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.
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Visit both One World and The Edge
If time and money permits, we suggest you visit both the 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 –
The Edge is New York’s latest observation deck and is one of the attractions at Hudson Yards.
The other attraction – The Vessel at Hudson Yards – has been temporarily closed down due to a spate of suicides.
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 the discount passes.
Location of the buildings
Despite the reasonably different views from their observation decks, the two buildings are not very far from each other.
Both buildings are in Manhattan, and One World Observatory is approximately 6.5 km (4 miles) 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
Height of the buildings
One World Observatory has three levels at 100, 101, and 102, and the highest of them is at the 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 the height of 345 meters (1,131 feet), it is the highest outdoor observation deck in the Western Hemisphere.
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 Chrysler Building, Times Square, Brooklyn Bridge, etc.
View from One World
Views from 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, Statue of Liberty, Chrysler Building, Grand Central Terminal, the Flat Iron Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, parts of New Jersey.
When it comes to views of New York, you can opt for One World Observatory or The Edge.
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 get 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 includes 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 Edge and One World Observatory have similarly priced entry tickets.
At Hudson Yard’s Edge, an adult ticket (for visitors aged 12 to 61 years) costs $38, while the same ticket costs $41 at One World.
The Seniors ticket at Edge costs $36, while it is priced at $39 per visitor at One World.
At The Edge, 62+ year olds are considered seniors, while at One World Observatory, 65+ years qualify as senior visitors.
Kids below five years enter for free at both the attractions, while kids aged six to 12 get a $6 discount on the adult ticket price.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 at night, opt for The Edge because it remains open till midnight, while the One World Observatory closes at 9 pm.
If you are visiting during peak summer months and want to avoid the crowd, One World is a better option because they have the 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 venue
- Check the weather and ensure the day is clear before booking your tickets.
- It is always colder at the observatory than how it felt at the ground. Always carry an extra layer along.
Popular attractions in New York
# One World Observatory
# Top of the Rock
# Empire State Building
# Statue of Liberty
# Metropolitan Museum of Art
# 9/11 Memorial and Museum
# Museum of Modern Art
# Intrepid Museum
# Guggenheim Museum
# Bronx Zoo
# Central Park Zoo
# Queens Zoo
# Prospect Park Zoo
# New York Botanical Garden
# American Museum of Natural History
# Edge Hudson Yards
# Vessel Hudson Yards
# Museum of Ice Cream
# BlueMan Group NYC
# New York Dinner Cruise
# New York Helicopter tour