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  • Clare Hulme
  • "Empire State Building or Top of the Rock?"

Empire State Building or Top of the Rock?

I am going to NYC next month and will be there for Thanksgiving.  I was going to go up the ESB and pay to skip the line.  Is it worth paying?  I also hear that Top of the Rock is better.  I have never been to New York before and only have time to do one.  Which is the best?  Thanks, Clare.

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  • Empire State Bldg (attraction)

    350 5th Ave New York County NY 10118

    6 mentions

  • Top of The Rock (attraction)

    30 Rockefeller Plaza New York NY 10020 (212) 698-2000

    4 mentions

  • Steven Yang

    top answer by

    Between the two, Empire State Bldg is taller and better but don't pay to skip the line. However I recommend One World Observatory where you can also enjoy dinner.

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  • Tanya Roberts

    answered by

    I've visited the top of the Empire State building twice in the day time and I always feel quite nostalgic in it, even though the line wait can be quite long even with the fast passes. I've only been to the Top of the Rock once, and it was in the dark of the evening. The line isn't as long (I went late) but it's just as impactful, and you can see the Empire State at almost the same view...rather than just from the bottom looking up... or at the bottom looking down. Touch decision to pick one.

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  • Lani Bass

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    As a local (transplant from the midwest), I've been to both. Personally, I prefer the Empire State Bldg. The history of that building is second to none. Yes, you'll get a great view of Central Park at Top of The Rock but you get great views of all of Manhattan and beyond from the Empire State Building. As a local, if I had relatives in town and had to choose, I wouldn't think twice - I'd be taking them to the Empire State Building.

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  • Empire State Bldgis a Historical place and has an amazing view. unforgettable

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  • Michael Moses

    answered first by

    I'll keep on the path of answering some of your questions!

    IMHO, the Empire State Bldg is one of the key things to view in the NY skyline, so if you're on top of it, you really can't see it.

    As such, I'd recommend Rockefeller Center for the view in midtown. Plus, you get a gorgeous view of Central Park that you won't get at the Empire. It's also a bit more civilized feeling with timed entry.

    With that said, I did the World Trade Center last year when some family visited, and wow, that view is spectacular and includes a totally different perspective. Probably my favorite of the 3. They did a great job on the observation deck, but, there is no outside decks like on the other two.

    My recommendations all encompass visiting before sunset (will be busiest, however, or right after sunset during twilight (before it gets dark). Super pretty.

    Aside from that, you could also enjoy one of the countless rooftop views from a number of hotels. My favorite at the moment is Ink48 or Mr. Purple at the Hotel Indigo Lower East Side New York but be sure to get to either before 9pm as they both will be super crowded bar scenes at night (unless that is something you'd like to try as well!).





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    • Clare H.

      Clare H.

      Thank you. Appreciate your help. First time visiting New York and super excited 😊 · (1 likelikes)

    • Michael M.

      Michael M.

      Manhattan is easy, just go with the flow. The best activity is simply to walk around and people watch. It's impossible to get lost because there are always landmarks, or worse case, you'll eventually run into water. If you have only a couple days, you'll probably stick to Manhattan. If you have more, then a visit to Brooklyn (much bigger than Manhattan) should be on your itinerary too. For that, you can easily start by walking over the Brooklyn Bridge to DUMBO or the Brooklyn Heights Promenade (my most favorite view in all of New York). · (1 likelikes)

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  • Lorraine Mink

    answered by

    If you can't do both, the Top of The Rock has better views than the Empire State Bldg. But you can't beat the ESB-its in the movies, has more gravitas, is truly iconic--its really what is more important for your memory banks. I like the ESB for evenings--but honestly, its easy for me to say because I love both of them. At Thanksgiving, its not unreasonable to do both as lines are usually far more manageable.

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  • Donald Van Grouw

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    For me Top of The Rock was less crowded (I wanted pictures) and no metal screen in the way. There is a thick lightly smoked glass to look through but there is also a small room that you can go to the roof and look or shoot from there. We went just before sunset and were able to spend enough time to get photos from daylight to night (lights ON). No crowding and no pressure to go down.

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  • Tracy Kalescky

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    I went to college in New York City and never knew about the Top of The Rock but have done the Empire State Bldg and the One World Trade Centerat the time several times. When I went to the top of the rock I was very pleased. I think it is better! Wish I hadn't taken so long to see it!

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