No matter what social media platform you’re on, you have more than likely seen the extremely popular SUMMIT One Vanderbilt Observatory in New York City.
Seeing all the photos from popular influencers and doing my research on things to do during my NYC trip, I immediately added this observatory to my list for many reasons. The views were drop-dead gorgeous and unbeatable. Not to mention that the prices seemed reasonable, the photo ops would be crazy good, and it would be a cool experience to see the skyline.
And I am a sucker for a nice skyline view.
Was going to SUMMIT One Vanderbilt worth it? 100 percent! But before you get your cutest outfit for the gram, let me share some tips on how to get the most out of your visit.
What is One Vanderbilt?
Standing at 1,401 feet, One Vanderbilt is the tallest commercial building in all of Midtown Manhattan and one of the tallest buildings in the world. Isn’t that crazy?
The experience is meant to be an installation that compels you to question your perception of the world around you as well as your sensory. SUMMIT’s Ascent is the world’s largest glass elevator in the world as well as being the highest rack-and-pinion elevator system in the world.
Where is it?
The observatory is located on floors 91-93 of the One Vanderbilt building at 45 E. 42nd St. near the Grand Central Terminal. The official entrance is through 42nd Street. You will walk into the building, take the stairs down, and you will see signs to head to security.
They also have guides around the building to help any lost people trying to find it. Its honestly how I found the right building.
How much does it cost?
Cost for SUMMIT One Vanderbilt varies by what type of experience you want to have, and what time of day you want to attend. Children under 5 get in for free.
SUMMIT Experience is the basic ticket that allows entry. Daytime adult starts at $39 and children under 13 starts at $33. Nightime starts at $49 for both children and adults.
SUMMIT Ascent is the next ticket up. The ticket gives you general admission and access to Ascent, the glass elevator. Daytime costs for adults are $59 and children under 13 are $53. Nightime costs for both children and adults is $69.
Ultimate SUMMIT is the priciest ticket because it includes general admission, Ascent and a signature cocktail. Daytime costs for adults is $73 and children under 13 are $67. Nightime costs are $83 for both children and adults.
And if you are a New Yorker, with proof, you get a special discount. SUMMIT One Vanderbilt prides themselves on being “By New Yorkers, For New Yorkers” so you can get preferred pricing for admission.
What to expect?
Because of the amount of people, the location and height, people have to go through security to get to the top floors. Advanced tickets are highly encouraged because you can just get in the security line 15-20 minutes before your scheduled time. After you get through security, you will watch a short clip on what to expect during this experience.
Afterwards, you will take a photo with your group that you can purchase at the end of the experience. You will the be given shoe covers (so don’t wear heals!) and sunglasses because it can get pretty bright up there. You will then take another photo and then you will enter a line for the elevator.
Employees will ask people if anyone is sensitive to flashing lights. If you have any photosensitivity, let them know so they can arrange for you to take an elevator up without the flashing lights. It is a cool experience and its pretty short.
Afterwards, you will find yourself in this large room made of mirrors and glass with breathtaking views of the skyline. You are welcome to take as many photos and then you can find yourself going through each room/exhibit to explore. I was in awe the entire time.
Eventually, you will find yourself in a cafe with an outdoor patio. I was sweating by the time we got to this part so I was grateful to cool down outside. You will eventually find yourself back inside where you can either get tickets to Ascent or shop the gift shop. With Ascent, you will be in groups of 10 and the ride is pretty quick. It just goes up, and then down. The whole experience was like 5 minutes top.
Gift shop has lots of touristy and SUMMIT One Vanderbilt items, and they have machines where you can see your photos from the experience. I bought digital copies of them because they looked cool.
Not I know this doesn’t sound very detailed, and it’s not. I want you to experience everything without me ruining it for you.
What to wear?
Make sure you dress appropriately to avoid unwanted exposure on glass and mirrored floors. While they recommend wearing pants or shorts, you can wear dresses and skirts if you wear tights underneath. It is pretty easy to see up an outfit with the floors, unfortunately.
Stiletto heels, steel toe boots, sports cleats, and other footwear that can damage flooring are not permitted. You will be required to wear shoe covers to make sure your shoes don’t scratch up the floors. They will give them to you before you get in the elevator.
Sunglasses are essential. The reflective materials used throughout the observation create a bright environment during the day. They do provide plastic ones in case you forget yours though. Also, because of the sun, it can get warm so wear layers that you can peel off. I was sweating, but had nowhere to store my sweater so I kept it on. Thankfully, they had fountains so I was able to refill by water bottle.
I have included a few tips on how to get the most out of your SUMMIT One Experience.
- Check the weather before you buy the tickets. You don’t want to go on a day where you can’t see anything from the windows.
- Go during the week, if possible. Less people since people tend to visit NYC more on the weekend.
- Be patient. There are a lot of people so you might not always get the spot you want and you will have to wait on people.
- Like I said, it does get hot so bring a water bottle.
- If you are coming in a large group, they have group reservations. Check the website for more information.
- Make sure you arrive early to your reservation because you will have to wait line for security.
- If you want golden hours pics, schedule your reservation ahead of time.
- It is very sensory driven with the installations, light, mirrors, and reflections. If you are worried, contact them for more information.
- The whole thing takes like 90 minutes so make sure you block enough time.
Found this information useful? Let me know! I would love to hear from you about any questions you have or your experiences with SUMMIT One Vanderbilt.