Which is better Empire State Building or One World Observatory?

Empire State Building and One World Observatory, located at the top of the One World Trade Center, are one of the most prominent sites of New York City to enjoy. 

From art, architecture, and history to modern technology and contemporary exhibits, the Empire State Building and One World Trade Center have something for everyone.

Located in different parts of Manhattan, they have distinct scenery, cultural significance and perspective to offer.

Thinking about visiting Empire State Building or One World Observatory? This article lets you find your best match!


Empire State Building and One World Trade Center are 4 miles apart.

While the Empire State Building soars up from midtown Manhattan, One World Observatory is in the southern area. 

Right in the heart of Manhattan, next to Penn Station, Grand Central Terminal, and NYC’s iconic Macy’s, the Empire State Building stands so big that it has its own zip code. 

One World Trade Center in the southern part of Manhattan has close proximity to the Financial City and water. 
Buzzing with crowd, you might find yourself standing in long lines if you do not get your tickets online.


Tourists get a spectacular array of attractions in both the Empire State Building and the One World Observatory. 

Antiquity vs Modernity: these monuments are contrasting yet significant addition to NYC history.

Features of the Empire State Building

The Art Deco skyscraper is a historic landmark that beams with the 24-carat gold leaf mural ceiling and mesmerizing 3D image of the building. 

The multimedia Exhibits and Dare to Dream exhibits teleport the spectators to the 20th century to witness the establishment of the structure.

The Otis elevator moves from the 2nd floor to the 86th floor in a minute to land the tourist on the well-known main deck. 

As the venue for 250+ movies and series, movie geeks might feel more at home on this floor. 

The main deck is a happening spot with King Kong exhibits and an occasional movie/series photo zone. 

The top deck on the 102nd floor is a level up. Literally and figuratively!

The 102nd-floor-observation deck presents a delightful panoramic view of New York City and beyond.

Features of the One World Observatory

One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the western hemisphere, is also an architectural and emotional symbol in southern Manhattan.

The One World Trade Center was restructured to become the symbol of rebirth and survival after the infamous 9/11 attack. 

After being established as one of the world’s safest buildings, the trade center encompasses a 9/11 Museum, artifacts from the World Trade Center and even a South Tower Observation Deck. 

As an interactive video wall welcomes visitors, a walk-through video montage shares the inspiring stories of people who built the One World Trade Center.

While the best is at the top, The Global Welcome Center, Oculus, Forever theatre, and more features provide an immersive experience to all. 

As the guests stroll to the elevators, they can also catch a glimpse of the Manhattan schist bedrock that makes up the foundation of this colossal structure.

Observatory Deck

Observatory decks give tourists the novelty of enjoying the untapped depths of the city from knee-shaking heights.

One World Observatory and the Empire State Building observation deck are one of the most eminent and visited spots.

Empire State Building or One world observatory, which observatory deck offers the most swoon-worthy view of New York?

One World Observatory

Perched at the height of 1268 feet is the 3-level One World Observatory on floors 100-102.

Just the ride to the observatory is a journey to remember.

The skypod elevator envelopes you with multimedia time-lapse animation that reminisces you of 600 years of history in just 47 seconds. 

If the thrill of ascending hundreds of feet in the air doesn’t amaze you enough, One World Observatory offers you a sky portal! 

On the 14-foot wide glass, the real-time montage and high-tech multimedia support bring life to the street beneath your foot.

Empire State Building Observatory

Is visiting Empire State Building worth it if One World Observatory offers the view from a higher perspective?

We would totally say YES!

Set at the height of 1050 feet and 1250 feet are the marvelous main deck and top deck

The outdoor and indoor observatory decks wrap around the building’s spire and offer visitors one of the best looks into NYC life. 

From art deco to unique designs, the empire state building observatory is a treat to the guests.

View from the Observatory

Being the highest point of Manhattan, you can enjoy an unrivaled 360° view of the city and its breathtaking skyline from the One World Observatory

It gifts the scenery and memory of a lifetime.

As the southernmost viewpoint of Manhattan, viewers enjoy the view of the river and the financial district. 

Other exceptional landmarks under the view include the Hudson and the East River, the Grand Central Terminal, the Flat Iron Bridge, the Empire State Building, and parts of New Jersey.

The views from the One World Observatory are as scenic as Empire State Building, even though the latter is taller. 

The view from Empire State Building Observatory has the iconic Statue of Liberty, Grand Central Terminal and Central Park and could also stretch across 80 miles on clear days.

Ticket Prices

The Regular admission ticket to the Empire State building is $48 for Adults and goes down to $46 for senior citizens and $41 for children of age 6 to 12. Infants up to 5 years can visit for free.

Buy Standard, Express, or AM/PM tickets online to get a panoramic view of NYC.

Similarly, One World observatory charges $47 for adults, $45 for senior citizens, $40 for children aged 6 to 12 and infants up to 5 years of age can enjoy a free visit under the regular admission ticket.

You can also book Priority and all-inclusive flex package tickets online to visit One World Observatory.

Tools to explore New York

Tools to explore New York
Image: Barrons.com

Empire State Building and One World Observatory equip visitors with high-tech tools to engross them in the allure of NYC. 

One World Observatory provides Explorer iPad for those with priority tickets.

The Two channels of the explorer iPad- the Skyview channel and the restaurant channel give the tourist a virtual voyage around the nooks and corners of NYC.

The classic binoculars of EBS lets the tourist view, hear, and feel the life of New York from even miles away. 

It also has a tech-savvy augmented reality experience called ‘The Scenes of New York’ for a captivating experience.

Ticket Flexibility

Who offers more flexible tickets – Empire State Building or One World Observatory? Empire State Building!

One World Observatory issues timed tickets while visitors to Empire State Building enjoy the luxury of flexibility.


crowd at empire state building
Photo by Nate Holland on Unsplash

Empire State Building and One World observatory being the best in NYC, are bound to be crowded. 

Empire State Building witnesses 4 million visitors annually, while 3 million head to One World Observatory.

During the summer, both the sites are crowded and have less crowd during the opening hours.

Our Recommendation

Empire State Building Vs One World Observatory – where do you get the best view?

It depends on what you want in your scene!

If you want to enjoy all the iconic structures in the skyline along with Empire State Building, head to One World observatory.

If you wish to enjoy some classic history, Empire State Building is the best match for you.

Wherever you decide to head, make sure you book your tickets online and save yourself from the pain of long queues.

Featured Image: GLADYSBENSIMON / Getty Images, Oneworldobservatory.com

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!