The soul of New York resides in the skyscrapers that dot its skyline. Viewing them from a height gives us a unique and exciting view of them. It is truly awe-inspiring to be up there and feel time stand still before our eyes.
The Top of the Rock is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the Big Apple, so I advise you to buy tickets in advance to avoid long lines at the ticket office. Another option is to buy a New York Pass that includes the Top of the Rock.
The most famous skyscraper of them all is undoubtedly the Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center. For me, it is the one with the best view and the most recommended by travelers. Not only do you have the best panoramic view of New York, but you will be able to see Central Park and Manhattan in all its glory. With this Admission to Top of the Rock you can visit its three observation decks on the 67th, 69th and 70th floors to see the fabulous New York skyline.
Why I like this option: The big advantage of this ticket, in my opinion, is that it offers a flexible schedule, meaning the visit time is not limited to the date you originally chose, but you can schedule it depending on the weather conditions of the day. Also, if the activity cannot be done on the selected date due to weather, another date and time will be offered.
Recommended if... you want to secure your ticket in advance, but without giving up the flexibility to go up and visit at the time of day that suits you best.
New York City Sightseeing Cards that include the climb to the Top of the Rock
To get the most out of your trip to New York, you can purchase a tourist pass that gives you access to the most important museums, monuments, and attractions in the City of Skyscrapers. Buying one of these passes has several benefits, but the main one is that you'll save money and time if used correctly, as you won't have to buy individual tickets for each place you visit. The New York City sightseeing passes that include access to Top of the Rock are:
But which one should you choose?
It may seem like the million dollar question, but the most important thing to keep in mind is that there are two types of New York passes: by number of attractions and by number of days. Finding the perfect pass depends on the type of trip you want to take in New York and your budget. In my Practical Guide to New York Tourist Passes, I'll help you pick the right one for you. Try it out!
Where to find the Top of the Rock and how to get there
Top of the Rock is located at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112. It can be reached by subway; the nearest station is 47th-50th Street Rockefeller Center (B, D, F and M). The entrance to Top of the Rock is on 50th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues.
Top of the Rock Opening Hours
Open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day of the week. First elevator leaves at 11 a.m. and last elevator leaves at 6:10 p.m. Opening hours may change on holidays.
How do I get to the Top of the Rock observation deck once I'm at the building?
The main entrance to Rockefeller Center's Top of the Rock is located on 50th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues, marked Top of The Rock - Observation Deck with a large rolled out carpet showing access.
Whether you have purchased your ticket online or a tourist ticket that includes access to the observation deck, you will need to go to the ticket booths so the staff can exchange your voucher for an original ticket. Once there, you'll see that there are two lines, one for visitors who didn't buy the ticket in advance and don't have a New York Pass, and another quicker line for those who do.
The Top of The Rock observation deck stands at a height of 853 feet at the top of the building 30 Rockefeller Plaza, between the 67th and 70th floors. In addition to the observatory, it also houses offices and the headquarters of the NBC television station, whose store is located on the first floor. Visiting the Top of the Rock is not limited to taking an elevator up to the observation deck to watch the New York skyline, but is a much more complete and amazing experience.
Your adventure begins in the Grand Atrium Lobby, where you can admire the fantastic Joie Chandelier, a Swarovski crystal chandelier made by Michael Hammers for the reopening of the Top of The Rock, which took place in 2005 after it had been closed for decades.
When is the best time to climb Top of the Rock?
The views are sensational at any time of day. Many prefer to visit at sunset to watch the sun go down as the city gradually fills with lights - it's a magical feeling!
However, this is also the time when the crowd is at its highest, plus the ticket costs an extra $ 10. So if you want to enjoy this experience in a more intimate way and save money, it's best to go up from early morning to noon. Having Top of the Rock almost to yourself is a real treat.
How long does it take to see Top of the Rock?
Normally the whole experience takes about 2 hours, but once you are up there is no time limit so you can stay and take as many photos as you want.
Ticket prices at the box office to go up Top of the Rock
- Adults $38
- Seniors (62+) $36
- Children (6-12 years old) $32
- Children under 6 admitted free
Continue inside Mezzanine Exhibit, an interesting exhibit about the Rockefeller family, Rockefeller Center and the observation deck itself. All the information on display is very interesting, but did you know that the iconic photo "Lunch atop a skyscraper" was taken here? Maybe the title doesn't ring a bell, but I'm sure you remember the picture showing a group of workers having lunch on a steel beam hovering suspended 853 feet above the ground on the 69th floor of 30 Rock.
If you go up Top of the Rock, you can also mimic this photography with a service that is offered at the building in which they digitally recreate the original photo with you in it. This is not included in the price of admission.
The elevators of the building
Now it is time to climb to the Top of the Rock. To do so, you'll need to enter one of the four Sky Shuttles, a state-of-the-art elevator that will take you to the height of 656 feet of the 67th floor in less than a minute. What's more, when the elevator doors close, the lights go out and a short but entertaining video is projected onto the elevator's ceiling.
The 67th floor observatory
This floor is almost completely enclosed, but there are good views from the exterior windows and terraces. It's also home to the gift shop and a few fun entertainments like the Breezeway room with LED lights that move as you walk by, and the Radiance Wall, another work by artist Michael Hammers.
Take the opportunity to snap a few photos, but don't dawdle: the good stuff is a little farther up. Look for the escalators leading to the top floor.
The observatory on the 69th floor
On this floor is an open-air observation deck from which you can take in the New York skyline with a 360-degree view. From here you can get an idea of how incredibly tall these skyscrapers are and you can see the north (Harlem, Central Park, etc.) and the south of the city (Midtown, the Financial District, etc.).
But there's more! The last stop at the Top of the Rock is one floor up after you climb the last staircase.
The observatory on the 70th floor
This floor is the cherry on the cake. With no glass or other elements to obstruct the view, this platform makes you feel like you're standing on the top of the World. Everything seems huge and small at the same time. Absolutely wonderful.
Get to know Rockefeller Center: a bit of history
The Top of the Rock is located at Rockefeller Center, a huge complex in Midtown that consists of 19 buildings that occupies several blocks between 5th Ave and 6th Ave. Its construction dates back to the Great Depression when John D. Rockefeller Junior set out to revitalize Midtown by creating the largest square in New York. However, his initial plans coincided with the Crash of '29, which caused many investors to pull out.
The Rockefellers stood alone in front of the project and, despite this setback, redirected it into the construction of a huge Art Deco-style commercial and office complex in the heart of Manhattan that employed more than 40,000 workers between 1930 and 1937, some very difficult years. Today it has become a symbol in New York and its facilities include restaurants, bars, shops, offices, theaters, television studios and the Top of the Rock observation deck.
Other interesting skyscrapers in New York City
If you're in the mood to see the city from above, you're in luck, as New York offers plenty of options for visitors and locals alike. Be sure to read my articles on Empire State Building Tickets, One World Observatory Tickets and Tours, The Edge and The Vessel to test your fear of heights.
- Empire State
- From $ 45
- Observatory: Outdoor
- Floor: 86
- Views: Chrysler Building, Rockefeller Center, 5th Avenue and from afar One World Building
- Location: Midtown Manhattan
- Top of the Rock
- From $ 42
- Observatory: open air
- Floor: 70
- Views: Empire State, Central Park and from a distance One World Building
- Location: Midtown Manhattan
- One World Observatory
- From $ 35
- Observatory: interior
- Floor: 102
- Views: Wall Street, Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge and Empire State Building
- Location: Southern Manhattan
- Book now
- The Edge
- From $ 41
- Observatory: Outdoor and glass floor
- Floor: 110
- Views: Empire State, Midtown and from afar One World Building
- Location: Manhattan West
- Book now
Frequently asked questions
Where is New York's Top of the Rock?
Top of the Rock is in reference to the observation decks of the Rockefeller Center. It is a prime location to see many of New York's landmarks and Skyscrapers, including The Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building and the One World Observatory.
How long can I stay at Top of the Rock?
While the average visit lasts an hour, you can actually stay and explore all 3 observation decks for as long as you like.
When is the best time to visit Top of the Rock?
Your experience at Top of the Rock depends more on the weather than the time, as you'll see much more during a clear sunny day. That being said catching the sunset itself over New York and the Hudson River is one of the best ways to see New York.