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Guide: The Best Observation Decks In NYC

In the real estate industry, you can get access to some of the best views. In fact, some of these views you can call home – 12 Instagram Worthy Views from Manhattan Real Estate. If you can’t get into the tallest apartment in the city with the best view, why not take advantage of some of the observation decks throughout the city? Instagram is waiting…

We've put together a few pointers about the most popular observation decks in New York City as well as what we know now about 2 observation decks coming to the city that will literally take things to new heights.

Empire State Building

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Quick Facts

  • Most popular observation deck
  • 86th and 102nd floors open to the public
  • Views of Midtown, the Park, and other iconic buildings that make up NYC skyline
  • 86th floor is not encased in glass or covered with a roof

 How: The Empire State building sells tour packages through its website. The price of admission will depend on the age of the visitor and which floor of the building they would like to go to. Guided tour packages are also available. Decks are open from 8am to 2am daily.

Top of the Rock

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Quick Facts

  • Actually get to view the Empire State Building because you are not on it!
  • Capture the iconic photo of it standing among the skyline
  • Also great views of the park – slightly altered because of the construction on 57th Street!
  • Timed Entry system makes it much less crowded
  • Originally opened in 1933 re opened 2005

How: Sold through the Top of the Rock website and work in a similar fashion in that tickets are priced according to age. There are special add ons available and note – a surcharge exists if you want to go at sunset! Open from 8am to midnight daily.

One World Observatory

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Quick Facts

  • Opened in May of 2015 and offers some of the best views of landmarks because you can even see the Statue of Liberty and Governors Island as you are located downtown
  • Highest observation area in the city at the moment
  • In addition to being able to simply take in the views, there are interactive elements along the way including videos depicting the construction of the tower

How: Prices vary according to age like the other options, and additionally, packages can be purchased. Special packages include options for entertainment and food as well as options to purchase expedited entry. Hours have varied, but spring/summer and the long days the seasons bring tend to have availability from morning until night.

Statue of Liberty

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Quick Facts

  • The Crown of the Statue of Liberty offers an observation deck, however, this is more about the experience itself rather than the views once you climb the 162 stairs to the top
  • Lines can be very long
  • Not that high and located a distance away from Manhattan so views are not as great as from atop the other decks
  • Looking to see the Statue? Consider a Boat Cruise or the Staten Island Ferry

How: Tickets are available through Statue Cruises and vary in price depending on whether it is for a child or adult.

Coming Soon

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30 Hudson Yards: The much talked about Hudson Yards Mega Project has another reason to be talked about – the sky-high observation deck that will be at 30 Hudson Yards. Upon completion, it will be the 5th highest observation deck in the world as it protrudes from the 100th floor of the building.

In addition to the outdoor deck, the Hudson Yards Observation Deck will offer a complete New York experience, offering the opportunity to have a cocktail or host a celebratory dinner. The deck is slated to open in March of 2019.

One Vanderbilt:

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The office building that is rising in Midtown East will have a publicly accessible observation deck similar to that of One World Trade and Empire State. Upon completion, the indoor/outdoor deck will stand 1,020 feet about the ground. Visitors will be able to access the observation deck through Grand Central. Construction on One Vanderbilt is slated to wrap up until 2020 so pricing for tickets has not yet been released.