Take in sweeping city views from spots far from the tourist crowds.
Visitors to an iconic city like New York or Paris are always looking for the best view of the city, whether it’s atop the Empire State Building or the Eiffel Tower.
But every once in awhile, you’ll find yourself taking in a breathtaking view from a totally unexpected spot — one you might have even stumbled upon by accident. Here, we’ve uncovered eight astounding sights in eight different cities that are far removed from the rest of the tourists.
CALVARY CEMETERY, NEW YORK CITY
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of driving across the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway coming to or from the city, then you might already have glimpsed one of the best views of Manhattan: The skyline towers above the old gravestones inside Calvary Cemetery in Sunnyside, Queens. This 365-acre cemetery, the largest in the United States, is home to more than 3 million interments, with each gravestone seeming to rise up in imitation of the city’s skyscrapers. For those without a car, the cemetery is easily accessible on the 7 train via the 46th St–Bliss Street station.
PARC ANDRE CITROEN, PARIS
Rather than flocking to the Eiffel Tower with every other tourist, try getting a view of the tower itself from nearby Parc Andre Citroen. The park, just a few blocks away, features a hot-air balloon which rises more than 300 meters and can fit up to 20 people at a time. On the ground, the park has a large reflecting pool, two greenhouses, a dancing fountain and six different gardens.
HERMOSA PARK, LOS ANGELES
The view from the Getty Museum is unrivaled and a must-see for anyone new to L.A., but it’s possible to get a panoramic view in a more low-key setting. Hermosa Park, located just off Highway 110 near Beverly Boulevard, is located on a hill overlooking downtown Los Angeles with a few strategically placed park benches that offer a perfect photo op — without the winding trip up to the Getty.
KING COLE BAR AT THE ST. REGIS, MEXICO CITY
While it may not be the first place you’d think to go to take in the sights of Mexico City, the King Cole Bar at the St. Regis features a terrace that offers up a spectacular view of the city in all of its glory. Make sure to come at night to see the buzz of the city — the lively view is the perfect pairing with the signature drink, the Sangrita Maria, a blend of mezcal, sangrita and pasilla chili puree.
VIDIGAL, RIO DE JANEIRO
Sometimes the best views can require a step out of your comfort zone. In a city that at times feels like one gigantic great view, the greatest view isn’t found on the roof of the hippest hotel, or even at Christ the Redeemer. In fact, the best view can be found in Vidigal, a favela (a low-income neighborhood) overlooking Ipanema beach. It’s is one of the largest favelas in Rio, and its colorful facades can be seen from all along Ipanema Beach below. If you drive through or take a tour of Vidigal, you’ll be treated to one of the best views in the city.
GREENWICH PARK, LONDON
One of the eight royal parks in London, Greenwich Park is located in southeast London near the National Maritime Museum. Though it is a bit removed from the city center, the hills in the park give way to perfect views of the Thames and the rest of the city. The spectacular views aren’t limited to the city, either. The park is also home to the Royal Observatory, the home of the Prime Meridian.
TANK HILL, SAN FRANCISCO
Located on Clayton Street and Twin Peaks Boulevard just south of Haight-Ashbury, Tank Hill is a little-known locals destination popular for its views of downtown San Francisco, the Presidio, and the Golden Gate Bridge. Though small, the park is home to dozens of species of native plant life and is covered with wildflowers. Think of Tank Hill as Twin Peaks’ younger brother, without the crowds.
MOUNT ROYAL PARK, MONTREAL
On the western edge of downtown Montreal sits the mountain for which the city is named, Mont Royal. Mont Royal is home to one of Montreal’s largest parks, Mount Royal Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, the designer of New York’s Central Park. The park’s mountaintop locale allows for multiple panoramic views of the city. Luckily, you won’t have to climb a mountain to get these views — the park is accessible by bus and metro.