Want to see Manhattanhenge? Here’s everything you need to know.
When we decided to move to NYC, there were a few things we couldn’t miss, one of which is Manhattanhenge. With the event just around the corner, we put together this guide for those of you wanting to witness this phenomenon.
The countdown begins for 2024!
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Last Updated: December 27, 2023
What is Manhattanhenge?
Manhattanhenge is when the sunset perfectly lines up with the east-west streets on the main street grid in Manhattan. It’s Stonehenge in NYC! Every year, it happens twice over a two day period. On one day you can see the sun in full and on the other day you get a partial view of the sun.
Fun Fact: We thought it was popularized by some hashtag on the internet since people go crazy over photographing it, but we were surprised to learn that Neil deGrasse Tyson actually coined the term ‘Manhattanhenge’. He mashed up Manhattan with Stonehenge since you can see the sun through the center of the monument during the summer and winter solstices.
When does Manhattanhenge happen?
The streets of Manhattan are 29 degrees from a true east-west direction, making Manhattanhenge fall on two separate dates surrounding the solstice. It typically happens around May 29th and July 11th, but the exact date varies from year to year.
The Museum of Natural History typically announces the precise dates of Manhattanhenge on their site. If you’re interested in learning more, they have public programs prior to the event at the Hayden Planetarium to learn more about it. To see the latest updates, visit their Manhattanhenge Page.
Manhattanhenge 2024 Dates*
- Half Sun – May 29, 2024, 8:13 pm
- Full Sun – May 30, 2024, 8:12 pm
- Full Sun – July 11, 2024, 8:20 pm
- Half Sun – July 12, 2024, 8:21 pm
*Information from the Farmer’s Almanac
Best Places to See Manhattanhenge
You want to find an East-West street that has a clear view of New Jersey. These are the streets with the best view of Manhattanhenge.
- 14th St & Broadway
- 23rd St & Broadway
- 34th St & Fifth Ave
- 42nd St & Third Ave
- 57th St & Eighth Ave
- (Sunrise) 5th Ave & 41st St
Reverse Manhattanhenge 2024 Dates*
Manhattanhenge happens in the winter as well at sunrise, and it’s called Reverse Manhattanhenge. This year it happens on January 11, 2024, and is best viewed a bit after 7 am. The best spot to see it is at 41st Street and 5th Avenue. It’s much less crowded at sunrise but very cold so be sure to bundle up!
Essential Tips for Manhattanhenge
- The Museum of Natural History suggests arrive at least 30 minutes before sunset, but as the phenomenon has become more popular, we would suggest at least an hour to scout for the best spot.
- Bring a tripod. It will help claim your space and set up for the shot beforehand. This is the one that we use.
- Use a long lens to compress the buildings in the foreground with the sun in the background. We will be using our 70-200mm lens and may even bring our 2x extender. (note, we shoot with a 5D Mark IV)
- Check the weather before you go. If it’s going to be cloudy, try for the next date.
- You can apparently catch the Sunrise Manhattanhenge as well from 34th or 42nd Street looking east towards Long Island City’s Gantry Plaza State Park. Arrive 30-60 minutes before sunrise to get set.
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“Discovery consists not of seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes” – M. Proust
Esther + Jacob
Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Las Vegas.