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The One World Observatory and the Empire State Building both offer unique experiences and stunning views and we are here to help you decide which is best for you. But first, let’s chat a little about their history.


Both the Empire State Building and One World Observatory are iconic buildings that commemorate significant moments in NYC’s rich history. Both symbolize how, in the city’s lowest moments, New Yorkers can still reach the highest point in the sky.

One of the fun facts about the Empire State Building is that it was quickly nicknamed “The Empty State Building.” The building opened May 1, 1931, a year that many people would consider to be the height of the Great Depression. With money being a scarce commodity, no one was able to buy or rent space in the brand new 1250 foot tall skyscraper. Only 23% of available space was rented! It would be two decades until the owners of the behemoth building began making a profit.

Fortunately, the Empire State Building had greater success in Hollywood. It became a movie star when it was prominently featured in the 1933 film King Kong. Aside from movie fame, many visitors ask, “What’s in the Empire State Building today?” The answer is a lot of offices. Tenants include FDIC, Coty, and a Chinese newspaper called the People’s Daily. There are also 4 television stations and nearly 20 radio stations that transmit from The Empire State Building! Another fun fact about the ESB is that it often lights up different colors at night, representing important events ranging from national holidays to election results, to major sporting events. This feature is part of what makes it one of the most iconic skyscrapers in New York.

Another of NYC’s more recently famous viewpoints is the One World Observatory located inside of the One World Trade Center. This is the building that replaced the original twin towers of the World Trade Center complex that were destroyed during the 9/11 attacks. Standing at 1776 feet tall, a height that was chosen because it represents the year of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, One World Trade Center represents U.S. freedom. From the 100th, 101st, and 102nd floors, one can gaze down and see the reflecting pools that make up the 9/11 memorial. From this vantage point, it is easy to reflect upon how the city rose like a phoenix from the ashes after 9/11 and is now stronger than ever before.


The Empire State Building offers two different viewing options. From the Empire State Building 86th Floor Observatory, viewers get to see the city from a soaring 1050 feet high. This is also the floor where all the famous movie scenes have been filmed, from Sleepless in Seattle to An Affair to Remember. If you’re hoping to relive your favorite NYC movie moments, The Empire State Building 86th Floor Observation Deck is what you want. The ESB also offers an enclosed 102nd-floor viewing experience, which is another 200 feet higher up!

On the flip side, the One World Observatory has the highest observation deck in New York City. The main observatory floor is the 100th floor, 1254 feet high! If you were to walk on an imaginary sky ladder from One World Observatory to the Empire State Building, you would find yourself standing 4 feet above the very tippy-top of the Empire State Building! One World Observatory is completely enclosed, which means you are protected from the harsh outdoor elements. Whether it’s snowing, raining, hailing, super hot, or super cold, you can be comfy and cozy inside of One World Observatory.


If you are looking to see the New York City skyline at night, The Empire State building is unparalleled. It’s located in the heart of Midtown, so the twinkling lights of the city will surround and electrify your senses!

There is one issue with one of the most impressive buildings on the New York City skyline and that is if you’re standing on top of the Empire State Building, you can’t see the Empire State Building. For a spectacular view of it, visit One World Observatory! From the north end of the observatory, you’ll see the Empire State Building in all its glory with the beautiful New York City skyline at night in the background.

For those new to the area and who would like a private guide to show you both of these incredible towers coupled with unrivaled local knowledge, reach out to us today(opens in a new tab) and let us help you organize your dream NYC trip!

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