New York City Rooftop Guide
Incredible skylines, bustling nightlife, long summer nights—all things that make New York City a gem. I’ve always loved a good rooftop situation, but something about a rooftop bar in New York City that hits even better. I think it’s got something to do with the fact that it gives you an opportunity to escape the bustling streets of the Big Apple, socialize under the stars after catching a sunset and taking in the city’s views.
The endless options in New York City can be overwhelming, so I’ve rounded up my absolute favorite rooftops (and a few outdoor happy hour spots that make up in ambiance what they lack in elevation) for your warm weather socializing pleasure:
The Skylark is a Midtown gem. Spread over three levels, with incredible views from each, but with a true rooftop bar on the top level. The cocktails are as pricey as you can expect for Manhattan, but they’ve got a stellar food menu and multiple variations of frosé. If that’s not enough, the views are ridiculous—quite possibly my favorite view from any bar in Manhattan. This is a great spot for entertaining out-of-towners or, if you’re visiting, getting in an iconic view of Gotham City’s magical skyline.
Pro-tip: They’re closed to the public on weekends. This is a M-F spot.
I personally think this might be one of the best rooftop bars in New York City. Located in Brooklyn, right by the East River—you’re not gonna have too many tourists here. This is where you can expect to have good views, good times and an ice cold beer with bartenders who’ll know your name if you frequent enough.
ROOF AT PARK SOUTH
I’m kinda sorta in love with The Roof at Park South. When I think of my mom visiting me, I think of The Roof at Park South. It’s got a cute little garden situation, umbrellas, fire pits for the evening (when it’s colder outside) and a fountain to give you all those in a park without actually being in a park vibes.
PHD TERRACE AT DREAM MIDTOWN
Sick of watching everyone’s Amalfi Coast and Mykonos stories? Don’t worry, you don’t need to travel far to be transported to Midtown’s own version of a Summer wonderland. Get your Instagram ready because the dreamy and vibrant flower tunnel deserves a spot on your feed STAT. Order a Spritz on the terrace and escape from the hustle + bustle of the city while you take in the views of Midtown Manhattan and Times Square from the top of the Dream Midtown Hotel.
The Ides – Rooftop Bar at Wythe Hotel
Full disclosure: there’s gonna be a wait to get into this place, but it’s gonna be worth it. This is definitely one of the best places to catch skyline views of Manhattan. For as boujee as The Ides can appear, there’s no dress code and it’s got a very unpretentious vibe.
The Press Lounge
Fun fact: I used to come here every single time I visited NYC long before I moved to the Big Apple. I think it’s one of New York’s best rooftops as far as views go, especially for tourists. You’ve got sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and Hudson River all year-round. The Press Lounge is at the top of the Ink 48 Hotel and offers small plates when you want a little somethin’ to nosh on with that G&T. I think I’d lean on this being more of a great place to come when you’re an out-of-towner or entertaining tourists, rather than a neighborhood spot. You’re gonna get lots of finance bros here.
Elsie de Wolfe, the world's most famous decorator, always knew how to throw a party. Twenty-five stories up near Bryant Park sits the lavish Elsie Rooftop paying homage to society's doyenne. Bringing storied events all the way from Paris and London halfway across the world to New York City’s energy and savoir faire. Offering progressive mixology and an upscale seasonally focused light fare menu, which perfectly compliments every cocktail. Located on the 25th floor penthouse — Elsie is truly an all-season destination with stylish indoor and outdoor seating options.
Hands down one of my most favorite places. Located in the McKittrick Hotel, the space is transformed into a whimsical secret garden during the Spring and Summer months (in the Winter, it’s got major aprés ski vibes). They’ve got stellar cocktails and all-around great vibes. This is a perfect date spot. Love, love, love this place. Trust.
I’m a big fan of the Freehand Hotel properties across the country and their rooftop bar, Broken Shaker, is just as lovely. I’m all for a great tiki inspired bar, they’ve got beachy vibes in the middle of the city and make you feel like you’re on a tropical vacation. The Broken Shaker celebrates Happy Hour off-peak, between 11am and 1pm, but is open late too and is always spinning great beats (some of the best old school hip hop I’ve heard at a place in the city tbh).
Magic Hour Rooftop
Magic Hour Rooftop is home to the largest indoor/outdoor hotel rooftop in New York City. It’s located atop the Moxy Times Square Hotel and true to the hotel’s aesthetic, it’s got a really playful, hip, colorful vibe. They have an “urban amusement park” with adult sensibilities thing going on here with epic Empire State Building views, a rotating carousel, an oversized topiary garden, and Foreplay—a putt-putt golf course populated by flirty animal sculptures. A menu inspired by state fairs offers shareable light bites including Sausage & Peppers, Maine Lobster Roll, Duck Carnitas Tacos, and the Carnival Burger. And guys, the drinks are soooooo fun—adult capri suns, disco ball punch bowls and so much more.
CloudM Rooftop Bar
The cloudM at the top of the Citizen M Hotel rooftop bar on Bowery is one of my best kept secrets. Honestly, I don’t know how more people don’t know about this place. It’s always got spots available, there’s no need for a reservation, has sensational 360-degree views and cocktails to make anyone giddy. In the spring and summer, they’ve got an outdoor deck with benches and couches too. This is a great spot for groups or a laid back date.
Dear Irving on Hudson
Dear Irving on Hudson is a swanky spot located on the 40th and 41st floor of the Aliz Hotel. It is the highest open air hotel bar and lounge in all of Manhattan. The space offers sweeping 360 degree views of the Manhattan skyline and is complemented by a James Bond inspired interior decor. It is the perfect spot for evening cocktails. The 41st floor is available by reservation only, and the indoor lounge and open-air terraces one floor below are first-come, first-served.
Last Light is a very sleek 11th-floor bar of the stylish Sister City hotel on the Lower East Side. The hotel is by the Ace Hotel team, which means it’s what the kids call…a vibe. The views of Lower Manhattan from the terrace are magical. They’ve got fab drinks and maybe I’ve been lucky, but the few times I’ve been to Last Light, there haven’t been too many people there.
Ok, I have a love/hate thing going on with Mr. Purple, but I can’t not include it just because I’m getting too old for late nights and big crowds. My. Purple is on the 15th floor of the Hotel Indigo on the Lower East Side. It’s got two terraces, a swimming pool, bar, chaise lounges and lots of seating. It’s got a resort vibe that brings me back even when I want nothing to do with the scene. I prefer day over night at Mr. Purple, but if a lounge/music not totally a club club is your scene…you’ll love the nightlife.
Refinery Rooftop has kinda become my go-to for out-of-town guests. It’s a short walk from Bryant Park and it’s got killer rooftop views of the Empire State Building, so you can cross off a few things on your tourist’s list. It’s not the biggest place and it can get rather crowded, but they’ve got good food, good drinks, good views and they take reservations.
Okay, so Le Bain gets a bit of a bad rep online for being too sceney and kinda played out, but honestly…I love this place. It’s the perfect place to just sit around, enjoy a cocktail and REALLY good people watching. Le Bain is at the top of the Standard Hotel in Meatpacking. It’s been around forever and it’s always gonna be one of those places you need to just give a try. It gets clubbier and clubbier by the hour, so just know in advance what you’re getting yourself into. I prefer a good day drinking session here, but if a clubby situation does it for you…you’re in good company.
Roof Garden Café and Martini Bar at the MET
Want to catch some dreamy views of Central Park, Midtown and the Upper East Side? You can have sweeping views AND all the MET has to offer when you hit up the Rooftop Garden Café at the museum. Open from May to October, this lovely and relaxing atmosphere is very family friendly and the perfect break after walking through the huge museum. Also, for those of you who like to turn up, on Friday and Saturday nights the café turns into a Martini Bar.
Ok, so I kinda feel like a basic b*&^# whenever I suggest the RH Rooftop, but this place has the best soft boiled eggs and avocado toast EVER. Even my pickiest family members leave VERY pleased after visiting RH Rooftop is a rooftop. On the top floor of Restoration Hardware in Meatpacking, you’ll find the lovely indoor/outdoor space that serves wine, beer and pretty great food. This is definitely the perfect place to take your mom or any special ladies in your life who like the finer things.
I’m kind of a big fan of this colorful rooftop bar in Hell’s Kitchen. While I don’t like to vouch for any Mexican spots in NYC (sorry guys, but California WINS in this department by a landslide), Catina is fabulous. This popular joint is colorful, fun, laid back and has great margaritas.
Harriet’s Rooftop & Lounge
I like this place way more than I should for a place that has a $20 cover. There’s no way around the cover :/ I’ve tried it all (their roomy, and air-conditioned indoor lounge, one floor below offers the same views and doesn’t have a cover). Here’s the thing…this place is a dream tbh. It’s everything I love in one place—the BEST views of Manhattan, every single bridge and Lady Liberty. Steps away from Brooklyn Bridge Park at the ONE Hotel, Harriet’s Rooftop & Lounge has great food and killer cocktails. When I think of my favorite rooftop, it just might be this place.
Ok, so I don’t do lines (at least that’s what I tell myself) and this place always has a line. If you don’t mind waiting in line, the Westlight, on the 22nd floor of the William Vale hotel in Williamsburg, is gorgeous. Beautiful views and they tend to have seasonal pop-ups.
Nomad’s Arlo Hotel recently rebranded as the A.R.T. Nomad and it’s honestly so fabulous that I had my birthday there this past year. It was fabulous and the Midtown views are gorgeous. They’ve also got some of the BEST pizza I’ve ever had in Manhattan. TRUST.
Good Behavior is an 18th floor lounge with panoramic views of New York City and best of all? They’ve got Tiki-inspired cocktails (your girl loves a good tiki situation), craft beers and large format cocktails (never met a punch bowl I didn’t like) for sharing. With both indoor and outdoor seating, Good Behavior is open year round and also available for private events.
The Crown Rooftop at 50 Bowery is excited to debut a new seasonal experience, “Royal Summer" at The Crown. Channeling those quintessential summer vibes, The Crown brings an airy, lush and free-spirited energy to the Bowery, evoking that care-free, bohemian lifestyle and encouraging each guest to live their best summer high above the concrete jungle. "Royal Summer" will feature regularly scheduled acoustic sets and music by renown DJ's, curated art installations, branded partnerships, weekend brunch parties and specialty events all summer long.
Make Believe is a new rooftop social club designed to transport you, day and night. Whimsical decor by interior designer Pao Lopez and and sweeping views of New York City set the stage for an imaginative sanctuary inspired by the world beyond. Located high above the streets of the Lower East Side, Make Believe offers itself as the ideal space for caffeinated workday meetups or boozy evenings spent under the disco ball. The cocktail menu has been inspired by the flavors of Japan.