For centuries visitors have flocked to the Big Apple hoping for just a bite of what makes this buzzing metropolis so special. New York City may be on everyone’s bucket list, but this mecca of art Deco-inspired skyscrapers, Broadway, and world-class restaurants doesn't leave anytime for dawdling. Indeed, it can be daunting to decide which iconic landmarks to hit and which to skip.
Follow along to uncover the dazzling differences of One World Observatory vs Empire State Building.
While both of these mesmerizing attractions offer stunning views of the city, depending on your particular vacation needs and desires you may opt for one over the other.
Classic architecture fiends may not be able to forgive themselves for skipping out on the majestic lobby and iconic observatories of the Empire State Building.
On the other hand, who can resist the allure of ‘seeing forever’ at One World Observatory? From ethereal Sky Portals made of glass to the romantic appeal of an Empire State rendezvous, there’s no wrong way to experience the magic of the City that Never Sleeps.
One World Trade Center vs Empire State Building
Movie lovers, thrill seekers, and the architecture inclined. Travelers of all ilks will be flabbergasted by the number of things to see, do, and sample in the Empire City. While we would always recommend seeing as much of the Big Apple as you can handle, sometimes this isn't possible.
Whether you are dealing with budget and/or time constraints sometimes you’ll have to prioritize your views of Central Park for a visit to the city’s tallest building and vice versa. We’ve done endless research to bring you the positives and negatives of visits to both One World Trade Center and the Empire State Building.
One World Trade Center
Prepare to be speechless when you plan your escape to the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. Located at One World Trade Center, your One World Observatory ticket is your entry point to ‘seeing forever.’
Lucky visitors are just one elevator ride away from a dream exhibit and unparalleled views of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Hudson River, and beyond. A dazzling experience that will stick with you for years to come, this revolutionary attraction can be accessed by the following ticket options:
- General Admission Ticket - valid for entry for all three Observatory levels.
- Combination Experience - valid for entry for all three Observatory levels plus selection of date and time entry, priority access for admission, security, and elevators. Guests will also receive the Digital Skyline Guide.
- All-Inclusive Experience - guests can choose their arrival window and obtain full priority access to lanes for security and the SkyPod.
What to Expect at One World Observatory
Journey into the clouds above when you ascend sky-high at the One World Trade Center Building. One World Observatory offers three levels of skyline views from the 100, 101, and 102 floor observatories. In addition to sweeping scenery of the Big Apple’s most iconic sites and surrounding waters, the building tops out at 1,776 feet tall. History nerds will note that the building’s height matches the year of America’s birth.
Jaw-dropping panoramas and sightings of the Statue of Liberty may draw millions of visitors to One World Observatory each year, but this landmark of steel, glass, and stories offers up a true cultural connection.
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Visitors will kick off their journey at the Global Welcome Center, where a jubilant video wall will welcome you on your observatory journey in your native tongue. Next, steel yourself for a scintillating history lesson, as you watch over 500 years of NYC evolution in less than a minute during your Sky Pod Elevator ride. Thanks to LED technology, guests will be treated to an immersive virtual time-lapse showcasing the Big Apple’s growth from wetland wilderness to modern metropolis.
Have that camera ready to document the breathtaking views of Manhattan, Brooklyn, New Jersey, and the surrounding waters. Those with truly no fear, can turn their gaze below to the 14-foot-wide circular glass Sky Portal and observe the action on the street 100 stories below.
One World Trade Center Benefits:
- A more modern and thoroughly immersive sightseeing experience.
- Guests can ride in the fastest elevator in the world.
- A more theatrical approach where the view is revealed later to build suspense.
- On a clear day there is almost endless visibility - you can even see the curvature of the Earth!
Interactive guides teach tourists about surrounding hotspots and places of interest.
Empire State Building
An iconic part of NYC pop culture, the legacy of the Empire State Building hardly needs any introduction. Considered the World’s Most Famous Building, and forever immortalized by our favorite songs, movies, and TV shows, no trip to the Big Apple is complete without an Empire State Building Experience.
Conveniently located near Times Square, Penn Station, and Bryant Park, this towering skyscraper has long been considered an international symbol of hope and possibility. Enjoy this inimitable attraction with any of the following admission tickets:
- Main Deck - 86th Floor Observatory - general admission to the 86th-floor open-air Observatory deck.
- Main Deck EXPRESS Pass - general admission plus skip all the lines. This is the fastest way to the Observatory deck.
- Sunset on the 86th Floor - enjoy a dazzling Empire State Building sunset experience.
What to Expect at the Empire State Building
Inhale the fresh air as you treat your peepers to 360-degree views of the Hudson River, the Statue of Liberty, and beyond. See as far away is Brooklyn and Queens, as you train the tower viewers on the seamlessly endless horizon. Even if you’ve visited this art deco masterpiece before, the building's re-imagined observatory experience makes it well worth a second look.
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Indeed, the city’s only panoramic outdoor observatory and fresh new 102nd-floor observatory paint dynamic color and even more digital details into this arresting attraction.
Guests of all ages will be in awe as they celebrate the history and cultural significance of this skyscraper through a fun-filled, 10-thousand-square-foot immersive digital and tactile museum. In addition, visitors can feel free to make the most of the unobstructed views and winsome romance of this heavenly outdoor space by planning to pop a special question or snag an IG-worthy selfie.
Empire State Building Benefits
- An outdoor open-air observatory experience.
- Guests can observe the famous art deco lobby.
- Enjoy an audio tour that educates you about different spots from each vantage point.
- The museum features many pop culture tie-ins from blockbuster hits such as Sleepless in Seattle and An Affair to Remember.
New York City Hotels
Before we dive into the nitty gritty details of Empire State Building vs One World Trade Center it’s time to reserve some incredible NYC lodgings. Ensure you get plenty of shut-eye before your Empire State Building or Top of the Rock Observation Deck plans when you book any of our New York City Hotels.
Stay in luxuriously modern accommodations in Times Square featuring spacious rooms and an onsite fitness center. Or, cozy up in the financial district with sexy perks such as Peloton bikes and upgraded amenities. As always, make your reservation stress-free knowing you're always guaranteed our lowest rates online.
Empire State Building vs One World Observatory - What to Choose?
A Big Apple getaway should tantalize your senses and awaken a sense of childlike wonder. From the thrill of seeing Ellis Island for the first time to the heartwarming appeal of a Lion King matinee, there are untold treasures to be discovered on this island of dreams.
From the Chrysler Building to the Top of the Rock, any tourist worth their salt will spend a great deal of time touring the city’s most recognizable landmarks.
However, between the Empire State vs One World Observatory, who comes out on top?
No doubt, both of these mega-star attractions deliver sizzling views and Empire City charm. If it’s your first visit to the Big Apple, we might have to recommend a sojourn to the Empire State Building. This tower of steel and glass is a classic for a reason and allows you the freedom of fresh air.
Indeed, if outdoor space is important to you, One World Observatory may need to take a back seat.
For visitors who have done most of the staple Big Apple activities, One World Observatory’s adrenaline-fueled elevator ascent, interactive history lessons, and mind-boggling views are not to be skipped.
No matter where you decide to soak in the scenery and substance of the City that Never Sleeps, you'll create memories that will last a lifetime.
Tell us, Between One World Observatory and the Empire State Building, What Would You Choose?
Leave a comment below!