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One World Observatory or The Edge – which is better?

New York boasts the world’s best skyline, which is why the city has many observation decks, such as the Empire State Building, Top of the Rock, One World Observatory, The Edge at Hudson Yards, etc.

The presence of so many world-class observation decks makes it difficult for a visitor to choose – from where should they see the city’s spectacular sights?

While the Empire State Building and Top of the Rock are decades-old buildings offering a classic experience, One World and The Edge are the most modern observation decks.

One World Observatory opened for the public in 2014, and The Edge at Hudson Yards is as recent as 2019.

In this article, we compare One World Observatory and The Edge at Hudson Yards so that you can make an informed decision.

Visit both One World and The Edge

If time and money permit, we suggest you visit both observatories.

The World Trade Center building, which houses the One World Observatory, is the city’s attempt to keep memories of the September 11 attack alive. 

When you visit One World Observatory, you can also explore the 9/11 Memorial and 9/11 Museum. 

Visitors can choose from one of the three tickets:

>> One World Observatory

>> 9/11 Memorial + One World Observatory

>> 9/11 Memorial + 9/11 Museum + One World Observatory

The Edge is New York’s latest observation deck and is one of the attractions at Hudson Yards. 

Visitors can also book tickets for the High Line and the Vessel at Hudson Yards, which is a bold, beehive-looking structure.

Choose between the following tickets:

>> Edge Observation Deck

>> High Line Hudson Yards + Vessel Guided Tour

>>Hudson Yards & High Line Tour with Optional Edge Ticket

If you love observation decks, you can buy New York’s Go City Explorer Pass or New York Sightseeing Pass. Access to Edge at Hudson Yards, One World Observatory, the Empire State Building, and Top of the Rock is included with both discount passes.

Visual Story: 15 must-know tips before visiting One World Observatory

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Location of the buildings

Despite the reasonably different views from their observation decks, the two buildings are not very far from each other. 

One World Observatory to The Edge

Both buildings are in Manhattan, and One World Observatory is approximately 4 miles (6.5 km) from The Edge at Hudson Yards.

One World Trade Center’s location

One World Trade Center, also known as One World, Freedom Tower, and One WTC, is near the southernmost point of Manhattan, close to the Financial District and the water.

It is at 285 Fulton Street, and the main entrance to the building is on West Street. Get Directions

The Edge’s location

The Edge observation deck is on the 100th floor of 30 Hudson Yards, New York, right on the bank of the Hudson River.

It is part of Hudson Yards, a new neighborhood built from the ground up on the west side of Manhattan, just north of Chelsea and south of Hell’s Kitchen. Get Directions

Pondering over which observation deck to visit – Summit One Vanderbilt or The Edge?

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Height of the buildings

One World Observatory has three levels, 100, 101, and 102, and the highest of them is at a height of 386.5 meters (1,268 feet).

That makes One World the tallest observatory in the World. 

The Edge is on the 100th floor of the 30 Hudson Yards building, and at a height of 345 meters (1,131 feet), it is the highest outdoor observation deck in the Western Hemisphere.

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– Empire State Building or Top of the Rock
– One World Observatory or Top of the Rock
Climbing The Edge
– Empire State Building or One World Observatory

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Views from the observatories

Two factors affect the city views from The Edge and One World observatories – the height difference of about 40 meters (130 feet) and their location. 

The buildings are close, and visitors can see one from the other.

View from The Edge

The Edge’s sky deck offers 360-degree views from the banks of the Hudson River across all of Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty, New Jersey, and even Central Park.

Visitors can also see the Chrysler Building, Times Square, Brooklyn Bridge, etc.

Views from The Edge are amazing – both during the sunset and at night.

View from One World Observatory

Views from the One World Observatory observation deck are fascinating.

Since the World Trade Center is in the southern part of Manhattan near the water, visitors can see a lot of the Financial District.

The other landmarks visible from the One World Observatory are the Hudson and the East Rivers, the Statue of Liberty, the Chrysler Building, the Grand Central Terminal, the Flat Iron Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, and parts of New Jersey.

When it comes to views of New York, you can opt for One World Observatory or The Edge.

After experiencing The Edge, most visitors have their meals either at the Peak restaurant or restaurants near The Edge.

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Entry tickets at the observatories

One World Observatory offers two kinds of tickets, while The Edge provides a single experience.

What is included in the ticket

Besides access to the observation decks, the entry tickets also give visitors access to all the exhibits.

One World’s standard ticket gives you access to all three floors – Levels 100, 101, and 102.

If you also want the Explorer iPad experience, you must opt for the Priority ticket.

The Edge at Hudson Yards tickets include access to both the indoor and the outdoor deck on Level 100. 

Visitors can also access Glass Floor, Angled Glass Walls, Skyline Steps, and Eastern Point.

Every visitor to the observatory gets a free digital souvenir photo.

Cost of the entry tickets

The One World Observatory tickets are a little more expensive than the Edge. 

At Hudson Yard’s Edge, an adult ticket for visitors aged 12 to 61 years costs US$41, while adult tickets for visitors between 13 to 64 are available at a discounted price of US$43 at the One World Observatory.

Tickets for senior citizens over 62 years of age cost US$39 at Edge, while senior tickets are priced at US$46 for visitors over 65 years of age at One World Observatory. 

Tickets for children between six and 11 years of age can be purchased for US$35, whereas child tickets for the One World Observatory are priced at US$41 for children between six and 12 years.

Kids under six years of age can enter for free at both attractions.

>> One World Observatory’s standard tickets

>> One World Observatory’s priority tickets

>> The Edge’s tickets

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Elevators at the attractions

Tourists who visit One World Observatory are thrilled by its high-speed elevator that uses time-lapse technology to showcase New York City’s transformation over the last 500 years.

The five high-speed elevators travel at 37 km per hour (23 mph) and reach the 100th floor in 47 seconds. 

Edge at Hudson Yards is on Level 100, and a high-speed elevator takes you there in 52 seconds. 

During the ride, you get to see the city of New York forming right in front of your eyes. 

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Tools to explore New York

One World Observatory has some exciting tools to explore New York. 

Tourists who visit with families and kids love spending time on One World’s Sky Portal.

Sky Portal at One World Observatory
A young tourist looks down from the Sky Portal at One World. Image: Skyscraperpage.com

It is a 4.2 meters (14 feet) wide circular glass disc on which visitors can stand and see unobstructed views of the streets 100 floors below.

One World has yet another tool called the City Pulse, which are interactive rings of high-definition monitors that allow guests to view New York’s landmarks and neighborhoods in a unique way.

Tour Ambassadors, the ultimate New York City insiders, lead the interactive presentations at One World Observatory’s City Pulse.

If money isn’t a concern, you can also try One World’s Explorer iPad, which is included with the Priority ticket

The Explorer iPad has two channels – Skyview Channel and Restaurant Channel.

The Skyview Channel takes you on a virtual tour of New York’s most iconic sites while the Restaurant Channel shares information on little-known restaurants and their famous dishes. 

The Edge at Hudson Yards has a Glass Floor on which visitors can stand (or lie down!) and see 100 stories below them. 

Guests can also sit on the Skyline Steps and get a higher perspective. 

From the steps, they can look out over the top of the glass panels and past the edge of the deck.

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Outdoor observation decks

One World Trade Center’s observatory is fully enclosed with floor-to-ceiling glass windows. 

Besides the indoor observation deck, The Edge also has an outdoor sky deck 100 floors above Manhattan. 

Outdoor Sky Deck of The Edge
The outdoor Sky Deck of The Edge at Hudson Yards. Image: Related-Oxford

This triangular platform suspended in midair offers an exhilarating experience. 

If you want to feel the thrill of an outdoor platform, you must choose The Edge over One World Observatory.

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Crowds to expect

One World Observatory receives around 3 million annually, while The Edge, a newly opened observation deck, gets fewer visitors.

However, if you visit during the peak summer months, both the NYC attractions will be crowded.

The best time to visit both observatories is as soon as they open for the day or during sunset, which can get a bit crowded.

To avoid the crowd, you can do two things – visit on weekdays and buy your tickets online in advance. 

Want to know more about the best time to visit The Edge?

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Our recommendation

It is not a question of which observatory is better – One World or The Edge at Hudson Yards.

Both New York attractions have their advantages, and what’s best for you will depend on what you expect from your visit to the top.

Visit The Edge at Hudson Yards if you want to spend time on an outdoor observation deck. 

If you plan to visit later during the night, opt for The Edge because the One World Observatory closes sooner at 7 or 8 pm, depending on the day you are visiting.

If you are visiting during peak summer months and want to avoid the crowd, One World is a better option because they have Priority Tickets, which helps you avoid all the lines. 

If you plan to add the 9/11 Museum and 9/11 Memorial to your itinerary, choosing the One World Observatory is better because they are all close by, and you can explore them in a day. 

Here is a popular tour that includes all three – 9/11 Memorial + 9/11 Museum + One World Observatory.

Whichever observatory you choose, please remember to: 

  • Buy your tickets online in advance. It helps you save money and also avoid long queues at the attraction.
  • Check the weather and ensure the day is clear before booking your tickets.
  • It is always colder at the observatory than it feels at the ground. Always carry an extra layer along.


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This article was researched & written by

Edited by Rekha Rajan & fact checked by Jamshed V Rajan

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