There’s nothing more impressive than standing in the busy streets of New York City, gazing up at the buildings as people move around you.
Except, of course, seeing the city from the water.
Seeing New York City from a boat allows you to skip the traffic, avoid the lines, and see the bigger picture of the incredible New York skyline.
Whether you’re an introvert at heart or just looking for a different perspective, here is what you should see from the water in NYC.
Sights to See From the Water in NYC
The Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is the obvious choice when it comes to seeing New York City from a boat. Lady Liberty is one of the most recognizable statues in the world.
It served as a beacon of hope to weary travelers entering the United States, a sign of great things to come for newly immigrated individuals and a warm welcome home to New Yorkers. Now, it is one of the most popular tourist sites in New York and a bucket list item for many.
While you can see Lady Liberty from the shores of Lower Manhattan, or while crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, to truly appreciate her splendor, you’ll want to be on a boat. You can catch the Staten Island ferry for free.
Photo by Celso FLORES
The Brooklyn Bridge
Speaking of the Brooklyn Bridge, here’s another iconic New York City must-see. Tourists from around the world flock to walk across the 134-year old connection between Brooklyn and Manhattan.
Featured in countless movies and television shows, the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most recognizable bridges in both the pop-culture and engineering world.
While walking, biking or driving across the bridge offers an amazing view of the river and towering suspension works, sailing underneath gives a whole new appreciation for the engineering behind this gargantuan span.
Photo by Daniel X. O’Neil
The Met Cloisters
The Met Cloisters are a lesser known NYC attraction. Located along the Hudson River in Northern Manhattan, the Cloisters are a tribute to medieval European architecture, with rebuilt French abbeys, Gothic architecture, and gardens spanning over four acres of land.
The Cloisters are considered an offshoot of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. While touring the Cloisters by foot can be a unique, immersive experience, removing yourself and viewing the expanse from the water is breathtaking.
Ellis Island goes hand in hand with the Statue of Liberty. Serving as the gateway to the United States for over 12 million immigrants over a span of 60 years, Ellis Island was the first stop for many travelers after seeing Lady Liberty.
While most of the land on Ellis Island belongs to New Jersey, it is still considered a New York tourist site. Today, Ellis Island serves largely as a museum.
It’s large, brick buildings are in varying levels of reconstruction and renovation and showcase different architectural styles, including art deco.
If you opt not to stop in and tour the island, or if you’re short on time, be sure to sail by and take a look at where so many stories began.
Photo by Sue Waters
The Skyline at Night
If historic sites aren’t your cup of tea, consider taking a sunset cruise and watching the lights of the iconic New York City skyline.
To truly appreciate the city that never sleeps, you have to see it after nightfall.
If you thought seeing the Brooklyn Bridge from the water would be incredible during daylight, imagine seeing it lit up in the darkness. And what better way to appreciate the Empire State Building or the Chrysler Building than from afar?
In recent years there have been a few proposals to dim the city’s lights, so be sure to see the skyline as is before things change.
Photo by John Cunniff
Whether you decide to take a Liberty Cruise in New York City or hit the Hudson in a kayak, seeing the city from the water offers a new vantage point on a classic tourist destinations.
In the Big Apple, there are endless things to see and do but perhaps nothing quite as magical as seeing the city from the water.
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