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Top of the Rock at Night

New York shines at night - literally! Contemplating the city's night scenery is a great plan, especially if you do it from a place as iconic as the Top of the Rock. Do you feel like it?

Isabel Catalán

Isabel Catalán

9 min read

Top of the Rock at Night

Night views of the Top of the Rock | ©Sven Becker

New York at night is enjoyed in a different way, especially if you can see it in all its splendor in the heart of Manhattan from a place as privileged as the Top of the Rock.

Climbing to the Top of the Rock at night is one of the most exciting experiences you can live during your stay in the Big Apple. Leave aside the vertigo and dare to take the pulse of the "city that never sleeps" from the heights.

You'll see the Empire State Building illuminated like never before and much more. Here's why it's worth visiting the Top of the Rock at night.

1. How much does it cost to see the Top of the Rock at night?

Empire State Building from the Top of the Rock| ©Jorge Gobbi
Empire State Building from the Top of the Rock| ©Jorge Gobbi

Enjoying the New York skyline at dusk is as simple as buying your tickets to the Top of the Rock and booking a night schedule on the date you decide to make your visit. That is, you will not need to get specific tickets to go up to this observatory at night but just buy general admission tickets.

From 35 € you can get a skip-the-line ticket to the Top of the Rock in Hellotickets, which not only includes access to this viewpoint of 30 Rockefeller Plaza but also to the General Electric Building and the Channel Gardens of Rockefeller Center. A super complete visit!

The best option is to buy online tickets to the Top of the Rock. This observatory is one of the most emblematic in Manhattan next to the Empire State and there are usually long lines at the ticket office to get tickets.

There you can get tickets from about 35 Euros but given the huge influx of people that piles up around it you run the risk of not being able to book the night schedule because there is no availability. After sunset, dusk is a very desirable time for tourists to contemplate the Big Apple from above. Watching the lights of the city slowly turn on as the sunlight fades is a magical experience.

For this reason, my advice is to save time waiting in line at the ticket booths and simplify this procedure online to ensure your reservation for the night schedule at the Top of the Rock.

Tickets to Top of the Rock

2. How late is Top of the Rock open at night? Evening hours

Inside the building before enjoying the view| ©Nick Night
Inside the building before enjoying the view| ©Nick Night

The Top of the Rock is open every day of the week and year from 10 AM to 10 PM. Pretty flexible hours, which is perfect for tourists as it allows you to go up to the observation deck of Rockefeller Center virtually any time of day and well into the night.

However, if before visiting the Top of the Rock at night you want to see other tourist attractions in the area, remember that the last elevator available is at 9:10 PM. Keep this in mind when planning your sightseeing for the day so that you don't miss out.

If you visit New York at Christmas time, going to Rockefeller Center during the holiday season, besides giving you the best views of the city, will offer you a lot to see around it: the skating rink, the Christmas tree...

When do nighttime hours begin at Top of the Rock?

In all of New York's skyscrapers, nighttime hours begin at sunset, which means that this time varies throughout the year and in each season.

So, for example, during the winter in New York it gets dark around 4:30 PM while in the summer in New York the sun does not set until 8:30 PM. Knowing this information about sunset and sunset in advance will help you plan your evening visit to the Top of the Rock in detail.

What are the night views from the Top of the Rock like?

Night View of New York City from the Top of the Rock| ©Mack Male
Night View of New York City from the Top of the Rock| ©Mack Male

It is difficult to find words to describe that moment when you have New York at your feet. You have to live it! To contemplate it at night from a bird's eye view is a marvel because it gives us the opportunity to have a unique perspective of the city that never sleeps.

As the sun sets, the stars will gradually appear, but it is not the sky that will capture your attention at the top of the Top of the Rock (even if you feel closer to it), but the beautiful cityscape that will spread before you, dotted with small colored lights that adorn the Big Apple.

When you go up to the Top of the Rock at night you will feel like you are in a privileged place. From the observatories on the 67th, 69th and 70th floors you will have magnificent 360° views of Manhattan and discover the soul of New York through the skyscrapers rising on the horizon.

One of them is the Empire State Building whose silhouette is perfectly visible from here and at night it shines in a special way. It may be a little more difficult to identify other tourist attractions at night in the distance but if you pay attention and look carefully, from the viewpoint of the Top of the Rock you can also see them:

In short, seeing New York at night from the top of this jewel of American Art Deco is something magical. The icing on the cake to a sensational day on the streets of the Big Apple.

4. Can you climb the Top of the Rock at night with children?

Breezeway Room with LED lights| ©Ansel Adams
Breezeway Room with LED lights| ©Ansel Adams

Of course they will! The little ones will love an experience like this. First, take one of the skyscraper's Sky Shuttle elevators that will transport them at the speed of light to the top of 30 Rockefeller Plaza in less than a minute. 260 meters in less than 60 seconds will seem like magic!

Then, at the observatory, you will be astonished to discover how high you are and see the immense New York nightscape illuminated by thousands of colored lights.

And finally, playing a little in the Breezeway room with the LED lights that move as visitors pass by, it will be a beautiful souvenir of the trip that they will never forget!

Tickets to Top of the Rock

5. Why is it worth climbing Top of the Rock at night?

Glasses to Ease the view at the Top of the Rock| ©Mack Male
Glasses to Ease the view at the Top of the Rock| ©Mack Male
  • Climbing to the Top of the Rock at night will allow you to see the Big Apple from above as you've never seen it before. You will have the sensation of being on top of the world and everything will be tiny and colossal at the same time. It's amazing!

  • From the observatory you will have the best panoramic view of New York at night and you will be able to contemplate the Empire State illuminated in all its splendor. It looks beautiful from a privileged place like this, you won't get tired of taking pictures!

  • In this sense, going up to the Top of the Rock at night will allow you to record a lot of souvenir videos and take some amazing pictures with all of New York lit up in the distance. It's a very romantic moment.

  • Another reason to go to the Top of the Rock at night is that after dark there are usually far fewer visitors at the observatory, as the peak of the day is at sunset. At night there is no hustle and bustle at the lookout. Everything is quiet and silence reigns. Even at times it will seem as if you are alone up there, as if it were a private visit.

  • And finally, a night visit to the Top of the Rock is worth it because you will have the whole day free to make other plans without haste and finally close a day of sightseeing in New York in style (never better said!).

6. Tips for a night climb to the Top of the Rock

Couple at the Top of the Rock| ©Pascale Amez
Couple at the Top of the Rock| ©Pascale Amez
  • The Top of the Rock is one of the main tourist attractions in New York so if you want to avoid the queues at the ticket booths of the observation deck, I advise you to buy online in advance a skip-the-line ticket to the Top of the Rock.

  • To organize the night visit to the Top of the Rock, when booking the time of the visit remember that it opens every day and closes at 10 PM, with the last elevator going up to the observatory at 9:10 PM.

  • If you plan to climb the Top of the Rock as a family and the kids are still small, I advise you to do the night tour as soon as possible so they do not get too tired, because the next day they will have to get up early and be fresh to continue exploring New York.

  • Take advantage of the visit to the Top of the Rock to have a few drinks afterwards at the Sixty-Five Bar at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. You'll find it on the 65th floor, below the observation deck. It's a great place to continue enjoying the views of Manhattan and put the finishing touch to a very special day in the city.

  • When visiting the Top of the Rock in the evening, you're likely to leave the observation deck late. Don't worry, this is not an obstacle for not making the night visit because the New York subway runs 24 hours and you can quickly return to your hotel. I tell you how you can get to and from the observatory in the post How to get to the Top of the Rock.

  • Taking pictures from the Top of the Rock at night is a temptation you can't resist, but there's a trick to getting them right if you're not an expert photographer. To get beautiful images despite the low light, I advise you to activate the night mode of your camera, use the shutter release to avoid blurred images or set the ISO to 400.

Tickets to the Top of the Rock

7. Is it possible to use a tourist card to go up to the Top of the Rock at night?

Tickets to Top of the Rock| ©HelloTickets
Tickets to Top of the Rock| ©HelloTickets

That's right! If you are thinking of getting a tourist pass to make the most of your trip to New York and you would like to use it to go up to the Top of the Rock at night, you are in luck because starting at 65€ you can find options that include the visit to this Rockefeller Center observatory such as the New York Explorer Pass, the New York Pass, the New York CityPASS or the New York Sightseeing Pass.

In the post The best tourist card in New York you have more information about the different tourist passes that exist in the Big Apple. I recommend you to take a look at it because I am sure it will help you to choose yours.

How does the Top of the Rock Tourist Card work?

When you go to the Top of the Rock with the tourist card that includes this attraction you will have to go to the ticket office to exchange it for a voucher. You will then be able to choose whether to access the observatory at the next available time or, if it suits you better, choose a date and time for another day. It's that simple!

Let's see all the tourist passes that allow you to climb the Top of the Rock

  • New York Explorer Pass
  • From $ 80
  • You will be able to climb the Top of the Rock
  • Access to over 80 attractions
  • Duration 60 days
  • Reservation
  • New York Pass
  • From $ 116
  • Climb to the Top of the Rock
  • Access to over 100 attractions
  • Duration from 1 to 10 days
  • Reservation
  • New York CityPASS
  • From $ 135
  • You will be able to climb the Top of the Rock
  • Access to 6 attractions
  • Duration 9 days
  • Reservation
  • New York Sightseeing Pass
  • From $ 141
  • You will be able to climb the Top of the Rock
  • Access to 100 attractions
  • Duration from 1 to 10 days
  • Reservation