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NYC skyline: The top spots for breathtaking views

There are plenty of spots to see the vast expanse of the metropolis that is New York City.

We've highlighted the top spots for the best views.

The Empire State Building

Of course, most people know the Empire State
Photo Credit: Getty / AFP / Stan Honda

Of course, most people know the Empire State Building has one of the best skyline views in the city. The 86th observatory has a 360-degree outdoor deck and indoor viewing galleries, while the 102nd floor observatory is entirely indoors and features a view from 1,250 feet above ground.

Fun fact: In 2013 alone, about 4.3 million people visited the 86th or 102nd floor observatories, helping to generate $101.8 million or about 42% of revenue for the building, according to financial documents.

Rockefeller Center

First opened in 1933, the
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Tishman Speyer / Bart Barlow

First opened in 1933, the "Top of the Rock" observation deck at Rockefeller Center has views of landmarks including the Chrysler Building and Brooklyn Bridge to the south and Central Park to the north. A six-level complex, the upper decks are 850 feet above street level.

Fun fact: Don't be surprised if you feel like you're on a 1930s ocean liner. The deck was designed with deck chairs, gooseneck fixtures and air-conditioning vents that are supposed to look like the stacks of a ship.

Roosevelt Island Tramway

Why not take in some of the most
Photo Credit: Flickr / Paul Weber

Why not take in some of the most breathtaking views of New York City while traveling over the East River. The Roosevelt Island Tramway carries passengers along 3,100 feet of cable from 59th Street and Second Avenue on an approximately four-minute journey to Roosevelt Island that will have you gaping at the metropolis. You'll see gorgeous apartment buildings, the UN, the East River bridges and maybe, possibly, Lady Liberty herself.

Fun Fact: The tram was prominently featured in the Universal Studios Florida theme park as part of the Kongfrontation ride where King Kong attacked an approximation of the real thing.

Wave Hill

Go north to Wave Hill in the Bronx
Photo Credit: Flickr / Dock Drumming

Go north to Wave Hill in the Bronx for a sumptuous view of the Hudson River and the coast of New Jersey. The views at the 28-acre public garden are more naturalistic, but nonetheless are worth the trip, giving visitors a different perspective on the city.

Fun fact: Teddy Roosevelt and Mark Twain once called Wave Hill home, but not at the same time, of course.

Brooklyn Heights Promenade

Looking for an entirely different view of the
Photo Credit: Flickr / Scott Kidder

Looking for an entirely different view of the Manhattan skyline? Try a leisurely walk along the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, where the view from across the East River is as impressive as any in the city. It's also free, and there are plenty of benches to idle away the time.

Fun Fact: The promenade became famous as the setting for pivotal scenes in movies like "Annie Hall" and "Moonstruck."

One World Observatory

The city's newest observatory at One World Trade
Photo Credit: Ivan Pereira

The city's newest observatory at One World Trade Center sets a new standard for delivering awe-inspiring views of the metropolis. The observatory is at the top of the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, with views 1,250 feet above the street.

Fun Fact: Five "sky pod" elevators zip passengers to the 102nd floor in 47 seconds, all the while showing a virtual time-lapse that shows the development of the city's skyline.

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