Top of the Rock vs The Empire State Building

If you have the time and money while you’re in New York, you can take in both of these attractions, but if you’re short on time or short on cash, which one should you choose? The cost is a wash – at the time of writing, an adult ticket for the Top of the Rock is $25; for the Empire State Building main deck (86th floor) it is $23, although if you want to go all the way to the 102nd floor it’ll put you back $40. Comparing the two similarly priced tickets, which one wins?

The Empire State Building has a lot going for it – it is steeped in history; the building itself has some stunning art deco features, and then there are those iconic movies, ‘An Affair to Remember‘, ‘Sleepless in Seattle‘ and, of course, ‘King Kong‘. It offers fantastic views of two of my favourite New York landmarks, the Chrysler Building and the Flatiron Building.

The Chrysler Building from the top of the Empire State Building

The Flatiron Building from the top of the Empire State Building

Despite all that, however, my vote still goes to the Top of the Rock, for two main reasons. First of all, looking north, it offers an unparalleled view of Central Park, which in many ways is the heart of this vast metropolis.

Looking north from the Top of the Rock

Looking north from the top of the Empire State Building

The second reason for choosing the Top of the Rock over the Empire State Building is terribly unfair, but valid nonetheless. From the Top of the Rock, looking south, you get to see the iconic Empire State Building.

Looking south from the top of the Empire State Building

Looking south from the Top of the Rock - towards the Empire State Building

One final bonus at Top of the Rock is the glass ceiling in the elevator on the way up, onto which images are projected. It feels a lot like being in an elevator in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Win.

Which one do you prefer?

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About ailsapm

Hi there! I’m Ailsa Prideaux-Mooney. I’ve lived in many places, and travelled to many more. I had a lot of fun getting there and being there, wherever there happened to be at the time. I climbed a castle wall in Czesky Krumlov, abseiled down cliffs to go caving in the west of Ireland, slept on the beach in Paros, got chased by a swarm of bees in Vourvourou (ok that wasn’t fun, but it was exciting), learned flower arranging in Tokyo, found myself in the middle of a riot in Seoul, learned to snowboard in Salzburg, got lost in a labyrinth in Budapest and had my ice cream stolen by a gull in Cornwall. And I’m just getting started. If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read so far, I’d love you to follow my travelogue - wheresmybackpack.com - and remember, anyone who tries to tell you it’s a small world hasn’t tried to see it all.
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10 Responses to Top of the Rock vs The Empire State Building

  1. Writing Jobs says:

    That was an excellent post today. I really enjoyed it very much. Thanks for sharing your writing.

  2. I’ve never actually been to the Top of the Rock—have to put it on my list!

    The old World Trade Center was of course amazing, and maybe the new one will be too…

  3. kristaspurr says:

    I’ve only been to the Top of the Rock (for the very reasons you’ve identified) – thanks for showing what I’ve missed from the Empire State Building!

  4. Touch2Touch says:

    The Chrysler Building AND the Flatiron Building? Iconic, gorgeous!
    Anything featuring them both gotta be the winner!

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