The Top of the Rock is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Manhattan, but what is the best time to visit it? And to take cool pictures from the observatory? What is the best time of the year to go up?
Like any planned visit, the entrance to the Top of the Rock observation deck also has its tricks. Before you get your tickets, take a look at the following post to find your best time to go up to the observation deck at Rockefeller Center.
When is the best time to visit the Top of the Rock?
Sunset is the best time to visit the Top of the Rock. It may seem like a cliché, but in the case of the Rockefeller Center observation deck this is true! In fact, there is a surcharge of about 8 euros on tickets to the Top of the Rock just to go and watch the sunset there. That's nothing!
So it is a very popular moment among New Yorkers and visitors to drop by Midtown and close the day in a nice and special way with a lot of souvenir photographs in between. Take into account the opening hours of the Top of the Rock to schedule your climb.
And the best time for a more intimate experience at the Top of the Rock?
Going early in the morning, first thing in the morning, is another good time to climb Top of the Rock. There is no doubt that watching the sunset from the top of Rockefeller Center is a magical feeling, but if you prefer to save that money and escape the crowds that can occasionally occur in that time slot my advice is to go up early in the morning.
However, late in the evening, before they close the observation deck around 10 PM is also a good time to enjoy a more intimate visit at the Top of the Rock with hardly any other visitors, especially on weekdays. For this you will have to wait to catch the last elevator at 9:10 PM.
At these two times of the day you will have the observation deck almost exclusively to yourself and you will live an almost private experience, and that in a city like New York full of people everywhere is always a luxury!
Is it a good idea to go up if the weather is bad?
If you buy your Top of the Rock tickets in advance, even if the weather is bad, it's worth going up because the overall experience at the Top of the Rock goes beyond the views, although, naturally, most visitors come to the observation deck to enjoy the New York skyline and test their vertigo.
If the day of your visit dawns cold or a bit cloudy with rain and moderate wind, you have several options:
- Enjoy the views from the 67th floor of the observation deck, which is almost completely enclosed and sheltered. From here you will also have incredible views of the city and take equally beautiful photos.
- Climb to the uncovered observation decks on the 69th and 70th floors because from the top of the observatory you will have the feeling of being on top of the world. A memorable experience!
- In addition, during the visit you will be able to see very interesting exhibitions about Rockefeller Center, the observation deck and the Rockefeller family.
- You will also be able to enjoy other curious spaces inside the skyscraper such as the Breezeway Room or the Radiance Wall.
Only in the hypothetical case of extreme weather conditions (such as snow, hail, strong wind, etc.), Top of the Rock may decide at its discretion to close certain areas of the observation deck to the public for safety reasons, but visitors will be informed.
When is the best time to combine a visit to Top of the Rock with other tourist attractions?
The morning, no doubt. Top of the Rock is located in Midtown, in the heart of Manhattan, so it is surrounded by other popular tourist attractions that you can visit after going up first thing in the morning to the Rockefeller Center observation deck. This way you can plan a route around the area to see other sites of interest.
Popular places near the Top of the Rock
- 5th Avenue: one of the most important and emblematic streets of the city full of stores that you will want to go in and browse for a while.
- Grand Central Terminal: an architectural jewel of nineteenth-century New York. You may have seen it in countless movies. Take the opportunity to have a drink at the "Oyster Bar", the oldest of its cafes, dating from 1913.
- :::link|text=St. Patrick's Cathedral|element=pa-4690: is the largest neo-Gothic Catholic church in North America. It is in front of Rockefeller Center. Free admission.
- Chrysler Building: An imposing Art Deco skyscraper where you can visit the lobby for free.
- New York Public Library: you will be amazed by its majestic exterior guarded by the lions "Patience" and "Fortitude" as well as its spectacular reading rooms, which have also appeared in the movies.
What is the best time of day to visit the Top of the Rock with children?
Every family is different but, in general, if you plan to go to the Top of the Rock with children the best time of day to visit the Top of the Rock is early in the morning because the kids are usually up early and wake up with a lot of energy ready to make plans.
Normally, the visit to the Top of the Rock lasts between 45 and 60 minutes, so the kids won't have a hard time and will have a great time seeing the sights and in the gift store. Plus, they are sure to find it super exciting to ride the interactive Sky Shuttle elevator and go up 200 meters in less than 60 seconds. They will be amazed!
Also, if you go early to the Rockefeller Center observation deck, you will have the rest of the day to do other activities with them such as:
- Going to the famous FAO Schwarz toy store, located in the same 30 Rockefeller Plaza.
- Take a walk through Central Park.
- Go to a Broadway musical.
- Visiting Dylan's Candy Bar.
- Take a ride onthe ferry.
What about older adults?
In this case, it will depend a bit on how old they are and whether the older ones have daytime or nighttime habits. That is, if they do not mind getting up early I recommend going with them early in the morning because it is when less crowds are formed at the Top of the Rock and they can move more freely and quietly through the facilities of the viewpoint.
Instead, if they are night owls who are more active as the day passes, then I advise you to go in the late afternoon a little before closing as there will also be fewer people and they can enjoy the views calmly and without crowds of other visitors. The important thing is that you don't get overwhelmed by the crowds, that you don't get exhausted and that you feel comfortable during the experience.
And the best time of year to climb Top of the Rock?
Top of the Rock is open every day and can be visited at any time but as Christmas in New York is unique, this is the best time of the year to visit it, without any doubt.
Especially for the moments before the climb to the observation deck, as everything around Rockefeller Center is decorated with Christmas motifs and the atmosphere is perceived in the magic that gives off New York in the movies during the holidays.
- You will see the gigantic illuminated Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center.
- You can ice skate at Rockefeller Rink in Rockefeller Plaza.
- If you feel like it, you can go shopping on 5th Avenue.
- Listen to Christmas carols...
And to top it all off, you'll climb to the Top of the Rock for a bird's-eye view of New York and a glimpse of the clouds. There is so much to see and do, I recommend this guide to visit the Top of the Rock at Christmas and do not miss anything. Of course, I recommend you to buy your tickets online and in advance so that once there you can dedicate your time to what really matters, enjoy!
And the best time of the day to take pictures at the Top of the Rock?
Cameras love New York! True, but to get beautiful photos it's essential to have good light no matter how photogenic the "City of Skyscrapers" is. That's why the morning is the best time of day to take advantage of the natural sunlight from the open-air observatories on the 69th and 70th floors of the Top of the Rock.
Also, since there are fewer people early in the day, it's easier to unleash your creativity with your camera without any tourists in front of your lens. You can take all the photos you want in peace and quiet!
Other moments to take pictures from the Top of the Rock
However, we can not overlook that another of the top times to take pictures at the Top of the Rock is the sunset. It is the most desired time slot for visitors to the Rockefeller Center observation deck because of the romantic atmosphere and the diverse palette of colors that can be captured with the camera of the sky and the beautiful cityscape that can be seen from there.
Climbing to the Top of the Rock at night is also another beautiful time to take pictures of the New York skyline if you have expertise to handle the lack of natural light and avoid blurry photos. Watching the lights that adorn the city slowly illuminate after sunset is a fascinating spectacle and capturing that instant is a challenge for any photographer.
Anyway, don't worry too much because the important thing is to live the experience and as I said before, New York always comes out well in photos!
Isabel's Traveler Tip
Tag with the hashtag #topoftherock some photos of your experience at the Top of the Rock and upload them to social networks so everyone can see them.