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Top Of The Rock In New York – A Complete Guide

Offering 360 degree views over New York City, Top of the Rock observation deck is located at the top of the Rockefeller Center in New York. Here is a complete guide.

How To Get To Top Of The Rock

Top of the Rock observation deck is situated at the top of the Rockefeller Center, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10020.

On Foot

The main entrance to Top of the Rock is located on 50th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.

You will find the entrance on the south side of the street, marked by a large red carpet.

Bus

The closest public bus stop is West 50th Street/Avenue of the Americas.

Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour

If you take the Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour you’ll want to jump off at Stop 35 (Rockefeller Plaza).

Subway

The closest Subway station is 47th-50th Streets – Rockefeller Center Station.

For those short on time, or that prefer everything to be organised for them, there are some awesome tours on Get Your Guide available to book in advance.

Top Of The Rock Entrance Fee

Top of the Rock operates on a timed ticketing system and you can book your Top of the Rock Observation Deck Ticket in advance.

This flexible date ticket allows you to plan your visit around the weather.

Adults: $40

Seniors: $38

Children (aged 6 -12 years): $34

Tours of the Rockefeller Center cost an extra $27.

For all tourists visiting New York we recommend purchasing either the New York: Go City Explorer Pass with 95+ Tours & Attractions or the New York CityPASS®: Save 40% at 5 Top Attractions.

These are a great way of saving money when visiting multiple tourist attractions during your stay in New York.

Both include:

  • Top Of The Rock
  • Empire State Building
  • Statue of Liberty
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • 9/11 Memorial and Museum
  • And many more!
Top Of The Rock Entrance New York
The stairway to the elevator at Top Of The Rock entrance.

Top Of The Rock Opening Times

Top of the Rock is open every day, all year round.

Monday – Sunday: 9am to 11pm.

Last entry is at 10:10pm.

In the event of extreme weather conditions, some areas of the observation deck may be closed to the public for safety reasons.

However, one of the three floors of the observatory is almost completely closed in by glass and you can still get excellent views from here.

Top Of The Rock Entrance New York
The first floor, full of information.

Best Time To Visit Top Of The Rock

If you are looking to visit the observation deck without too many people around, you’re probably best visiting early in the morning on a weekday.

Try and visit on a clear day, if possible, for the best views.

Sunset from Top of the Rock is spectacular and very popular with tourists, so get there early to get a good spot if that’s your thing!

If you plan to visit in the evening it can get very cold so wrap up warm.

There is an additional $10 charge for visiting at sunset.

What To Pack

Photography Camera

Tripod

Day Bag

Power Bank

Reusable Water Bottle

Sunscreen

Lightweight Rain Jacket

Top Of The Rock New York
Arriving at the Top Of The Rock observation deck.
Top Of The Rock New York
Lauren taking a video from the observation deck.

Top Of The Rock History

Top of the Rock observation deck was the first attraction to open to the public when the RCA (Radio Corporation of America) building (30 Rockefeller Plaza) debuted in 1933.

The three-tiered deck at the summit of the landmark 70-story skyscraper, was designed in homage to the mighty ocean liners that sailed the Atlantic to New York. 

30 Rockefeller Plaza is a skyscraper that forms the centrepiece of Rockefeller Center in the midtown Manhattan neighbourhood of New York City. 

The Rockefeller Center was designed in the Art Deco style by Raymond Hood, Rockefeller Center’s lead architect.

In addition to the Top of the Rock observation deck, 30 Rockefeller Plaza contains offices, studios and the Rainbow Room restaurant.

Since the late 1990’s National Broadcasting Company has owned most of the lower floors. Tishman Speyer (an American company that invests in real estates) has operated the rest of the building.

The Rockefeller family’s office took up room 5600 on the entire 56th floor.  Furthermore the family’s Rockefeller Foundation took up the entire floor below.

By 1937, there were 392 employees of room 5600. After World War II, Room 5600 comprised the entire 54th through 56th floors.

The family moved out during 2014 when the building was extensively renovated. This space was then occupied by Rockefeller Family and Associates.

Visitors to Room 5600 have included Frank Sinatra, Shirley MacLaine, Nelson Mandela, Richard Gere, and Bono.

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All smiles from the top of NYC.
Top Of The Rock Observation Deck New York
The view from the 70th floor is like a movie scene.

The Famous ‘Lunch atop a Skyscraper’ Photo

Top Of The Rock is also where the famous ‘Lunch atop a Skyscraper‘ photograph was taken.

The photo was taken on September 20, 1932, on the 69th floor of the RCA Building and depicts 11 men eating lunch, seated on a girder with their feet dangling 840 feet (260 meters) above the New York City streets.

It was later admitted that the photo was in fact prearranged, rather than caught ‘naturally’. There was a floor beneath the girder and the camera operator used trickery of angles to make the shot look a lot more dangerous than it was.

Although the people in frame were in fact real ironworkers, who agreed to stage the image to help promote the Rockefeller Center’s new skyscraper.

The destination is now certainly one of the most Instagrammable places in New York. However, don’t expect to recreate this photo!

Top Of The Rock Famous Photo New York
The famous ‘Lunch atop a Skyscraper’ photo.

What To Expect At Top Of The Rock

We visited Top of the Rock on the first evening we arrived in NYC and it’s top of most peoples things to do in New York list for a reason!

It will give you the most spectacular, unobstructed 360 degree views of the New York City skyline.

The views stretch out from the heart of midtown Manhattan to New York harbour, Central Park, as well as the Hudson River and beyond.

Standing at 850 feet (260m) high with three observation decks is what gives Top of the Rock its unparalleled views across New York.

Directly in front of you you’ll find The Empire State Building, as well as SUMMIT One Vanderbilt, and One World Observatory and the Statue Of Liberty in the distance.

An elevator will take you up to the first observation deck on the 67th floor. Following this you can continue up to the other two decks on the 69th and 70th floor by foot.

The first observation deck includes the Radiance Wall and the gift shop. The breathtaking Radiance Wall was created by Swarovski and comprises of glass panels, blown glass, crystal clusters as well as fiberoptic lighting.

The gift shop has an array of beautiful souvenirs and gifts, as well as Christmas decorations and ornaments featuring the iconic ‘Men on a beam’ photograph.

Top Of The Rock New York
In front: The Empire State Building and One World Trade Center in the far distance.
Central Park Top Of The Rock New York
Behind: Central Park.
Top Of The Rock Gift Shop New York
Lauren exploring the gift shop.

Outside Observation Decks

The second observation deck is entirely outdoors, with glass screens to keep visitors safe. (There are camera-sized gaps so the glass won’t ruin your snaps.)

The third observation deck, on the 70th floor, is completely open air. It’s almost like a raised plinth for uninterrupted views across the New York skyline.

The vistas from Top of the Rock will take your breath away at any time of the day. However, watching the sun going down, followed by the city lighting up, is truly spectacular.

We opted for the sunset slot, which meant we saw the city transition from daylight, to dusk, to dark.

Make sure to charge your camera batteries, because you won’t find a more picturesque skyline in your lifetime.

It was certainly our favourite of the viewpoints in New York we visited (we visited a lot) and seeing the city light up on our first evening in the big apple was a memorable start to the trip!

Next up on the New York itinerary, the following morning, was Madame Tussauds!

Top Of The Rock Observation Deck New York
Two little tourists in the big apple.
Top Of The Rock New York
A moment to remember!
Top Of The Rock New York
The best view of New York available from a view point.
Top Of The Rock At Night New York
The city at night not long after sunset.

Where To Stay In New York

Luxury

The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park

This Manhattan hotel in Midtown overlooks Central Park and is within walking distance of Fifth Avenue and Rockefeller Center.

Free cable and a bathrobe are provided in every room at the New York Central Park Ritz-Carlton. All rooms are elegant, with wood furniture and light colors. Many rooms also include a city or park view.

La Prairie Spa at the Ritz-Carlton New York Central Park offers massage and facial services, as well as a sauna. Guests can also work out in the state-of-the-art fitness center.

The 57th street subway station is just 2 blocks away, providing easy access to the city. Radio City Music Hall and the Broadway Theatre District are also both within 1 mile of the hotel.

Mid-Budget

citizenM New York Times Square

Located right in the heart of Manhattan, this hotel is just 1 minute’s walk from Times Square. It’s also within 5 minutes’ walk of Central Park and Columbus Circle.

A flat-screen TV and a small refrigerator with free water are available in citizenM’s rooms. Bathrooms include Hansgrohe rain showers and oversized bathroom amenities.

With the room iPad, all guests can control room lights, black-out blinds, curtains and temperature. As well as TV and radio channels.

Free high-speed Wi-Fi and express check in are on offer at citizenM New York Times Square.

Three outdoor terraces are provided at the New York Times Square citizenM. They feature a state-of-the-art fitness centre with yoga facilities.

After working out, guests can relax with drinks and sweeping views of the city on the exclusive rooftop bar.

Budget

Central Park West Hostel

Located in New York City’s Upper West Side, this hostel is a block from the 86th street underground station and 2 blocks from Central Park. It offers Wi-Fi and staff-organized events.

A shared kitchen, café area, and spacious lounge with a flat-screen TV are part of the facilities at the FIT Hotel. Lockers are also provided in the dormitory rooms and luggage storage is available.

The front desk of this New York City hostel is open 24 hours a day. It features daily housekeeping and free linens.

Times Square is only 10 minutes via underground journey.

For more places to stay in New York, you can check the latest prices on Booking.com.

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