A Cost Analysis of Observation Decks around the World

During my last visit to New York City, I avoided going to the “Top of the Rock” observation deck of the GE Building in favor of this view. In the process, I saved $25 and hours waiting in line.

The Economist published an interesting chart showing the price of admission to height of the public viewing platforms, sampling the most popular destinations around the world. Topping the list is the new building in London dubbed “The Shard”:

THE SHARD, the latest big skyscraper to pierce London’s skyline and the tallest building in Europe, recently opened for business—and to the general public. Some visitors have marvelled at the view from the top. Others have complained at the hefty entrance fee of £29.95 ($47) for an adult paying on the door. At a mere 244m (800 feet) high, the Shard is poor value for money when measured against its height.


The Empire State Building ranks third on this list. I think they are using the $42 adult admission price that includes both the 86th and 102nd floor viewings. Using the top deck height of 1250ft = 381.0m, the price per 1 meter of observation viewing is equal to 11.02 cents.

Missing on that chart is the price/height for “Top of the Rock,” which I calculate to be 9.65 cents (850 feet = 259.1m and a $25 admission price). That would put “Top of the Rock” as sixth most expensive observation viewing, which isn’t too bad.

What other observation towers are you familiar with that The Economist didn’t incorporate on their chart?

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