Here in New York City, there is definitely no shortage of beautiful buildings to look at. We have one of the most recognizable skylines in the world, and there are observation decks in New York City seem to be situated everywhere to take it all in from. From the Empire State Building to the Flatiron Building, New York is known for some of the most breathtaking architecture. Ever since I was a little kid, I've been in love with just looking at the city. I could spend hours staring at pictures and videos of it.
The One World Observatory opened back in 2015 with the completion of One World Trade Center. The 3-story (floors 100-102) Observatory offers 360-degree views, and special events are held at various times during the year.
I was 13 during 9/11, and seeing the completion of One World Trade Center is pretty crazy to think about. The building will never replace the Twin Towers, but it's still a beautiful addition to our changing skyline.
Tickets to the One World Observatory are $43, but there are discounts offered pretty much all the time. For NYC Attractions Week, there was a special BOGO deal going on. I asked my friend Kris to join me for the trip up 102 floors.
I was actually hesitant to do the Observatory because I heard the views are nothing compared to those at the Empire State Building or Top of the Rock. Still, a BOGO deal is a BOGO deal, so it was worth it to see the views for myself. At the very least, I'd be able to get to the top of the Trade Center.
When you decide to visit the One World Observatory (OWO), you first have to decide whether you're going to go during the day or at night. Buying your tickets in advance (online) gets you a small discount, so I recommend taking advantage of that. I decided to go with a night visit. Taking pictures is easier during the day, but the city lights at night are on a whole different level.
Your visit starts (after security) with a presentation (called "Voices") featuring some of the people who make the new tower a reality.
You then walk through a short hallway with the same granite that anchors the tower to the ground. This was a pretty cool little addition, and a nice way to get to the elevators.
The elevators ("sky pods") are really something else. You go up 100 stories in 60 seconds while the elevators project a video of how NYC has grown from nothing but grass to the endless city that it is today. The video is a nice little distraction from the fact that you are now 100(!!!) stories up.
After you get off the elevators, you have the option of renting an iPad with information on all of the buildings/bridges/attractions that are visible from the observatory. You're then taken into another presentation. This is another little display of the skyline, but it ends with the screens lifting up and giving you your first look at the city below. Kris and I thought it was a really cool way to introduce you to everything, and it was a lot nicer than just riding an escalator to the observation room.
If you're hungry or you want to experience dining in the sky, there's a little cafe and dining area at this point. We weren't up for that (obviously, it's expensive), so we kept on going to the Observatory. I took plenty of pictures of the city below us, but I think it goes without saying that no photo could do the views justice. If you're coming up here to see the city, you'll see literally everything - the room is 360 degrees and offers views of Brooklyn, New Jersey, the Statue of Liberty, all of Manhattan, and everything in between. You'll also find a few cool features, like the Sky Portal and this...random thing pictured above.
Despite everything I heard about there being insanely long lines and boring views, this trip was 100% worth the price of admission. Maybe it's because we went later in the day (we had tickets for 6:15), but there were no lines waiting for us. During the day it may be a problem, but we had no problems whatsoever. I'd like to come back during the day (or maybe at sunset) to see how the views change. If you're on the fence about adding this to your to-do list, I would definitely recommend it. It's a great way to see the city, and it's one of New York City's top observation decks for a reason. Here's some more shots of the view from 100+ floors up:
Interested in more bucket list adventures in New York City? Follow along on Instagram at @fiveboroughbucketlist!