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Climbing Tall Towers Often Comes with a Cost

A comprehensive study reveals the ticket prices of the tallest monuments in the United States

An online comparison and search portal,TicketLens, has published a list of the most expensive views in the United States. Observation platforms and skylines are a popular attraction for sightseers enjoying a city-break, offering time for reflection and relaxation at the end of a long day.

The monuments in the United States included in the final ranking were taken from a larger study on the most expensive views around the world. This initial study uncovered the 100 tallest buildings worldwide with observation platforms, selected the 75 with entrance fees, and then ranked them according to three factors – including the height of their highest observation platforms. For this second study, the monuments in the United States were identified and ranked according to just one factor: the ticket price of the highest observation platform.

The full results of the study on the Most Expensive Views Worldwide are available on thewebsite.

The Most Expensive Views in the United States

City  /  Monument   /   Height of the Building (feet)  /  Ticket Price

New York / Empire State Building / 443  / $58

New York /  Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Center) / 259 / $41

New York / 30 Hudson Yards / 387 / $36

New York / One World Trade Center / 546 / $35

Las Vegas / Stratosphere Tower / 350 / $27

Chicago / Willis Tower (prev. Sears Tower) / 442 / $25

Seattle / Columbia Centre / 284 / $22

Chicago / 875 North Michigan Avenue / 457 / $22

Further findings for the United States:

• Chicago secures two spots on the ranking, with the 110-story Willis Tower in sixth place, and 875 North Michigan Avenue (formerly the John Hancock Centre), in eighth place.

• Sightseers looking for excellent value for money would be wise to head to the Willis Tower, Chicago, which offers the highest view in the United States.

• The newest building in the ranking is 30 Hudson Yards on the west side of Manhattan, New York. Completed in 2019, the skyscraper is 387 meters tall. Admission costs $36.

• The Stratosphere Tower, Las Vegas, has a hotel, casino, and thrilling activities like sky-jumping and rollercoaster rides. The observation platform of the tower is the fifth most expensive in the United States, at $27.50.

• The One World Trade Centre has the cheapest observation platform in New York included on the ranking. The skyscraper is the tallest on the western hemisphere. Admission costs $35. By comparison, the observation platform of the Empire State Building, also in New York and almost the same height, costs nearly double the price at $58.

New York Views

Many companies in the Greater New York City area offer Summer Fridays, allowing employees to leave the office in the early afternoon. The rooftop venues, listed below, provide NYC patrons incredible views, as well as small bites, great cocktails and eccentric decor.  

230 Fifth Rooftop Bar:  Offering some of the best views of the city skyline, 230 Fifth is among Manhattan’s largest indoor and outdoor rooftop-bar and event spaces. Though primarily a lounge and event space, the venue offers a variety of small and large dishes, along with a popular all-you-can-eat brunch buffet and a wide range of specialty cocktails. The penthouse and rooftop are heated in cold weather, and stay open to the public all year long.

Broken Shaker: An oasis in Manhattan’s Flatiron District, Broken Shaker, located on the 18th floor rooftop of the Freehand Hotel, offers an eclectic menu of the handcrafted cocktails and small bites. A James Beard Award finalist and winner of the Tales of the Cocktail’s Best American Hotel Bar award, Broken Shaker serves up delicious cocktails, infused with homemade elixirs and exotic ingredients.

Castell at Boqueria: Nestled atop AC Hotel New York Times Square, this cozy rooftop bar recaptures the spirit of the classic cocktail lounge, with extra emphasis on martinis. Iconic views enhance the venue’s contemporary décor in a sophisticated but comfortable (read: not stuffy) atmosphere. Enjoy the intimacy of a fireplace lounge showcasing abstract art. Gather ’round the luxe granite bar.

Dear Irving on Hudson: Dear Irving on Hudson is the highest two-story penthouse lounge in NYC offering spectacular views! Located on the 40th & 41st floor at the Aliz Hotel. Available for corporate and social events.

Gallow Green at The McKittrick Hotel: Enjoy a lush, plant-filled hideaway with a gorgeous city view at Gallow Green, located at the top of The McKittrick hotel. The space frequently hosts live music and has a popular Sunday brunch buffet featuring craft cocktails.

Harriet’s Rooftop & Lounge: Curl up by the fire pits with a cocktail and enjoy the best view in the house. With relaxed seating and incredible views of the Manhattan skyline, it’s an unforgettable setting on the waterfront for your special event.

Monarch: Boasting an impressively expansive interior and exterior, seamlessly connecting the Indoor and Outdoor Lounges with floor to ceiling, sliding glass doors, Monarch can comfortably accommodate more than 300 guests. Monarch is a  great venue for events and corporate meetings.

The Polynesian: The Polynesian is unprecedented in ambition and scope, honoring Tiki’s past and reinvigorating it for generations to come. Located in Midtown West’s new Pod Times Square Hotel (400 West 42nd St.), the bar accommodates 200 guests and includes an outdoor terrace with a panoramic view of the city that can hold another 200.

Refinery Rooftop: The Refinery Rooftop is the crowning jewel of the Refinery Hotel, featuring an eclectic cocktail list and cinematic NYC and Empire State Building Views.

The Roof at the Park South Hotel: The Roof at Park South provides a unique rooftop experience. Their cocktails and menu are the perfect compliment to an unobstructed view of the New York City skyline.

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