Things to do in New York

5 best sky-high views at New York’s top observation decks

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Exploring a new city often means seeking out the highest point for a panoramic view , and in New York City, the skyline is not just a view but an experience. The city's unique architectural styles and island layout make its observation decks among the top 10 attractions. But with so many to choose from, which one offers the best view of New York City?

Manhattan boasts five major observation decks: Empire State Building, Top of the Rock, One World Observatory, the Edge, and SUMMIT One Vanderbilt. Each provides a distinct perspective and experience of the city. To help you decide which ones to visit, we've gathered essential details and ranked the best observation decks in NYC by their height. Join us as we elevate your New York adventure to dizzying new heights!

Best observation decks in NYC

#5 Top of the Rock

Height: 850 feet / 260 meters (70th floor)

from $43.55

Top of the Rock, New York

While the Empire State Building and One World Observatory often steal the spotlight, Top of the Rock is a gem that deserves attention. Sure it may not claim the title for the highest or most iconic observation deck, but it certainly provides an unforgettable experience.
Top of the Rock is renowned for its iconic New York vistas, prominently featuring the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings. While Central Park is partially obscured by skyscrapers, the view remains impressive. The journey up is part of the experience, with a transparent ceiling in the lift offering a unique perspective. The outdoor platform provides a 360° panorama, with stair access to the very top for completely unobstructed photography opportunities.

Exploring the Decks:

  1. 69th floor: The 69th floor observation deck features ‘The Beam’ experience, along with an observation deck.
  2. 70th floor: The crown jewel of Top of the Rock, this open rooftop deck boasts 360° unobstructed views of the city.


  • Open daily from 8am to 12am, with the last entry at 11:10pm.

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#4 SUMMIT One Vanderbilt

Height: 1,063 feet (92nd floor) & Ascent elevator reaches 1,210 feet

from $42.99

Summit One Vanderbilt, New York

At SUMMIT One Vanderbilt, the observation deck experience is redefined, blending stunning views with a multi-sensory art journey across its top three floors. This isn't just a place to see the city from above — it's an environment designed to awaken your senses.
The deck offers a panoramic view of iconic landmarks like the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings, and Central Park. It's an artistic haven with floor-to-ceiling mirrors and dynamic art installations.

The highlights include walking through rooms filled with reflective surfaces, floating balloons, and glass overhangs above Madison Avenue. An outdoor terrace with a bar offers relaxation amidst the clouds. We don't want to spoil the surprise, but trust us, a quick visit to the restroom at SUMMIT One Vanderbilt will be worth it. You can thank us later!

Exploring the Decks:

  1. 91st Floor: Begin with 'Air,' an immersive installation by Kenzo Digital, leading to 'Reflect,' a meditative space, and 'Affinity,' a surreal environment of floating silver blobs.
  2. 92nd Floor: Experience 'Transcendence 2', and 'Levitation', where you stand on a glass floor, and 'Unity,' which projects your face amidst cloud imagery.
  3. 93rd Floor: Try the food and drinks at the Après café, surrounded by the stunning outdoor terrace.
  4. Ascent - The Pinnacle of SUMMIT: On the 93rd floor is Ascent, the tallest external glass elevator in the world, which will take you 12 stories higher for an unparalleled perspective that will leave you speechless.


  • Open from 9am to midnight, with the last entry at 11pm.

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#3 Empire State Building

Height: 1,250 feet / 381 meters (102nd Floor)

from $47.91

View from the Empire State Building, New York

The Empire State Building stands as the most storied member of New York City's skyline. More than just an observation deck, it represents a significant piece of the city's history and is globally recognized for its architectural grandeur.

Why should you visit, you ask? Well, for first-timers in New York, it’s an essential experience. The visual is unparalleled, showcasing some iconic landmarks including the Flatiron Building. The building's history and architectural grandeur add layers to the viewing experience.

Exploring the Decks:

  1. 69th floor: An enclosed deck ideal for all weather conditions, featuring an interactive museum detailing the Empire State Building's history.
  2. 86th Floor: The main observatory provides an open-air experience with 360° views around the building, boasting the title of New York City's highest open-air observatory.
  3. 102nd Floor: A top-tier observatory within the building’s mast, offering panoramic views through floor-to-ceiling windows, accessible by a glass elevator.


  • Operating hours are from 9am to 1am. However, these hours can change, so checking the latest timings is advisable.

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#2 One World Observatory

Height: 1,268 feet / 386 meters (102nd Floor)

from $45.90

One World Observatory, New York

One World Observatory crowns the One World Trade Center, the pinnacle of the Western Hemisphere's architectural feats. Since its public opening in May 2015, this observatory has offered visitors a unique vantage point high above Manhattan.

This observation deck provides a state-of-the-art journey, starting with an elevator ride that features a digital time-lapse of New York City's evolution from the 1600s to the present. The See Forever Theater further immerses visitors in the city's life through an interesting time-lapse video.

Exploring the Decks:

  1. 102nd Floor Observation Deck: The deck offers comprehensive views encompassing Manhattan, the surrounding boroughs, the Statue of Liberty, and beyond. It's a fully enclosed observatory, providing a weather-proof experience to gaze at iconic landmarks like Lady Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge, as well as the sprawling Midtown Manhattan skyline. Brace yourself for more. The Sky Pod elevator will whisk you to the top in just one minute, where a short video presentation precedes the grand reveal of the skyline.


  • Open from 9am to 9pm, though hours can vary seasonally.
  • The last entry is one hour before closing.

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#1 Edge

Height: 1,131 feet / 345 meters (Sky Deck, 100th floor) & 1,271 feet / 387 meters (The Apex Edge, City Climb)

from $39.20

Edge New York

Edge reigns supreme as the highest observation deck in New York. It stands as a towering marvel among Manhattan's observation decks, offering an unparalleled experience 100 floors above the ground. Imagine stepping onto a glass floor and feeling the city literally beneath your feet! You can also enjoy the breathtaking views of Midtown Manhattan and the Empire State Building from a whole new perspective. Edge, located in New York's trendy new neighborhood, Hudson Yards, embodies the city's innovative spirit.

Exploring the Decks:

  1. 100th and 101st Floors: Indoor observation spaces complement the outdoor sky deck, providing versatile views and shelter from the elements.
  2. City Climb: For the adventure-seekers, City Climb offers a heart-pounding journey along the skyscraper's exterior. This two-hour experience includes gearing up and scaling to The Apex, the city’s highest outdoor point.
    - Begin with preparation in a jumpsuit and harness.
    - Ascend 161 stairs from The Cliff to The Apex.
    - At The Apex, stand at 1,271 feet high, boasting the most exhilarating view over New York City.


  • Open from 10am to 9pm every day.
  • The last elevator ride is 50 minutes before closing. This applies to City Climb as well.

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Best observation decks in NYC