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10 Best NYC Helicopter Tours (Day, Night, Private, Doors Off, & More)

10 Best NYC Helicopter Tours (Day, Night, Private, Doors Off, & More)

This overview will lay out the best NYC helicopter tours to take part of while visiting the city. Whether you are looking for standard skyline tours, night tours, doors off, or a private experience, the list will cover it all and more.

When it comes to experiences in New York City, there are few that can compete with seeing the city as part of a helicopter tour.

If it is the Manhattan skyline, Central Park, the Hudson & East Rivers, Statue of Liberty, or Brooklyn Bridge, a heli tour will have you seeing them all and much more.

Picking a helicopter tour over New York City can be an overwhelming decision. This list is here to simplify the options & better help you pick the best tour for your visit.

Read on for list of the top tours and some helpful things to know along the way.

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Top NYC Helicopter Tour Picks

Are you looking to make a quick & easy decision when it comes to picking the helicopter tour that is best for you? Check out these highly rated top picks that you just cannot go wrong with.

Heli Tours New York

All Around Helicopter Tour

Looking for the best value overall tour? This NYC Helicopter Tour offers three options including 15, 20, & 30 minute flight times around the city

Romantic NYC Helicopter Tours

Private Helicopter Tour

Do you want to have a more private experience? You can opt for a Romantic Couples Tour or this helicopter option that allows up to 6 people.

NYC Helicopter Sunset Tour

Nighttime Helicopter Tour

For a New York City nighttime experience, this Night Helicopter Tour is the way to go. Seeing the skyline all lit up is going to be a top experience!

New York City Helicopter Tour Overview

One of the main issues I came across when researching NYC helicopter tours is that there are so many different options to choose from. They all seem very similar with little to distinguish between them all.

The purpose of this list is to simplify the options for you.

Instead of listing out all the tours from all the companies, I have chosen the highest rated helicopter tours in a few different main categories.

The goal is to have no complexity and no confusion. Simply book the type of tour that interests you most and be on your way!

To start, below is a high-level view of the New York helicopter tours I will talk more about in this overview.

New York City All Around Helicopter Tour (#1, #2, #3)

This All Around NYC Helicopter Tour gives you three different options when it comes to amount of flying time & the attractions you will see along the way. Depending on interest & budget will dictate which option you end up choosing.

These tours depart from downtown Manhattan, making it an easy and convenient helicopter ride to take part of.

  • The New Yorker Tour (12-15 minutes)
  • The Ultimate Tour (17-20 minutes)
  • The Deluxe Tour (25-30 minutes)

NYC City Lights Helicopter Tour (#4)

For those that want to take part of a nighttime experience, then the City Lights Helicopter Tour is a top option out there. This is offered as a 25 minute tour departing from New Jersey.

NYC Doors Off Helicopter Tour (#5)

If you are looking to dangle your feet outside of the helicopter, then this Doors Off Helicopter Tour is for you. There are 16 minute and 30 minute options to choose from that depart from New Jersey.

Private NYC Helicopter Tour (#6, #7, #8)

While the options above are all group tours, there are also options for a private NYC helicopter experience. Here are three in particular that take off from nearby Westchester (transport can be included when booking):

Hudson Valley Foliage Helicopter Tour (#9)

Throughout the month of October, the Hudson Valley comes to life as the leaves turn to colors of orange, red, and yellow.

This Hudson Valley Foliage Helicopter Tour takes people high above the Hudson, as you get a bird’s eye view of the surrounding foliage.

Helicopter Piloting Experience (#10)

Lastly is this Helicopter Piloting Experience, which is more than just a helicopter ride. Instead you will go through an instructional course with a pilot and then get to take control of the chopper and fly for 30 minutes.

Romantic NYC Helicopter Tours

#1, #2, #3: New York City All-Inclusive Helicopter Tour

  • Rating: 5 / 5 Stars
  • Flight Duration: 12 – 30 Minutes
  • Price: $239 – $379
  • Time: 9:00AM – 6:00PM
  • Departure: Pier 6, Manhattan
  • Booking: Check Rates & Availability

When it comes to NYC helicopter tours, most people simply want to sit back, take some photos, and enjoy the landmarks of the city from above.

The issue is that there are so many tours out there that do this exact thing but just name their tours differently.

So, instead of reading through everything out there, I figured I just mention the highest rated NYC helicopter tour to choose from.

With a near perfect 5-star rating and over 3,000 reviews, you just cannot go wrong with this All in One NYC Helicopter Tour.

When you go about the booking, you will see that there are three different options to choose from. These include:

  • The New Yorker Tour: 12-15 minutes ($239)
  • The Ultimate Tour: 17-20 minutes ($289)
  • The Deluxe Tour: 25-30 minutes ($379)

Now, you may be asking yourself what is the difference between these three tours. While the durations and prices are different, so are some of the main attractions that they visit. The below sections will talk through the main differences, along with helpful maps.

NYC Helicopter Tour: Book Today

NYC Helicopter Sunset Tour

12-15 Minute Helicopter Tour

For starters, the 12-15 minute tour will include all of the following (and more!):

  • Brooklyn Bridge
  • Statue of Liberty
  • Ellis Island
  • One World Trade Center
  • Chrysler Building
  • Empire State Building
  • Chelsea Piers
  • Times Square
  • The Intrepid
  • Central Park
  • And More!

While 15 minutes is quick, the helicopter tour still gets you to many of the top highlights that the city has to offer. All the way down from the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor up to Central Park in Upper Manhattan, the tour covers a lot of air while taking in some beautiful views along the way.

15 Minute NYC Helicopter Tour Map
Map Courtesy: HeliNY

17-20 Minute Helicopter Tour

Now, while 5 minutes doesn’t sound like too much extra time, a bunch more NYC attractions can be seen by opting for this longer option.

In addition to everything mentioned on the 12-15 tour, this 17-20 minute tour will also include:

  • Columbia University
  • Grant’s Tomb
  • Yankee Stadium
  • The Palisades
  • George Washington Bridge
  • Northern Tip of Manhattan

Essentially the tour heads further north past Central Park and towards the Bronx, as you get a more wholistic view of NYC and its skyline.

20 Minute NYC Helicopter Tour Map
Map Courtesy: HeliNY

25-30 Minute Helicopter Tour

For those that want to take full advantage of an NYC helicopter tour, then the 25-30 minute is your best bet. Although the most expensive, it is also the most expansive.

This means you will get to spend a bit more time hovering above at each attraction in addition to some more highlights.

The 25-30 minute tour includes all the highlights already mentioned in addition to the Verrazano Bridge and the borough of Brooklyn.

It is the only tour that heads further out into New York Harbor, which is bound to give you more wholistic views of the NYC skyline looking northbound.

30 Minute NYC Helicopter Tour Map
Map Courtesy: HeliNY

To get a better sense of attractions, the chart below lays it all out for you. It is important to note that these are just a subset of landmarks you will get to see.

Odds are that plenty more of New York City will be surrounding you during the duration of your flight.

Book Today: Be sure to book your NYC Helicopter Tour ahead of time and reserve your spot on any of the 15, 20, or 30 minute rides!

NYC Helicopter Tour Options
Landmark Chart Courtesy of HeliNY

#4: NYC City Lights Helicopter Tour at Night

  • Rating: 5 / 5 Stars
  • Flight Duration: 25-30 Minutes
  • Price: $274
  • Time: 7:30PM – 8:30PM
  • Departure: Linden Airport, New Jersey
  • Booking: Check Rates & Availability

While seeing the NYC skyline during the day is one thing, seeing it at night can be a whole other experience.

Once the sun sets, the skyscrapers and landmarks light up, which creates a new perspective to take in New York City.

And what better way to see the city at night than to take part of this NYC City Lights Helicopter Tour.

With this tour, you will get a very similar experience to the 25-30 minute day time tour. The main difference here is that the daytime tour departs from Manhattan and the night tour departs from Linden Airport in New Jersey.

Even with the NJ departure, you will still get to take in NYC from New York Harbor, all the way up to the Bronx. Taking in those bright lights of Times Square, the colorful landmark buildings, and the rest of NYC is something that is just tough to beat.

Although it is a further out journey to get to the departure point, the helicopter ride is actually cheaper. So, if you want to get a similar experience, see the city at night, and save some money, then the night tour could be for you.

Note: Linden Airport can easily be reached by the NJ Transit followed by a quick taxi/Uber ride. The quickest routes take just about 45 minutes.

NYC Night Heli Tour: Book Today

Night Helicopter Tour NYC

#5: Doors Off NYC Helicopter Tour

  • Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
  • Flight Duration: 16 or 30 Minutes
  • Price: ~$500 – $800
  • Time: 8:00AM – 5:00PM
  • Departure: Kearny, New Jersey
  • Booking: Check Rates & Availability

All of the helicopter tours mentioned on this list are standard doors on experiences. While the doors on rides have large floor to ceiling windows, you can take it to a whole new level with this Doors Off NYC Helicopter Tour.

The doors off helicopter tour is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of having closed doors up in the air, you will be able to have an open-air cabin.

This will allow you to not have any glass out in front of you and it can give you the option to dangle your legs outside of the helicopter.

While a doors on ride can be a thrilling experience on its own, a doors off ride is only for those that are ready for a true adrenaline rush over NYC.

As you go about booking, be sure you select the doors off option as the company also offers doors on rides as well.

Note: The Kearny, NJ departure point can easily be reached by the NJ Transit followed by a quick bus or Uber ride. The quickest routes take just about 45 minutes.

NYC Helicopter Doors Off Tour: Book Today

NYC Helicopter Tours from NJ

#6: Private NYC Helicopter Tour for 6 People

  • Rating: 5 / 5 Stars
  • Flight Duration: 30 or 45 Minutes
  • Price: $1,550 or $2,200
  • Time: 10:00AM – 8:30PM
  • Departure: Westchester County Airport
  • Booking: Check Rates & Availability

Up next are some options for those that want to enjoy a more private experience altogether. This can also be great for those that are traveling with a larger group of people.

Departing from Westchester County Airport, this Private Helicopter Tour for up to 6 people offers the chance to see the city on your own, without any additional people joining your group.

While Westchester may seem far, it is actually pretty easy to get to. This can be done by an hour drive or a 75 minute train + Uber. When going about the booking, there is also an option to include a private transfer from NYC to make things easier.

Since the private tour comes in from Westchester, the first part of the flight will be flying southbound as the city skyline continues to be seen in the distance. This will give you a new perspective of NYC that other tours won’t offer.

The 30 minute ride will focus on all of the various highlights up to midtown Manhattan. This essentially means that it wont go south of the Empire State Building.

During a flight though, you will still get to see the skyline, Central Park, George Washington Bridge, and plenty more.

If you want to get all the way down to the Statue of Liberty and One World Trade Center, then the 45 minute flight will need to be chosen. You will get the most comprehensive tour with this option as everything from downtown to uptown Manhattan will be covered.

Private Helicopter Tour: Book Today

Heli Tours Statue of Liberty

#7 & #8: NYC Private Helicopter Tour for Couples

  • Rating: 5 / 5 Stars
  • Flight Duration: 30 or 45 Minutes
  • Price: $800 or $1,100
  • Time: 10:00AM – 8:30PM
  • Departure: Westchester County Airport
  • Booking: Check Rates & Availability

This Private Helicopter Tour for Couples is the same exact layout as the tour mentioned above. Instead of maxing out at 6 people, this tour is just for 2 people.

With this two person option, you will find the prices to be much cheaper and not wildly far off from booking two people on a shared helicopter.

Similarly, there is a 30 minute option that heads down to midtown Manhattan and a 45 minute ride option that makes its way all the way down to New York Harbor.

So, if you are looking for a romantic NYC helicopter tour for two, it doesn’t get much better than this.

Marriage Proposal Option: Looking to propose over NYC? You can opt for this special Marriage Proposal Helicopter Tour that includes a private ride, photographer, illuminated sign, and more.

NYC Couples Heli Tour: Book Today

Heli Tours New York

#9: Hudson Valley Fall Foliage Helicopter Tour

  • Flight Duration: 30 or 45 Minutes
  • Price: $330 or $475
  • Time: 10:00AM – 4:00PM
  • Departure: Westchester County Airport
  • Booking: Check Rates & Availability

Now, while the all the helicopter tours on this list are focused on NYC, this Fall Foliage Helicopter Tour is focused on the Hudson Valley.

Starting in the beginning of October, the leaves around New York City slowly begin to change color. Instead of a greenery filled landscape, the leaves turn to shades of red, orange, and yellow.

And although Fall foliage in NYC is a great time to visit the city, the Hudson Valley takes it to a whole new level. The nature filled landscape goes on for miles and miles with never-ending foliage surrounding the Hudson.

The Hudson Foliage Tour can also be done as part of a 30 minute or 45 minute option.

The main highlights include Castle on Hudson, Harriman State Park, Bear Mountain, West Point, and plenty others. With the 45 minute tour, you will also get to see Bannerman Castle and Dick’s Castle.

So, if you want the perfect combination of a helicopter ride and foliage viewing, then this will be the option to choose.

Timing Note: in general, mid October is when the foliage will be at its best along the Hudson.

Foliage Helicopter Tour: Book Today

Mt Beacon Fire Tower View

#10: NYC Helicopter Piloting Experience

  • Rating: 5 / 5 Stars
  • Flight Duration: 30 or 60 Minutes
  • Price: $560 or $985
  • Time: 10:00AM – 2:00PM
  • Departure: Westchester County Airport
  • Booking: Check Rates & Availability

Do you want to combine a helicopter tour with actually piloting the helicopter on your own? Well, this NYC Helicopter Piloting Experience may then be for you.

Instead of just going on a tour, this is going to give you 1 on 1 time to learn with a pilot instructor and then head up in the air to fly.

The day will start out with 30 minutes of instruction as you learn the ins and outs of the helicopter controls, systems, and procedures. From there, you will take off with your pilot and have the chance to actually fly the helicopter with some supportive help.

It is important to note that flight lessons are not permitted over New York City. So, this experience will just focus in on Westchester County north of NYC. Although you won’t get to enjoy the highlights & attractions as you would on a normal helicopter ride, there will still be views of the NYC skyline out in the distance.

You will have the chance to choose between 30 minute and 60 minute flight options depending on how long you want to spend up in the sky learning. Also note that 1 guest is allowed to join in on the helicopter ride as well.

Flights leave from Westchester County Airport so you can either opt to pay for the private transfer or head there on your own.

NYC Piloting Tour: Book Today

Doors Off Helicopter Tour NYC

Important Things to Know

Before you head out on that helicopter flight over NYC, be sure to read up on some important things to know.

What To Bring: while each tour may be slightly different, expect to only bring what can fit in your pockets, in addition to a camera & sunglasses. Bags and other items can be left in lockers prior to the flight.

Weather: if the weather turns for the worse, it is possible that flights can be cancelled. Be sure to leave some flexibility in your schedule so you can hop onto a rescheduled flight.

Flight Path: due to regulations set by the City of New York, helicopters are not allowed to fly directly over NYC. However, the flights will follow the coastline along the East River, New York Harbor, and Hudson River. Given the elevation of the helicopter, you are still sure to get remarkable views of the city from above.

Elevation: speaking of elevation, expect the flights to be around 1,500 feet to 2,000 feet above sea level. This will give you the chance to fully appreciate all that NYC has to offer.

Passenger Seating: most helicopters have seating for 6 people (plus the pilot). One seat will be next to the pilot, and then 5 seats in the back (2 backward / 3 forward). Your seating arrangement will depend on the weights of the passengers to balance the heli.

Arrival Time: be sure to pay close attention to the requested arrival time. Before the flight, there will be some time for check in, lockers, and introduction.

Departure Point: also, be aware of the departure points of these various tours. These can be in downtown Manhattan (Pier 6), New Jersey (Linden or Kearny), or Westchester (Westchester County Airport).

New York Helicopter Tour

NYC Helicopter Tour Attractions & Highlights

When it comes to attractions and highlights of NYC helicopter tours, there will be an endless list out there. Since you will have such a high vantage point over the city, the views will be expansive in all directions.

But there are some landmarks that you should get up and close to, as you take in panoramas that few others get to see. Here is a list of the best of them.

Brooklyn Bridge

Located in the East River is the world-famous Brooklyn Bridge that connects downtown Manhattan with downtown Brooklyn.

The bridge is an iconic structure with its suspension cables and limestone towers standing tall.

In addition to the Brooklyn Bridge, the nearby Manhattan Bridge and even Williamsburg Bridge should be in view during a helicopter ride.

Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island

Within New York Harbor you will find two small islands – one houses the Statue of Liberty while the second has Ellis Island.

Getting to see the Statue of Liberty from above, with the city skyline out back is surely going to be a special experience to take part of.

For those that want to get up close and personal to these landmarks, be sure to head on a NYC Dinner Cruise!

One World Trade Center

While the entirety of the NYC skyline will be seen from a variety of angles throughout these helicopter rides, one building stands tall in downtown Manhattan – One World Trade.

This tower is the tallest in the city and its floor to ceiling glass, makes it one of the most sleek buildings out there.

You can also head on up to the top on your own by visiting the One World Observatory.

Empire State Building

Perhaps the most well known landmark in NYC is the Empire State Building. Located in midtown Manhattan, the Empire State Building stands tall with its multi level observation deck up top.

Surrounding the Empire State Building will be other landmarks such as The Edge, One Vanderbilt, the Chrysler Building, among others.

New York City Heli Tours

Times Square

In the heart of Manhattan is Times Square. With its bright lights and massive billboards, it is one of the most happening spots in all of NYC.

Getting to see the action from a bird’s eye view is going to be a special experience to take part of.

For those that want to wake up with a view, check out the best hotels in Times Square.

Central Park

For me, it doesn’t get much better than the 843 acre Central Park located between 59th Street and 110th Streets.

The park is full of trees, water features, walking paths, lawns, and plenty more to explore by foot.

But getting to see the park from above with the skyline out back is something only an NYC helicopter tour can offer.

Other Highlights

The highlights just go on and on though. Some other top spots to look out for during a visit include: Madison Square Garden, George Washington Bridge, Yankee Stadium, Flatiron Building, Chelsea Piers, South Street Seaport, and just so much more.

I have a hard time believing you won’t enjoy this one of kind experience when visiting NYC.

Sunset Tour NYC Heli

NYC Helicopter Tour Questions Answered

To finish up this overview, here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions when it comes to New York helicopter tours.

How Much Does a NYC Helicopter Tour Cost?

This really depends on the type of tour you opt for. However, for the more standard tours out there, expect to pay between $239 and $389 for a ride that lasts anywhere between 15-30 minutes.

If you opt for some other more unique experiences, such as a private flight, then this price can go up.

What Is the Best Time for a Helicopter Tour in Manhattan?

While you can’t go wrong with a helicopter tour, in my opinion, the ideal time for a helicopter tour is around sunset.

Most of the tours allow you to pick a specific time slot that range from early morning to early evening. Some of the later ones (depending on time of year), can overlap with sunset.

Seeing the sun set over NYC with the sky changing colors will just make the experience that much more special.

So, if you are able to work it in, try to opt for that sunset ride!

Where Do NYC Helicopter Tours Leave From?

In general, there are four main helipads that NYC helicopter tours leave from. These include:

  • Pier 6 in Downtown Manhattan
  • Kearny, New Jersey
  • Linden Airport, New Jersey
  • Westchester Regional Airport

Be sure to pay close attention to the departure point and leave yourself enough time for travel to the starting point.

Is a NYC Helicopter Worth It?

If seeing the city from above is of interest to you, then there is little doubt that an NYC helicopter tour is worth it.

Getting to see the skyline from 2,000 feet up in the air is something that just cannot be matched. While observation decks get you up there, it is no match for helicopters that take you around the perimeter of NYC.

Having the chance to see just so many landmarks from up close, and getting a variety of skyline views at every moment, will make an NYC helicopter tour one of the best decisions you make during a trip.

Brooklyn Bridge Heli Tours

That wraps up an overview to the best NYC helicopter tours. If you have any questions or comments, be sure to add them in below.

Also, don’t forget to check out the other New York itineraries and guides up on the site.

Have fun out there and safe travels!

Best NYC Helicopter Tours

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