When it comes to deciding which observation deck is best in NYC? The competition is fierce, as the city has impressive balconies offering beautiful sights.
Looking across Manhattan and down at the people and the busy city from above the ground is always thrilling.
But visiting observation decks can be an expensive and tedious process.
You can spend hundreds of dollars to get aerial views from different decks or spend a lot of time standing in long lines.
To help you with your query, we have determined the best observation deck in NYC to save you valuable hours and money.
Best observation decks in NYC: Top of the Rock vs Empire State Building vs One World Observatory vs The Edge NYC vs Summit One Vanderbilt.
Best New York Observation Deck Highlights:
|Empire State Building
|Top of the Rock
|One World Observatory
|Summit One Vanderbilt
|The tallest building in New York
|Platform partly made of glass
|You can get the experience with glass and mirrors
|Restaurant for a dining experience
|Indoor Cafe and Bar
|Restaurant and bar
|Cafe with a seating area
|Outdoor terrace and a bar
|360 degrees views of Manhattan
|Fantastic view of Central park
|Great views of Lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty
|Glass floor views of Manhattan city streets
|Best View of Chrysler Building and Empire State Building
|Hours vary as per the season
|9 am to 11 pm
|9 am to 9 pm
|10 am to 10 pm
|Vary according to seasons and weather
Empire State Building
We start with the most iconic building and best observation deck in NYC, the Empire State Building.
If it is your first time visiting New York, the Empire State Building should be on your list, as it is not only famous but offers excellent views of Manhattan.
The Empire State Building at night sparkles with lights and music to celebrate an occasion.
Plus, from its top deck on the 86th floor, you get a clear view of 80 miles in the city, offering views of the Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, the Statue of Liberty, and many more.
Apart from the breathtaking views, you should attend the Dare to Dream exhibit.
This exhibit is a tribute to the builders and architects behind this historic monument’s creation; it features photographs, mementos, architectural sketches, and more.
You can also dine at the State Grill and Bar for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, as it offers delicious meals that will leave you wanting more.
Top of the Rock
The Top of the Rock is nestled right in the heart of Rockefeller Center and is definitely a must-visit for tourists.
Indoor viewing platforms on the 67th and 69th floors have magnificent history, architecture, and culture queues.
You can also take a moment to tour its gardens and significant buildings.
Now let’s talk about the views; Top of the Rock falls to the south of Central Park in Times Square.
Thus, it offers a clear view of the attraction compared to other observatory decks.
When you turn in the other direction, you will spot the Empire State Building, the Bank of America Building, Times Square, and Brooklyn Bridge.
Inside Top of the Rock, you will find a Swarovski chandelier in the lobby and some artifacts and photos describing the history of Rockefeller Center and the open-air deck.
One World Observatory
The unique specialty of One World Observatory is that it has three decks instead of one, giving visitors a different perspective to view the city.
You can choose any of its 70 elevators and reach the decks in just 50 seconds.
The views from the observatory are truly incredible, as it is closer to southwestern Manhattan to get a clear picture of the Hudson River.
You also see New Jersey, Manhattan, Ground Zero, the 9/11 Memorial Museum, and the Financial District.
Overall, One World Observatory offers views stretching from Westchester and Rockland to Long Island and the Metropolitan City of New York.
After reaching the Main Observatory, you can enjoy cocktails at Bar One Mix and culinary meals at One Dine.
The Edge NYC
It is one of the newest and best observation decks in NYC additions, but it is unique.
Resting on the 100th floor at Hudson Yards, the tallest man-made outdoor sky deck in the Western Hemisphere, it offers jaw-dropping views of Manhattan.
Adding to this thrill, Edge NYC also features a triangular glass floor, which offers clear views of the streets when leaning on it.
Recently, Edge NYC added a new adventure, ‘City Climb,‘ which lets people climb outside the skyscraper to the highest outdoor deck while wearing a harness.
Summit One Vanderbilt
Summit One Vanderbilt in New York is an extraordinary deck with mirrors on all sides.
You can spot breathtaking views of the Empire State Building and Chrysler Building from the Summit’s observation decks.
It is not just an observation deck where you stand and admire the views but also an experience with visuals and music.
As you enter, you enter a large room surrounded by mirrors and balloons.
As you walk ahead, you will cross two glass overhangs where you can stand over Madison Avenue.
From there, you can take a glass elevator that moves to the top of the building but from the outside.
Apart from the views and experience, you can also hang out at the Summit One Vanderbilt’s outdoor terrace with a bar with your family and friends.
Which Observation Deck is better in NYC?
Empire State Building vs One World Observatory vs Edge New York vs Summit One Vanderbilt vs Top of the Rock – Where do you get the best views?
The answer is: it depends!
If you love the thrill and want to brag about how you have scaled the New York Sky Scraper, Edge New York might be a better choice.
However, with reasonable pricing and three sky decks, Summit One Vanderbilt should be your best choice.
The Empire State Building (observation deck in NYC) provides access to two observation decks (the main deck and the top deck).
One World Observatory should be on your bucket list if you want to visit one of the world’s tallest buildings.
On the other hand, Top of the Rock remains less crowded than other decks, so getting tickets at the last minute will be easier.
So, every deck has advantages you can enjoy, but choosing a deck solely depends on the views and experiences you would love to have.
Here are some links to combo tickets where you can visit two or more decks at an affordable price:
Summit One Vanderbilt + Empire State Building
With the New York Explorer Pass, you can access about ten attractions or tours to enjoy sweeping views from four famous observatory decks.Get Your Combo Ticket
Empire State Building + Edge NYC
Visit the oldest and newest observatory decks in NYC with this combo ticket, along with a 5% discount, and enjoy two of New York City’s most popular decks simultaneously.Get Your Combo Ticket