Best New York City Overlooks

Wide shot NY skyline

Bet you didn’t know that New York City is home to Einstein’s eyeballs! And there’s more to this hustling city than that. Over 800 languages are spoken there, and whatever cuisine you’re craving, NYC has you covered—especially when it comes to pizza!

Believe it or not, though, to truly experience the city, you have to check out the top 8 overlooks that dot the neighboring state, New Jersey. In this post, we’re going to show you that NJ doesn’t quite deserve the bad rep it gets. If anything, NJ is a wonderful place to be!

1. Hamilton Park (Weehawken, NJ)

Top of our list and a personal favorite of mine is Hamilton Park. I consider this place to be the best overlook of NYC.

Why, you ask? Simple. Aside from its historical significance (it’s the location of the famous Aaron Burr/Alexander Hamilton duel!), you get a full panoramic view of the entire metropolis. 

What’s more is that many believe Hamilton Park offers the best view of the NYC skyline from NJ. From the Freedom Tower to the George Washington Bridge – you can see it all! 

My advice: Come by in the evening and you can see the orange glow of the sunset reflecting off the entire west side of the city. Trust me, this is the closest you can get to New York with a vantage point!

You can also walk along the park and stare directly into the bright lights of Times Square – or straight through the line of sight to the East River. Even laying down on the lawn of the park allows you to capture all the views. All in all, it’s a pretty great time!

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2. Eagle Rock Reservation (West Orange, NJ)

Personally, I believe that Eagle Rock Reservation is simply perfect for taking stunning photos, whether you’re an amateur or professional photographer. Either way, you’re in for a treat of stunning views of NYC and the surrounding areas!

Take the top of Eagle Rock, for instance. There, photographers and tourists can capture spectacular views of the city skyline, including iconic landmarks, such as the Empire State Building and One World Trade Center

With this vantage point, you also get breathtaking views of the Hudson River and its bridges. 

Also read: Our complete guide to visiting Eagle Rock. Learn the spots you don’t want to miss and how to make the most out of your day there. We also answer burning questions like where to park and if your pet can tag along.

3. Fort Lee Historic Park (Fort Lee, NJ)

What makes New York so special isn’t just its impressive Manhattan skyscrapers, it’s also the monumental, man-made structure – the George Washington Bridge. If there’s an overlook that could get you anywhere close to this impressive bridge, you should take it!

That’s where Fort Lee Historic Park comes in. Considered the birthplace of the American Film Industry, Fort Lee is where you can witness Washington’s enormous 2-deck, 14-lane bridge. 

Honestly, we don’t see why Fort Lee isn’t one of the more common NYC overlooks. It’s an interesting place to be, and its scenic view of the bridge took our breath away! We could also see banks of the Hudson River from there, too. 

Fun fact for the group’s athletes and nature enthusiasts: Fort Lee is where Palisades Interstate Park begins. There you can hike above and below the bridge. And if any of you like watching birds, there’s a spot in the park for that as well!

4. Liberty State Park (Jersey City, NJ)

Every Jerseyan has visited, or at least heard of, Liberty State Park. With its expansive green grounds, the dramatic park is most known for offering visitors a stunning view of the Manhattan skyline, the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island.

What makes Liberty State Park spectacular is its two-mile promenade. There, locals and tourists alike can discover various picnic areas, family playgrounds, the Nature Center, and the Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal

Take it from me – Liberty State Park is the place to be for a view of Manhattan from New Jersey as well as the Freedom Tower!

Little fact about that tower: It’s commonly known to be 1,776 ft, but you won’t truly understand just how towering it is until you see it for yourself! We feel you’ll be looking up for quite a while when you visit this park!

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5. Wyanokie High Point, Norvin State Park (Wanaque, NJ)

When at Wyanokie High Point, do us a favor and look closely – very closely! There, in the distant horizon, on a clear day, you’ll be able to see the Big Apple. Amazing, right?

So often this overlook is overlooked (pun intended!) when we think it shouldn’t be ignored. It’s why it’s in the top 5 spots on our list. This place can provide views you never even knew existed!

Aside from a scenic, picturesque view of the NYC skyline, you can snap lovely photos of the countryside and distant cityscapes. It’s this natural beauty that makes the Norvin Green State Forest an overlook not to miss!

And of course you can’t go to this state forest without hiking a few of those lovely trails. As you stroll down them, you’ll learn just how massive NYC is and how unique NJ can be too. After all, not many cities look that breath-taking from hiking trails miles and miles away!

Also read: Our hiking map that covers campsites and hiking trails all over New Jersey. Find out what makes each trail special and what you should bring along.

6. Weehawken Recreation Pier (Weehawken, NJ)

Here’s another spot in Weehawken, NJ that won’t disappoint! I consider it a special location because there, you can capture the small details of the city – all at a close proximity, too.

The Manhattan skyline is gorgeous on its own, but from Weehawken, NJ, you get to view it with a breathtaking backdrop of the Hudson River. Then there’s the Recreation Pier, where you can view the Washington Bridge and the Verrazano Bridge as well. 

Your family could also enjoy getting close to the whizzing boats at the pier and a spectacular view of The Vessel at Hudson Yards! It’s an extraordinary spiral staircase and is considered the city’s most interactive artwork. 

So, check out this outlook if you want to look directly at the Yard’s Vessel and watch people climb up the honeycomb-like steps.

7. Pier A Park (Hoboken, NJ)

We can’t have a list of NYC overlooks without mentioning Hoboken! Pier A Park, in particular, is my favorite spot to watch stunning views of Fi-Di.

You can do more than just sightsee there – which many tourists seem to forget. Lucky I’m here to tell you that you can make a whole day out of the surrounding scenic landscape! You get to see stunning views of the Hudson River and the Manhattan skyline.

Since it’s a park, you also get the opportunity to take leisure strolls, have nice family picnics, and enjoy the quiet, relaxing nature. If you happen to have a furry friend, please bring them along too! They’re going to absolutely adore this place.

It doesn’t stop there. At Pier A Park, you can even experience various recreational activities, including jogging, fishing, and biking. 

Also read: Our list of NJ’s top 9 mountain biking trails for your next adventure!

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8. Morris Canal Park (Jersey City, NJ)

  • We recently had a meetup at Morris Canal Park, and let me tell you, it did not disappoint!

    From here, you can check out the ever-so-popular Colgate Clock – a historical landmark whose red neon light brightens up the Jersey night sky. It’s actually one of the world’s largest clocks so I know the kids will absolutely love to see it!

    What’s more, you can check out sweeping views of lower Manhattan. The park’s prime location in the Exchange Park is what makes it a hot spot after all! There’s a bustling backdrop of the city, where the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty are visible.

    You can plan a whole day at Morris Canal Park too. You can enjoy the park’s natural beauty, fascinating hike trails, and wildlife habitats. It’s a historical site, so make sure to make the most of it!

    Also read: Our favorite museums in New Jersey and what makes each one special.

new york city overlooks, Best New York City Overlooks

All New Jersey Overlooks

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Featured image by NJspots Patron Ken (@kenproshot).

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