There’s hardly any city that has found so many creative ways to fully take advantage of its waterfront. The number of piers in NYC can be quite overwhelming when you’re new in the city. To make the best of your visit, we’d like to share our favorite piers in New York with you and tell you what’s unique about each one of them.
Our favorite piers in New York
Most piers in New York are located around the island of Manhattan. They stretch along the Hudson River and East River. However, the piers in NYC are not limited to Manhattan. You will also find piers in Brooklyn that are worth a visit. Here’s a great overview of the best piers in NYC and what you can do at each of them.
Piers in NYC – East River
Some of the best piers are located along the East River Esplanade. The most known piers in the area are Pier 11 and Pier 17. Our most recent discovery and my personal favorite pier, however, is Pier 35. Keep reading to learn why!
- Pier 11
Pier 11 is a NYC Ferry terminal. You should definitely try them out during your stay in New York. At $3 a ride, it’s not really expensive at all! Did you know you could even reach the beach in Brooklyn with the NYC ferry? You can purchase your tickets for the NYC ferry directly through the app or at the ticket counter located at Pier 11.
The destination of our favorite NYC ferry route is Red Hook in Brooklyn. Redhook is still a pretty unexplored territory in New York. To learn about more great ferry routes, take a look at our NYC ferry guide.
What to expect at the pier: NYC Ferry
- Pier 15
The second-largest New York boat tour operator, Hornblower Cruises, departs from this pier. Whether boat tours during the day or dinner cruises; an adventure is ahead of you! And when you’re back, pass by Pier 16, too.
What to expect at the pier: Hornblower Cruises
- Pier 16
Pier 16 is one of our highlights along the East River. What you will find at this pier is a huge three-master on top of which The Watermark Bar is waiting for you. Besides drinks, it offers you nice views of the East River and the Brooklyn Bridge. At pier 16, you will be within walking distance to South Street Seaport – one of New York’s most charming neighborhoods.
What to expect at the pier: South Street Seaport & the ship “Nautilus”
- Pier 17
Since its opening in 2018, Pier 17 in NYC has earned a reputation for being one of the most popular concert venues in New York. It’s located near South Street Seaport and offers picture-perfect views of the Brooklyn Bridge. Could there be a more beautiful backdrop? There’s a rooftop bar you for you to sip and take in the views. In the winter, you can skate on Pier 17’s ice rink.
What to expect at the pier: Events, restaurants, perfect views of the Brooklyn Bridge
- Pier 35
Pier 35 in NYC is one of the newest piers in New York was created as a recreational space. What you will find here? Lots of seating areas and four large wooden swings that let you overlook the East River. Although the pier was opened a few months ago, the level of awareness is still very low, which makes it one of our absolute insider tips. The view from here is unbelievably beautiful and swinging is a lot of fun.
Come here to watch the sunset!
Pier 35 is a great place to admire the sunset. The sun goes down in the west, right behind the Brooklyn Bridge making the sky look magical.
What to expect at the pier: relaxation, stunning views of Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridge
Piers at Battery Park
- Pier A
Pier A is located at the Southern tip of Manhattan, in Battery Park, and can be reached by the New York Water Taxi. My highlight here? The restaurant Pier A Harbor House. If you choose to sit outside, you’ll have amazing views of the Statue of Liberty and the port of New York.
What to expect at the pier: a restaurant, a bar, and views of the Statue of Liberty
Piers in NYC – Hudson River
The majority of piers in New York are located along Hudson River. Hudson River Greenway stretches all the way from the Upper West Side down to Battery Park and measures 3.2-miles. Strolling down here, you’ll have the most stunning views of the city. The Greenway also allows you to do “pier-hopping ” as you’ll pass a pier every few hundred feet along the way.
- Pier 25
Pier 25 is one of Steffen’s favorite piers in New York, mainly because you can find Grand Banks here. Grand Banks is a historic fishing boat with a bar. Besides Grand Banks, you can play beach volleyball, soccer, or mini-golf course at the pier. For families, we recommend the nearby playground with views of One World Trade Center.
What to expect at the pier: Grand Banks, sports, playground, views of One World Trade Center
- Pier 26
Next to Pier 25 is Pier 26. On Pier 26 there is a restaurant called City Winery. They also have a wine bar on the roof from where you have wonderful views of the Hudson River and One World Trade Center.
What to expect at the pier: restaurant, rooftop bar, views of One World Trade Center
- Pier 40
Judging by its looks alone, Pier 40 does not belong to the prettiest piers in NYC. You can easily recognize it by its bright brick facade and the metal struts on the roof. It’s mainly used for school sports events. Yet, what makes this pier interesting for us are the Hornblower Cruises that depart from here. The only reason you’d come to Pier 40 would be to board a cruise.
What to expect at the pier: Hornblower Cruises
- Pier 45
Pier 45 is one of the newer piers in New York. The pier extends into the Hudson River. What we like about Pier 45 is that you can observe the boats and ships moving up and down the Hudson River. Because it extends into the river, you’re distant enough to see Manhattan’s skyline and the Empire State Building from here, too.
Go all the way to the end and grab a bench!
You’ll have the best views from the benches located towards the back of the pier.
What to expect at the pier: Relaxation, views of the Empire State Building
- Pier 46
Pier 46 is Pier 45’s little sister, located just a few steps away. Sit down on the turf lawn, relax or toss a ball with your friends.
What to expect at the pier: Relaxation, views of the Empire State Building
- Pier 51
Pier 51 is a playground and therefore a great pier to visit for families with children. Steffen likes to take his kids here during the summer. There are several climbing frames for your kids to release their inner Tarzans.
If you go to the top of the pier and take a closer look at it, you’ll see that it’s shaped like a ship! The views are also even more phenomenal from up there. You can see almost the entire skyline with Hudson Yards in the North and the One World Trade Center in the South.
What to expect at the pier: playground, nice views
- Pier 55: Little Island
Along the Hudson River, not far from the Whitney Museum, a new highlight is currently in the works: Pier 55 in New York, known as Little Island. This pier will extend into the river, creating an off-shore park. In addition to lots of lush greenery, the pier will feature space for art exhibitions and events. The look of the completed pier will resemble a leaf in the water. We can’t wait!
What to expect at the pier: nothing yet
- Pier 57
Pier 57 was supposed to have been rebuilt to a modern pier with a food market a few years ago. Unfortunately, those plans fell through. We included Pier 57 on the list so you won’t have to wonder about the giant building when you pass it.
What to expect at the pier: nothing
- Chelsea Piers
Chelsea Piers consist of three piers that are all connected to each other. They are probably the most famous piers in New York. At Chelsea Piers there is always something you can do. The pier boasts a large sports complex. Another reason to come here is the Architecture Boat Tour or the Bateaux Dinner Cruise that depart from here.
What to expect at the pier: Architectural boat tour, Bateaux Dinner Cruise, Sports Complex
- Piers 62, 63, 64
These three piers are located directly next to Chelsea Piers and are some of the most beautiful-looking piers in NYC. They feature lots of lawns and trees, creating another green oasis in the city.
Besides relaxation on the lawns, you can also go on a carousel ride at Pier 62. Next to, you’ll find a skate park from which you can see the skyline of New York’s Hudson Yards neighborhood and its new observation platform, The Edge.
What to expect at the pier: views of Hudson Yards, Pier 62, a carousel, a skate park
- Pier 66
Pier 66 hosts The Frying Pan on which New Yorkers love to hang out in the summer months. It’s bright and red – you can’t miss it! There’s hardly any better time to come here than in the evening. You can soak up New York’s atmosphere while enjoying the sunset with a drink in your hand.
What to expect at the pier: restaurant and bar
- Pier 78
Between Pier 78 and Pier 84, you’ll notice a lot of shipping traffic. That’s because most sightseeing cruises depart from here. his is where most sightseeing cruises depart!
What to expect at the pier: City Sightseeing New York
- Pier 79
The West Midtown Ferry Terminal is located at Pier 79. NY Waterway ferries depart here and commute between Manhattan and New Jersey. Though the ferry is mainly a commuter ferry, an increasing number of visitors can be spotted at Pier 79. Why? New Jersey is becoming more attractive to visitors as it offers cheaper accommodation and a short ride to Manhattan.
What to expect at the pier: NY Waterway Ferry to NJ
- Pier 81
You can find The North River Lobster Company at Pier 81. It offers an extremely affordable dinner cruise. Seafood fans will love the cruise. Though the lobster rolls are the best item on the menu, the burgers don’t disappoint.
What to expect at the pier: North River Lobster Company
- Pier 83
The largest provider of boat tours in New York departs at Pier 83. We are talking about Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises! My favorite tour is the 2.5-hour Best of NYC Cruise followed by the 1.5-hour Landmarks Cruise. Both are great for sightseeing.
For the adrenaline-seekers among you, try Circle Line’s speedboat tour during the warmer months. It takes you from Pier 83 to the Statue of Liberty and back.
That’s not all, yet. You’ll also immediately notice the bright yellow New York Water Taxi boats. They frequently run between Pier 83, Downtown Battery Park, Pier 16, and Pier 1.
They are all included in the New York attraction passes!
In our New York Pass comparison, you can find out which pass saves you the most money.
What to expect at the pier: Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises, New York Water Taxi
- Pier 84
Pier 84 in New York resembles Pier 45 with the difference that you do not only see the skyline but also Circle Line cruises and the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Intrepid in front of the maritime museum.
What to expect at the pier: relaxation
- Pier 85
This New York pier is kind of an outdoor museum. The highlights at Pier 85 are the U.S.S. Intrepid aircraft carrier and the Space Shuttle Enterprise. Especially for families with children, this is a great place since there is so much to discover and experience. If you’re not claustrophobic, take a look at the submarine that also belongs to the museum complex.
During the summer, you can watch outdoor movies on the aircraft carrier as part of the summer movies in New York. Quite a unique experience, isn’t it?
What to expect at the pier: Aircraft Carrier U.S.S. Intrepid, Submarine U.S.S Growler, Space Shuttle, Events
- Manhattan Cruise Terminal
The Manhattan Cruise Terminal extends over several piers and is served by AIDA’s large cruise ships. There is not much to do here, except to admire the huge cruise vessels.
What to expect at the pier: cruise ships
- Pier 96
You want to rent a kayak and take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city? Then Pier 96 is the right place for you. The best part? It’s completely free! Kayaks are given out on a first-come-first-served basis, provided by the non-profit organization, Manhattan Community Boathouse. Keep in mind: Kayaks can only be rented from May until mid-October!
What to expect at the pier: kayaking
Piers in NYC – Brooklyn
- Pier 1
Sooner or later, you will pass Pier 1 in Brooklyn during your stay. After all, it is part of Brooklyn Bridge Park. There is a small playground, a rooftop bar on 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, and an NYC Ferry terminal at the pier.
What to expect at the pier: views of Brooklyn Bridge, NYC Ferry
- Pier 2
Pier 2 is the ultimate sports pier. Besides a basketball court, you can play handball and rollerskate. The reason why it’s one of the most-visited piers in NYC, however, is the free kayak rental. They are available three days a week from June to August.
Thu: 5:30 pm – 6:45 pm
Sat & Sun: 10 am – 2 pm
What to expect at the pier: Kayaking, sports
- Pier 6
Last but not least, Pier 6 in Brooklyn made it on our list of piers in New York. It’s truly one of our highlights. At Pier 6 you can find the sister ship of Steffen’s beloved Grand Banks at Pier 25: Pilot Brooklyn. The vintage boat docked at the pier serves seafood and cocktails.
What to expect at the pier: PILOT Brooklyn
I'm a true New York fan! Not only have I visited the city over 20 times but also have I spent several months here at a time. On my blog I show you the best and most beautiful spots of the city, so that you have a really good time! You can also find lots of insider tips in our New York travel guide. Also check out my hotel finder for New York!