Where To Go Stargazing In New York

Whenever there’s an event happening in the sky, those in New York City are often unable to witness it due to light pollution. But not all hope is lost, there are certainly places to observe the twinkling skyscape and get a clear(er) view without having to get on a plane headed straight into the aurora borealis.

Below, find some solid stargazing spots, both in and around the city, that can all be easily reached by public transportation.

Montauk Point State Park

Montauk Point may be known for its beach vibes, but it also offers a wonderful backdrop for some excellent stargazing. Montauk Beach is also one place where you can get a nice glimpse of the Milky Way’s core, which appears over the Northern Hemisphere every February. But any night is a great one to watch the night sky down at The End, just bundle up in the winter. You can get to Montauk via the Long Island Rail Road; the entire journey takes about three and a half hours, give or take.

MTALIRR – Montauk – 9 minute rideshare from Montauk – Plan Trip

Vanderbilt Space Observatory

If you want to check out the sky around some experts, head to the Vanderbilt Space Observatory. The observatory is home to both daytime and nighttime telescopes, which offer a wide variety of options to gaze upward. You’ll want to check their hours of operation before heading out, and to help plan your trip accordingly. The closest train station is Northport on the Long Island Rail Road’s Port Jefferson Branch. The journey takes under an hour and half from NYC.

MTALIRR – Port Jefferson – 11 minute rideshare from Northport – Plan Trip

Pupin Physics Laboratories, Columbia University

The Pupin Physics Lab, completed almost a century ago, offers a program called the Public Lecture and Stargazing Series every other Friday. First, you’ll be treated to a short, simple lecture, followed by stargazing (weather permitting, of course) and tours of the Rutherford Observatory on site. The best part? It’s free admission, and open to the general public. They also host Spanish language events. Check out more information here. Columbia University is accessible via the subway and buses.

MTASubway 1 – 4 minute walk from 116 Street – Columbia University – Plan Trip

Harriman State Park

A bit further north you’ll find Harriman State Park, one of the closest state parks to New York City, and a great location for hiking, camping, and sightseeing overall. It’s also not a bad spot for spotting stars. There are no designated stargazing spots within the park, but it has plenty of good locations and very little light pollution. Designated campgrounds offer accommodation as well, if you want to spend some real time there. Harriman State Park is served by a number of stations on Metro-North’s Port Jervis line, including Suffern, Sloatsburg, Tuxedo, Southfields, Arden, and of course, Harriman.

MTAMetro-North – Port Jervis – 4 minute rideshare from Harriman station – Plan Trip

Wassaic Multiple Use Area

This park is a great place to perch for a look at the sky and all its offerings, and it’s also easy to reach. The area is just about a 10-minute walk from Tenmile River station on Metro-North’s Harlem line. If you’re headed there from Grand Central, it’s a lengthy but pretty decent journey, only taking around 2.5 hours.

The park also offers other activities, including camping, fishing, and hiking.

MTAMetro-North – Harlem – 10 minute walk from Tenmile River – Plan Trip

Next level tip: Join the The Amateur Astronomers Association of New York for their free observing events, which will take you to locations like Floyd Bennett Field, Great Kills Park, and even SUMMIT at One Vanderbilt, amongst other locations all over the city. Each event has experts on hand, as well as binoculars and telescopes.