As a local New Yorker, I am always trying to explore new places around the city. One of my favorite things to do is to find the best NYC sunset spots (and take some photos along the way!).
Over the years, I have been able to enjoy sunset from places all over New York City. And in this overview, I will share some of the top spots that I have come across.
In addition to some top spots, I will also go over some helpful tips & tricks when it comes to best enjoying sunset in general. With that said, let’s get into the list!
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1) NYC Sunset Overview
When it comes to sunset in NYC, there are so many different types of experiences you can ask for. Whether that is along the riverfront, from a rooftop bar, on top of an observation deck, or in Central Park, those are just some of the many places to choose from.
In this overview, I will go over some spots that can be found in all corners of the city. Before getting started though, I figured I list out some helpful things to know about NYC sunset in general.
In order to see sunset itself, you will want to position yourself looking westbound. Just note though that as it gets closer to the winter equinox, the sun sets further southbound, while as it gets closer to the summer equinox, the sun sets further northbound.
This means that at different times of the year, certain spots will have sunset in view, while during other times of the year those same spots will not have a view of sunset.
On the other hand, there are many spots that will work year-round. You can use an app like Suncalc to see the location of sunset on each date.
Opposite Sunset Direction
Another thing to note about direction, is that you can also enjoy a sunset looking in the opposite direction of sunset itself. Although you may not be looking at the sun set below the horizon, the color of the sky opposite of sunset location can still turn shades of pink.
Leave Enough Time
When it comes to sunsets in general, it is always important to leave time before and after the exact sunset time. I have found that the best sunset colors usually occur within a 30 minute time period around sunset – not just the exact time.
One thing you just cannot control when it comes to the sunset is the weather. If it is raining or heavily overcast, there is a small chance you will be able to enjoy sunset. However, if it is clear or just mildly cloudy, then you have a better chance to take in the full experience.
2) NYC Sunset Times
When it comes to sunset times in NYC, that will all depend on what time of year you visit. During the winter months, the days will be shorter with the earliest sunset at 4:30PM. In the summer, the latest sunset is around 8:30PM.
This of course can make a big difference when it comes to your daily schedule and itinerary. Just be sure to understand those sunset times and plan accordingly for a visit.
Below are the sunset times by month in New York City. The times represent beginning of the month / end of the month:
- January: 4:40PM | 5:10PM
- February: 5:10PM | 5:45PM
- March: 5:45PM | 7:20PM
- April: 7:20PM | 7:50PM
- May: 7:50PM | 8:20PM
- June: 8:20PM | 8:30PM
- July: 8:30PM | 8:10PM
- August: 8:10PM | 7:30PM
- September: 7:30PM | 6:40PM
- October: 6:40PM | 5:50PM
- November: 5:50PM | 4:30PM
- December: 4:30PM | 4:40PM
3) Best NYC Sunset Spots
Now that you have a bit of background information, let’s now talk about the best spots to catch sunset in New York City. While these are some of my favorite spots to choose from, there are just so many more out there.
Hudson River Park
Although Hudson River Park is quite a large area to cover (Battery Park up to 59th Street on the west side of Manhattan), you really cannot go wrong with choosing a location along the waterfront.
Essentially, no matter where you are or what time of year it is, you should always be able to catch the sunset overlooking the Hudson.
If you are looking for some top spots in Hudson River Park, I would recommend checking out one of the piers along the waterfront.
You can even head just inland to the High Line for some views too!
At the very tip of Manhattan is the Battery Park neighborhood (also just known as The Battery). There is a park that runs alongside the southern tip that offers some spectacular NYC sunset views.
The best part about it? Well, this location offers some of the top views of the Statue of Liberty. This means you will be able to enjoy the sunset along the statue.
Just note that this is one location where you may not be able to see sunset during the longer summer days as the sun sets more northbound. You may still enjoy the colorful horizon, but not the sun itself.
If visiting during the winter, the sun does set right besides (and behind) the Statue of Liberty. This makes for an even better overall experience.
Just off of the coast of Manhattan in New York Harbor is Governors Island. What used to be an island for the military has now been totally transformed.
The island still contains many of the historical military buildings and barracks. However, there are also several parts that have been renovated.
If you head to the western and southern side of the island, you will be able to catch the sunset across the river. There are some parks, benches, and even hill viewpoint areas that work as vantage points.
For a special experience you could also enjoy an NYC sunset from the QC Spa or the overnight Collective Retreats.
Louis Valentino Jr Park
One of the most underrated sunset locations in NYC is Louis Valentino Jr Park of Red Hook, Brooklyn. While Red Hook is a bit further out of the way, it is a very cool up and coming area of the city.
Although the park itself isn’t that large, there is also a nice long pier to walk along over the water. From the end of the pier, views of the Statue of Liberty will be right out in front of you.
In the summer, you may even have a chance to see the sun set directly behind the statue (similar to the winter opportunity at Battery Park).
Another nearby spot to choose from is the Strong Rope Brewery, which is right next door to the park itself.
If you are spending some time in Williamsburg, be sure to head to the waterfront. There lays Domino Park, with great views over the NYC skyline and the Williamsburg Bridge.
The park makes up 5 acres of land along the East River and is full of lawns, benches, and walkways to enjoy. You can even head up onto an elevated walkway, where there are some great views from above.
Marsha P Johnson State Park
Just north of Domino Park, is the Marsha P Johnson State Park and Bushwick Inlet Park area. The parks themselves are great places to hang out around, but as you approach the riverside, there is a beachfront area as well.
I found this spot to be perfect to take in some sunset views with the beach & rocky shoreline in the foreground and the NYC skyline in the background.
In the summertime be on the lookout for Smorgasburg (a huge outdoor food market), where you can enjoy a little bit of everything on the menu.
Additional Option: just south of the Marsha J Johnson State Park area, is the North 5th Street Park & Pier. Head out onto the piers to take in some different type of vantage points at sunset over NYC.
WTC Transmitter Park
A small park located in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn is WTC Transmitter Park. If you happen to be exploring Greenpoint, why not check out the park for a sunset opportunity.
The park itself is on the smaller side but it does include a long pier that juts out into the water. On the pier you will find some benches to sit down on as the sun sets over the city.
Believe it or not, the photo below is taken at sunset. This was during a rare event when NYC was covered with a thick haze. Hopefully for you, the conditions will allow a more enjoyable sunset!
Brooklyn Bridge Park
All along the Dumbo and Brooklyn Heights waterfront, is the 1+ mile long Brooklyn Bridge Park.
The park itself is made up of several smaller parks and piers that line up one after another. I enjoy the areas closer to the northern side of the park (between John Street Park and Old Pier 1) as you still can get some views of the Manhattan Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge.
If you are looking for “the” NYC sunset spot in Brooklyn Bridge Park, make your way to Pebble Beach. Along this small sand beach, there are several layers of seating areas with views of the skyline, river, Brooklyn Bridge, and Jane’s Carousel.
Some other spots to consider include the rooftop at Timeout Market, Empire Fulton Ferry, Pier 1, and Old Pier 1.
In reality, anywhere along the waterfront will work, especially if you head out on the far points of the piers.
While taking in the view from Brooklyn Bridge Park is one thing, why not head to a viewpoint that overlooks the park too.
What could be my favorite NYC sunset location is the Manhattan Bridge Walkway.
From up top on the walkway, you will get some of the best unobstructed views that you can ask for. The East River, Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, downtown skyline, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and more will be in view.
There are two spots on the Manhattan Bridge that I would recommend checking out. You can either head further to the east side of the walkway to get those all-encompassing views, or make your way to the viewpoint on top of the FDR highway.
From the FDR viewpoint, you will not get as vast of a view, but it certainly is one of the more unique shots to capture. With the cars down below, the Brooklyn Bridge out front, and the skyline out behind, it is hard to beat.
Just note that this may not be the most “relaxing” of NYC sunset spots. That is because you will have the sounds of cars right beside you and some rumblings of the subway that makes its way over the bridge.
Brooklyn Heights Promenade
Another Brooklyn sunset location would be all along the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. The promenade runs along the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood, on top of the BQE highway.
From the promenade, you can see Brooklyn Bridge Park down below, and the NYC skyline laid out in front of you.
It is a bit of a lesser known place to visit, which is why I enjoy it so much. Feel free to visit the promenade and then continue onwards to the Squibb Park Bridge for some more great photo opportunities.
Note: the photo below is taken from an apartment building between Brooklyn Bridge Park and the Brooklyn Heights Promenade
On the Manhattan side of the East River, there are a few pier areas towards the lower half of the island that offer some great sunset views.
I should note however, that the views of sunset from Pier 35 can only be seen during the winter months as the sun sets further southbound.
Nonetheless, the pier itself is a relaxing place to hang out year round. With plenty of seating areas and even some swinging chairs, it is the perfect hangout spot.
Out in front of the pier is the Manhattan Bridge, and further behind is the Brooklyn Bridge. Grab a seat, and take in the view for a lesser known sunset location in NYC.
Learn More: Check out the other Best Photo Spots in NYC during a visit
Heading a bit further southbound along the East River Greenway is the South Street Seaport area. One of the highlights of the Seaport is Pier 17. The pier is one of the most established ones in the city.
There you will find several restaurants and bars, a food market (in the nearby Tin Building), and a waterfront deck that offers some great views of the Brooklyn Bridge.
The deck does face northbound though, meaning you won’t necessarily be able to see the sunset. But on certain clear days, the sky’s horizon may change color giving you that sunset feel.
Head to the Pier 17 rooftop though for some more views looking southbound. From the rooftop, you should be able to enjoy a sunset. Similar to Pier 35 though, you will only be able to see the sun set below the horizon during the winter months.
Central Park Reservoir
One of the most asked questions about sunset in NYC, is where to watch sunset in Central Park.
To answer that question, I have to go with the Central Park Reservoir located between 86th Street and 96th Street. The reservoir has a path that encircles the entirety of it.
If you follow the path on the east/north side, then you will be able to enjoy a sunset with plenty of cityscape all around.
You can find a couple photos below that were taken between 90th Street and 96th Street. The calm waters created a beautiful sunset reflection.
Learn More: Enjoy many more top things to do in Central Park during your time there
New Jersey Waterfront
While it may feel a bit counter intuitive to head to New Jersey for sunset, there are certainly still situations when it can be very enjoyable.
If spending sunset in New Jersey, you will not be able to see the sun itself dip below the horizon. However, it does give you the opportunity to see the sky change color with some of the best views of the NYC skyline.
All along the Jersey City, Hoboken, and Weehawken waterfronts you can get some of the top skyline views out there. During sunset, there is still the chance see the clouds & sky light up, which would make the views that much better.
4) Observation Decks
While all of the NYC sunset locations mentioned above are absolutely free to visit, there is also the opportunity to head up to some observation decks.
Now, these observation decks are not free. Instead you will need to pay an entrance fee (between $30-$50) to get yourself up.
Each deck has different pricing and rules in place, but you will find that sunset reservation spots will be in more demand. In addition, they can be a bit more expensive.
For myself, I only have been up to the observation decks for sunset (and sunrise!) as that is when the best light and colors over NYC can be seen. Although tickets may be in more demand and a bit pricier, it certainly is worth it.
There are five observation decks to choose from when visiting NYC. These include:
Note that the Empire State Building also offers sunrise hours on select Saturdays. I would highly recommend a visit if interested.
Learn More: For some free spots, read through the best New York City views
5) NYC Sunset Cruise
Another paid option out there is to take a NYC sunset cruise along the rivers. These cruises will leave just prior to sunset as you get to tour the waters of the Hudson River, New York Harbor and the East River.
While each cruise may be a bit different, some of the top places that can be visited include the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, Ellis Island, Governors Island, and plenty more.
Expect some top views of New York City along the way to end a day in the city. Below are some of the best options to consider for a sunset cruise.
Last but not least, I just have to mention Manhattanhenge.
If you are not familiar, the Manhattanhenge phenomena happens twice a year in late May and mid July as the sunset aligns perfectly between the streets of Manhattan.
You will find tons of people stopping traffic, taking their phones out and witnessing the sun slowly set along the horizon.
For those that may be visiting during the Manhattanhenge dates, I would recommend sticking to the wider two ways streets to see the effect occur. These include 14th Street, 23rd Street, 34th Street, and 42nd Street.
The “best” views in my opinion are from the Tudor City Bridge. However, the bridge can get extremely busy and crowded with photographers (and their tripods). Expect people to start lining up several hours in advance to get that perfect shot.
Learn More: the Manhattanhenge overview will go through everything there is to know about this NYC sunset experience
Hope you have learned a bit more about the best spots in New York City for sunset. 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!