Empire State building skyline sunset
The sun sets over New York and the Empire State Building

Congratulations, you’ve made it to New York City: the largest city in America and the center of art, business, and culture! Your days are jam-packed from dawn til dusk with exciting activities, and your nights are a blur of lights and Broadway shows. If you haven’t yet visited these great places to watch the sunset, you’re missing out! From New Jersey to Queens and Harlem to Wall Street, these five places are the absolute best spots to watch the sunset in the city that never sleeps.

1. Hudson River Park

One world trade center sunset
See the sunset light up the One World Trade Center

Stretching all the way from 59th Street to Battery Park, Hudson River Park is the second-largest park in Manhattan. One of its defining features is its five-mile-long bike and running path, and the free kayaking at Pier 40 is always a crowd favorite. It’s a great place to do yoga or just meditate on the meaning of life. But if you come for the attractions, you’ll stay for the view–you can see all of Jersey City and the Statue of Liberty from any point in the park. If you really want a view, you should also check out these apartments with a great view of New York.

Watching the sunset from the west bank of Manhattan is a truly magical experience. With no buildings to block the view, the New York City sky stretches above you as the first lights of New Jersey illuminate. The entire sky glows red and orange, and the movement of the river reflects shimmering light to onlookers on the shore. Enjoy this view every day in one of our roommate shares on NYC’s west side!

2. Brooklyn Bridge Park

Brooklyn bridge Manhattan sunset
The sun sets behind Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge

This 85-acre park has revitalized over a mile of Brooklyn’s post-industrial waterfront on the Brooklyn side of the East River. As parks go it’s relatively new; construction only started in 2008. The first 12 acres opened in 2010, with the most recent section (Pier 5) opening in late 2012. The most notable feature of the park is the view of the nearby Brooklyn Bridge, which is not only a great place to watch the sunset, but also one of the top five bridges in New York City.

There is no better place in the city to watch the sunset over Manhattan than Brooklyn Bridge Park. It has simply the best and most iconic view of Lower Manhattan. Although the skyscrapers of the financial district reach towards the clouds, the true wonder of a New York City sunset can be seen in the windows of One World Trade Center as it reflects a watercolor of light. Arrive early if you’re trying to see Manhattan fireworks, and settle in with Brooklyn’s best pizza for the wait.

3. Staten Island Ferry

Sunset from Staten Island Ferry
Orange skies highlight the Statue of Liberty

Not only is the Staten Island Ferry the best way to see the Statue of Liberty for free, it’s also one of the best places in New York to literally sail off into the sunset. Make a day trip out of it by visiting Staten Island, then watch the sun dip below the horizon against the backdrop of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and New Jersey’s lights.

The ferry itself is also one of the most interesting features of New York. It carries over 19 million passengers each year on its five-mile run. Ferries depart every 15 minutes during rush hour, and the journey itself takes about 25 minutes. It has been featured on multiple TV shows, including Law & Order, Sex and the City, and I Love Lucy.

4. Broad Channel, Queens

The sunset as seen from Queens
Broach Channel sunsets with a Manhattan backdrop

Even though it’s frequently mistaken for being in Brooklyn, Broad Channel is actually a neighborhood in Jamaica Bay, Queens. It was once a popular fishing area for Dutch settlers, and is the only wildlife refuge in the National Park system. Although parts of Broad Channel were heavily damaged in 2011 due to Hurricane Irene, this quiet corner of New York City still maintains its small-town charm. It is a bit of a trek from Manhattan, however, so make sure you pick up one of NYC’s best bagels for fuel before you go.

The sunset from Broad Channel is one of the most unique in the city, due to the fact that Broad Channel itself is just a few inches of sea level rise from being entirely in the ocean. Look west at sunset to see the entirety of Brooklyn and Manhattan sprawling out before you, or look east at sunrise to see the Atlantic Ocean melt into the horizon. Arrive early to read by the beach as the tide comes in, or just spend the afternoon relaxing on one of the top five beaches in the city.

5. Liberty State Park, and more generally all of Jersey City’s waterfront

The sunset as seen from Liberty State Park
A Manhattan sunset from the shores of New Jersey

Just opposite from Ellis and Liberty Islands, Liberty State Park (and the Jersey City waterfront by extension) offers the best view of Manhattan that you can get from the west. See everything from Harlem to the Financial District lit in soft lavender as dusk falls behind you. Afterwards, return to Manhattan for an evening canapé atop a rooftop bar, or retreat back to your very own furnished apartment.

Although the subway system does not serve New Jersey, it’s easy to cross the Hudson via the Port Authority Trans-Hudson (or PATH) train. The PATH train has Manhattan stops at 33rd Street, 23rd Street, 14th Street, 9th Street, Christopher Street, and the World Trade Center, and terminates all the way in Newark, New Jersey.

Bonus: Manhattanhenge

Parallel sunsets are a big hit for the bi-annual Manhattanhenge. Photo: Diana Robinson.
The Manhattanhenge sunset lines up with the street. Photo: Diana Robinson.

Although a Big Apple sunset is always stunning, twice a year the stars (or star) align during a phenomenon known as Manhattanhenge. New York’s unique grid system means that on these two days, the sunset is perfectly parallel to Manhattan’s streets. New Yorkers take to the streets armed with cameras and cell phones to capture the sun as it descends between the skyscrapers. Where’s the best place to watch? That title goes to Tudor City Place, hands down. In fact, make Manhattanhenge into a mini-vacation by staying in one of our conveniently close vacation rentals!

Where’s your favorite spot to watch the New York City sunset?