LAST UPDATED: February 16, 2024Whether you’re visiting New York City for the first time or the millionth, there is always a plethora of things to discover. If unique is on your bucket list, then you’re going to like this post! Most everyone has this in their “must do” category but not many realize that you can visit SUMMIT One Vanderbilt at night for special NYC events. What kind of special events? Just the kind that provides lifetime memories, limits its attendance and can be hard to snag entry into. No worries though as I’m going to show you how to score said rare opportunity!
NOTE: All photos in this post are mine from my SUMMIT One special night events unless otherwise noted.
Yes, it’s true. SUMMIT One hosts special event nights and I attended two in 2022. They were spectacular nights that will be memorable for the rest of my life. You, too, can get the chance to enjoy these special events with the information below.
What is SUMMIT One Vanderbilt
Day shot from November 2022
One Vanderbilt is a 93-story skyscraper located at the corner of 42nd Street and Vanderbilt Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. This makes it Grand Central Terminal’s neighbor! Construction started in 2017 and the office building opened in 2020.
With the Empire State Building, The Edge, Top of the Rock, Freedom Tower, and others, I guess they felt they too needed to add an observation deck and presto. SUMMIT One was born! Okay, it wasn’t quite that easy and quick but you know what I mean. 🙃
Dusk from SUMMIT One Vanderbilt on July 4, 2022
Self-described as “blending elements of art, technology, architecture, and thrill to take the concept of NYC observation decks to entirely new heights”, SUMMIT One was conceived as an art installation and does a great job of challenging the senses.
In my opinion, it also does a great job of providing jaw-dropping 360° views of Manhattan, showing you a great time, helping with life clarification…okay, that last one might be very individualistic but it worked for me!
SUMMIT One Fun Facts
- among the world’s top 30 tallest buildings
- holds NYC’s record for the longest continuous concrete pour (4,200 cubic yards, 18 hours)
- has the largest external glass-bottomed elevators in the world (90 square feet each)
*facts taken from summitov.com
Experience SUMMIT One Vanderbilt at Night
Day & Dusk shots from Nov 2022 | Night shot from July 4, 2022
Isn’t everything better at night or is that my night owl tendencies at work? Keeping it real, this is an experience to have both during the day and at night as they offer two completely different perspectives.
That said, there is just something about New York City at night. The bustling Big Apple is alive and SUMMIT One shows you all of that!
Watching all of the dazzling lights and even the flashing of the constant changing of lights in Times Square is truly mesmerizing.
What to Expect on a SUMMIT One Visit
Expect needing and wanting way more time than you might think. Seriously, along with the endless amount of photos to take, there are actually exhibits to see, read, and partake in. That is my number one recommendation and I’ve been four times, two of which were special night events.
You might also like: NYE in NYC: WATCH THE BALL DROP WITHOUT THE CROWD
Things to Do at a SUMMIT One Vanderbilt Special Event
So far, I’ve discussed any typical night at SUMMIT One Vanderbilt. Technically, the main things to do don’t change with special events. The differences are just getting more time to experience them and fighting fewer people to do so. However, special features such as entertainment, goodies, and the viewing of live events are typically included.
There are so many things to do and I won’t be able to mention them all. However, I will hit the highlights. The SUMMIT has three levels that all play to the senses. Each level has different exhibits created by different artists. Among the three levels, you will explore:
Kenzo Digital created Air that includes Transcendence, Affinity, Unity, and At Night exhibits. The hope is that you experience all the feels, senses, and realizations that elevate your perspective and inspiration in life. For me, he achieved his goals!
Where does it start? Where does it end? Transcend into a boundless world. The rush is real every time but the first time is just…wow.
A two-story exhibit, Transcendence 2 begs you to look down on Transcendence 1 while trying to wrap your mind around the fact that you are staring at 30,375 square feet of mirrors. 😳
It’s totally okay if your proprioception is off and you’re confused as to what your next physical step should be. Let go of that angst and marvel at the pure creativity with Manhattan all around you!
Okay, now, snap out of it, and don’t forget those photos! 😇
Why It’s Better At Special Events: There’s a bit more space to get photos without a million of your closest friends with you.
Air: Affinity is the most popular room because it’s the favorite room. Why? Well, this is the interactive room, of course!
I made sure to truly capitalize on this opportunity. This room is great for bringing out your playful, youthful side. On rare occasions, the normally-silver-almost-weightless balls might actually be different colors. However, they ALWAYS reflect colors and mirror them (and you) too!
Why It’s Better At Special Events: Due to its popularity, time in this room is limited (as best as they can). During special events, you can spend as much time in there as you would like and there are typically (not always) fewer people to fight for THE spots!
Photos are from November 2022
The Unity exhibit unites your face with the clouds. Yep, follow the screen, watch, and see!
Air At Night
New Year’s Eve 2023 at SUMMIT One
Nighttime is such a cool event here that it gets its own category-At Night! Seriously, it’s a completely different concept after the sun goes down. When Manhattan comes alive and the lights, colors, and reflections are all around you, you transform and wonder if it’s all real. And guess what? It totally is!
You might also like: NEW YORK IN FEBRUARY FOR VALENTINE’S AND BEYOND
Photo from late July 2022
“Levitate” in glass ledges suspended 1,100 feet above Manhattan. Levitation is a special experience designed to give a rush and satisfy thrill-seekers!
Artist Yayoi Kusama wants you to Reflect on life, yourself, and her specially designed experience. I found this to be really cool for photos. You can catch just about anything (or anyone) in them!
Photo from late July 2022
Yes, SUMMIT One does have a restaurant! Aprés is a Nordic-style cafe offering calming views from atop NYC. Admittedly, it’s extremely busy (read: crazy!) during special event nights as the main bar is located here.
Brought to you by Danny Meyer’s Urban Square Events, enjoy epic handcrafted cocktails, eats, and treats!
TIP: On a special night event, there are typically only a few “specials” from which to choose. Otherwise, it’s mostly your standard, basic bar choices. If you are there on a regular day or night, look to see what the specials are. They have more time to craft them on these visits!
Late July 2022
Ascent is the all-glass elevator experience and is SUMMIT One’s highest elevation. While Ascent is an extra charge (or an elevated ticket) on normal nights, the experience is included on special event nights.
Key Things to See from SUMMIT Observation Deck
So far you’ve been exploring the indoor observation deck. However, don’t forget to step out on the terrace. It might be cold, windy, raining, or sticky hot but it’s at least worth a few seconds and a lot of seconds if it’s a nice night! Together, from both the indoor observations deck and the terrace, you will see:
- North: Central Park, Upper East, and Upper West Sides
- East: Chrysler Building, East River, Brooklyn, Queens
- South: Empire State Building, Freedom Tower (One World Observatory), New York Harbor
- West: Bryant Park, Hudson Yards (The Edge), Hudson River, gorgeous sunsets, New Jersey
My fireworks shots on July 4, 2022, from SUMMIT One Vanderbilt
For events that include fireworks, be sure to scout out a prime location and get to it early. I was so busy taking photos that I almost missed out. I wound up grabbing my two drinks and parking it just in time!
Tickets and Access to SUMMIT One Vanderbilt for Special Events
There are normal, everyday ticket options for SUMMIT One. However, special event tickets aren’t sold this way and don’t work this way.
These are fairly hard-to-get tickets often only available 2-3 weeks prior to event night. For example, I attended the New Year’s 2023 special event and the tickets didn’t go on sale until 3 weeks prior. For the 4th of July 2023 special event, the 24-hour priority access email went out on June 16th. 😳
Yes, I know this makes it hard to plan. Yes, I was going to NYC anyway. I suggest committing to your NYC trip and planning accordingly. THEN, try your luck with these sought-after special event tickets.
How, you ask?
Become a SUMMIT Insider
Screenshot courtesy of summitov.com
Yep, that’s the secret! Become a SUMMIT Insider! This allows you to be among the first to know about special events at SUMMIT One. It also affords you the opportunity to actually snag a coveted entrance ticket to special nighttime events in a 24-hour priority access email.
Closer to time you might see a pop-up like this. Screenshot courtesy of summitov.com
Screenshots of my email notification and clicking through to the website
Due to the nature of the events, they only sell a limited number of tickets. Once those sell out, that’s it. SUMMIT One Vanderbilt closes its doors to the public at a certain time the night of the event and only those with special event tickets can enter. You don’t want to be the one who misses out!
NOTE: Becoming a SUMMIT Insider does NOT guarantee tickets to events. It only gives you advance notice ahead of the public as well as 24-hour priority access to purchase. You still must act quickly once you are notified!
Cost of SUMMIT One Special Event Tickets
I’m sure you were wondering about this, right? If not, you should be. Now, we shall get real. Getting straight to the point, it isn’t cheap. There, I said it. As far as the amount coming out of your bank account? Super expensive.
Ticket Price – 2023 July 4th Special Event: $325 per person (was $250 in 2022)
Ticket Inclusions: Entrance to a private 3-hour event, epic views of fireworks high above Manhattan, two complimentary drinks (+ cash bar), unrestricted access to all levels during the event (this is huge because on a normal ticket, once you leave a level you can’t return. You must continue up. So if you forgot a photo or a view or an experience, on these nights, just head on back down and get it!)
*CHECK BACK REGULARLY AS I WILL POST THE NEXT SPECIAL EVENT LIVE LINK HERE!*
Ticket Price – 2023 New Year’s Eve Special Event: $300 per person (same price in 2022)
Ticket Inclusions: Much like July 4th except two complimentary drinks AND a champagne toast at midnight (+ cash bar), an indulgent dessert bar, unrestricted access to all levels (again huge-maybe even more so on this night) until 1 am, special DJ, countdown, all kinds of fun extras such as goofy 2023 glasses and awesome Happy New Year hats without a year so they are reusable!).
See, isn’t the hat cute?
Does the experience justify said super expensive cost? Well, that is up to you. Only you can decide where your budget and bucket list meet up! Personally, were both times for me MORE than worth the cost? Yes. Both of the special events I attended in 2022 were celebrating birthdays. One happened to be America’s and the other happened to be mine.
So, all of that to say. Totally worth it for me. If you love nighttime city views, fireworks, unique things to do, chances to dress up, and enjoying a night you’ll never forget, this is for you!
Screenshot courtesy of summitov.com
Now that you’ve decided to go…🙃
How to Get to SUMMIT One Vanderbilt
One Vanderbilt is located in Midtown at the corner of 42nd Street and Vanderbilt Avenue. It’s basically Grand Central Terminal’s next-door neighbor.
By Subway (or train as NYC calls it)
Best access will be via the 4, 5, 6, and 7 local trains and the S (shuttle) into Grand Central, 42nd Street. For commuter trains, the Hudson, Harlem, and New Haven lines via Metro-North all arrive at Grand Central Terminal. If you need navigation help, review the basics of the NYC subway system.
If you are staying in Midtown, plan to be in the area the night of the event, or just like to walk (like myself), walking is the easiest option on a SUMMIT special event night. You will want to enter on 42nd Street between Madison and Vanderbilt next to TD Bank where it says “Grand Central Terminal”.
Do NOT go down the escalator as it doesn’t stop on the level you need for SUMMIT One. Instead, head down the stairs or take the elevator. Follow the SUMMIT One entrance signs. If you forget and do go down the escalator, no worries. Just take the stairs back up (been there, done that) and try again! 😃
TIP: If you are attending the NYE special event, plan on a bit of walking after the event ends to avoid heavy metro traffic and the barricade closures surrounding Times Square.
Hotels Near SUMMIT One Vanderbilt
Since NYC is packed with a ridiculous number of hotels, there are plenty of options. However, these are my recommendations based on personal experience or reputation.
Hilton Garden Inn, Times Square Central
Speaking of, if you want to watch the ball drop without the crowd, this is your hotel. Alternatively, NYE at SUMMIT One makes a fantastic option for those who have no interest in the ball drop or those who have already seen it do its thing!
TIP: Don’t get this hotel confused with the Hilton New York Times Square that’s only 1.5 blocks further west on 42nd Street. While I had an enjoyable stay here too, it was too congested for me (relatively speaking in Times Square). It also is NOT the one with the views of the ball drop on NYE!
TownePlace Suites by Marriott New York Manhattan/Times Square
This TownePlace Suites in Times Square, a Marriott Bonvoy property, is still an easy walk from One Vanderbilt. And, it’s closer to more Broadway shows if that’s your thing. I love staying here with a full kitchenette (I usually need a big fridge for late-night leftovers 🙈) but due to its prime location and great service, it’s been too pricey for my recent trips.
Andaz 5th Avenue
For those World of Hyatt fans or those looking for a luxury stay, the Andaz 5th Avenue is one block over, one block down from One Vanderbilt. I haven’t stayed here (yet) but I would like to!
Tips for Visiting SUMMIT One for Special Night Events
- Become a Summit Insider
- Watch your inbox (and website-never hurts) around 4 weeks prior to July 4th and NYE. Don’t bother calling to ask “when”. I did that for this past NYE and even the employees don’t know until it’s posted on the website (or so I was told all 10 times I may or may not have called). 😇
- When you get the 24-hour priority access email for special event tickets, jump on it right then!
- While NYC/Long Island residents get a $5 discount on regular tickets, I’m not sure if this works for special events. If you’re a resident, I would call to find out.
- DON’T wear a dress or skirt. There are mirrors everywhere including the floor. They catch every view and you don’t want to share THAT view. 😉
The mirrors see all!
- DON’T wear heels (definitely no stilettos) period. You will be required to take them off. And who wants to walk in heels in Manhattan only to not be able to wear them at the intended event?
- You will have to wear shoe covers no matter what shoes you wear. They’re super sexy! 🙄 Only advice I have here is to embrace it. Everyone’s wearing them!
- Opening hours are 9 am to midnight, Wednesday to Monday (closed on Tuesdays). Last admission (for normal nights) is 11 pm. If you are attending a special event, the arrival time will be in your confirmation and on your tickets. I recommend getting there around 30 minutes prior to the start time as there is a line for security, shoe covers, photos, etc.
- Visibility (for sunsets and fireworks) is subject to the weather.
- There is a bag and coat check. You can’t take bags of a certain size into the experience. Be aware there could be a long line to retrieve them at the end of the night.
- Absolutely NO tripods, monopods, selfie sticks, or the like allowed.
- If solo, ask an attendant to take your photos. They are typically happy to!
- HAVE FUN. HAVE FUN. HAVE FUN. TAKE ALL THE PHOTOS! 😍
Frequently Asked SUMMIT One at Night Questions
- What happens if I’m late? Special night events are come and go anytime during the hours listed on the ticket. Though, if you’re late, you’re risking missing out on events. Get there at least 30 min prior to start time as the line builds fast.
- What is the dress code for special events? Depends on the event. Typically, July 4th is casual and NYE is dressy. The attire will be listed. That said, NYE isn’t black tie (though you’re welcome to wear it) but it is festive attire. And yes, for us ladies, that is very hard to reconcile with their footwear requirements.
- Can I bring my tripod, monopod, or selfie stick? NO. They aren’t allowed.
- Are cameras allowed? Yes, and even encouraged but they must be handheld.
- Do I really have to wear the shoe covers? YES.
- Really? Even if I wear harmless shoes like Ugg Boots? YES. I wore Ugg Boots with my festive, sequined top and leggings to the NYE special event for this reason. It wasn’t my first, second, or third rodeo. Still had to wear the shoe covers.
Wow. This might be the longest article I’ve ever written but it’s also my most comprehensive! I’m very passionate about this attraction and hope this post inspires you to attend SUMMIT One Vanderbilt at night for a special event in the near future!
I MUST know…have you been to SUMMIT One Vanderbilt for a special nighttime event? If so, what were your thoughts? Let me know below!
‘Til next time…