For the ultimate panoramic view of the city's iconic skyline, you need to book yourself on to one of New York’s best helicopter tours. Of course, vistas aren’t in short supply in this town - and you can always marvel at the cityscape from one of the city’s best rooftop bars - but you’ll need to get a little bit higher for that picture-perfect wide-angle of the best New York attractions, from the Empire State Building to Central Park. Whether you want to jump on a quick 20-minute flight or take it all in over two whole hours, our list of the best helicopter tours in NYC has the perfect chopper for you.
Best helicopter tours in NYC
It's no surprise that in the city that never sleeps, the best helicopter ride takes place after dark. Head down to South Street Seaport and climb aboard a luxury chopper for a flight around a dozen sights and landmarks, including Central Park, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building. After you’ve landed, finish off the night in style with a 45-minute guided cruise along the New York harbor, complete with a Champagne toast in front of Lady Liberty.
This budget-friendly whistlestop tour is perfect for those visiting New York for the first time. In just 15 minutes, you can get up close to loads of major attractions. Flights depart daily from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport, taking passengers all the way to the George Washington Bridg via the Empire State, Woolworth, Chrysler, Met Life and World Financial buildings. Headphones are provided so you can hear commentary from your pilot while taking in those spectacular, Instagram-perfect views.
For an indepth tour of New York City, this 20-minute flight covers all five boroughs, plus parts of New Jersey. From the Hudson River you'll pass Manhattan’s Financial District, before flying over Governors Island and the Verrazano Bridge that joins Staten Island and Brooklyn. On flight back, you’ll get a look at the Midtown skyscrapers, St. John the Divine Cathedral, Columbia University and the Palisade of New Jersey.
This 25-minute, ultimate sightseer’s tour gives passengers the chance to take in killer views of Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx. The trip starts with a jaunt around popular downtown sights such as the Statue of Liberty and Ground Zero before passing all the city’s major bridges - Queensboro, Brooklyn and Williamsburg - on its way up to the Bronx for a unique view form high of the impressive Yankee Stadium.
From Coney Island to the New Jersey Palisades to Grant’s Tomb, this far-ranging helicopter tour lets you see it all. Your flight gets going with the iconic landmarks of lower Manhattan: the Freedom Tower, the Statue of Liberty, the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building. Next, the flight climbs all the way to the very top of the borough for incredible views of Columbia University, Harlem and the Yankee Stadium. The trip back heads south over the Verrazano Bridge for views of Staten Island and even a glimpse of the roller coasters at Luna Park.
Whether you're looking to really splash out or just want to keep the moment special, you and up to five others in your party (plus a guide) will be the only passengers on this 30-minute private tour. During the ride, you'll get to see the Empire State, Central Park, United Nations and Statue of Liberty from the skies.
Whatever you do, don’t forget your camera on this tour. And no, your smartphone probably won't do these views justice. City Skyline Experience choppers zoom north along the East River, cut across Central Park, then fly down the Hudson River for the ultimate panoramic look at Gotham’s skyline. Along the way, the pilot points out all the key NYC attractions such as the Empire State Building and the Brooklyn Bridge, plus some further afield locales like Citi Field in Queens.
Bonus: Leaving New York already? Kill two birds with one stone by taking a swanky helicopter from Manhattan’s Pier 6 to any of major airports nearby. You’ll get a bird’s eye view of the city during your unforgettable exit, which won't just make you feel a little bit special, but at only 10 minutes long is also guaranteed to get you there on time!