Top of the Rock vs One World Observatory


Enjoying the spectacular birds-eye view of New York City from its tallest buildings is one of the city’s best experiences. 

Top of the Rock and One World Observatory are a few observatories that let you have an obstructed view. 

Located on opposite sides of Manhattan, they offer distinct scenery, features and history.

One World Observatory and Top of the Rock are the response to tragedy and symbolize the hope and resilience of America. 

If you wish to visit NYC, find out if the Top of the Rock or One World Observatory offers the best views. 

Top of the Rock
One World Observatory


Top of the Rock lies on top of Rockefeller Center and the One World Observatory is in One World Trade Center.

Both observatories are in Manhattan, approximately 5 miles (8 km) from each other. 

Top of the Rock is between Times Square and Central Park in midtown Manhattan. 

The main entrance of the Rockefeller Center is on 50th Street, between the Fifth and Sixth Avenues. 

One World Trade Center is close to the southernmost point of Manhattan. 

It is built on Fulton Street, close to the Financial District and the water. 


Tourists can enjoy a wide range of features in both the Top of the Rock and One World Observatory.

Features of the Top of the Rock 

The Top of the Rock’s Grand Atrium lobby portrays the classic Art Deco style of the building and shines with handpicked Swarovski masterpieces. 

The Mezzanine Exhibit provides facts and the history of the Rockefeller Center. 

Interactive multimedia in the observatory lets visitors recreate the “Lunch Atop a Skyscraper” photograph from 1933. 

You can also interact with a light show in the Breezeway room, ride glass sky shuttles to the observatories and enjoy shows in the theater. 

Rockefeller Center also has Channel Gardens, Rinks and a variety of gourmet restaurants to visit. 

Features of One World Observatory 

Restructured after the infamous 9/11 attack, the One World Trade Center symbolizes rebirth and resilience.

This architectural masterpiece is now the world’s safest building and houses various points of interest, like the 9/11 Museum and artifacts from the World Trade Center. 

A walk-through video montage in the interactive video wall shares the inspiring stories of builders of the One World Trade Center. 

As you stroll to the elevators, do not miss to catch a glimpse of the Manhattan Schist Bedrock, the foundation of the building. 

The highspeed elevators use time-lapse technology to show the transformation of New York City over the last 500 years. 

Observatory decks 

Observatory decks let you watch the untapped parts of New York City from breathtaking heights. 

Top of the Rock or One World Observatory: which observatory will give you the best experience?

Nested 850 feet up on the Rockefeller Center, Top of the Rock has three observatories on the 67th, 69th and 70th floors.

The 67th and 69th-floor house indoor observatories provide an unhindered view of the city through non-reflective safety glasses. 

A 360° outdoor deck on the 70th floor offers guests the ultimate NYC skyline. 

At the height of 1268 feet, One World Observatory is a 3-level observatory deck on floors 100-102. 

Enjoy the spectacular 360° view from an indoor-climate-controlled space. 

Visitors can ride the high-speed SkyPod Elevators to reach the 102nd floor in just 47 seconds. 

Just the ride to the top is indeed a remarkable experience. 

Top of the Rock or One World Observatory – which offers the best view

Top of the Rock Observatory deck offers one of the best views of New York City due to its central location in Midtown Manhattan. 

Top of the Rock showcases all iconic structures like the Empire State Building, Times Square, the One World Trade Center, the Statue of Liberty and more. 

Due to its proximity to Central Park, guests enjoy the green scenery of the city from a perfect viewpoint.

On the other hand, one World Observatory is the southernmost viewpoint of Manhattan. 

Visitors savor the sight of the Hudson and the East River, the Grand Central Terminal and the Empire State Building. 



Visiting an observatory deck is on the checklist of every NYC tourist. 

New York welcomes approximately 66 million tourists every year and it is no doubt that these observatories could get crowded. 

Top of the Rock receives 2.5 million annual visitors compared to 3 million visitors to One World Observatory. 

Top of the Rock is less crowded and convenient for people who dislike crowds. 

However, both the observatory decks welcome more tourists in summer than usual. 

Hence book your tickets online to avoid crowds and ticket lines. 

Ticket prices

Top of the Rock offers regular admission tickets to adults at $41. 

The price sinks for senior citizens and children to $38 and $35, and free entry is available for kids up to 6 years of age. 

Flexible and fixed-time tickets are available for Top of the Rock. 

Top of the Rock prices is lower than One World observatory. 

For a regular admission ticket, One World observatory charges $50 for adults, $48 for senior citizens and $44 for children aged 6 to 12.

Infants up to 5 years of age can enjoy a free visit. 

You can also book priority and all-inclusive flex package tickets online to visit One World Observatory. 

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