What is the best to visit: the Top of the Rock vs the Empire State Building? Here are the key elements that will help you decide which of these two mythical New York skyscrapers you will visit.
Top of the Rock vs Empire State Building: the high-rise view
These two observation decks are located in the center of Manhattan and offer an incredible high-rise view of New York. The Top of the Rock is located in New York’s Rockefeller Center tower, just a 20-minute walk from the Empire State Building. But which has the better high-rise view: The Top of the Rock or the Empire State Building?
The Empire State Building observation deck is on the 86th and 102nd floors of the tower, while the Top of the Rock is on the 70th floor. Therefore, the Top of the Rock is lower. If you want more height, the Empire State Building is better.
On the other hand, the Top of the Rock is closer to Central Park. It is a better position if you want to see this must-see New York park from above. You can also see the Empire State Building from the Top of the Rock.
Good to know! The Top of the Rock has a vast outdoor space; on the Empire State Building, only the 86th observatory floor offers this possibility. On the 102nd floor, the platform is indoor. If you go to New York when it’s cold, choose the 102nd observatory floor of the Empire State Building for more comfort.
Top of the Rock vs Empire State Building: the price
The Empire State Building is very popular. It is one of the most visited places in New York! And this is one of the reasons why tickets have higher prices.
Ticket prices to climb the Empire State Building vary depending on the time of day and the chosen platform. The cheapest is to visit only the first platform, on the 86th floor, outside of sunset hours (book tickets). Skip-the-line tickets are almost twice as expensive but worth it, as the queue can sometimes be very long (vs with skip-the-line tickets).
Top of the Rock tickets are cheaper than Empire State Building tickets. There is no price difference between the day and the evening (see the prices here).
And why not both?
Empire State Building and Top of the Rock are often included in city passes. That’s excellent news! Thanks to the city pass, you can benefit from lower prices and even have skip-the-line access. For instance with the CityPASS. So you can visit both! For example, the Empire State Building during the day and the Top of the Rock at night, or vice versa.
Otherwise, you can also choose to make a newer skyscraper. For example, The Edge. Find our comparison in this article: Best observation deck in New York City.
Whether Top of the Rock or the Empire State Building, the high-rise views will be stunning, and you’ll love your visit! These two skyscrapers are among the best places to visit in New York. Read our article to learn more: TOP 40 things to do in New York.