Top of the Rock View in NYC in winter

How to Visit the Top of the Rock Guide + Money Saving Tips!

In Guides, New York, See & Do by Megan ILeave a Comment

Planning on visiting the Top of the Rock observation deck and looking for tips to help you plan your visit? If so, this guide to New York City’s Top of the Rock has got you covered to one of the most famous NYC experiences and attractions available!

Top of the Rock is an observation deck at the top of the famous Rockefeller Center. New York City’s Top of the Rock offers a great view of Manhattan and iconic NYC attractions including the Empire State Building and Central Park! And in my opinion, this observation deck has the best view of the Empire State Building.

This three-tier observation deck is on the 67th, 69th, and 70th floors of 30 Rockefeller Plaza. On the 70th floor, you’ll have a panoramic view of the entire city that is 850 feet above the ground! Visiting Top of the Rock will give you access to some of the best views in the city not to mention great photo opportunities!

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Where is the Top of the Rock

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in Manhattan NYCRockefeller Center’s Top of the Rock is in the Diamond District of Midtown Manhattan at 30 Rockefeller Center Plaza between 5th and 6th Avenue, one of the most popular areas for tourists to visit in NYC year-round.

Top of the Rock is near other iconic NYC landmarks like the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, and Times Square to name a few.

Using the New York City subway is one of the fastest ways to get to New York City’s Top of the Rock!

The B, D, F, and M trains stop at 47th-50th Streets at Rockefeller Center Station. Once you get off at this station, you’ll have to walk less than 3 blocks to get to the building! 

If you can’t take a B, D, F, or M train, you can also take the 1 train to the stop at 50th Street Station. You can then walk over to Rockefeller Center between 5th and 6th Avenue.

Another subway that you can take is the 6 train. Once it stops at 51st Street Station, you can walk west on 50th Street, and you’ll eventually hit Rockefeller Center.

Lastly, you can also take the N, Q, or R trains to New York City’s Top of the Rock. If you’re taking one of these trains, you can stop at 49th Street Station and walk east on 49th Street. Then, once you’re in between 5th and 6th Avenue, you’ll hit Rockefeller Center.

While visiting Top of the Rock, keep in mind that the main entrance is on 50th Street between 5th and 6th Avenue. On the south side of the street, you’ll see a large red carpet outside the building to mark the official entrance! Once you’re there, you’ll go through a security checkpoint and be let in shortly after showing the staff your tickets. 

Another significant landmark is 30 Rockefeller, also known as 30 Rock! Ahem, the TV series fans! This tall skyscraper forms the middle of Rockefeller Center and is the setting for the popular sitcom 30 Rock. It is also home to NBC Studios including where Saturday Night Live is taped, the Rockefeller Center’s Christmas tree and ice skating rink around the holiday season, as well as shops surrounding the area.

So before or after your visit to Top of the Rock, you can easily spend more time right around here sightseeing and if you’re here in the holiday season plan a visit around some of the most famous NYC Christmas lights and displays!

Top of the Rock Tickets

look through to see the empire state building from top of the rock in manhattan nyc

It’s best to purchase a ticket online before visiting the Top of the Rock. New York City’s Top of the Rock offers three main ticket types. These Top of the Rock tickets come in three categories: general admission, the express pass, and the VIP ticket.

Top of the Rock Tickets: General Admission

Getting general admission to Top of the Rock will give you access to the three different observation decks. From the 70th-floor observation deck, you’ll have access to the famous Top of the Rock view of the city for as long as you want!

You’ll also have access to all of the indoor and outdoor areas of all three observation decks. The general admission tickets range depending on time of day.

Top of the Rock Tickets: Express Pass

The express pass for Top of the Rock allows you to get immediate entry, priority elevator access, and special VIP viewing areas that will enable you to see more than just the famous Top of the Rock view. You’ll also get shopping discounts in the stores! These tickets start at $65 per person.

Top of the Rock Tickets: VIP Ticket

The $95 VIP ticket for Top of the Rock will give you a VIP experience that features advanced admission to all three floors of the observatory! You’ll also get to use the private elevators throughout the building and have the option to take part in a private tour of Top of the Rock. The VIP ticket will give you an experience unlike any other Top of the Rock tickets out there since it includes a tour.


Alternatively, you can purchase a discount voucher that gets you into multiple NYC attractions for a fraction of the price if you plan on doing multiple activities on your trip to save money and hundreds of dollars! This is a great way to enjoy NYC on a budget and still get to see some of the city’s most famous attractions.

All you have to do is pick which attraction pass is best for your visit, make a one time purchase, and then the attractions are free or included in your pass!

CityPASS offers a 3 attraction pass or a 6 attraction pass with over 12 city attractions to choose from including the Top of the Rock. Using this pass instead of buying individual tickets can save up to 35% equaling hundreds of dollars in savings.

Another great option is the New York Pass which you can purchase anywhere from a 1 Day Pass to a 10 Day Pass that gets you into over 100 attractions. Once you purchase your New York Pass you download the Go City app and use that to get into the popular NYC attractions as well as some hidden gems.

Using New York Pass instead of buying individual attraction tickets can save you hundreds of dollars and up to 45% savings on popular attractions including free admission to the Top of the Rock!

See our full breakdown of the New York Pass and our breakdown of the New York CityPASS to see if it’s worth it for your visit to save hundreds of dollars on multiple attractions!

Top of the Rock Observation Decks

view of Empire State Building from Top of the Rock Observation Deck in NYC

The Top of the Rock views can be seen from three different levels. Each of these floors has an observation deck where you can enjoy a unique view!

The first observation deck includes the Radiance Wall. Created by Swarovski, the Radiance Wall is a wall made of crystal clusters and glass panels. This indoor exhibit is a great way to start your visit! This floor also includes the gift shop.

The second observation deck is entirely outdoors. This deck features the Breezeway, a room where you will be assigned a color, and that color will follow you throughout the entire exhibit! 

The third observation deck is located on the 70th floor and is entirely outdoors. Here, you’ll get unobstructed 360-degree views on an open-air roof deck. Unlike the other two observation decks, this floor is free of glass enclosures, making it great for photos! This is the best way to experience the famous Top of the Rock view. 

Before going up to any of the observation decks on the Sky Shuttle, you’ll reach the Theatre! The Theatre at the top of the Rock has a short video presentation that will teach you more about the history of both NBC and Rockefeller Center. 

On your way up, you’ll also have the chance to stop at the Mezzanine Exhibit. The Mezzanine Exhibit is filled with fascinating information about Rockefeller Center. Here, you’ll find photos and artifacts about John D. Rockefeller and the creation of Rockefeller Center Top of the Rock!

Tips for visiting the Top of the Rock

view of empire state building from top of the rock observatory in nyc

View from Top of the Rock

Visited by over 3 million people each year, Rockefeller Center Top of the Rock is one of the most popular attractions in New York City. If you want to beat the crowds, it’s best to avoid weekends if your schedule allows for it.

It’s also a good idea to avoid peak seasons such as the rush during the Christmas holiday season.

Spring is an excellent season since it tends to be a time with fewer tourists in the area! This will also give you a better Top of the Rock view that remains unobstructed by the crowds. 

Visiting New York City’s Top of the Rock typically takes 45 minutes to 1 hour typically. This is how long it will take if you plan to see the observation deck, Top of the Rock, and all of the exhibits.

However, if you buy a ticket, there is no time limit to how long you can stay, just make sure to check the hours to take the last elevator down to the first floor! Typically, Top of the Rock is opened 12 hours a day from 10 AM-10 PM. However, their hours do differ during holidays! 

Both Rockefeller Center & Top of the Rock are wheelchair accessible and ADA compliant. Power-assist doors are located at the main entrance on 50th Street.

All short films and audio sections of the exhibits come with printed transcripts for those who want one.

Elevators are available on all floors of Rockefeller Center, and all public restrooms are wheelchair accessible. Service dogs are welcome in all areas of Rockefeller Center, and strollers are also welcomed as long as they are collapsible. 

Other Attractions at Rockefeller Center

view of Empire State Building through the window at Top of the Rock in NYC

A great Top of the Rock restaurant to check out is Rainbow Room! This upscale restaurant is on the 65th floor of Rockefeller Center and is known for its outstanding views! Although this Top of the Rock restaurant isn’t technically part of the observation deck, it is part of the same building and is a great way to end the night or start your tour!

It’s a good idea to make reservations to ensure that you have a spot. They also offer lots of pre-fixe menus that come with entertainment. Typically, eating here will cost around $100-$175 per person. 

Another great way to get the most out of your visit to Top of the Rock is to take a tour of Rockefeller Center. In this tour, a guide leads the guests through the Rockefeller Center buildings and landmarks. While seeing each part of the building, you’ll be able to learn more about John D. Rockefeller center and the architecture of the skyscraper itself! You’ll also have access to many famous murals and sculptures from famous artists.

If you go during winter, you’ll be taken to the Channel Gardens, the world-famous skating rink! You’ll also be able to enjoy other seasonal offerings like the Saks Fifth Avenue light display that happens right across from the skating rink. You’ll also be able to see the massive tree near the skating rink and other holiday festivities happening nearby. 

Rockefeller Center is located just off of Fifth Avenue, making it a great shopping hub! Popular stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, UNIQLO, Anthropologie, and Nordstrom are nearby. There are also many excellent dining opportunities nearby, including Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar, The Capital Grille, and Osteria del Bianco. 


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