One World Observatory vs Top of the Rock

One World Observatory vs Top of the Rock – Which is Better?

New York City, a bustling metropolis filled with iconic skyscrapers and landmarks, offers some of the most breathtaking urban views in the world. 

The One World Observatory and Top of the Rock are two of the most popular vantage points for experiencing these views.

Both offer unique perspectives of the city’s skyline but differ in various aspects, such as height, ticket prices, and the views they provide.

This article will delve into a detailed comparison of these two attractions, helping visitors make an informed choice for their sightseeing experience.

One World Observatory vs Top of the Rock – Our Recommendation

Are you in a hurry to decide which observatory deck to visit? Here is our recommendation. 

Visit both One World Observatory and Top of the Rock if time and money permit. 

Both  One World Trade Center and Rockefeller Center are classic attractions you should not miss in New York. 

While the One World Observatory offers a closer look at the Statue of Liberty and Eliish Island, the Top of the Rock provides the perfect views of Central Park Manhattan. 

Visiting both offers a wholesome experience of NYC observatory decks. 

For visitors with time for only one observatory experience, deciding between One World Observatory and Top of the Rock can be challenging. 

Both have their unique charms and perspectives. 

One World Observatory, located in the One World Trade Center, provides a modern, high-tech experience focusing on the history and rebirth of Lower Manhattan. 

Top of the Rock, part of the historic Rockefeller Center, offers a more classic New York experience with views of Central Park and the Empire State Building.

Visitors who are under a budget and wish to visit both observatories can opt for the One World Observatory + Top of the Rock combo ticket for a discounted entry. 

If you are still confused between One World Observatory and Top of the Rock, read ahead as we compare them based on various criteria.

Ticket Prices

Top of the Rock and One World Observatory deck entry tickets cost $44 each for adult visitors. 

Both observatories offer discounts for children and senior citizens. 

Additionally, New York City passes, which bundle multiple attractions, can offer savings if you plan to visit several sites.

If you plan to visit both the observatory decks, you can get a One World Observatory + Top of the Rock combo ticket at a discounted price of $83 per adult visitor.

Height of Observation Decks

One World Observatory is perched on the One World Trade Center, which is 1,776 feet (541 meters) tall, making it the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. 

The main observatory deck spans from the 100th to the 102nd levels and is 1,250 feet (381 meters) above the street level. 

In contrast, Top of the Rock’s observation deck is situated across the 67th, 69th, and 70th floors of the Rockefeller Center, reaching about 850 feet (260 meters). 

While One World Observatory offers a more elevated view, some visitors prefer the height of Top of the Rock for a closer perspective of the city’s architecture and streets.

One World Observatory Vs Top of the Rock – Where Do You Get the Best Views?

The views from both observatories are spectacular, but they offer different experiences. 

From One World Observatory, you get a panoramic view of Lower Manhattan, the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, and the Statue of Liberty.

On a clear day, you can enjoy views stretching beyond NYC into New Jersey and New York State. 

This observatory’s indoor setting provides an immersive, narrative experience about New York City’s history and the significance of the World Trade Center.

Top of the Rock, on the other hand, provides a more open-air experience with both indoor and outdoor viewing areas. 

It offers an unobstructed 360-degree view, including the Empire State Building, Central Park, Chrysler Building, and a unique northern view of the Bronx and Queens. 

Many photographers and sightseers prefer Top of the Rock for its comprehensive view of Manhattan’s most famous landmarks.

Features of One World Observatory

The One World Observatory, perched atop the One World Trade Center, symbolizes resilience and hope in Lower Manhattan. 

It’s not just a tourist attraction; it represents a significant part of New York’s history. 

Other than the observation deck, here are some of its notable features:

Sky Pod Elevators: The journey to the top is a swift 47-second trip in one of the world’s fastest elevators. 

These elevators have floor-to-ceiling LED screens showing New York City’s evolution from the 1500s to today.

See Forever Theater: Visitors are welcomed into the See Forever Theater after the elevator ride. 

This multimedia presentation combines imagery and music to provide a moving introduction to the city and its iconic skyline.

Interactive Exhibits: The observatory also includes a range of interactive exhibits. 

The City Pulse allows visitors to get information about various parts of the city through gesture recognition technology. 

Additionally, the Sky Portal offers a real-time, high-definition view of the streets below.

Features of Top of the Rock

Top of the Rock, located at Rockefeller Center in Midtown Manhattan, provides a contrasting experience to One World Observatory. 

Its unique features include:

Historic Significance: Rockefeller Center has a rich history dating back to the 1930s. 

Visiting Top of the Rock is not just about the views but also about appreciating this historic landmark, which is an integral part of New York City’s cultural fabric.

View of Central Park and the City: From the Top of the Rock, visitors get a stunning view of Central Park, a perspective that is not available from One World Observatory.

It also offers a fantastic view of the Empire State Building, providing a classic New York City skyline.

Art and Architecture: The Art Deco design of Rockefeller Center, combined with its art installations, makes visits to Top of the Rock a more culturally enriching experience.

Which Has Better Features – One World Observatory vs Top of the Rock

One World Observatory view
Photo by Chad Peltola on Unsplash

One World Observatory has better features than Top of the Rock. 

One World Observatory offers a higher elevation, a unique perspective of Lower Manhattan and is technologically advanced. 

The Sky Pod elevators and the City Pulse of One World observatory are highlights that add to the visitor experience.

Top of the Rock, on the other hand, offers a more classic New York skyline view emphasizing Central Park and the Empire State Building.

Top of the Rock offers a blend of cultural and historical experiences, which is less pronounced at the more modern One World Observatory.

Location

Top of the Rock is an observatory located on the roof of Rockefeller Center, whereas One World is an observatory on the roof of One World Trade Center.

Both structures are in Manhattan, 5 miles (8 kilometers) from each other. 

Due to the distance, the buildings provide a variety of views of the New York skyline.

One World Observatory is at 117 West St, New York, NY 10007, United States.

One World Trade Center is located near Manhattan’s southernmost point, close to the Financial District and the water.

On the other hand, Top of the Rock is at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112, United States.

Rockefeller Center’s Top of the Rock location is at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY, in the heart of Manhattan.

The building’s main entrance is on 50th Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.

Opening Hours

Top of the Rock view
Photo by Tom Moser on Unsplash

One World Observatory is generally open from 9 am to 9 pm, with the last entry at 8 pm. 

Top of the Rock is open from 9 am to 11 pm. 

The last entry is at 10.10 pm. 

The late closing hours of Top of the Rock make it a perfect place to visit to enjoy the night views. 

Expected Crowds at One World Observatory and Top of the Rock

Crowds
Image: Yelp.com

The One World Trade Center Observatory and Top of the Rock attract approximately 3 million visitors annually.

Most visitors come during the peak summer months.

One World Observatory is a newer attraction and tends to be busier and more crowded than Top of the Rock. 

The lines can be long, and it can be challenging to get a good view due to the number of people. 

However, you can purchase the One World Observatory tickets to minimize wait times.

Top of the Rock tends to be less crowded and offers a more relaxed atmosphere. So there is more space for people to wander around and enjoy the beautiful views. 

You can choose between one of them according to your budget and preferences.

Observatories’ heights
Image: F11photo from Getty Images (Canva)

FAQs

  1. What is the difference between Top of the Rock and One World Observatory?

    One World Observatory is at One World Trade Center, while Top of the Rock is at the top of Rockefeller Center.

    One World Observatory offers jaw-dropping views of Lower Manhattan and several parts of the Financial District.

    Top of the Rock offers views of the lush green Central Park, the Empire State Building, and the Hudson River.

  2. Which observatory offers better views of the Statue of Liberty, One World Observatory or Top of the Rock?

    While both One World Observatory and Top of the Rock offer excellent views, the One World Observatory is the place for Statue of Liberty views.

    One World Observatory is in Manhattan’s southernmost part and is the closest Observation deck to the Statue of Liberty, offering the best views.

  3. Can I explore One World Observatory and Top of the Rock on the same day?

    Yes, you can visit One World Observatory and Top of the Rock on the same day.

    You can enjoy sunrise views at one and sunset at the other.

    You can explore the shopping items and enjoy eating at the restaurants there.

  4. Is visiting One World Observatory and Top of the Rock worth visiting?

    One World Observatory and Top of the Rock offers beautiful views of different parts of New York.

    It is highly recommended that you visit both observatories for excellent views.

    The two observatories also offer different dining and shopping experiences; therefore, exploring both is a great idea.

  5. Which observatory among the One World Observatory and Top of the Rock has options for guided tours?

    Both One World Observatory and Top of the Rock have guided tour options.

    Guided tours are an excellent way to explore the observatories with the help of a learned and professional guide.

    Guided tours are a great way to learn about the observatories and their facilities and amenities.

  6. Does One World Observatory and Top of the Rock have a glass floor?

    Visitors can feel the world beneath their feet at the Sky Portal at One World Observatory.

  7. Which among One World Observatory and Top of the Rock is preferable for students?

    Students can visit both the observatory deck and get discounts with the New York Pass. 

  8. Does One World Observatory and Top of the Rock have restaurants or cafes?

    One World Observatory and Top of the Rock are famous not just for their views but also for their food.

    Enjoy a classic fine dining experience with mesmerizing views, unforgettable service, and delectable taste at ONE DINE in One World Observatory.

    The Weather Room at the Top of the Rock treats visitors with locally sourced casual fare like heavenly pastries, drool-worthy mezze plates and sandwiches.

  9. Which observatory is accessible for people with disabilities?

    One World Observatory and Top of the Rock are accessible to people with disabilities, visitors in wheelchairs, and those with other mobility issues.

    Guests can approach the staff members at both observatories and receive prompt assistance from them.

  10. Which observatory deck gives better views of Central Park?

    Top of the Rock gives the perfect views of Central Park rather than One World Observatory.

    It lies nine blocks from the park and you can get uninterrupted views from there.

Featured Image: Rockefellercenter.com, Gagliardi Photography