One perk of Manhattan that cities like San Francisco or Seattle will never have is rooftops. Stunning views of the city, top bartenders, and a fashionable crowd are just a few pieces that lie in this wardrobe. The weather is near perfect May through October creating an almost year round access.

But the problem lies in getting in.

Everyone wants to take a black car to PH-D at the Dream Hotel downtown, take the under decorated elevator up and feel like Marie Antoinette walking into the Palace of Versailles. But thats not the case. Don’t know anyone, not on a list, and don’t feel like spending $50 a head? It probably won’t happen.

So where do you go for these million-dollar penthouse views?

Start with the Meatpacking District. It’s Sunday afternoon, sun is setting at 6, and you’re feeling a mimosa with this sunset. Head to the Gansevoort Hotel’s Plunge Rooftop Bar and Lounge. The decorations and atmosphere at this hotel will make you feel like you’re in a palace. Take the elevator to the Penthouse, and get ready for the stunning scene. You cannot go wrong with views from the west side of Manhattan nor with one of their house-crafted cocktails.

Finding yourself in SOHO on a Friday night? This fashion district has a plethora of places to go to without having to pay a cover and wait in a 4-hour line. Go to the James Hotel (entrance is in the back) and enjoy a more lounge-style bar. Beautiful views of downtown and the new Freedom Tower await on this pool deck. Word of advice, flash photography is heavily frowned upon.

Lastly, still craving the PH-D experience, a club thats still remixing Robyn songs? Go to Le Bain at the Standard Hotel in the Meatpacking District. Get there early, wear a jacket (a suit) and throw on some shoes that don’t lace up (dress shoes). Pay a small coverage charge and enjoy the views of the Hudson, New Jersey and Manhattan. And don’t let the first level suffice, be sure to walk the stairs up to the second level and enjoy the view, cocktail in hand, from the rooftop. (P.S. This club also has an indoor hot tub, so remember alcohol and heat does increase poor decisions.)

These are just a few of the great places that exist in the wonderful city of Manhattan, there are plenty more to be discovered. Remember, break a buck and try your luck; the worst anyone can say is no.

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