Summit One Vanderbilt vs One World Observatory – Which is the Best

While One World Observatory held the title for the highest observatory deck in NYC, in 2021, it had a new competitor: Summit One Vanderbilt. 

Today, One World Observatory and Summit One Vanderbilt are two of the most popular observation decks that offer unique experiences. 

They provide visitors with the best views of the city skyline, uninterrupted horizons, and unique experiences inside that merge with the exterior.

Each, with its exceptional characteristics and offerings, matches and differs in many aspects.

This article compares Summit One Vanderbilt and One World Observatory to help you choose which is better for you to visit.

Summit One Vanderbilt vs One World Observatory – Our Recommendation

If you are in New York and planning to visit the observatory decks, we recommend that you visit both Summit One Vanderbilt and One World Observatory.

Each observation deck gives a different perspective from high up to the city, 5 to 6 miles apart.

The Summit One Vanderbilt is towards the heart of Manhattan, while One World Observatory is on the 9/11 World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan.

One World Observatory is a historically significant location, while Summit combines modern cutting-edge technology and art to provide a unique viewing experience. 

However, if you can visit only one of the observatory decks, your choice depends on your preference. 

Visit One World Observatory to pay tribute to the 9/11 victims and connect with the sorrowful event that re-shaped NYC. 

If you want a more modern and immersive experience to enjoy the best views of the New York skyline, visit Summit One Vanderbilt. 

For those who are still confused between the observatory decks, read ahead as we compare them in various aspects. 

Summit One Vanderbilt vs One World Observatory – Ticket Prices

The Summit One Vanderbilt and One World Observatory Tickets cost almost the same. 

The Summit One Vanderbilt entry ticket for adults aged 13+ years is $46, and for children aged (6 to 12 years) it is $39.

Kids below six years get free entry.

The entry ticket for One World Observatory costs $44 for adults (13 to 64 years), $41 for seniors (65+ years) and $35 for children (6-12 years).

Kids under 6 get free entry but need a ticket.

Which is Taller and Offers the Best Views: One World Observatory or Summit One Vanderbilt

Which is Taller and Offers the Best Views One World Observatory or Summit One Vanderbilt
Image: Gagliardi Photography, New York City. Stock photos by Vecteezy

Situated at 1301 feet (397 meters) above the ground and in the middle of the Manhattan area, Summit One Vanderbilt offers the highest views of NYC.

The Summit One Vanderbilt overlooks the five boroughs of New York City, the Hudson and East Rivers, and the Atlantic Ocean. 

Other views include the Empire State Building, Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, Chrysler Building, United Nations Building, Central Park, and more.

Along with the exterior view, the Summit engages visitors with interactive experiences, such as audio-guided tours and virtual and augmented reality.

The Summit also includes an Ascent glass elevator experience that takes visitors 1401 feet (427 meters) above the street level. 

The 100-storied One World Observatory, with a height of 1268 feet, gives a 360-degree view from the comfort of an indoor climate-controlled space.

You can see the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the NY Financial District, the Manhattan skyline and parts of New Jersey and Brooklyn.

Hence, Summit One Vanderbilt is the clear winner if you are looking for heights. 

Summit One Vanderbilt Features

The Summit One Observatory provides several experiences that explore evolving technologies like augmented and virtual reality, along with the usual digital experience. 

The floorwise experiences include: 

91st Floor

Air: Transcendence 1 (10 to 20 minutes): by Kenzo Digital, creating structureless reflections in the physical space.

Reflect (5 to 15 minutes): observing the art installation by Yayoi Kusama.

Affinity (15 to 25 minutes): Continue the air experience and be surrounded by floating orbs.

92nd Floor

Air: Transcendence 2: view Transcendence 1 and 30,375 square feet of mirrors above.

Air: Unity: bridging physical and digital realities.

Air at Night: an immersive light show at night.

Levitation: on two glass ledges suspended 1,100 feet above Madison Avenue

93rd Floor

Terrace: viewing up to 80 miles away with a 360-degree view

The experience ends with an open terrace; from here, you can take the Ascent Glass Elevators to the top of the building, reaching 1401 feet (427 meters).

This is the highest point you can reach in any observation deck in New York City. 

Once you return from the elevator experience, try the Nordic restaurant at Summit – Apres

One World Observatory Features

The One World Observatory provides digital guides and multimedia experiences like

Horizon Grid: An informative multimedia presentation highlighting memorable moments, famous faces, and iconic places through 145 screens. 

See Forever Theater: An audio-visual experience presenting the first glimpse of the spectacular skyline.

Digital Skyline Guide: One World offers you an interactive iPad guide to learn about the places you see and hear stories about each site. 

Sky Portal is a circular glass disc offering a real-time HD view of the streets.

City Pulse is a high-definition interactive ring monitor that allows guests to view New York’s landmarks and neighborhoods.

‘Voices’ is a time-lapse show displaying the evolution of New York City from the 1600s to the present day.

An interesting aspect of the One World Observatory experience is the Sky Pod elevators that take you above 102 floors in 47 seconds. 

One World Observatory also offers access to curated eateries, from casual cafés like Illy Caffè to seated fine-dining restaurant One Dine.

Summit One Vanderbilt vs One World Observatory – Observation Deck Features

Summit One Vanderbilt vs One World Observatory - Observation Deck Features
Image: Facebook.com(OneWorldNYC), Facebook.com(SummitOV)

The Summit Observatory deck is a brilliant fusion of architecture, technology and art, adding to the excitement of visiting this newest New York skyscraper.

It occupies three floors, each offering a different experience for visitors as soon as you enter them.

The 91st floor includes experiences like Air Transcendence 1 (an immersive air exhibit), Reflect (an art installation) and Air Affinity (a world of floating orbs).

On the 92nd floor, experience Air Transcendence 2 (mirrored level), Levitation (a glass-bottomed ledge), and Air Unity (personalized digital experience).

The 93rd Floor has Après, a Nordic-themed café, the open-air Terrace, the Ascent, the world’s largest glass-bottomed exterior elevator and the Boutique shop.

On the other hand, the One World Observatory is at the top of the tallest building, the One World Trade Center, in the Western Hemisphere of New York City.

In addition to the stunning 360-degree views extending up to 45 miles across the city, you can get some 145 screens of multimedia presentations of Horizon Grid.

You can experience the superfast SkyPod elevator climbing 102 floors in 47 seconds, the audio-visual experience at See Forever Theater and the Digital Skyline Guide.

Both include restaurants, cafes, shops and lounges for the visitors to relax and enjoy the view.

Each has unique features – Summit One Vanderbilt embraces the evolving technology, while One World Observatory keeps the notes simple for visitors.

Deciding a winner in this section is quite difficult; the verdict lies with personal choice. 

Summit One Vanderbilt vs One World Observatory – Opening Hours

The Summit One Vanderbilt opens from 9 am to 12 am on Monday, Wednesday through Sunday.

On Tuesdays, it remains closed.

Visiting Summit One takes 60 to 90 minutes, including all the experiences and the serene view of the city skyline.

The crowd is less during the opening hours on a weekday when you can have the best visit to the site.

The night experience is another must-try experience while visiting Summit One Vanderbilt. 

On the other hand, the One World Observatory is open daily from 9 am to 9 pm.

It takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour to complete your visit here.

You can go during the late afternoon for sunset views over the sea horizon, preferably on a weekday. 

Summit One Vanderbilt vs One World Observatory – Location

One World Observatory

Summit One Vanderbilt

Summit One Vanderbilt and One World Observatory are located 14 minutes apart in Manhattan. 

The Summit One Vanderbilt is located in the middle of central Manhattan.

Address: 45 E 42nd St, New York 10017. Get Directions

It has three entrances that lead you inside the building.

The One World Observatory is located in lower Manhattan in the Western Hemisphere.

Address: One World Trade Center, 117 West Street, New York 10007. Get Directions

It is situated at the corner of West and Vesey Streets in Lower Manhattan.

Both sites are well-connected via public transportation like subways, buses, and taxis when you are in New York City.

You have good road connectivity to the other parts of the city.

A ferry option is available, and the One World Observatory is near the ferry terminal.

Summit One Vanderbilt vs One World Observatory – Expected Crowd

Both top-rated attractions offer unforgettable views of the city’s skyline, adjoining areas, and water bodies.

When it comes to the crowd and footfall, there is a difference.

The Summit One Vanderbilt is a new construction with surreal experiences.

It is the most happening location in New York, taking over social media like Instagram and Twitter. 

One World Observatory has been there longer, with a smaller observation deck than the Summit and welcomes three million visitors annually. 

Final Verdict: Summit One Vanderbilt or One World Observatory

With all the information about the sites and the various aspects, we understand that the ultimate deciding factor is your time, budget and personal taste.

Both observatories provide almost similar views of New York City. 

However, the Summit One Vanderbilt shows the building’s height from a further elevated space than the One World Observatory.

Regarding the experience inside, the Summit One Vanderbilt uses more advanced technology than the One World Observatory. Still, it is based on what you prefer to watch and experience.

We suggest you select both if time and budget permit.

However, if you want a profound, surreal experience, choose Summit One Vanderbilt or One World Observatory if you want a fascinating, down-to-earth experience.


1. Is One World Observatory the same as Summit One Vanderbilt?

No, both the decks belong to two different buildings in New York City.

The One World Observatory is at the topmost floors of the One World Trade Center, and the Summit One Vanderbilt is the new observatory deck of New York’s newest skyscraper.

2. Which deck takes more time to visit – Summit One Vanderbilt or One World Observatory?

The Summit One Vanderbilt takes 60 to 90 minutes to complete the visit.
The One World Observatory takes 45 minutes to one hour.

3. Does the Summit One Vanderbilt or One World Observatory have a cafe or restaurant for refreshments?

Yes, both the observation decks have cafes where you can refuel while enjoying the views from the top.

4. Which is higher and has better views, Summit One Vanderbilt vs One World Observatory?

The Summit One Vanderbilt is 1301 feet high on the 93rd floor and is higher than One World Observatory’s highest floor on the 102nd floor, 1268 feet.

5. Are there combo tickets for Summit One Vanderbilt and One World Observatory?

You can opt for the New York City pass that will enable you to visit the observatories and other tourist sites in New York.

Featured Image: Vecteezy.

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