I tried three times to get to New York City this fall just to see Summit One Vanderbilt-New York City’s newest cultural landmark. Summit One NYC is one of the best views (you will see in some of the Summit One Vanderbilt photos of mine) of New York City and one of the best experiences to do while visiting or living in NYC.
I canceled my trip to NYC several times before finally making it. This trip was a 24-hour trip, and I was proud to do so many things in New York City in such a short time.
I specifically flew in just to see Summit One Vanderbilt, which just opened in October 2021. If you are heading to New York City, I recommend spending the money to come to this observation deck.
I left at 6 am on a Thursday in November, arriving in New York City, sweating I wouldn’t make my 3 pm ticket to the tower. I went directly to my hotel in NYC, which I highly recommend. This is the best place to stay in New York City for location, affordability, cleanliness, and insanely comfortable beds. Additionally, AMAZING views of the Empire State Building right from your room.
You can also walk to the famous Macys; the subway is around the corner, there is an excellent steakhouse next door, Keens, and I walked to Vanderbilt One, where the Summit is located in seven minutes. Out of the million hotels I have stayed in New York City, this one I will book from now on for its accessibility to everything in the city.
This trip was my first time traveling solo to New York City; I was hesitant at first, but I will travel to NYC many times after this alone. Even though I travel to NYC many times a year, I always have someone or my kids with me. It was the best twenty-four hours. I had the most wonderful time. Summit One made it extra special.
What is Summit One Vanderbilt?
Summit One Vanderbilt is the newest and best experience NYC has to offer. Summit One is essentially an observation deck with three stories (four of you take the Ascent glass elevator) of immersive and interactive rooms. Each level includes mirrored rooms, interactive areas, and transparent skyboxes for unparalleled views of Manhattan.
If you want to see the best view in New York City, come to the Summit One Vanderbilt observation deck.
One Vanderbilt, where the Summit One NYC observation deck is located, is an architectural beauty that is now an iconic figure in the Manhattan skyline. Vanderbilt One is the tallest commercial skyscraper in Midtown, measuring 1401 feet tall-among the top thirty tallest buildings in the world.
I will explain each experience at the One Vanderbilt observation deck in the post.
Summit One Vanderbilt Tickets
- Summit Experience. This is the general admission ticket of Summit One Vanderbilt. It is access to all four floors of Summit One without all the perks such as Ascent and the glass elevator. Summit One prices start at $39 for adults (+13) | youth (6-12) | six and under free with paying adults.
Insider NYC Travel Tip: If you are traveling with a child under six, there is no option to get a timed ticket, but it says the child must have a time and date. You may have to contact customer service to add your child to your ticket. They were accommodating in doing so for me. In addition, no strollers, wagons, etc., are allowed in Summit One Vanderbilt.
- Summit Ascent. This is a general admission ticket plus the Ascent glass elevator experience. Online tickets start at $59 adults | $53 youth | six & under free.
- Ultimate Summit. This Summit One ticket option includes dated and timed entry to all four floors of Summit One. Access to Air, by Kenzo Digital, is an interactive art experience. A signature Danny Meyer cocktail at Après. Admission to levitation, transparent skyboxes 1,000 feet above midtown Manhattan. And the best feature reaches the highest point of Summit One with access to Ascent glass elevators. Online ticket prices start at $73 for adults | $67 for youth (under 21 years of age will get a mocktail)
The above ticket prices are for daytime admission. Evening ticket prices add an additional $10. If you are active or retired military, Summit One offers discounts or free. Contact Summit One directly for information.
NYC Travel Tip: Purchase your ticket online in advance. This experience is catching on fast and selling out, especially on the weekends. Additionally, if you book through Summit One, the tickets are non-transferable and non-refundable If you know when you will be in Manhattan, book the Summit in advance. This will make your trip much smoother, and you do not want to miss out on this experience. Book your Summit One Vanderbilt tickets here.
Which Summit One Vanderbilt Ticket Should I Choose?
Experiencing Summit One, I would recommend the general admission ticket. You can purchase cocktails when you arrive at Après, where everyone ends up at. The glass elevator was an experience, but it was two minutes long.
How to Get to Summit One NYC
Summit One Vanderbilt is located in Midtown Manhattan. If this is your first time traveling to New York City, I recommend staying in Midtown. Midtown is centered around everything and a quick subway ride to all the things to do in NYC.
Address: 1 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, New York
Summit One is located in Midtown Manhattan next to Grand Central Station and a couple of blocks from Bryant Park. The subway lines to Grand Central are 4, 5, 6, 7, and S subway lines. When you reach Grand Central, you can find the “Subway 42nd St” hallway, and it will take you directly into One Vanderbilt.
If you take the bus, M101, M102, M103, M1, M2, M3, M4, Q32, and M42.
The main entrance to Vanderbilt One is on Vanderbilt Ave. However, the entrance to Summit One is located on East 42nd Street. There are guards to help guide the way.
Insider Travel Tip: If you are new to New York City, use Google Maps. It has been a lifesaver for me when NYC transportation can get overwhelming. You simply type in the address, and it will walk you through precisely what train, bus, or subway to catch, where to get on and off, etc. Step-by-step.
Arriving at Summit One NYC
When you arrive, you will have a timed entry on your ticket but allow for time to stand in line to get up to the actual experience. I waited about thirty minutes to get in the elevator up. Be prepared to show your ID and your vaccination card.
You will receive a wristband with a QR code to get your photos at the end, separated into groups to go up the elevators, and you will receive booties for your shoes, so the mirrored surfaces of Summit One are not damaged. Stiletto heels and steel-toed shoes are not permitted.
If you are sensitive to light or going during the day, bring a pair of sunglasses, or they will provide you with disposable ones. All the mirrors in the experiences gleam brightly, and it gets toasty.
Before your elevator ride, you will do an odd face scan for the Unity Air exhibit. Once in the elevator, you are whisked 91 floors in mere seconds to Transcendence 1, the first floor of the Summit One experience.
Insider NYC Travel Tip: I got a ticket for 3 pm on a Friday. I believe this is probably the best time to get a ticket. I got to see Summit One during the light hours, then sunset, which is absolutely beautiful, and by the time I got to Après, the Manhattan skyline was dark and lit up by all the amazing lights. Manhattan at night with this view is a sight to see. The Empire State Building often does light shows, too.
Transcendence 1- First Level of Your Experience
I am going to lead with a tip. Do not wear anything to Summit One NYC that is a dress or skirt. If you do, wear something underneath. The entire floor of Transcendence 1 and 2 are mirrors, top to bottom. With that said, when you look down, you can see everything above.
Once you leave this floor, you cannot come back therefore get all your photos, Instagram videos, etc., before going up to the next level.
When you walk into Transcendence 1, you emerge into a structureless world of floor-to-ceiling mirrors. There are mirrors on the floors and walls. If you get dizzy easily, take your time to get adjusted. It feels a bit odd, and I actually lost my balance a bit.
Here you will find the most amazing views of New York City and endless Instagram-worthy photo opportunities. Take your time here. Take the time to be creative with your photos. It is a lot of fun.
Not only that, the views of the Empire State Building, Hudson River, and Chrysler Building are unparalleled. This is the main room of this floor, but as you head around the corner, you will experience Reflect and Affinity.
Tip: Summit One actually has 360-degree views of Manhattan, you just have to go in the restroom to see the rest! The views are spectacular in the bathrooms!
Reflect and Affinity At Summit One NYC
- Reflect. Summit One is a one-way tour. After spending time in Transcendence 1, you will head into Reflect. A smaller room with the art installation by Yayoi Kausama is called “Clouds.” This room faces New Jersey, with more spectacular views of the Edge on the west side of Manhattan.
- Affinity. Next, you enter Affinity, a room of floor-to-ceiling mirrors and floating weightless, silver balloons. This room makes for some fun videos and pictures. It was crowded, I was unable to get photos. If you are hoping for an Instagram-worthy photo in this room, it will be hard. It’s very popular. There is a great spot to get photos of Central Park and upper Manhattan.
You will then take an elevator up to Transcendence 2. Remember, once you go up, you can not go back down.
Transcendence 2-Second Level of Your Experience
Next, you head up the elevator to Transcendence 2 of the Summit One experience. Here, you will overlook Transcendence 1, and see circular, mirrored openings to the floor below. It looks like there are thousands of people below and above you.
The circular mirrored openings look like you are falling down Alice’s rabbit hole. Again, these make for some fantastic photo opportunities. Do not be afraid to lie down to take photos. In my photo below, I do not remember if I was looking down or looking up.
After you enjoy the main room of Transcendence 2, you will enter Levitation and Unity.
Levitation and Unity at Summit One NYC
- Levitation. If you did not buy the Ascent glass elevator ticket, here is your chance to look at Manhattan below. Two clear skyboxes hover over the side of Vanderbilt One to Manhattan below. You step onto the clear floor below 1,063 feet above the bustling streets below. If you have a fear of heights, this experience may not be for you and that’s ok.
- Unity. This is where your scanned face is used. If you scan your wristband, your face will appear in the clouds. Usually, my head is in the clouds but this will work. This immersive experience allows you to see your reflection and take some incredible photos.
Next, you are going to head up to Après for a spicy margarita and small bites with more incredible views.
Après-Third Floor of Your Experience Of Summit One NYC
Head on up to Après for a Danny Meyer signature cocktail (or mocktail), Après menu includes small bites and sweeping views of New York City. Après has an open-air terrace and an indoor lounge to settle your senses from your last two experiences.
As you arrive up the escalator, if you are going to Ascent, make sure you check in with the attendant at the very top when you arrive. He or she will take your name and text you when your Ascend ride is ready for check-in. I went at a busy time, and it took about an hour for my elevator ride.
Ascend Glass Elevator-Top Off Your Experience
There are two elevators at Summit One Vanderbilt made of all glass. Each at ninety square feet, hovering over the side of Vanderbilt One. Summit One’s glass elevators are the largest in the world and quite the experience.
How tall is Vanderbilt One building? Vanderbilt One is 93 stories high; the very top is 1,401 feet high, and the roof is 1,301 feet high above the ground. It is the fourth-tallest building in Manhattan. One World Trade Center, Central Park Tower, and 111 West 57th Street are the tallest.
The elevators top 1,210 feet above street level for magnificent views of lower Manhattan and the Empire State Building. The ride is only two minutes, and depending on the attendant, you will have a few minutes to take pictures at the top.
I went on the glass elevator at night, which was terrific, but if I could change one thing, I would do the glass elevators during the day. The elevator goes slow on its way up, it was way less scary than I thought.
Insider Travel Tip: You will get the same view as the open-door terrace at Apres, so if you want the extra experience of a glass elevator climbing the side of a building, I say pay the extra.
Summit One NYC Review
When I was standing in line at Summit One to start my experience, I was standing behind this group of gentlemen. We entered the tunnel to head to the floors, and I followed behind them because I couldn’t see in the dark. I wasn’t supposed to follow them, whoops. I followed along and realized on the elevator ride up, that I was on their private tour. They were more than accommodating to my lost soul, haha.
I told the guide I had bought three Summit One Vanderbilt tickets (they are nonrefundable, plan accordingly), and I finally made it. He was so nice and told me not to move on to the next level just yet, so I did.
He came back with a very nice employee which handed me tickets to Ascend and a cocktail and told me to have a blast; thank you for coming. I had bought the general admission ticket, and they made my experience extra special; I even rode the glass elevator with the mayor of New York.
Is Summit One NYC Worth It?
YES! This is a must-do in New York City. If you are traveling to New York City and looking for one of the best experiences, this is it. The views are amazing, the photos are incredible, and the experience is like no other. Get a spicy margarita and take in the best city in the world. You will not regret it. Promise.
If you are looking for another experience, I recommend the Friends Experience, it was done so well and was really fun. See below!
Where to Stay in New York City. I have stayed in countless hotels, but since I am on a budget and want to come to New York City often, I stay at this hotel HERE. I love it. It’s clean and affordable, solo and family-friendly.
Observation Decks in New York City: This is a list of the five observation decks in NYC, the classics, and the modern. There might be a deck that entices you more. Each one has unique characteristics, views, and qualities. You can find the article HERE.
The Edge NYC: A comprehensive guide to another modern sky deck in New York City, The Edge NYC. You can read the article HERE.
New York at Night. If you are looking for some cool things to do at night in New York City, this guide will give you some good ideas HERE!
NYC Rooftop Brunch. Brunch in NYC is always a good idea but level it with a rooftop and a view, oh and bottomless mimosas! Find your NYC rooftop brunch guide HERE.
NYC Themed Restaurants: If you’re looking for quirky, entertaining, and themed restaurants in New York City, here are the best HERE.
Things to do with Teens In NYC. This is a great guide on where to go with your kids or teens, so you’re cool for a couple of days! You can check it out HERE.
Fall in NYC: Fall is our absolute favorite time to go to New York City. Between the end of September through November, the air is crisp, the weather is fantastic, and it’s just not too cold or hot. Not to mention, the fall foliage in NYC is gorgeous. This guide will send you on the best vacation during fall in NYC HERE.
New York City Travel Guide: This is the end-all-be-all New York City Travel Guide. It has everything you possibly need to know for your trip to NYC. Read the guide HERE.
New York City Travel Tips: Want to know why you dock your CitiBike properly or why you should not get on a horse-drawn carriage in Central Park? Read these Tips for New York City HERE.
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