The Statue of Liberty is one of the most iconic attractions to take in during a visit to New York City. You can opt for a boat tour from the water, visit the statue itself, see it during a helicopter ride, or just take in the view from the mainland.
While there are plenty of ways to go about it, there is no better time for a visit than to see the Statue of Liberty at sunset. Having the last moments of light set in the city with the sky changing colors around the statue is a perfect way to end a day.
This guide will go into detail on the various ways to see the Statue of Liberty at sunset so you can best decide how to enjoy the experience on your trip to New York City.
1) Ways to See the Statue of Liberty at Sunset
As mentioned there are several different ways to see the Statue of Liberty at sunset. Below is a list of those options to give you an idea of what type of experience works best for you. If you happen to be in the city for several days, then maybe you can get a couple of these into your itinerary:
1) Sunset Cruise
One of the more popular options out there is to join a Statue of Liberty sunset cruise that will make its way through the Hudson and/or East River visiting the Statue of Liberty along the way. For this option though, you will not visit the island itself. You simply will view it from a far.
2) Visiting the Statue
You can also opt to visit the Statue of Liberty island itself (as well as nearby Ellis Island). Unfortunately, you cannot stay on the island for sunset. The last boats usually depart just before sunset meaning if you take the last boat from Liberty Island, you will be able to view sunset on the ride back.
3) Helicopter Ride
A more unique way to go about a Statue of Liberty sunset experience is to take a helicopter ride over the city. There are sunset specific rides that make sure the timing is just right to view the city and the Statue of Liberty from above as the sun sets.
4) Statue of Liberty Sunset Viewpoints
If you would rather stay on dry ground, then there are several places to choose from, where you can view the Statue of Liberty. These include Manhattan, Brooklyn and Jersey City. I will dive into these exact locations further into this guide.
Helpful Note: the sun always sets in the vicinity of the Statue of Liberty so you should always get that colorful golden hour around the area no matter how/where you choose to enjoy sunset (on a clearer day at least).
There is also a chance to see the sun set directly behind the Statue of Liberty. This will all depend on time of year, location and weather. At the end of this guide you should find a more in-depth overview of when/where the sun sets directly behind the statue.
→ Check out some other viewpoints around the area in the guide to the top views in New York City
2) Statue of Liberty Cruise Tour
A sunset cruise to the Statue of Liberty is a great way to see the statue from up close and get quite a fun experience out of it. These cruises don’t just circle Liberty Island. They usually make their way all along the Hudson and East Rivers as you get some beautiful views all around.
You will get to take in views of the Manhattan, Brooklyn and New Jersey skylines, and also can make your way to historical sites such as the Brooklyn Bridge. This will all depend on the type of cruise you choose as there are different options out there.
Another thing to consider is whether or not you want to make it a dinner & drinks cruise or simply a quick ride around the waters. There are really plenty of choices here and there should definitely be something out there for you.
Below are some of the top options to choose from depending on what type of experience you are looking for:
» New York Premier Dinner Cruise (may not always be timed with sunset)
Insider Tip: don’t want to spend the money on an official boat tour? You can take the Staten Island Ferry from Battery Park to the Staten Island for free! If you time it right you should be able to get on a nice ride towards Staten Island as the sun sets. You will then just take the next ferry right back afterwards.
3) Visiting the Statue of Liberty
Another option here is to actually visit the Statue of Liberty. As mentioned though, you unfortunately cannot be on the island itself for sunset. The last boats leave the island just before sunset.
This means you should be able to enjoy sunset from the boat and then from the waterfront area around Battery Park.
When going about tickets for this boat ride, there is only one official ticket provider. Don’t get caught up in all the other options you may be offered either online or onsite. All of these providers are simply going to mark up tickets you could have purchased for yourself.
Statue City Cruises is the official boat provider between Manhattan, Liberty Island, Ellis Island and Jersey City. Head to their website for schedules and ticket purchasing options.
4) Helicopter Tour
The most unique of options out there has to be the helicopter tour from above. There are helicopter companies such as FlyNYON that offer doors off (and doors on) flights around NYC.
They also offer special flights for an additional cost that will have you experiencing a beautiful sunset over the city.
You not only will get to visit the Statue of Liberty but also places like Central Park, Times Square, Brooklyn Bridge, downtown Manhattan and plenty more!
5) Mainland Viewing Locations
Lastly, you can opt for a Statue of Liberty sunset from the mainland of NYC. While all of the above options will cost some money, this one has no costs whatsoever – just you and the sunset.
If you are interested in seeing the sun setting directly behind the Statue of Liberty, then I will refer you to the next section of this guide. However, you can still enjoy a Statue of Liberty sunset from any location you choose – the sun just may be off to the side instead of directly behind and you should still get some nice colors around the statue itself.
Below are my favorite spots in NYC to take in a Statue of Liberty sunset:
At the very southern tip of Manhattan you will find an area called The Battery or Battery Park. It is just below the Financial District and the World Trade Center area.
The park wraps around the tip of the island with a nice riverside pathway that you are able to follow all the way around. Here is also where the boats leave for Liberty Island if you decide to head there yourself.
All along this pathway though you will get great views of the Statue of Liberty out in the distance with New Jersey, Staten Island, and Ellis Island all in view.
Brooklyn Bridge Park
All along the Dumbo and Brooklyn Heights neighborhoods you will find one long park along the waterfront. Here you will find smaller parks, piers, and walkways that hug the East River.
Brooklyn Bridge Park is full of great views of downtown Manhattan, Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge and the Statue of Liberty. For the best views of the statue itself head towards Pier 1, 2 or 3 where you should get some nice angles of lady liberty.
Manhattan Bridge & Brooklyn Bridge
One of my favorite activities to take part of is to walk the bridges of Manhattan. Two of my favorites are the Manhattan Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge.
As you are walking across the pedestrian pathways on the bridges you will get views of the Statue of Liberty way out in the distance. Not to mention the rest of the Manhattan skyline from afar.
While a bit further away, it still offers some of the best views you can ask for. Check out some of these pictures I took from the Manhattan Bridge through the Brooklyn Bridge and onto the statue.
Another great place to see sunset is from Governor’s Island, a small piece of land between Manhattan and Brooklyn. There are ferries that leave from Brooklyn Bridge Park and Battery Park that can take you the quick ride right to the island.
From the southern tip and western side of Governor’s Island, you should get great views of the Statue of Liberty out in the water.
Liberty State Park
Lastly, you can also enjoy sunset from Liberty State Park in Jersey City. While this location is the closest you can get to the Statue of Liberty from the mainland, the sun will be setting behind you from here.
The experience is sure to be just as good and beautiful but you won’t be able to see the sunset itself. What you will see are views of all of Manhattan, Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and several bridges.
6) Does the Sun Set Behind the Statue of Liberty?
The short answer is yes, the sun does set behind the Statue of Liberty but as you may know, the sun does not set in the same exact location year-round. Due to this, there is not just one spot to see the sun set behind the Statue of Liberty.
The good thing however, is that you can always find a location where you will get the angle of the sun setting directly behind the statue.
If you are looking to get the perfect shot of the sun setting directly behind or next to the Statue of Liberty, below would be the best locations to make your way to depending on month. Note that I am using the 15th of the month for my data points as exact locations change by day.
January: Battery Park
February: Brooklyn Bridge Park (Pier 1/2) / Manhattan Bridge / Brooklyn Bridge
March: Governors Island (near the Collective)
April: Governors Island (near the southern end)
May: Red Hook (near Louis Valentino, Jr. Park)
June: Red Hook (near Louis Valentino, Jr. Park)
July: Red Hook (near Louis Valentino, Jr. Park)
August: Governors Island (near the southern end)
September: Governors Island (near the Collective)
October: Governors Island (northern end); Brooklyn Bridge Park (southern end)
November: Brooklyn Bridge Park (Pier 1/2) / Manhattan Bridge / Brooklyn Bridge
December: Battery Park
I have to admit It can be quite difficult to get the EXACT location of the sun setting behind the statue. I would advise on using a site like Suncalc, where you can see the sunset location by day.
Once you arrive near the viewpoint area, you may need to move around a little bit to get your angles right.
It is also important to note that you can still enjoy a sunset of the Statue of Liberty regardless of where the sun is setting. If you don’t care to see the sun setting directly behind the statue itself, you can head to any of those locations at any time of year. The sun just would be setting off to the side in some cases.
→ Be sure to check out some of the other best photo spots in NYC during a visit to the city
7) Statue of Liberty Sunset Pictures
Below are some of my favorite shots of the Statue of Liberty at sunset. If you have any questions about the locations and timing of these shots (or any pictures in this guide) just let me know in the comments below.
8) Where to Stay in NYC
There are so many different neighborhoods to choose from when visiting Manhattan. Below are some of my top choices for a few of my recommended locations in the city:
Chelsea: If you are looking to be well situated between uptown, midtown, and downtown, then Chelsea can be a great option for you. You have highlights such as the Highline, Little Island, the Vessel, and the Hudson River right nearby.
And if you are looking to head to Central Park uptown or the World Trade Center area further downtown, then you are just a quick subway ride away. Recommended Chelsea hotels:
Midtown: Right in the middle of the action is the midtown area, where you have the one and only Times Square, and all Broadway shows right at your doorstep. You are also within walking distance to the southern end of Central Park.
Almost all subway lines connect at Times Square so getting around should not be an issue. Recommended Midtown hotels:
Tribeca: If you are trying to stay in downtown Manhattan, then I would recommend looking into the Tribeca area. Staying here and you will be just a stone’s throw away from the World Trade Center area, 9/11 Memorial Pools & Museum, and Battery Park. Recommended Tribeca Hotels:
» Check out this helpful guide that talks all about the best areas to stay in New York during a visit
That about wraps up a guide to enjoying a Statue of Liberty sunset experience. If you have any questions or comments, feel free 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!