Top of the Rock Observation Deck: Cool Tips, Info and Review

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Top of the Rock is one of the most popular attractions in New York, located at the top of Rockefeller Center. You’ll experience a breathtaking and amazing unobstructed 360° view of every corner of Manhattan! One of the best NYC views.

Top of the Rock is a must if this is your first time in New York. On a clear day, you’ll get the best views of Central Park and the Empire State Building. A great place to take stunning pictures of the NYC skyline!

HOURS

Daily from 8am until Midnight, 7 days a week.

Last elevator up at 11:15pm.

Holiday Hours
  • Thanksgiving Day: Nov. 24, 8am-Midnight. Last elevator up at 11:10pm.
  • Christmas Eve: Dec. 24, 8am-10pm. Last elevator up at 9:10pm.
  • Christmas Day: Dec. 25, 8am-Midnight.Last elevator up at: 11:10pm
  • New Year’s Eve: Dec. 31, 8am-10pm. Last elevator up at 9:10pm.
TICKETS TO TOP OF THE ROCK

Click here to purchase your tickets online. Tickets can be purchased online 30 minutes or more in advance.

The last ticket is sold at 11pm at the box office.

Adults $34
Child 6-12 years old $28
Seniors $32

Yes, It’s pricey! Keep in mind that once you’re up, you can stay there as long as you want!

Military Discount: covers up to 5 people on the same military ID.

Ticket Packages

Sun & Stars: for an additional $15 per ticket you get to see Top of the Rock at 2 different times within 24hs. You can visit during the day and then come back to see the fantastic view at night.

Premier Pass: for an additional $5 per ticket you get a souvenir picture. Most people don’t think it’s worth it since the picture isn’t taken with the view at the top, it’s taken at the bottom floor.

Rock MoMa package: if you plan to go to the MoMa as well, you can purchase the RockMoMa ticket and save $7. Click here for more info. Keep in mind that MoMa is FREE on Fridays 4pm-8pm. Click here to know when are museums free.

Tips for purchasing tickets to Top of the Rock

Purchase your tickets in advance to reserve the time slot you want. Especially if you plan to go in peak season like Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Thanksgiving weekend or other peak times like sunset or weekends.

It’s better to purchase your tickets online to save time waiting in line on the day of the visit. Click here to buy online.

If you have a City Pass, you’ll need to exchange it for a ticket. Do it in advance to get the time slot you want and save time.

If you purchase your tickets on the day of the visit, keep in mind that immediate entry is not guaranteed and available times may be limited. You’ll need to wait for the next available time slot. Lots of times, you’re able to walk right in. But the waiting time can be about 45 minutes or maybe longer in peak season.

You may experience less lines or no lines at all if you go on weekday mornings.

LOCATION

Rockefeller Center: 30 Rockefeller Plaza. New York, NY 10112.

Main entrance: on 50th St. between 5th & 6th Avenues.

BEST TIME TO GO TO TOP OF THE ROCK

An hour before dusk. You get to see the view during the day (you’ll be able to see Central Park) and then all the city at night. Even though it’s the most crowded time to go up.

During Winter, going at 4pm works great because it gets dark around 5/5:30pm.

If you don’t want long lines, try going in the morning before 10:30am.

Most crowded times to go to Top of the Rock

Sunset is the most crowded time to go up.

From 2pm until sunset is typically more crowded than mornings.

Morning around 10:30am is also a popular time to go to Top of the Rock.

Popular times in Winter: 10:30am, 4pm-5:30pm & 11pm. 4-5pm is the most popular hour in Winter!

OBSERVATION DECKS

There are 3 viewing decks. The elevator takes you up to to the first observation deck on the 67th floor only.

67th FLOOR: The most crowded floor with big glass windows.

69th FLOOR: you need to take the stairs from the 67th floor.

70th FLOOR – THE TOP FLOOR: you need to take another staircase to get here. The higher the better. You’ll enjoy unobstructed views of Manhattan without the big glass windows. Yay! You’ll find some seats to sit down with a great view. The top floor is the less congested floor and has the best views.

Take your time on each floor. Remember that you can stay as long as you want! No rush.

There are restrooms up there!

How long do people stay on the observation decks?

Plan about 45 minutes to an hour to explore the views. Some people stay for 2 hours.

There’s no time limit once you’re up.

GOING UP TO TOP OF THE ROCK: THE PROCESS

Enter through the main doors of Rockefeller Center (at 30 Rockefeller Plaza), go down the stairs and follow the signs to the Top of the Rock area.

  • If you already have tickets, go straight to security check.
Lines to go up

Be patient! Goin up to Top of the Rock requires to go through many lines.

  • Line to purchase your ticket (if you didn’t buy yours already).
  • Line to go through security.
  • Line to get your picture taken (you can skip this line if you want!).
  • Line to get into the elevator that takes you up to the 67th floor: the first observation deck. Keep in mind that there are 2 more floors to go up!
  • And yes… one last line when you want to take the elevator to go down!
Time until you get to the top

It can take about 30-45 minutes to go though all the lines and security until you get to the top.

ONCE YOU’RE UP MAKE SURE YOU SEE…

The Empire State Building

Empire State Building NYC

Central Park

Top of the Rock with Central Park view NYC

Chrysler Building

Chrysler Building NYC

Times Square Area

times-square-from-the-top

TAKING PICTURES ON TOP OF THE ROCK
  • Make sure your phones and cameras are charged up for awesome photos!
  • You’ll find people on the observation decks who will take your pictures that you can purchase later on if you want. It’s pricey though… $30 for one picture and $40 for 3.
TOP OF THE ROCK TIPS

Check the weather the day you wanna go. Skip if the weather is bad. You can change your ticket for a later date and time.

Enjoy the experience without thinking that the ticket was expensive!

Expect lots of people. Be patient and don’t let the crowds and lines ruin your experience to Top of the Rock. Especially in peak season (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, Summer time).

Typically, it gets more busy during sunset and on weekends.

Weekday mornings are less crowded.

Bring a jacket. Even on a warm day, because it can get windy and cold at the top.

Going during Winter can be very cold. Make sure to bring your winter coat, gloves, scarf, hat and whatever you need to enjoy the experience staying as warm as possible!

Strollers are welcome at the top!

No restaurants or bars at the top. You’ll find food shops at the bottom of Rockefeller Center.

If you miss your time slot, you can get in the next available time slot only on that same day.

TOP OF THE ROCK vs. EMPIRE STATE BUILDING

In my opinion (and many people agree) Top of the Rock is better than the Empire State Building.

  • You get to see the Empire State Building from Top of the Rock!
  • The views from Top of the Rock are better. You get to truly see a 360-degree view of the entire Manhattan. You get to see more from Top of the Rock.
  • Top of the Rock views are less obstructed than the Empire State.
  • You can get better NYC pictures at Top of the Rock because it’s not as high as the Empire State Building and because you can take a picture of the Empire State Building with a memorable view of the NYC skyline.
DAY vs. NIGHT

It’s tough picking one over the other because both are fantastic!

Daytime
  • You can see Central Park during the day. At night you’ll see a black patch of nothing.
Night time
  • The city lights are amazing at night! Try to see both views if you can: day and night.
  • The night is less crowded than the afternoon but you won’t be able to see Central Park at night, except if you go a little before sunset and stay up there until you can see the city at night.
  • It gets cooler at night.

Hope you have a wonderful experience at Top of the Rock!

@NewYorkerTips


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Jesica Levi

I’m an actress and pop singer born in Argentina. I came to NYC to pursue my dream and I feel I’m living it every day. New York is magic and you have to be open to everything, because you never know who is seating right next to you on the subway or behind you in the line of the super market. I decided to create this blog about NYC because I realized how many powerful tips would have helped me if I knew them before from someone who was living in the city! So I thought that it would be awesome to share with you some tips about New York from a New Yorker. You can read more about me at http://www.jesicalevi.com
I’m going to keep updating this blog so stay tuned :)

2 thoughts on “Top of the Rock Observation Deck: Cool Tips, Info and Review

  • August 22, 2017 at 3:08 am
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    That is a smart way of thinking about it. I was talking to my mom on Thursday when I discovered your site. A BIG hello from Minnesota! Do you have videos on the subject? Certainly a lot of info to take into consideration.

    Reply
    • September 15, 2017 at 5:32 pm
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      Hi and thank you so much! Videos will be coming soon 😉

      Reply

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