Summit One Vanderbilt – Everything You Need To Know Before You Visit!
Calling all you adrenaline junkies! Are you looking for your next fix? Summit One Vanderbilt is NYC’s latest and hottest attraction to hit the scene! This thrilling and immersive high-rise observatory experience is literally out of this world! Summit OV offers spectacular views that soar at 1,401 feet above New York City.
What is Summit One Vanderbilt?
Guests visiting the Summit OV observatory get to explore four levels of mind-bending multi-sensory immersive experiences that include innovative art installations, digital displays, floor-to-ceiling mirrors, and breathtaking views of Manhattan! It will forever change the way you view New York at any time. Day or Night!
New York City has its fair share of observation decks but what makes Summit One Vanderbilt truly one of kind is its innovative approach by combining cutting-edge technology, a multi-sensory immersive experience, and unparalleled vistas that stretches across floors 91 through 93!
Summit OV was developed by SL Green with the immersive art experience designed by Kenzo Digital and interior design by Snøhetta. It is currently considered the fourth tallest skyscraper in New York City! One World Trade Center is the tallest followed by Central Park Tower, and 111 W 57th Street.
I was invited to a special preview of this brilliant experience and loved it so much that I put together the ultimate guide on how to experience Summit One Vanderbilt and make the most of your visit with photo tips and tricks for all you brave souls!
Of course, I had to dress up for the occasion and decided to go the extra mile with my Spidey suit! I’m a self-proclaimed nerd that enjoys a wide range of anime, manga, comics, movies, tv shows, and more – let me know in the comments if you can relate lol! NYC and Spider-Man share such a deep connection with each other that I wanted to pay tribute to Stan Lee & Steve Ditko’s legendary creation all while embracing these refreshing iconic city views from the Summit One Vanderbilt Observatory!
“SUMMIT One Vanderbilt is an immersive and sensory space embracing the cityscape of New York. Between integrated art, sound and lighting, and the observatory’s expansive views, our approach to interior design allows visitors to understand their place in the larger city,” said Anne-Rachel Schiffman, Director of Snøhetta.
How much does it cost to visit Summit One Vanderbilt?
When planning to visit Summit OV, you’ll have three ticket options to choose from. Guest admission is reserved for the time and date printed on the ticket. Pricing varies depending on the time of day you plan to visit (daytime vs the evening) – it’s an additional $10 if you visit during the evening.
SUMMIT Experience (Daytime): General admission to all three floors of Summit OV.
Adults (ages 13+): $39 Youth (ages 6-12): $33
SUMMIT Ascent (Daytime): General admission to all four levels of Summit + access to a thrilling glass elevator journey soaring over 1,200 ft.
Adults (ages 13+): $59 Youth (ages 6-12): $53
Ultimate SUMMIT (Daytime): General admission to all four levels of Summit + Ascent glass elevator + a Summit signature cocktail or mocktail by Danny Meyer.
Adults (ages 13+): $73 Youth (ages 6-12): $67
Children 5 and under visit free. New York residents receive preferred pricing on admission.
Tip: I highly recommend booking your ticket online and in advance, especially if you’re planning to visit during sunset, weekends, or over the holidays. Time slots for this attraction sell out pretty quickly. Don’t leave it for the last minute!
Summit OV encourages guests to present their tickets on their mobile devices, but printed tickets are also accepted. You can access your mobile tickets from your confirmation email by clicking on ‘View Tickets’ at any time. Tickets can also be printed on-site at any of their ticket kiosks.
How to get to Summit One Vanderbilt?
Summit OV’s entrance is located on the Concourse Level of Grand Central Terminal.
Summit One Vanderbilt Address:
45 E 42nd St, New York, 10017
It’s easily accessible by car, MTA subway, bus, and LIRR/Metro North commuter rail. Street-level access is located at 45 East 42nd Street, between Vanderbilt and Madison Avenues. The nearest subway lines are the 4, 5, 6, 7, and shuttle at Grand Central, 42nd Street.
Summit One Vanderbilt is also convenient to NYC bus service via the M101, M102, M103, M1, M2, M3, M4, Q32, and M42.
Metro North trains on the Hudson, Harlem, and New Haven lines arrive at Grand Central Terminal from the surrounding suburbs for easy access.
Nearby parking garages for private vehicles are available in the area for an additional charge. Rates, hours, and space availability may vary.
A nearby Access-a-Ride (AAR) Paratransit Service drop-off and pick-up location is on the corner of East 43rd Street and Lexington Avenue.
Bypassing Security & Preparing For Your Visit
Once you arrive at the entrance of Summit One Vanderbilt, you’ll have to bypass security and obtained your wristband with a QR code. Make sure you keep that wristband to the very end because you’ll need it to access your photos taken throughout Summit OV as well as put it to good use for the digital art experience.
You’re then led to a room to watch a short video (about 2 mins) of what’s to be expected during your experience at Summit One Vanderbilt. It’s a great way to get everyone amped up before the real fun begins! After finishing the video you’ll then grab some disposable shoe covers to prevent any damage to the exhibits floors and disposable sunglasses to protect your eyes from sun exposure – some areas can get glaring bright throughout the day. You can also just bring your own sunglasses.
Heads up: Stiletto heels, steel-toed boots, and sports cleats are not permitted because they can damage the mirrored floors.
You’ll then be guided to a high-tech station that will do a 3D scanning of your face and your wristband. After you’re officially checked in the system, you’re then led down a dark corridor to a mirrored elevator that intermittently flashes light as you ascend to the 91st floor where your journey begins – (people with seizures triggered by flashing or flickering lights please exercise caution with these elevators – I believe security will question guests before entering the elevator if flashing lights are a trigger to one’s health).
Summit One Vanderbilt: Air aka The Mirrored Room
Your first stop on your four-level journey begins on the 91st floor where you’ll enter a room of mirrors – the installation is titled Air by the talented artist Kenzo Digital. This extraordinary room has two viewpoints, Transcendence 1 & Transcendence 2. It’s supposed to challenge one’s perception of unlimited space.
My jaw hit the floor as soon as stepped into this otherworldly room – Transcendence 1 (viewpoint). The mirrors in this huge & dramatic room have been implanted on the floors, walls, columns, and ceiling panels. To complement the mirrored room even further, you’ll come across an epic view of the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, & the rest of NYC’s skyline through several rows of floor-to-ceiling windows.
As you make your way around this room you’ll also notice sound effects of howling air that really makes the experience that much more intense and thrilling! I genuinely loved all the thought and details that were put into this immersive experience! Truly a work of art!
If you plan of visiting during the night, Air’s space is given a fresh breath of life with its loop of color-changing lights. Summit truly becomes a beacon of light and energy, visible to all of New York City and beyond!
Photo Tip: Play around with your angles in this room. The mirrors and the jaw-dropping views of NYC can help create endless photo opportunities! Use the mirrors to your advantage to come up with some fun & creative photos. Depending on the time of day you visit, I suggest you use a polarizer camera lens filter to help reduce or eliminate glare from the sun as well as deepen the blue skies. I use this polarizer lens filter (55mm) with my Sony camera. For a full list of the camera gear that I use throughout my shoots check out my blog here!
Heads up: Professional photography moments are available through the experiences and are available to purchase at the end of your journey in both print and digital download format.
Try and take your time with each of the three rooms before you proceed to the next because it’s a one-way route. You won’t be given the chance to return back to the room once you leave.
For guests that are uncomfortable walking on reflective surfaces, Summit OV does offer a non-reflective privacy path throughout the exhibit.
Summit One Vanderbilt: Reflect – Clouds by Yayoi Kusama
As you make your way through the mirror room you’ll enter another room where you get to experience Yayoi Kusama’s brilliant installation titled Clouds. The reflective cloud-like forms that you see on the floor envelop the viewer by creating an impression of floating and infinity.
Fun fact: The 90 reflective cloud-like forms that are in this room are made of stainless steel with patina and wax.
Summit One Vanderbilt: Affinity aka Floating Silver Balloons
After experiencing Yayoi Kusama’s mind-provoking Clouds installation, you’re then led to another otherworldly mirrored room titled Affinity that has a myriad of floating silver balloons against a backdrop of NYC’s skyline. I found this interactive room to be full of endless fun, it truly brings out the kid within as you physically connect with the space around you.
Summit One Vanderbilt: Transcendence 2 – Air
As you make your way up to the next floor (Mezzanine) via escalator or elevator, you’re given a completely new & cool perspective of Air. This viewpoint is known as Transcendence 2. It’s pretty fun watching the awe-inspiring reactions of visitors when they first enter the space from this viewpoint. You’ll also come across walkways, portals, or circular openings that you can look down through, giving you an even more unique perspective on Transcendence 1 from above.
Summit One Vanderbilt: Levitation aka Protruding Glass Skyboxes
As you make your way through the cool walkway at Transcendence 2, your bravery is then put to the challenge as visitors are given the chance to be one with the sky with two all-glass skyboxes that protrude out from the building overlooking the glorious sight of Midtown Manhattan from 1,063 ft above – this experience is titled Levitation.
I found my adrenaline pumping immediately as soon as I step foot on the transparent glass floor – it’s such a surreal and thrilling moment! This part of the experience is definitely not for the faint of heart but I encourage you to give it a shot even if you just stand on the glass for a few seconds – you can at least say you tried it to all your friends lol!
Just let go of all the what if’s when you do it – I know it’s easier said than done but you’re going to feel like a superhero when you’re done! Remember, rule your mind or your mind will rule you!
Summit One Vanderbilt: Unity aka Projection of Clouds
Prior to entering Unity, you’ll need to scan your wristband once again to get the full effect of this next mind-bending ethereal room! A projection of clouds is seen moving infinitely throughout the space thanks to the reflection of the mirrors that clad the room.
My first impression of the room was pure fascination with the technology and architecture used to create such a world! As you immerse yourself with the clouds, things get a bit more interesting as you suddenly catch your very own face within the clouds – such a trippy experience!
Summit One Vanderbilt: Après, a chalet-inspired cafè by Snøhetta – Danny Meyer
If you’re ever feeling hungry, Summit OV has it’s very own chalet-inspired café and sky-high indoor lounge / open air terrace called Après. Located on the 93rd floor guest are greeted with magnificent views of NYC and the highest urban outdoor alpine meadow in the world! You’ll find delectable light snacks, sandwiches, wine, and non-alcoholic drinks here.
If you went the extra mile and got an Ultimate Summit ticket then this is where get the chance to order your cocktail. The unique culinary experience was curated by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Events and designed by Snøhetta. The stylish indoor lounge was totally giving me vibes from the animated sitcom The Jetsons. I loved the futuristic layout of the place and the suspended fireplace!
Fun Fact: Après is a French word that means a period after an activity or something that takes place after a time or experience.
Heads up: Food and beverage must be consumed only within designated areas of the experience. Outside food and beverage will not be permitted. Also, Smoking, vaping, or the use of any other substance will not be permitted, either indoors or in outdoor spaces.
Summit One Vanderbilt: Ascent – Glass Elevator To The Very Top Of The Building!
If the adrenaline junkie in you is hungry for more elevation and a closer relationship to the sky then Summit OV offers an extra special experience called Ascent. It involves a sensory-defying all-glass elevator that only the daring decide to ride in order to reach Summit OV’s highest elevation / highest viewing point of Midtown NYC at 1,210 ft. Visitors that purchased the Summit Ascent and Ultimate Summit tickets can only ride one of the two elevators starting from Aprés’ outdoor terrace – the experience is about 2 mins. Do you think you have what it takes to ride such a beast!?
Summit One Vanderbilt: Boutique Gift Shop + Digital Photo Kiosks
Right on the same floor where Après is located, you can find a boutique gift shop with a plethora of Summit OV-themed merchandise! Bring home the experience with a range of logo apparel and tees, eco-conscious toys, sustainable gifts and more! If you decide not to grab a gift during your visit, you can always grab a gift through their online boutique here!
You’ll also come across several kiosks where you can view and purchase photos of yourself throughout the experience!
How to exit Summit One Vanderbilt?
To exit you will need to take an escalator from Après down to the elevator bank. From there you will dispose of your shoe covers and sunglasses into the appropriate bin and then catch an elevator down to the ground level.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is visiting Summit One Vanderbilt worth it?
Visiting Summit One Vanderbilt is definitely worth it! The experience is truly a roller coaster of emotions as soon as you begin your journey through all four levels. The photo opportunities are endless! I encourage you to be creative, let go of all your troubles, and just have fun! Get ready for the experience of a lifetime!
What to wear at Summit One Vanderbilt?
Due to the reflective surface of the mirrors that clad some of the floors throughout the exhibit, Summit OV recommends visitors to wear pants, tights, or shorts and to avoid skirts and dresses to protect your privacy.
Where is Summit One Vanderbilt located?
Located in: Grand Central Terminal (Entrance is on the main concourse level)
Address: 45 E 42nd St, New York, 10017
What are Summit One Vanderbilt’s hours of operation?
WED & THU
Open: 1PM | Doors close: 8PM | SUMMIT closes: 9PM
FRI & SAT
Open: 9AM | Doors close: 10PM | SUMMIT closes: 11PM
Open 10AM | Doors close 8PM | SUMMIT closes: 9PM
Be sure to visit Summit One Vanderbilt’s official website for the most up-to-date hours of operation here!
Do I need to be vaccinated for COVID-19 to visit Summit One Vanderbilt?
As of January 29, 2022, all guests over the age of 5 must present proof that they have received two vaccine doses authorized by the FDA or WHO. For the most up-to-date information be sure to check out Summit OV’s Covid policy here and Key to NYC’s site here.
When did Summit One Vanderbilt Observatory open?
Summit One Vanderbilt officially opened to the public on October 21, 2021.
Are there restrooms at Summit One Vanderbilt?
Restrooms can be found on each level. Some of them sit in the corner of the building and offer epic views of NYC through their floor-to-ceiling windows. It’s probably of one the best views that you can get from a restroom lol!
When is the best time to visit Summit One Vanderbilt?
To make the most out of your visit at Summit One Vanderbilt, I recommend visiting during sunset! The colors of the epic skies against the reflection of the mirrors make for an incredible spectacle! The other thrill of visiting during sunset is watching the explosion of colors dance all over Summit OV as soon as the night makes its appearance. It truly feels like another dimension!
How much time should I plan to spend at Summit One Vanderbilt?
To make the most of all the experiences and offerings at Summit OV’s, allow yourself to spend at least two to three hours.
Is there luggage storage at Summit One Vanderbilt?
Unfortunately, there aren’t any lockers or luggage storage at Summit OV. If you plan on lugging any large backpacks / bags and luggage, then it’s best that you store them away before your arrival. To learn more about Summit One Vanderbilt’s Prohibited Items Policy then click here!
Can I bring a selfie stick, tripod, photo equipment at Summit One Vanderbilt?
Selfies sticks, monopods, and tripods that extend more than 12 inches are unfortunately not permitted. The same rule applies to commercial equipment.
Is Summit One Vanderbilt wheelchair-accessible?
Every level of the space is fully accessible to guests using mobility devices. While guests are encouraged to bring their own, a limited number of wheelchairs are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Are pets or other animals permitted at Summit One Vanderbilt?
While Summit OV welcomes service animals and service animals in training, pets and emotional support animals are not permitted on the premises for the safety and well-being of all guests.
Does at Summit One Vanderbilt offer Wi-Fi?
Summit OV offers complimentary Wi-Fi. Use is subject to agreement and acceptance of their Terms and Conditions.
Would you visit Summit One Vanderbilt Observatory? Have you visited? Let me know in the comments below!
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