So you want a nice view of the city from above but you cant decide whether to see it from the Empire State Building or Top of the Rock?
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 (about 3/4 of a mile), each offers a view that is surprisingly distinct.
Here are some unique characteristics of each:
Essential New York City Guide Tip
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.
Both views are fantastic.
If you want to say youve been to the top of 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 an easier (and likely much quicker) experience, then 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):