7 Places To Stay in New York With Mesmerizing Rooftop Views

The Ludlow's rooftop terrace in New York
The Ludlow's rooftop terrace in New York | Courtesy of The Ludlow / © Annie Schlechter
There are few skylines as recognisable as Manhattan’s, and these Culture Trip-curated hotels all have spectacular rooftop spots that are perfect for taking in the cityscape over a cocktail or two on your next trip to the Big Apple.

In a city of densely packed skyscrapers, bird’s-eye views often come at a premium. The seven hotels listed here, all hand-picked by local experts at Culture Trip, offer a breath of fresh(ish) air up above the hordes, with views from Manhattan to Brooklyn, Jersey City and beyond. Take a dip in a high-rise swimming pool, relax on a tranquil terrace or sip artisanal cocktails in a hip lounge surrounded by unbeatable panoramas.

1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge

Boutique Hotel, Eco Hotel
Natural tones in bedrooms ensure that the views take center stage | Courtesy of 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, New York

This eco-friendly hotel proves the best views of Manhattan’s skyline are not in Manhattan. Located just across the East River in Brooklyn Heights, the hotel’s Harriet’s Rooftop & Lounge offers a dazzling panorama of the Brooklyn Bridge and Lower Manhattan’s skyscrapers – there’s also a stylish rooftop plunge pool. Enjoy classic cocktails and nibble on seasonal snacks such as beet hummus and whitefish paté. The hotel is just as impressive inside, and favours the local and the natural: recycled wood from Coney Island boardwalk is used in the furnishings, lush foliage brings the outside into every room, and the Bamford Haybarn Spa uses all-natural products.

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Boutique, City, Great Location, Eco friendly, Design, Arty

The Ludlow Hotel

Boutique Hotel
1431 Ludlow Hotel
Courtesy of The Ludlow Hotel /

This Lower East Side boutique hotel is the perfect spot to see and be seen. Soak up the rock’n’roll vibe among the hip clientele up on the terrace, while taking in the imposing architecture of the Financial District and soaring One World Trade Center just to the south. When darkness falls, the view is truly magical, as the city that never sleeps is illuminated by thousands of lights. Come morning, the rooftop itself is a cozy space with plenty of loungers for tanning, plus an indoor gym. And if it’s non-stop panoramas you’re after, the sensational Skybox Loft rooms feature floor-to-ceiling industrial windows with balconies for a private piece of paradise.

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Refinery Hotel

Refinery Hotel, New York
Bedrooms feature bold works of art and Frette linens | Courtesy of Refinery Hotel

Just steps away from Bryant Park and rather more storys up, the Refinery Rooftop bar puts you right in the heart of Midtown Manhattan’s urban jungle of skyscrapers, with an especially awe-inspiring perspective of the Empire State Building. The rustic-chic restaurant and bar – with lots of exposed brick, reclaimed wood and a retractable glass roof – features Jeff Haskell’s contemporary American menu, ‘cocktail caddies’ (four servings of handcrafted cocktails), truffle fries and Jacques Torres bonbons.

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Arlo NoMad

Boutique Hotel
The Heights, Arlo NoMad, New York
Courtesy of Arlo NoMad

Located in fashionable NoMad (North of Madison Square Park), the Arlo provides tantalizing, up-close views of the Empire State Building and surrounding skyscrapers from its buzzy, 31st-floor rooftop bar, A.R.T. NoMad (Arlo Roof Top). Take a stroll over the skywalk glass floor, sip craft cocktails (the frosé is justly popular) and nibble Middle Eastern-inspired snacks while mingling with the youthful crowd. The hotel itself is known for its reasonably priced ‘micro rooms’, which feature floor-to-ceiling windows and artfully designed storage to maximize the space.

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Arlo SoHo

Boutique Hotel, Hotel
A sleek and comfortable stay for the urban explorer, Arlo SoHo, New York
Rooms are compact but comfortable and ideal for the urban explorer | Courtesy of Arlo SoHo, New York

Perched on the Lower West Side of Manhattan, 11th-floor rooftop bar and lounge A.R.T. SoHo offers ravishing views of the Hudson River and the towers of Jersey City beyond. The Arlo rooftop’s spacious outdoor terrace also provides a vista of One World Trade Centre and the visually arresting 56 Leonard in Tribeca, AKA the ‘Jenga tower’. The bar serves craft beer, a huge menu of cocktails and small plates, and has a great weeknight happy hour.

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Freehand New York

Courtesy of Freehand Hotel New York /

On the edge of Manhattan’s Flatiron District, Broken Shaker Rooftop Bar tops Art Deco gem Freehand New York. From up here, the spires of Midtown punctuate the skyline to the north, and you’ll catch enchanting views of the iconic architectural landmarks including the Chrysler Building and Met Life Tower. The bar has a beachy and slightly kitsch globetrotter theme, with lots of lush greenery and an abundance of rattan chairs and artworks from around the world. Stay for the handcrafted cocktails, DJ nights and drunk yoga (a 45-minute beginner-friendly yoga class with wine in-hand).

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The Williamsburg Hotel

Boutique Hotel, Hotel
Art-deco themed rooms come to life with a pop of colour and contemporary touches, The Williamsburg Hotel, NYC
Art-deco themed rooms come to life with a pop of colour and contemporary touches | Courtesy of The Williamsburg Hotel, NYC

This modern boutique hotel stands in the hip Brooklyn enclave of Williamsburg. Offering truly hypnotic views of the whole Manhattan skyline – across the East River from Downtown to Midtown – it’s an especially captivating spot at night. The seasonal Rooftop & Pool stays open late, with daily rooftop yoga for those sun salutations, and beach loungers for those who’d rather just bask in the rays. Higher still is the exclusive turret-shaped Water Tower bar, fashioned from a former water tank, which boasts the same eye-popping views, plus craft cocktails and rare spirits; book ahead as it’s reservation-only.

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These recommendations were updated on August 6, 2019 to keep your travel plans fresh.