The Manhattan skyline is of course one of the world’s most iconic, an awe-inspiring tribute to human ingenuity and America’s economic success. To see it at night is magical. To see it at night from atop a Manhattan roof — to be part of the skyline, in other words — is more magical still. And to do so with a well-mixed cocktail in one’s hand is an experience simply not to be missed. Here is a list of the best hotel rooftop bars in New York City.

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The Empire Hotel

Upper West Side, New York City

The Empire's rooftop bar boasts (slightly) cheaper cocktails (about $14), more space, and a more down-to-Earth crowd than you typically find at the Gansevoort's Plunge in the Meatpacking District -- and it even has a comparable rooftop pool.


Gramercy Park Hotel

Gramercy and Murray Hill, New York City

Although the Gramercy Park Hotel's Gramercy Terrace competes with the uber-hip Rose Bar downstairs, it's the place to be in warmer weather. The strings of lights and crawling green vines make it feel like you've entered a fairyland after dark.


Gansevoort Meatpacking NYC

West Village, New York City

The Gansevoort's 15th-floor rooftop lounge, called Plunge, has stunning 360-degree views of the city and the Hudson River, and draws a crowd of twenty- and thirty-somethings dressed to kill.


Kimpton Ink48 Hotel

Midtown West, New York City

With its views of Midtown Manhattan and the Hudson River, Press Lounge at Ink 48 -- opened in April 2010 -- has quickly established itself amongst the ranks of best rooftop bars in New York City. Featuring a wrap-around terrace, indoor seating, a reflecting pool, and even a hot tub, Press Lounge encourages late-night partying in style -- the lounge is open year-round and doesn't close its doors until 2 a.m. Wednesday through Saturday.


Marriott Vacation Club Pulse, New York City

Midtown West, New York City

A popular spot amongst Midtown professionals in need of after-work cocktails, the Top of the Strand provides patrons with an intimate, garden-esque setting year-round (a sliding roof makes the bar four-seasons-friendly). The signature cocktails will set you back $15 each (relatively standard for NYC) but the not-so-standard views of the Empire State Building, just three blocks away, make it more than worth it.



SoHo, New York

A60 is one of the city's most exclusive rooftop bars, open only to card-carrying "members" (read: celebrities, fashion types, and other bold-named scenesters), plus hotel guests. In other words, for the price of a room, you just might gain access to some of the best celebrity-gawking in Manhattan.


The Kimberly Hotel

Midtown East, New York City

Opened in Spring 2010, the 4,000-square-foot Upstairs lounge on the 30th floor boasts spectacular 360-degree views of Midtown Manhattan and the nearby Chrysler Building, a long list of signature cocktails, and tasty small plates such as truffled mac and cheese and crisp baby artichokes.


The Peninsula New York

Midtown East, New York City

Styled in the spirit of 1930s Shanghai, Salon De Ning -- a 23rd-floor rooftop terrace that's popular among locals for its beautiful views and swank outdoor setting -- offers excellent, $22 cocktails and small shared plates. Sunday brunch is served on the terrace during the summer.


Library Hotel by Library Hotel Collection

Midtown East, New York City

The rooftop garden and bar Bookmarks has three different personas: the "poetry garden," a greenhouse with a wraparound terrace; the "writer's den," which has a working fireplace and its own heated terrace; and the bar itself, which has a sleeker, more mod feel than the rest of the hotel.


Shelburne Hotel & Suites by Affinia

Gramercy and Murray Hill, New York City

The Affinia Shelburne's summer rooftop garden and bar, appropriately named Rare View, has stunning views of the Chrysler building. At night, strings of lights illuminate the garden's white-latticed walls, white picnic tables, and pots of trees and flowers.


The Roosevelt Hotel

Midtown East, New York City

The Roosevelt Hotel's 19th-floor rooftop bar, Mad46, which opened in 2008, draws a crowd heavy with finance professionals who can afford its double-digit martinis. It stays open from May until the weather turns chilly in the fall. Renovations are under way to add an indoor lounge.


Hilton New York Fashion District

Chelsea, New York City

Rare View opened at the sleek Fashion 26 hotel in summer of 2010, and offers views of the Chrysler Building, Broadway marquees, and the surrounding area of Chelsea. The menu of cocktails are reasonably priced and offers eclectic and unique concoctions. Go for the RARE Fashion, it's a killer.


The James New York SoHo

SoHo, New York

The James' stylish rooftop bar, Jimmy, features a small plunge pool and skyline views.