NYC's Best Views: The Top 5 Observation Decks by Height

New York City is known for its many skyscrapers. Some of those tall buildings are more known than others because of their historical significance or skyline-altering dominant heights. While these tall buildings are privately owned and occupied, some of the tallest and most historic commercial towers have observation decks open to the public.

In this article, I will take you on a thrilling journey through the concrete jungle of New York City in search of its most breathtaking views. Get ready to explore the stunning observation decks that tower above the iconic cityscape as I rank them by height. The goal is for you to learn where you can see the highest possible views of the city. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-time visitor, this post will help you discover the best skyscrapers to soak in the awe-inspiring views. Let’s ascend to new heights together!

The top five New York City skyscrapers with the highest observation decks are:

  1. One World Observatory (1,268 feet high)
  2. The Empire State Building (1,224 feet high)
  3. SUMMIT at One Vanderbilt (1,210 feet high)
  4. Edge at 30 Hudson Yards (1,131 feet high)
  5. Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center (850 feet high)

This post includes exclusive deals for tickets to these listed observation decks. These deals include exclusive perks and bundles typically NOT included with tickets purchased directly from the observation deck operators. Know that the links to these exclusive deals are affiliate links for Viator. This means that I will receive a small compensation for any of the displayed deals you choose to purchase via the links provided at NO additional cost to you. Please read my full Disclaimer for more information.

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One World Observatory (1,268 feet)

Coming in at number one is One World Observatory at One World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan. It offers visitors stunning 360-degree views of the city’s skyline from over 100 stories above the streets, making it the highest point in the city. One World Observatory is an observation deck on the 100th, 101st, and 102nd floors of 1WTC. The 102nd floor is 1,268 feet above ground, making it the highest observation deck in the city.

At One World Observatory, visitors can enjoy breathtaking views from the comfort of an indoor climate-controlled space, with features like the Global Welcome Center, Horizon Grid, and the SkyPod Elevators that climb 102 stories in just 47 seconds. Additionally, visitors can enjoy a heart-pumping audiovisual experience at the See Forever® Theater, dine in the sky at the ONE Dine restaurant and bar on the 101st floor, and explore the city with the digital Skyline Guide.

One World Observatory is a must-visit attraction for anyone looking to soak in the awe-inspiring views of the Big Apple. Some views to look forward to include The Statue of Liberty, New Jersey, Brooklyn, Midtown Manhattan, and more.

Purchase Tickets

As part of my partnership with Viator, check out these exclusive ticket options for One World Observatory that includes additional perks.

Empire State Building (1,224 feet)

The observation deck in the Empire State Building, the second-highest observation deck in New York City, offers stunning 360-degree views of the city’s skyline from at least 86 floors above the streets. Visitors can enjoy the city’s breathtaking views from indoor and outdoor observation decks, which are located on the 86th and 102nd floors, respectively. The indoor observation deck on the 86th floor is 1,050 feet high. However, the outdoor observation deck on the 102nd floor is where visitors can enjoy the 1,224-foot-high view of the city.

The observation decks offer visitors an unparalleled view of Midtown towards the World Trade Center to the south and Central Park to the north. Additionally, visitors can enjoy a variety of exhibits and multimedia presentations that showcase the building’s history and construction. The Empire State Building observation deck is a must-visit attraction for anyone looking to experience the history and beauty of New York City from above.

Purchase Tickets

As part of my partnership with Viator, check out these exclusive ticket options for the Empire State Building observation deck that includes additional perks.

SUMMIT One Vanderbilt (1,210 feet)

SUMMIT One Vanderbilt is the newest observation deck to open in New York City. It is inside One Vanderbilt, a new office tower located directly next to Grand Central Station in Midtown Manhattan. It is the fourth tallest building in New York City, with a height of 1,401 feet. It is part of Midtown East’s rezoning efforts.

The observation deck available to the public is on the 91st, 92nd, and 93rd floors of the One Vanderbilt skyscraper. It offers visitors unparalleled city views from 1,100 to 1,210 feet above the ground. The 1,210-foot-high view makes it the third-highest viewing attraction in the city.

Visitors can enjoy the breathtaking views of the city from both the indoor and outdoor observation decks. The indoor observation deck is on the 91st and 92nd floors. The 91st floor features three immersive art exhibits. The 92nd floor includes a continuation of one of the art exhibits, a digital art exhibit, and the ability to step out on a glass-paneled floor to see the city below your feet.

Finally, the 93rd floor features an outdoor observation deck. It also includes a food and drink cafe and a gift shop. Despite being temporarily closed due to a malfunction, the 93rd floor provides access to the world’s biggest external glass elevator.

Purchase Tickets

As part of my partnership with Viator, check out these exclusive ticket options for SUMMIT at One Vanderbilt that includes additional perks.

Edge at Hudson Yards (1,131 feet)

Edge at Hudson Yards is at the top of 30 Hudson Yards, the tallest building of the new Hudson Yards complex in Midtown Manhattan and the fifth in New York City. Located on the 100th floor, Edge is the fourth-highest observation deck in New York City, which is 1,131 feet high. However, it is the highest OUTDOOR observation deck in the Western Hemisphere.

What sets Edge apart from other observation decks is its unique design – it is the highest outdoor sky deck in the Western Hemisphere. It features a glass floor that extends 80 feet out from the building, providing visitors with an exhilarating feeling of floating in mid-air. The observation deck also offers stunning 360-degree views of the city’s skyline. It is a perfect spot to capture photos of iconic landmarks such as the Empire State Building, One World Trade Center, and the Hudson River and New Jersey.

In addition to the observation deck, Edge also features City Climb, allowing visitors to scale outside the skyscraper more than 1,200 feet above ground. However, this attraction is sold separately from regular observation deck access. Overall, Edge at Hudson Yards is a must-visit attraction for anyone looking to experience the thrill of being suspended high above the city while taking in breathtaking views in a unique setting.

Purchase Tickets

As part of my partnership with Viator, check out these exclusive ticket options for Edge at 30 Hudson Yards that includes additional perks.

Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center (850 feet)

Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center is the final observation deck in New York City that provides the best views at an incredible height. It offers visitors stunning panoramic views of the city’s skyline from 850 feet. The observation deck has three floors, including the 67th, 69th, and 70th.

Home to NBC Studios and NYC’s famous Christmas Tree, Rockefeller Center is one of New York City’s oldest and most iconic landmarks. Its observation deck, the Top of the Rock, is well-known for its unobstructed 360-degree city views. Visitors can enjoy the breathtaking views of the city’s iconic landmarks, including the Empire State Building, Central Park, and the Freedom Tower.

One of the unique features of Top of the Rock is its open-air observation deck, which offers visitors an unforgettable experience of being high above the city without any glass barriers. The observation deck is a must-visit attraction for anyone looking to soak in the awe-inspiring views of the Big Apple.

The observation deck is open daily, and visitors can choose from various ticket options and packages that include access to other attractions in the Rockefeller Center. Additionally, visitors can enjoy a variety of exhibits and multimedia presentations that showcase the history and construction of the Rockefeller Center.

Purchase Tickets

As part of my partnership with Viator, check out these exclusive ticket options for the Top of the Rock that includes additional perks.

Final Thoughts

Thank you so much for reading my article on the highest observation decks in New York City. Please choose to use the deals I provide to purchase your tickets and experience the fantastic views these observation decks have to offer. Now, you have a better idea of where to see the highest views of the city. If you have any questions or concerns, please send me a message. Also, comment below with your feedback or experience at any of these observation decks.

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This post was originally published on: 12/21/2023

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