Best Observation Decks in New York
The best observation decks in New York can be compared on this page. Visiting an observation deck in New York is a great way to see the city from a different perspective. From New York skyscrapers, you can enjoy breathtaking views. NYC has five observation decks, each with its unique features. I am often asked what is the best observation deck in New York, so on this page you will find my opinion.
|Empire State Building||Top of the Rock||Summit One Vanderbilt||Edge||One World Observatory|
|Height||1050 feet||850 feet||1000 feet||1130 feet||1265 feet|
|Opening hours||from 10:00 to 23:00||from 09:00 to 23:00||from 09:00 to 00:00, closed on Tuesday||from 10:00 to 22:00||from 10:00 to 21:00|
|Best time to visit||Evening||Daytime||Evening||Daytime||Daytime|
|360 degree view from outside||✔||✔||✖||✖||✖|
|Unique features||Iconic building||Iconic view||Experience filled with mirrors and glass||Platform partly made of glass||Tallest building in New York|
|Buy your tickets for Empire State Building here||Buy your tickets for Top of the Rock here||Buy your tickets for Summit One Vanderbilt here||Buy your tickets for Edge here||Buy your tickets for One World Observatory here|
|New York Pass||✔||✔||✖||✔||✔|
|New York CityPASS||✔||✔||✖||✖||✖|
5 Observation decks in New York
There are five different observation decks in NYC. Four of these are located in Midtown Manhattan, the most famous of which is the Empire State Building. Here you can also find Top of the Rock, the Edge and Summit One Vanderbilt. Downtown Manhattan is home to One World Observatory.
Empire State Building (320 metres)
If it’s your first time in New York, a visit to the Empire State Building is a must on your list. This famous building in New York is the only spot from where you have a view of the Flatiron Building. In addition, you can also enjoy the 360-degree view outside on the 86th floor. It is also possible to purchase an upgrade that allows you to go to the 102nd floor.
Buy your tickets for the Empire State Building here
You can combine your visit to the Empire State Building with exploring Midtown Manhattan. This iconic skyscraper is located on 34th Street, where you will also find, among other things, Macy’s; the largest department store in New York. Near the Empire State Building, there is also a stop for the Hop on Hop off bus. This is an ideal way to see a lot of New York in a relatively short time.
Top of the Rock (260 metres)
The view you get from Top of the Rock is one of the most iconic in New York and you will see it in many photos. The observation deck offers great views of the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building. You can even see Central Park, though there are a number of skyscrapers in front of it. The ceiling of the lift that takes you to the observation deck is transparent, so be sure to look up when you are taking the lift.
From the outside platform, you have 360-degree views. You can also take the stairs to the top of the building. Here, your view is not obstructed by the glass, allowing you to take great photos.
Buy your tickets for Top of the Rock here
You can combine a visit to Top of the Rock with exploring Rockefeller Center; here you will find Radio City Music Hall, NBC’s headquarters and, in the winter months, the famous ice rink. Shopaholics can indulge themselves on Fifth Avenue. It is one of the most expensive shopping streets in the world with shops like Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Rolex. But less exclusive brands like H&M, Zara and UNIQLO can also be found there.
Summit One Vanderbilt (305 metres)
With mirrors on all sides, Summit is an extraordinary observation deck. From the observation deck in the One Vanderbilt skyscraper, you have a unique view of landmarks like the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building. During the day you can also see Central Park. Summit is not just an observation deck, it is also an experience with visuals and sound. Upon entering, you step into a large room with mirrors. And as you continue walking, you enter a room full of balloons, walk past two glass overhangs where you can stand above Madison Avenue, and you can take a glass lift that ascends to the top of the building on the outside. There is also an outdoor terrace with a bar.
Perhaps an unusual tip, but when visiting Summit, make sure to use the restroom. Here, too, you will be treated to stunning views.
Buy your tickets for Summit One Vanderbilt here
Since Summit One Vanderbilt is next to Grand Central Terminal, you can combine your visit to the observation deck with a visit to the world’s largest train station. You can also walk towards Bryant Park, where you can also find the New York Public Library. In the winter months, you can go ice skating in the park. In summer, it is the perfect place to enjoy some sun and coffee.
Edge (335 metres)
Edge is the tallest outdoor observation deck in New York. This observation deck can be found in Hudson Yards, one of the newer neighbourhoods in New York. The skyscraper has a platform with sloping glass panels and a piece of glass floor. Through this you can get a good view of Midtown Manhattan and the cars below you. Edge is located on the west side of Manhattan, allowing you to see out into Downtown Manhattan and also get a good view of the Empire State Building.
Buy your tickets for Edge here
Are you a daredevil? Then you could also visit Edge in New York on the City Climb, during which you climb to the top of the skyscraper and lean over the edge! If you prefer to stick a little closer to the ground, you can also explore Hudson Yards. Here you will find the Vessel and a shopping mall, among other things.
One World Observatory (386 metres)
Visit the 102nd floor of One World Observatory in New York and admire the 360-degree view of the city from the inside. This Downtown Manhattan observation deck is the only observation deck in New York where you cannot go outside. Furthermore, it is the tallest building, not only in New York but also in the Western Hemisphere! With good weather, you can see the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge and admire the skyscrapers of Midtown Manhattan. Using the Sky Pods, the lift, the ride to the observation deck takes one minute. On top, you’ll see a short video about New York, followed by the screens rising to reveal a special treat: the New York skyline!
Buy your tickets for One World Observatory here
One World Observatory is the only observation deck in Downtown Manhattan, making it ideal for combining with a visit to the nearby 9/11 Museum. The museum is entirely dedicated to the events surrounding 9/11 and is very impressive. Or visit the world-famous Wall Street, the beating heart of the Financial District.
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