NYC skyline views: a review of Summit One Vanderbilt

NYC skyline views: a review of Summit One Vanderbilt

Nicola Kopij Zanin Nicola Kopij Zanin

Nicola Kopij Zanin

Summit One Vanderbilt is one of the newest - and speedily becoming one of the most iconic - skyscrapers and observation decks in New York. Some of you may understandably be asking: when did Summit One Vanderbilt open? The building itself opened in September of 2020, but the observation deck only started welcoming visitors 13 months later due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Located in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, it stands tall and proud as a symbol of New York's evolving skyline. 93 stories and 1,401 feet tall, to be exact. If you're looking for breathtaking views of The Big Apple, a unique dining experience, or just a chance to explore the city from a different perspective, then Summit One Vanderbilt is definitely a place to visit.

In this blog post, we'll provide an overview of what you can expect when you make the climb to the top: the view, ratings and reviews, price, when to visit, and extra services. Along the way, we’ll share a few Viewnary private spaces to rent in NYC.

Summit One Vanderbilt view

Being in the middle of Midtown Manhattan, the Summit One Vanderbilt location offers some of the best views of the NYC skyline. From the top of the skyscraper, visitors can take in the beauty of the iconic Empire State Building, Central Park, and Times Square. The observation deck at Summit One Vanderbilt is a must-see for any tourist, or even local, looking for a unique perspective of the city.

How to enter Summit One Vanderbilt? There are multiple entrances. The building itself is located on 45 E 42nd Street, in the heart of Midtown. Look for the TD Bank sign that reads "Grand Central Terminal" when you get to the One Vanderbilt on E 42nd St. and enter to the right. There will be a sign that says "Observation Deck" there. Turn right in the direction of the SUMMIT One Vanderbilt Entrance after using the stairs or elevator - not the escalator.

The entrance is found on the Main Concourse if you are entering from inside Grand Central Terminal. If you’re staying at one of the hotels near Summit One Vanderbilt, you’ll also need to use one of these entrances.

The view from the top is pretty amazing. There’s no better way to appreciate the scale and grandeur of New York City than by seeing it from a bird’s eye view. Whether you’re an experienced photographer, content creator looking to spruce up your socials, or just looking to take in the sights, Summit One Vanderbilt will not disappoint. With that said, is Summit One Vanderbilt worth it? It depends on what you’re looking for. If you don’t like crowds, long lines, and a lack of privacy, it won’t be the most positive experience for you.

 If you prefer zero crowds, no lines, and ultimate privacy, you absolutely should opt for this spectacular, private rooftop in Nolita with panoramic Manhattan views. Almost 2,300 square feet of this open area are outdoors, and it has amenities like lounge seating, a dining table, and an open bar. Also, a top-notch Bose Keynote Sound System is installed, allowing you to listen to your favorite music while relaxing. Even the most well-known rooftop bars in New York City, such as The Ready Rooftop Bar, 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar, and Panorama Room NYC, cannot compare to the privacy and exclusivity a private option like this provides. Let alone major public attractions like Summit One Vanderbilt.

Curious to know more about this space and what you can do there? Simply message the Host on Viewnary Chat or reach out to us – we’ll personalize your experience to the max.

Nolita rooftop with chairs and tables

Summit One Vanderbilt reviews

Summit One Vanderbilt is considered to be one of the best observation decks in New York City, but has mixed reviews. Positive aspects are the sweeping New York skyline views and futuristic design elements of the building itself. Visitors have said that the observation deck and outdoor terrace are the highlight of their visit, and they highly recommend it for those looking to take in the rugged beauty of the New York City skyline.

However, there have been equal amounts of criticisms of the experience. Some visitors feel that the Summit One Vanderbilt ticket prices are too high, and they question if it’s money well-spent. Publications have gone so far as to say that it’s an “overpriced, overproduced festival of tackiness”. Despite the stunning views of NYC, people also struggle with the lack of planning around crowd-management and the consequent busyness.

How about impressive Manhattan skyline views, minus the negative aspects of observation decks in New York City? That’s possible when you book this contemporary penthouse with 180-degree views of the Manhattan skyline all to yourself. If you'd like, feel free to bring some buddies with you. The property features a sizable, private rooftop with lounge-style furniture. You’ll get some of the nicest views of the New York skyline all around you.

The fact that you can do that in complete secrecy is merely a plus. The lavish home, which is more than 3,000 square feet, also has cutting-edge artwork and stunning details. A private rooftop rental in NYC, especially one like this, is definitely a must-do. On Viewnary, the best New York apartment views are merely a few clicks away.

Manhattan rooftop with couches and tables overlooking NYC skyscrapers

Summit One Vanderbilt ticket price

So, how much does One Vanderbilt cost? Here’s a breakdown and brief description as of the time of writing:

  • SUMMIT Experience: general admission ($39)

  • SUMMIT Ascent: general admission + external glass-bottomed elevator ride to 1,200 ft ($59)

  • Ultimate SUMMIT: general admission + external glass-bottomed elevator ride to 1,200 ft + one signature cocktail or mocktail ($73)

You can also make Summit One Vanderbilt reservations if you plan on coming with a group of 15+ people. Additionally, they have custom packages for marriage proposals.

When is the best time to visit Summit One Vanderbilt?

Summit One Vanderbilt is a unique and immersive experience, so when should you visit? The best time to visit the tower is during the warmer, sunnier months, from May to September. During these months, you can take advantage of the clear views that this structure offers. Additionally, there are several events and attractions in the area that make it an ideal destination for travelers.

If you’re looking for a time to view the building and take in the sights, then you should plan your trip between 10 am and 4 pm, or at sunset. Just brace yourself for the long lines, particularly around the best hours of the day. Many visitors find that the entrance is chaotic and confusing, with management doing a poor job of directing and instructing everyone. It can be off-putting.

People looking at the view from the observation deck of Summit One Vanderbilt

Extra services

Apart from the views themselves, there are two other main extra’s. The first is a two-floor, exposition-type area called Air by Kenzo Digital. Essentially, it’s a multisensory installation with screens, music, and a collection of mirrors creating optical illusions. The second is a Nordic-themed café named Après, designed by Snohetta. When you hear people mention a Summit One Vanderbilt bar, this is what they’re referring to.

It offers a variety of options when it comes to grabbing a bite to eat or having a drink, including cocktails. One thing to keep in mind: it can get pricey. You’ll pay separately and it’s not included in the One Vanderbilt ticket price. If you want to enjoy fully-personalized additional services that are included in the price, head on over to this exclusive Brooklyn townhouse with a rooftop overlooking the Manhattan skyline instead.   

For example, have you ever considered a private rooftop dinner in New York? Look no further. The 3,000 square foot home has a spacious rooftop with room for you and your friends to hang out – you can even opt to invite only your partner for a romantic date with a view. There is also a landscaped garden and a fully equipped chef's kitchen. Want to hire a private chef for the occasion? Not a problem; you can organize all your customized requests with the Host through Viewnary Chat. You can also use the in-house BBQ set or bring your own food and drinks. And no, you are not required to reserve the townhouse for a full day or night - you are free to choose the number of hours you’d like to stay. Now that’s value for money.

Conclusion: why you should choose Viewnary’s private spaces

When it comes to the best observation decks in New York City, Summit One Vanderbilt is up there. The sheer scale and artistic design of the skyscraper itself is admirable. And then there are the views, of course. Despite that, it’s definitely not the best option for a truly personalized, premium, and private experience.

For that, you need to rent a private space in NYC. An hourly, unique private space on Viewnary is one to consider. Since these are spaces that you book just for yourself and whomever you choose to bring along, there are absolutely no waiting lines, rowdy crowds, or lack of privacy. Not to forget grumpy staff that are rushing you, itching to bring in the next wave of visitors. On the contrary, a Viewnary experience is tailored to your exact needs, from the time you want to spend to the included services you’d like to have. Whether it’s for a casual get-together with friends, a romantic date, photoshoot, or other creative activity, there’s a private space suited just for you. Ever wondered how to get on rooftops in NYC? Now you know.

If you’re curious to learn more about the platform or have any questions, talk to us – we’re here for you anytime.

Manhattan skyline from Brooklyn private rooftop

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