not currently available)

At the Statue of Liberty Museum, explore the story of the Statue’s creation, her history, and her evolving meaning to people across the world. See Lady Liberty’s original torch and visit the vista roof to take in the spectacular 360 degree view of New York Harbor

Find snack stands and restrooms on the boat and on the island and shop for souvenirs.

All ferries stop next at Ellis Island for self-guided tours of the National Museum of Immigration. Stop by the American Family Immigration History Center to research your family’s immigration to America with access to more than 65 million passenger records from ship arrivals in the Port of New York from 1820 – 1957 (records available for purchase).

Ferries depart from Battery Park and Liberty State Park, NJ from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm daily; the islands are open until 5:00 pm. The free Staten Island Ferry is also an option for pretty close views.

Complimentary audio tours are available or hire a tour guide – we’ve heard great things about Amy at [email protected]

One World Observatory


Elevators climb 102 stories in 47 seconds to the 102nd floor of the Freedom Tower, the tallest building in America at a symbolic 1,776 feet. Incredible views plus lots of interactive and digital features including immersive audiovisual experiences, a 14-foot wide circular glass disc with high definition footage of the streets 100 floors below and friendly city experts with info about NYC landmarks, neighborhoods, history, and culture.

Lunch and dinner with a view available Thursday-Sunday 1 pm – 9pm at ONE Dine with seasonally inspired plates, or great sit-down and to-go options and nearby Eataly Downtown .

Governors Island


Oasis-with-a-view Governors Island is just a short ferry ride away. Lots of room to roam, bike and play on this 172 acre former military post with historic architecture. Look for public artworks plus rotating arts, culture and science programs in and around the historic houses of Nolan Park and Colonels Row.

Relax in Hammock Grove’s cozy hammocks (and say hello to sheep), find breathtaking 360-degree views in The Hills and camp out in Adirondack chairs at Picnic Point.

Kids love the playgrounds at Hammock Grove Play Area and Slide Hill’s collection of twist-y slides where kids can unleash their imaginations and build their own fun. Saturdays & Sunday 12-4 pm, get creative at play:groundNYC’s The Yard, 50,000 square-foot play area stocked with loose parts, tools and space.

Lots of food and beverage options across the Island including Island Oyster & Taco Vista at Soissons Landing by the ferry landing, Pizza Yard at the south end of Colonels Row, a diverse food court with a shared shaded garden at Liggett Terrace.

More Governors Island tips

NYC Ferry


Travel by state-of-the-art ferry to stops in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island along the East River and Hudson River.

Indoor and outdoor seating. Charging stations, concessions, AC/heat and stroller parking available onboard.

Travel time varies, from 20 to 60 minutes. Ferry frequency differs by stop; see the online schedules.

Some family-friendly destinations include Domino Park, Far Rockaway Beach and Governors Island.


Belvedere Castle

Central Park

One of the most iconic features in Central Park, this miniature castle is located atop the huge rock outcrop known as Vista Rock, the second highest natural point in Central Park.

The whimsical structure, designed by Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted in 1869, provides the highest and best views of the Park and the adjacent cityscape – plus has bathrooms, water fountains, some informational displays plus medieval-esque staircases and doorways for playing princess/knight.

Download the Belvedere Castle Audio Guide  (available in English, Spanish and American Sign Language for info about the architecture and history of the castle.

Roosevelt Island Tramway

Roosevelt Island

Cross the East River in the most modern aerial tramway in the world, running every 7-15 minutes from 60th Street and Second Avenue in Manhattan to Tramway Plaza on Roosevelt Island.

Passengers must exit the tram at each stop (either Manhattan bound or Roosevelt Island bound) and pay again to return to the other side.

Pay with a MTA MetroCards; free transfers accepted. Vending machines availble at the Tram Stations. Up to three children 44-inches tall and under ride for free on the Tram when accompanied by a fare-paying adult.

On Roosevelt Island, take in amazing city views from Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms State Park.

Wave Hill


Explore 28-acre of gardens and woodlands with more than 4,000 varieties of trees, shrubs, vines, and herbaceous plants and dramatic views of the Hudson River.

* Join nature-inspired outdoor family art projects on Saturday & Sunday mornings.

* Visit indoor rotating nature-inspired multimedia art exhibits in the Glyndor Gallery.

🚙 Wave Hill’s newly renovated onsite parking lot is open ($13), and the offsite lot—the Riverdale Park Parking Lot—is only two minutes from Wave Hill’s front entrance by car if the onsite lot is full when you arrive. 

🚂 Metro North Riverdale Station is a 15 minute walk, or take #1 Subway to the Van Cortlandt Park/West 242nd Street station or one of several bus routes. Shuttle service available from both spots Thursday through Sunday, conditions permitting.

🍽  The delicious Café has grab-and-go items, snacks and beverages and outdoor seating on a lovely terrace. Or bring your own food to a picnic area by the art gallery.

Tuesday–Sunday 10 am – 5:30 pm
Free admission on Thursdays


Domino Park


Find cool design and amazing bridge/Manhattan views at a large waterfront park on the site of a former Domino Sugar factory.

* The playground, designed by the artist Mark Reigelman, has fun features like spinning valve wheels cast from Domino Sugar originals and a 26-foot-high silo with ladders, webbing and slides pay homage to the manufacturing process of the refinery.

* Pick up tacos, margaritas and more from counter-service Tacocina with colorful outdoor seating.

* Stroll on an elevated walkway cantilevered off of 21 columns preserved from the Domino factory’s original Raw Sugar Warehouse for pretty perspectives of the river, skyline and park. ADA/stroller access by ramp near the Gantry Cranes.

* Shop fresh, local produce and products back at the Domino Park Greenmarket every Sunday 9 am to 3 pm.

* In warm weather, frolic in waterfront fountains, near remaining elements of the former Domino Sugar Factory. In the evening, the fountains are illuminated in pretty colors. Try artisanal popsicles from Mom & Icepops.

* Take the NYC ferry from Wall Street, East 34th Street and elsewhere to the North Williamsburg landing for a special arrival. The L train Bedford Station is a 15-20 minute walk away.

Gantry Plaza State Park/Hunter’s Point Park South

Queens: LIC

Visit two Long Island City playgrounds within walking distance of each other set in a large riverside oasis with spectacular Manhattan views.

Lots of places to climb and spin (and splash in the summer) at the playground at Gantry Plaza State Park with a cushioned rainbow floor and groovy design. Stroll along the park’s four piers or through the park’s manicured gardens and unique mist fountain and check out restored gantries, industrial monuments once used to load and unload rail car floats and barges.

Head south to the well equipped Hunter’s Point Playground and explore the city’s new park with large fields, benches, trees, the iconic Pepsi-Cola sign and a 30-foot-tall cantilevered platform for viewing the skyline and waterfront. Pizza, burgers, coffee, ice cream and more available at outdoor LIC Landing Cafe.

Travel to and from Manhattan and Brooklyn on the East River Ferry.

Socrates Sculpture Park

Queens: LIC

Explore timely art exhibits in a waterfront park with stunning Manhattan views.

In Maren Hassinger Steel Bodies, steel silhouettes take forms of various iconic vessels drawing types from the ancient Western world, non-Western cultures, and various Craft traditions. Amplified to larger than human height, the public is invited to walk around and among them, experiencing new perspectives through the skeletal frame.

Group exhibition Sink or Swim  features considering the present day ecological conditions and challenges that the globe faces.  Go under a traditional Filipino house covered it in shimmering silver fringe in  Cheyenne Concepcion’s tribute to former fishing village St. Malo, first permanent Asian American settlement in the US.

🍽 Excellent restaurants within easy walking distance include Château le WoofBel Aire DinerArepas GrillAstoria Provisions, and Flor de Azalea Cafe.