Which NYC Observation Deck is Best

Which Observation Deck is Best

Among the must-see NYC attractions are the five major observation decks: Empire State Building, Top of the Rock, One World Observatory, Edge, and Summit One Vanderbilt. Each NYC observation deck has something unique and special to offer visitors. This means picking the perfect NYC observation deck for your trip can be a daunting task. Let’s explore each of the NYC observation decks and see which best fits with your New York City hopes and dreams.


The Empire State Building is New York City’s oldest and most iconic observation deck. Movies ranging from King Kong to Sleepless in Seattle have filmed some of the most memorable scenes in cinematic history at the Empire State Building. Celebrities ranging from sports stars to political diplomats pay visits to the 86th and 102nd floor Empire State Building observatories. Should you hope to have an Empire State Building celebrity sighting of your own, aim to go early in the morning. Yet celebrity sightings might be one of the least interesting aspects of the Empire State Building.

The Art Deco Empire State Building was built during the height of the Great Depression. Nearly one-third of America’s workforce was unemployed. Despite all odds, the Empire State Building was built to be, and would claim the title of, the tallest building in the world, a title it would hold for the next 41 years. The Empire State Building held the title of tallest building in the world longer than any other building in modern history. Even though The Empire State Building is far from being the tallest building in New York City today, it’s still extremely beloved of New Yorkers. The Empire State Building captures the spirit of the city. New York City is a place that reached the highest point in the sky during the height of the Great Depression. This connection to NYC’s history is what makes the Empire State Building a must-see NYC attraction.


The one complaint about the view from the Empire State Building is that you can’t actually see the Empire State Building. If you are looking for fantastic views of the Empire State Building, you need to visit Top of the Rock.

Top of the Rock is located on the roof of 30 Rockefeller Plaza. 30 Rockefeller Plaza is home to NBC studios and is where the hit television show Saturday Night Live is filmed. Located 850 feet above the grounds of Rockefeller Plaza, Top of the Rock offers expansive views of Central Park and the best Empire State Building photo opp of any NYC observation deck.

Visitors love that Top of the Rock is located in the epicenter of Manhattan. On any given day, you can walk off the observation deck and go shopping, eat an amazing meal, visit Times Square, or even see the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.

We recommend getting your bird’s eye view from Top of the Rock and then seeing your photo on a Times Square billboard. Visit www.timessquarebillboard.com to find out how to make this dream a reality.


One World Observatory is located on floors 102, 101, and 100 of One World Trade Center, the building that replaced the original Twin Towers of the World Trade Center Complex. The history and connection to the original World Trade Center site alone makes One World Observatory a must-see NYC attraction.

The One World Observatory views are also pretty spectacular. The far-reaching views of New York Harbor offer a clear view of both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The panoramic, enclosed space allows visitors to comfortably enjoy seeing the city from above in all weather conditions. The observation deck also employs licensed New York City tour guides who walk around, answer questions, and even give hourly presentations. One World Observatory is both educational and picturesque.


The Edge observation deck officially opened in 2020, giving the city its highest outdoor observation deck.

The Edge is an observation deck for daredevils. The outdoor portion has a section with a clear glass floor, if you’re brave enough to walk across. The clear windows make it feel as though you could walk right out onto the clouds. The Edge also offers “City Climb,” where thrillseekers can scale the outside of 30 Hudson Yards, more than 1,200 feet above the ground! Guests have the option of leaning out over the edge of the building, and the pride of knowing they are up higher than anyone else in a city of 8.5 million people! These unique New York experiences make The Edge a must-see NYC attraction.


Summit One Vanderbilt is the new kid on the block, making a huge splash when it first opened in 2021. Located next to Grand Central Terminal, Summit One Vanderbilt gives unique, one-of-a-kind views of the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building.

Summit gives visitors a multi-sensory experience that makes one feel as though they’re stepping into the future and exploring the multiverse. There is a hall of mirrors which reflects the city and those walking through, while pulsating music plays in the background. Instagrammers and photographers revel in Summit’s room of silver, floating balls that provide endless photo and video opportunities. For an elevated experience, guests can ride even higher in the building via a glass-bottom elevator that makes you feel like you’re flying.

If you are seeking the chicest, hippest, and newest NYC observation deck, Summit One Vanderbilt is a must-see NYC attraction.


Each NYC observation deck is special, and, if time and money allows, it is meaningful to visit all five. As for which NYC observation deck is best, that will come down to personal preference. It’s worth noting the most popular time of day to visit a NYC observation deck is sunset, and, while the views are stunning, each observation deck can get quite crowded. To avoid crowds, visit early in the morning. Make sure to tag @welcometotimessquare in your photos and let us know which must-see NYC attraction you chose!

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