Both are famous buildings located in Midtown Manhattan between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Both have open-air observation decks that are open to the public at nearly equal prices.
And lucky for you, both offer breathtaking views of the New York City area that do not disappoint!
Despite the fact the buildings are only 15 blocks away from each other, each has a view that is surprisingly distinctive.
Here are some unique characteristics of each:
While we could debate all day over which view is superior, it is almost certain that the Top of the Rock will be less of a hassle.
We went to the Empire State Building around 8 a.m. on a Saturday in October, stood in line for an hour as we were herded from one place to another, and then had to fight for viewing and picture-taking space at the top.
We visited the Top of the Rock on a Friday afternoon in September, just before sunset. We were up on the observation deck within about 15 minutes of entering the building (we did not purchase tickets ahead of time). The recently renovated viewing areas have three levels of observation decks, allowing ample room for moving around.
So basically our advice boils down to this:
Both views are fantastic.
If you want to say youve been to the most famous skyscraper in the world (a building that the American Society of Civil Engineers has called one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World), then go to the Empire State Building. If you're more interested in having a less stressful and more relaxed experience, then it sounds like the Top of the Rock might be your style.
Either way you are in for a treat!
Learn more about each (prices, hours, and more):