New York City is one of the busiest tourist destinations in the world. The bright lights, world-famous monuments, and vibrant shopping and food districts make this the perfect destination for sampling “the American dream.”
If you are looking to splash a little cash on the ultimate experience in New York, there are a variety of great helicopter tours in and around the city. These allow you to experience magnificent views of the skyline and get you up close to the vast monuments.
These are the 15 best helicopter tours you can take in New York.
1. Private Helicopter Flight
This tour is a private 30-minute flight over Manhattan departing from Westchester County Airport.
You will be flown over all the main sights in Central New York – including the Empire State Building, Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty. You will also briefly fly over the Bronx, where you can catch excellent views of Yankee Stadium.
This 30-minute experience is private, so your party will have the entire helicopter to yourselves.
2. Helicopter Flight Lesson
Also departing from Westchester County Airport, this experience lets you take charge of the helicopter in your own flight over parts of the city.
You will receive 30 minutes of instruction on the ground before taking off on your own 30-minute flight over the outskirts of New York.
As it is a lesson, you will not be allowed to fly over the city itself, but you will get excellent views of the Hudson River and the city skyline from a distance.
Helicopters are also equipped with cameras, allowing you to keep a memento of your experience.
3. The Big Apple Helicopter Tour of New York
If you are trying to stick to a budget, this group option is a great way to get a helicopter experience at a lower fee. Departing from Pier 6, a little closer to the city, you will get excellent views over Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, and Downtown Manhattan.
You will then fly up the Hudson River to Uptown, where you can gaze upon Central Park and the Empire State Building. This flight is only around 15 minutes long, so it is good for sampling the city from the air.
4. New York City Deluxe Helicopter Tour
Also departing from Pier 6, this is another excellent budget option providing a great overview of the city.
Your shared helicopter will fly over the main sights, and you will get a great viewpoint over all of the bridges connecting Manhattan with Brooklyn and Queens.
The qualified pilot is also a highly experienced tour guide, narrating your journey so you can learn more about the city while in the air.
This tour lasts up to 30 minutes, and all heliport fees are included in the price. You will also be able to purchase photos after your experience.
5. Grand Island Luxury Helicopter Tour
If you are willing to spend a little more, this helicopter tour lets you take in even more of the city.
As well as the main sights of Manhattan, you will be given views over Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. This 30-minute flight lets you take in all the major attractions across the city and is fully narrated by your onboard tour guide and pilot.
The tour finishes with a view over Coney Island amusement park, before heading back to Pier 6 where you can purchase photos of your flight.
6. New York City Helicopter Adventure
This is another excellent helicopter tour that gives you a view of all five boroughs of New York.
Upon return to Manhattan, you will have a more focused tour over the significant sights of the central city, including Central Park, the One World Trade Center and Madison Square Garden.
You will also be able to check out the Intrepid Air and Space Museum and the military planes along the Hudson River. All facility fees are included in the price.
7. Liberty Harbor Helicopter Adventure
This 15-minute helicopter tour focuses on the islands of Liberty Harbor before continuing up through central Manhattan. You will get an up-close view of the Statue of Liberty, with the helicopter slowly cruising past her eye line.
Your guide will also talk to you about the historical significance of Ellis Island before continuing up the Hudson River for great views over the skyline. This tour is fully narrated by your professional pilot, and all security and facility fees are included.
8. Private Helicopter Tour for Couples
This is an excellent option if you are looking for something a little more romantic. It is specially priced for couples, allowing you to enjoy your own private helicopter ride over the city.
Departing from Westchester County Airport, you will see the sights of Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx, with your private pilot narrating the journey along the way.
You can opt for daytime, nighttime or sunset departures, allowing you to fit this tour perfectly into your itinerary.
Helicopters are equipped with video cameras, giving you the perfect memento of your romantic experience. This tour does not visit the Downtown or Statue of Liberty area, though both are visible from a distance.
9. Shared Helicopter Tour
This helicopter tour is a more budget-friendly version of the Private and Couples helicopter tour – perfect if you are trying to save money and don’t mind sharing the experience with other visitors.
There are two tours available. The 30-minute tour takes you over the Bronx, Uptown Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn.
If you opt for the 45-minute tour, you will also experience views over Downtown Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge.
10. Hudson Valley Fall Foliage Helicopter
If you are visiting during autumn, this tour lets you get out of the city on a 30-minute flight over the Hudson Valley.
The area transforms at this time of year as the trees change into rich brown and orange foliage.
You will be able to spot iconic mansions from the helicopter. Your guide will narrate the entire experience, allowing you to learn more about the surrounding area.
This is an excellent option if you are looking for something a little more off the beaten path.
11. Aerial Photography Flight
Photographers will love this experience, which cruises past the best viewpoints to give you time to take pictures.
You will learn how to take the best aerial photographs by the experienced guide, and the open door helicopter gives you unobstructed views across the city. Departing from Westchester Airport, you will focus on the main landmarks of Manhattan.
This one-hour experience is paced so you can get the best photographs, and limited group sizes mean you can request specific landmarks within the Manhattan area.
There are three tours available per day, either at sunrise, sunset or in the middle of the day.
12. Manhattan Highlights
This helicopter tour focuses on the main sights of Manhattan, as well as the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
At 15 minutes long, this is great for a general overview of the city – especially if you are on a budget. You will also fly over Greenwich Village and get a close-up view of the Brooklyn Bridge from above.
The helicopter departs from Downtown Manhattan, and all additional charges are included. Photos of your journey are available to purchase after landing.
13. Liberty Helicopter Tour
If your primary interest is the Statue of Liberty, this helicopter tour gets you the closest to Lady Liberty, with a slow cruising speed around the statue allowing you to take great photographs.
You will also fly over Ellis Island; your pilot/tour guide will narrate the history of the island to you.
The flight then continues to the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, before finishing up with a great vantage point over the Wall Street Financial District.
14. Woodbury Common Shopping Trip by Helicopter
Shop in style with this helicopter transfer from Downtown Manhattan to Woodbury Common.
This is one of the best shopping districts in the area, and you will be able to get there quickly with this flight over Manhattan. On the way there, a short tour of the main attractions is included.
Extra room is included for you to store your shopping. The flight to Woodbury Common is 30 minutes, and your return flight is 20 minutes.
15. Hamptons Insider Tour
Experience the lifestyle of some of America’s wealthiest people with this tour to East Hampton by Helicopter.
A 20-minute flight from Manhattan to the Hamptons is included at the start of the tour. You will then have your own private concierge accompany you on a journey of East Hampton – including shopping trips and visits to local art galleries.
There is a champagne lunch included, as well as wine tasting in Bridgehampton. The tour finishes with another helicopter flight back to Manhattan.