Top of the Rock is an outstanding observation deck attracting 2.5 million visitors annually.
Guests can visit three floors of indoor and outdoor observation decks and admire the 360-degree views of New York’s skyline.
From the decks, one can see famous New York landmarks such as the Empire State Building, One World Trade Center, Chrysler Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, and more.
In this article, we explain everything you must know before buying Top of the Rock tickets.
Best Top of the Rock Tickets
# Top of the Rock tickets
# Top of the Rock Fixed Time Ticket
# Top of the Rock flexible time ticket
Table of contents
- What to see at the Top of the Rock
- Top of the Rock tickets
- Top of the Rock hours
- Observation decks
- Best time to visit Top of the Rock
- Waiting time at the Top of the Rock
- How long does Top of the Rock take
- Top of the Rock prices
- Top of the Rock discounts
- Views from Top of the Rock
- When to visit – night or day?
- Top of the Rock reviews
- How to reach Top of the Rock
- Things to do in Rockefeller Center
What to see at the Top of the Rock
Besides the amazing views of New York from the three observatories, there are six other must-see items at Top of the Rock.
Joie Chandelier is a fabulous chandelier made up of 14,000 Swarovski crystals hanging in 450 gorgeous cascading strands.
Since it is right at the entrance, it is the very first thing that attracts visitors.
The Joie Chandelier is the largest of its kind and was created by Swarovski exclusively for Top of the Rock.
The masterpiece soars three stories above the Grand Atrium Lobby, and when seen upside down, you will know that it is in the shape of 30 Rock.
One of the most amazing things to see at the Top of the Rock is the Mezzanine exhibit stretching through a long corridor into an open exhibit area.
Using fascinating photos, information, and artifacts, the Mezzanine Exhibit narrates the story of the planning and creation of Rockefeller Center.
The interactive Beam Walk is the re-construction of the iconic photo of construction workers taking a lunch break high above Manhattan.
At the Beam Walk, visitors can sit down and pose for a photo.
When you look down, you can see what those construction workers would have seen back in 1933 when they sat down to have their lunch on the beam.
It is not compulsory to purchase the tribute photo taken on the beam.
You reach this seat-less theatre after you cross the Mezzanine exhibit.
It shows a presentation on the history of the Rockefeller Centre and the NBC on a loop.
If the theatre is full, you must wait for 10 to 15 minutes since only a limited number of visitors can go through the elevators beyond this theatre.
If it isn’t crowded, you have the option of walking straight up to the elevators or staying to watch the presentation.
Sky Shuttle takes you 260 meters (850 feet) above sea level and is an elevator unlike any other.
Even though this ride to the 67th floor lasts less than a minute, it is something you are sure to remember forever.
Don’t forget to look up and see informative and historical pictures from the 1930s to the present.
Radiance Wall is a beautifully constructed area with glass-blown panels, crystal clusters, along with fiber-optic lighting.
If you look closely, you will spot tiny animals and crystal figurines hidden within the wall.
This exhibit is on the 67th floor is another Swarovski creation exclusively for Top of the Rock, making the trip much more enjoyable.
Top of the Rock tickets
Top of the Rock tickets includes access to all three observation decks in the 30 Rockefeller Plaza building.
The Interactive Beam Walk experience is also an inclusion.
These smartphone tickets get delivered to your email as soon as you make the purchase.
And on the day of your visit, you can skip the ticket counter line, walk up straight to the entrance and scan the Top of the Rock tickets from your mobile. No need to take printouts.
After exploring the iconic skyscrapers of Midtown Manhattan and Central Park, you get to collect a free city guide with discounts for other attractions.
Two types of tickets
You can either book a fixed time ticket or a flexible time ticket.
If you are sure about the time and date of your visit, you can book the fixed time Top of the Rock ticket.
If you are not sure when you will visit the observatory, it is better to book a flexible time ticket.
Locals prefer the flexible ticket because it allows them to plan their visit around the weather.
Adult ticket (13 to 61 years): $41
Senior ticket (62+ years): $38
Child ticket (6 to 12 years): $35
*Kids under six years of age can walk in for free.
Want to save up to 40% of ticket costs while holidaying in New York? Check out this combo ticket which includes access to TOTR.
Top of the Rock hours
Top of the Rock opens at 8 am and closes at midnight, all through the year.
The first elevator leaves for the observatories at 8 am, and the last elevator goes up at 11 pm.
Last entry is one hour before closing.
TOTR holiday hours
|Thanksgiving||8 am to midnight|
|Christmas Eve||8 am to 10 pm|
|Christmas Day||8 am to midnight|
|New Year’s Eve||8 am to 10 pm|
|New Year’s Day||10 am to 12.30 am|
At Top of the Rock, visitors can witness the glorious skyline of New York from the three observation decks on the 67th floor, 69th floor, and 70th floor.
These decks often get referred to as the Rockefeller Center Observation deck.
67th Floor Deck
To reach the 67th-floor deck, you have to ride the beautiful high-speed glass-ceiling elevator.
You take in fantastic New York City sights through the indoor deck at the height of 250 meters (820 feet).
This observational deck also has a beautiful Radiance Wall made up of Gossamer glass panels illuminated with fiber optic lighting and crystal clusters.
The iconic Beam Walk is also on this floor.
69th Floor Deck
At 256 meters (840 feet), the 69th floor is 16 meters (20 feet) higher than the 67th floor.
This observational deck also has a protective glass for the safety of the visitors.
The indoor galleries are climate controlled and offer warmth during cold winter days.
It has a fun outdoor deck known as ‘Breezeway’ where you are assigned a color that follows you through the entire floor.
70th Floor Deck
The 70th floor is the highest level at the Top of the Rock.
The high-speed, state-of-the-art elevator helps you reach the 70th floor in less than a minute.
The 70th floor is entirely outdoors, offering an unobstructed view of the New York City skyline from every vantage point possible.
If you are a photographer, you will love this deck.
You can also see the iconic Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, the Statue of Liberty, and the Brooklyn Bridge from this floor.
Not to mention the stunning views of the East River and the Hudson River. Book your tickets now
Best time to visit Top of the Rock
The best time to visit Top of the Rock is during sunset.
It would be best if you reached the attraction half an hour before sunset to give yourself enough time to reach the top of the observation area.
Besides stunning sunset views, you also get to enjoy the New York skyline in daylight and after the lights come on.
However, the hours between 3 pm and 8 pm, i.e., the sunset hours, are pretty busy with lots of visitors and even longer waiting lines.
If you are looking for a quiet time and want to avoid the crowd, visit Top of the Rock between 8 am to 11 am.
If you can’t make it to TOTR in the morning, the next best time to avoid the crowd is between 8 pm to 11 pm.
It is best to keep track of the weather while planning a trip to the Top of the Rock.
Important: Since weather can affect your experience at Top of the Rock observatory by reducing visibility, it is always better to buy Flexible Time & Date tickets.
Waiting time at the Top of the Rock
There are three kinds of waiting times at the Top of the Rock NYC.
Queuing up to buy tickets
If you haven’t already bought Top of the Rock tickets online, you must line up at the ticket counter.
This wait is usually 15 minutes long, and during peak season, it can be longer.
That’s why we always recommend you buy the tickets online, much in advance.
Waiting for your time slot to arrive
Every Top of the Rock ticket has a time mentioned on it – yes, they are timed tickets.
When you buy the tickets online in advance, you select your preferred time slot and know when to reach Top of the Rock.
However, if you decide to buy same-day tickets at the venue, you may not always get the immediate next time slot.
For instance, if you reach Top of the Rock at 2 pm and manage to buy the tickets which allow you entry only at 2.45 pm, you must wait for 45 minutes for your turn to come.
These wait times are dependent on the crowd.
During peak season and peak times, this waiting for your time slot can even extend to an hour.
Waiting time inside Top of the Rock
Once inside the New York observatory, you may have to stand in a queue on a few more occasions.
For instance, while going through security, while taking the official photograph, lining up to see a short film on Rockefeller Center, taking the next elevator, etc.
The good thing is, this waiting will only add up to 15 minutes or so.
You can’t do anything to reduce the waiting inside Top of the Rock.
However, to eliminate waiting at the ticketing counter and waiting for your time slot, it is better to buy Top of the Rock tickets online.
How long does Top of the Rock take
Tourists who have been to Top of the Rock say that 45 to 60 minutes is more than enough to enjoy the New York skyline from the observatory.
However, the time you take to reach the observatories varies depending on the crowd at the attraction.
You will need approximately 60-90 minutes to reach the viewing platforms during peak hours, making it a two-and-a-half-hour long experience.
During non-peak hours you need 30 minutes to reach the observatories, making it at max a one and half hour tour.
Top of the Rock prices
For visitors aged 13 to 61 years, Top of the Rock’s general admission ticket costs $41 per person.
For the same ticket, senior citizens above 61 years of age pay a discounted price of $ 38, and children between 6 to 12 years of age pay $ 35.
Kids five years and below can enter for free.
Top of the Rock discounts
At Top of the Rock, senior citizens above 61 years of age get about an 8% discount on the full ticket price and pay only $38 per person. Children between 6 to 12 years of age get a 15% reduction and $35.
There is only one other way to save money while visiting Top of the Rock – buy a discount card.
With discount cards, you can save up to 45% on ticket prices and skip the lines at most tourist spots.
If you are a first-time traveler to New York and want to see many tourist attractions without spending a lot of money, we suggest finding out more about these cards.
We recommend NYC Explorer Pass, New York Pass or CityPass.
– Top of the Rock vs Empire State Building
– One World Observatory vs Top of the Rock
Views from Top of the Rock
Top of the Rock’s observation decks offers 360-degree views of the New York City skyline.
However, the Rockefeller Centre’s views (yes, some refer to TOTR’s decks as Rockefeller Centre’s observation decks!) are best on days when the weather is clear.
The fantastic views you get to see from TOTR include the city’s most prominent landmarks, such as the Chrysler Building, Bank of America Tower, Flatiron Building, Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, etc.
You can even see the Empire State Building and One World Observatory – the other two observatories competing with Top of the Rock.
For best TOTR views
To enjoy the daytime, sunset, and nighttime views from TOTR’s decks, you must arrive just before sunset.
If you arrive early, you miss the night view – New York all lit up is fantastic to watch.
If you arrive, later you can’t see landmarks such as Central Park and New York City’s waterways in the dark because they don’t have artificial lighting.
Note: Unlike Empire State Building, Top of the Rock doesn’t have crisscrossing wiring on the observation deck for visitor’s safety. Instead, they use large glass panes as barriers, which makes the views even more appealing.
Buy one discount Pass and save up to 40% on ticket costs during your New York holiday. Buy New York Explorer Pass
When to visit – night or day?
When you visit Top of the Rock at night, Central Park is just a dark patch.
Since the green Central Park is an integral part of the view from Top of the Rock, we highly recommend a visit during the day.
If you want to see the New York skyline all glittering at night, we suggest visiting just before sunset.
You can then witness the City skyline during the daytime, see it change colors as the sun sets, and then watch in admiration as the lights come up one by one.
Top of the Rock reviews
Tourists have rated Top of the Rock very highly on Tripadvisor – 4.5 out of 5.
Here are two reviews we have handpicked, so you know if Top of the Rock is worth it.
I have been to the Empire State Building, but Top of the Rock was so beautiful! It was a quick ride up and had amazing views. It was SUPER cold so make sure you layer up if you go in the winter months. It was just a fun atmosphere and a bit cheaper than the Empire State Building. –AmberaK6016EJ, Athens, Georgia
Go a little before sunset and stay until it is dark. The views are great, and it is amazing to see how different the city looks at night versus day. We also enjoyed the beautiful hues of sunset. It can be very windy and cold on the outside viewing areas, so it is good to have a jacket or coat most of the year. There are inside sections too so you can stay in and still see good views. – MizzouLizard, State College, Pennsylvania
How to reach Top of the Rock
Top of the Rock is at the heart of Manhattan at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY.
30 Rockefeller Plaza is a skyscraper that forms the centerpiece of Rockefeller Center. Get Directions
Top of the Rock entrance
The main entrance to the building is on 50th Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.
On the Concourse level of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, you can find the second entrance to the building.
Depending on your starting location, there are various routes to get to Top of the Rock, NYC.
You can choose to board the B, D, F, or M train and reach the 47-50th Street Rockefeller Center Subway Station.
You can also reach the Rockefeller Center between Fifth and Sixth Avenues by boarding either the N, Q, or R train.
Reach the 49th Street Subway station and then walk East on 49th Street to reach your destination
If you take the 1 Train, get down at the 50th Street Subway Station and walk East on 50th Street to Rockefeller Center.
If 6 Train works best for you, get to the 51st Street station and walk West on 50th Street to reach the Rockefeller Center.
From Fifth Avenue (going South) or Madison Avenue (going North), board the M1, M2, M3, M4, or M5 bus and reach 50th Street.
Buses run North and South on this route.
From 49th Street
You can board the M 50 bus from 49th street and exit anywhere between Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue.
Buses run East and West in this route.
You can also take the M7 bus from Broadway.
Step down at 50th Street and reach Rockefeller Center by walking East.
Buses ply North and South.
Things to do in Rockefeller Center
Rockefeller Centre is a complex of buildings between 48th and 51st Streets and Fifth and Sixth Avenues.
It is one of New York City’s most significant entertainment spots and is a city within a city, with its tourist attractions, restaurants, shopping, etc.
Besides Top of the Rock, Rockefeller Centre NYC has many other exciting things to do for all age groups.
Rockefeller Centre Tour
Almost everybody who takes the Rockefeller Centre Tour rates it 5/5. Such is the charm of this skyscraper.
The interactive tour takes you on a fantastic journey to understand the rich history of Rockefeller Centre.
Particular emphasis is on the history behind the art and architecture of Rockefeller Center.
Official NBC Studios tour
If you ever wanted to know how your favorite TV shows get created, the Official NBC Studios tour is the best chance available.
This tour helps you get behind the scenes at NBC, America’s most iconic TV studios.
As part of the tour, you also get to see a lot of spots you must have seen on TV and films – for instance, the Central Park bridge featured in Home Alone 2, the fountain in Friends sitcom, etc.
The other two must-see attractions at Rockefeller Centre are the Channel Gardens and The Rink.
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