Battle of New York’s Buildings – Rockefeller, Empire State or One World Observatory?

Battle of New York’s Buildings – Rockefeller, Empire State & One World Observatory
Battle of New York's Buildings - The view out over Central Park from the Top of the Rock, New York.
The view out over Central Park from the Top of the Rock.
Rockefeller – Top of the Rock Observation Deck

Height: 260m/850ft.
Viewing: 67th, 69th & 70th floors.
Location: 30 Rockefeller Plaza, 50th Street, between 5th and 6th.
Price: Adults start at $34. Children 6-12 start at £28. Children aged five and under are free.
Open: 8am – Midnight (Last ticket sold at 11pm).

Customer Service: Fabulous. When we got to the ticket desk it was a two hour wait for the next ticket block, but noticing we had a tired little boy who would most probably be asleep in two hours, the lovely lady at the desk was straight on her walkie talkie with someone up above, and they let us squeeze in early, possibly as a few hadn’t turned up. But for whatever reason, we were super grateful. All the staff up at the top also seemed happy and did their jobs efficiently with a smile – or a song in one case!

Views: We went up for the sunset viewing. It was busy at that time and was three or four deep in most places, so you were relying on people being polite and taking turns to view and taking pictures, which most actually were. You also had no chance of getting a good view on the top two floors (69th and 70th – which are included in the price) unless you’d been there waiting for a while. We tried and just turned around as it was that busy. The 67th floor gave spectacular views anyway. However, despite all of that, it was the best of the three buildings for views, and also the one that you can get views over Central Park.

Thoughts: Certainly little man’s favourite (despite a mini tired tantrum) and possibly ours too. Loved the space-age lift, and the speed you get to the top is crazy – 42 seconds I believe. Most of all, the views when you walk out onto the balcony are simply astounding.

Check out more reviews of the Top of the Rock on TripAdvisor.

TripAdvisor can also help you explore the best hotels in New York here, or if you’re looking for the perfect tour or tickets in New York, have a hunt here.

Battle of New York's Buildings - The Empire State Building, New York.
The Empire State Building, New York.
Empire State Building

Height: 381m/1250ft.
Viewing: 86th & 102nd floors.
Location: 350 5th Avenue.
Price: Adults start at $34. Children 6-12 start at £27. Children aged five and under are free.
Open: 8am – 2am.

Customer Service: Front door staff were lovely and welcoming, however it soon turned out to be our least favourite for customer service as it felt like the staff were just going through the motions. I appreciate there’s thousands of people a day going through these attractions, but you don’t want to feel like you’re just a nuisance to the staff, and we just felt like we were chugging along a conveyor belt. Unfortunately, the experience was a touch tainted before we even got up to the top.

Views: Our least favourite view of the three too. Sorry ES! This was something that wasn’t The Empire State’s fault at all. Seeing the Empire State from the Rockefeller was the best view we had. It’s one of the most famous buildings in New York, so it’s great to see from high above the streets.

Thoughts: Oh, we so wanted this to be our favourite building. The architecture, the iconic decorations inside and out. It IS New York – The unmistakable Empire State Building. But alas, it wasn’t. After the Rockefeller, it paled in comparison for us.

Check out more reviews of The Empire State Building on TripAdvisor.

TripAdvisor can also help you explore the best hotels in New York here, or if you’re looking for the perfect tour or tickets in New York, have a hunt here.

 

Battle of New York's Buildings - The One World Trade Centre, New York.
The One World Trade Centre, New York.
One World Observatory

Height: 541m/1776ft.
Viewing: 100th floor, main observation deck.
Location: 285 Fulton Street.
Price: Adults start at $34. Children 6-12 start at £28. Children aged five and under are free.
Open: 9am – 9pm (10pm in summer).

Customer Service: Great. We were warned that there was no view from the top before we paid incase we didn’t want to go up, but since we’d walked so far in the peeing rain (that’s another story), we were going up it even if it was just cloud. Thankfully, there was a view, as the clouds had parted by the time we got up there. Great cheery staff at the top and helpful with the lifts too as we had the pram. Also, no ‘judging’ of the three drowned rats we were.

View: You get 360 views over the whole of New York and it is the tallest building, so nothing is in the way. Wasn’t the best day to go up, as the weather was atrocious, but the view was still spectacular.

Thoughts: The whole experience is really well done and starts in the elevator, which shows a film of the area around the building over the years, including some 9/11 rebuild footage. There’s a Skyportal, which appears to be a glass floor, but is really a clear floor over a real-time video of the street below. Look out for the way the introductory film ends if you visit. Fab!

Check out more reviews of the One World Observatory on TripAdvisor.

TripAdvisor can also help you explore the best hotels in New York here, or if you’re looking for the perfect tour or tickets in New York, have a hunt here.

Which should I visit?

If you’re short on time and have to chose one, go up the Rockefeller just before sunset. Without a doubt, it was the best view. A very close second is the One World Observatory, for the different view and for the overall experience. Coming in a bit of a distant third, for us, is the Empire State Building as it just wasn’t as good as the other two. Controversial maybe, but, for us, it’s true.

If you’re not pressed for time, then go up them all, but it just may be an idea to visit the Empire State Building first.





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