Those dreaming of the ideal American dream may not need an introduction to the legendary Rockefeller Centre. With sweeping panoramic views and the marvellous architecture that makes it one of the most iconic buildings in New York, the centre is home to 19 commercial buildings that stretch out over a whopping 22 acres. In fact, a visit to New York may as well be proclaimed incomplete without a visit to The Top of The Rock — the observatory, situated on the 70th floor of the building. The Top of the Rock observation deck promises a sense of calm that prevails far away from the buzz of the city that never stops. People from all around the world find themselves falling in love with the American skyline on top of this captivating observatory. The views from on top of the Rock are also considered to be one of the best sights in New York City.
Quick Jumplinks to Navigate the Guide
- Rockefeller Center History
- Top of the Rock Tickets
- Experience & View from Top of the Rock
- Visit Rockefeller Center - Things to do
- Comparing One World Observatory, Empire State Building & Top of the Rock
- Top of The Rock - All You Need To Know
- Top of The Rock Reviews
- Top of The Rock - Insider Tips
Rockefeller Center History
The massive complex is more than just an architectural marvel. A brainchild of John D. Rockefeller, a renowned philanthropist, the Rockefeller centre began constructing in 1931 with an aim to be a ‘city within a city’. This historic landmark also played a significant role in employing over 40,000 people during the Great Depression.
After being completed in 1939, the complex consisted of buildings as well as some of the very first skyscrapers in New York City. John D. Rockefeller had a dream to establish the complex as the hub of culture, entertainment and art, and today the Rockefeller Centre is boasts all of that and more. With a fully functional skating rink, shopping arcades and many Television offices that call themselves a part of the centre, the centre remains one of the most sought after attraction in New York even today.
Top of The Rock Tickets
Experience & View from Top of the Rock
A typical visit to The Top of the Rock in the Rockefeller centre would consist of serene moments that take in the glorious views of the New York skyline. Upon arriving at the Rockefeller plaza, you are greeted by the Joei Chandelier, a specially crafted Swarovski chandelier comprising 14,000 crystals, stretching to a height of 3 stories above the Grand Atrium Lobby. From here, walk to the Mezzanine Exhibit that takes you through interesting stories, facts and artefacts of the Rockefeller Center and interesting details behind construction of Top of the Rock. Once you go through the security check, stop by the Theatre and watch a short documentary on the history of the Rockefeller Center and NBC studios. After the video, you are ushered into the Sky Shuttle, a high-speed summit elevator that ferries you 850 feet high in less than a minute.
Top the Rock Observation Decks
There are 3 decks on different levels at the Rockefeller Center. The first deck on the 67th Floor has a Radiance Wall crafted with pristine glass panels, blown glass, crystal clusters and fiber optic lighting making it truly radiant! Make sure to look for tiny animal figurines hidden amongst the design. Look out for the Beam Walk here, the fabled picture of workers eating lunch on the steel beam during the construction of the Rockefeller Center. Learn more about this iconic photo and a lot more about the history of the Rockefeller Center.The second deck on the 69th floor features the Breezeway, an outdoor deck that is entertaining and fascinating all at once. As soon as you step into the Breezeway, you will be assigned a colour and that colour will follow you through the room. A definite favourite amongst kids! The third deck on the 70th floor is entirely outdoor and glass free making it a photographer’s paradise. Here, you come face to face with New York's’ iconic buildings like the Empire State building, the Chrysler building, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty amongst a few. While the unmatched beauty of New York’s skyline can be enjoyed anytime, a visit during the evenings is most likely to give you a glimpse of a stellar sunset upon the maximum city.
Visit Rockefeller Center - Things to do
Rockefeller Centre attracts a swarm of crowd every year not just because of the Top Of The Rock Observation deck, but because there’s a lot within the complex that you can enjoy as a family or in a group. Here are a couple of attractions that we recommend along with your Top of the Rock ticket:
Rockefeller Centre Tour
Embark on an extraordinary journey to discover the rich history behind the architectural marvel, that is considered to be one of the most iconic buildings of New York. The journey takes you through John D. Rockefeller Jr’s vision from 80 years ago to what it has become today in an interactive tour.
The Channel Gardens
Take a refreshing stroll around the verdant and lush Channel Gardens, that bloom within the Rockefeller Centre. The beauty of this garden is admired by many-a-tourists as well as locals who visit to enjoy the colourful tulips as well as a weeping willow forest amongst many other plant installations.
The Rink at Rockefeller Centre
Considered as one of New York’s most celebrated attractions, The Rink at the Rockefeller Centre is one such treat that everyone can enjoy. Whether you’re looking for a wintertime experience or simply wanting to take in the energy amongst all, the rink will leave you with fond memories to take back home.
Tour at NBC Studios
Ever wanted to find out how your favourite television shows worked? The Tour at NBC Studios provides you an all-exclusive chance to check out some of the behind-the-scene access of your favourite shows. Some of which include The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live with Seth Meyers and several others.
Comparing Top of the Rock, One World Observatory & Empire State Building
With New York being the epicentre of several important sights and sounds, it only makes sense to visit more than one observatories to get the best of what it has to offer. However, with the shortage of time and outflow of money, it can get cumbersome to pick out the one that suits your schedule the best. Here we compare some of the most popular observatories in New York City, and what you should consider before making your pick:
One World Observatory
Empire State Building
Top of the Rock
|Standard Ticket Inclusions|| Access to all installations in Tower and the Observation Deck |
| Access to ESB 86th Floor Observatory + Skip-the-line; Flexible tickets (valid for 1 year) |
| Access to the observation decks on floors 67, 69 and 70 + Flexible tickets (valid for 6 months) |
Panoramic views of New York’s important landmarks through indoor viewing
View of New York City but through bars and glass obstructions
Unobstructed view of the entire New York City Skyline and Manhattan
285 Fulton Street
350 5th Ave
Tallest Observatory in NY and a 360 virtual rendition of New York + Interactive elevator ride
Largest indoor as well as outdoor viewing section
Best views of the New York city as per popular vote
No open-air observatory
Longest queues in New York
The Rockefeller Centre can get confusing for first time visitors
Top Of The Rock - All You Need To Know
Top of The Rock Hours
Top of The Rock is open 7 days a weekDaily Hours - 8:00 AM to 12:00 AM (Last elevator up at 11:15 PM)
Operation Hours on Holidays
- Thanksgiving Day | 8:00 AM - 12:00 AM (Last elevator up at 11:10pm)
- Christmas Eve | 8:00 AM -10 :00 PM (Last elevator up at 9:10pm)
- Christmas Day | 8:00 AM - 12:00 AM (Last elevator up at 11:10pm)
- New Year’s Eve | 8:00 AM - 10:00 PM (Last elevator up at 9:10pm)
- New Year’s Day | 10:00 AM - 12:00 AM (Last elevator up at 11:10pm)
Top of the Rock Entrance
The Main Entrance to the Top of The Rock is from 50th Street between 5th and 6th Avenue. You will see a red carpet marking the entrance. There is a Second Entrance on the Concourse level of 30 Rockefeller Plaza.
Getting to Top of the RockSubway
- The closest stop to the Top of the Rock is the Rockefeller Center stop. You can take Subway Number - B, D, F, or M train to the 47th-50th Street stop and walk to the building.
- Trains 1, 6, N, Q and R all stop at the Rockefeller Center train stop.
- Bus Number M1, M2, M3, M4, M5, M7 and M50 all stop close to the Rockefeller Center.
- The average duration for a sedate Top of the Rock Experience is around 45 minutes to 1 hour
- You will have to undergo a tight security check before entering. Weapons like pocket knives, swiss army knives and other objects like lighters, glass bottles are not allowed. Food and Beverages are not permitted inside too.
- There are 2 types of tickets one can purchase - Timed tickets and Unscheduled tickets. It is always best to buy timed tickets online so that you pick a slot of your choice and get guaranteed access during this period. Unscheduled tickets involve the hassle of exchanging the tickets at the box office for a time ticket as per the availability. In this case, immediate entry cannot be guaranteed.
Top Of The Rock Reviews
Someone told me the first thing I should do when I got to NYC was the Top of the Rock, because it has the best views and it helps you bearings. And they weren't wrong! It was an amazing experience; I was awestruck. The lifts are something else; look up. The staff are so very friendly and helpful.I started my afternoon with the Top of the Rock tour, which was the highlight of the afternoon. Very informative, giving you more of an insight of the history of the Rockefeller estate and the local area. If you are in two minds about booking the tour, don't hesitate, book it!!
Great place to see amazing views of the city. Can see just how big Central Park really is. Good views of the NYE Ball in Times Square and you get a city view including the Empire State Building. You have to have a pre-timed ticket, we didn't know that and just walked up. Had to come back the next day.
Read what others have to say about Top Of The Rock on TripAdvisor.
Top Of The Rock - Insider Tips
- It is important to check the weather conditions before you plan a visit to the Top of the Rock as it is an open air observatory.
- Even with a priority ticket, there are chances of you coming across a crowd as the place is considered immensely popular in New York.
- Beware of heavy wind! If you’re the kind that needs a jacket on, carry a thick one to make sure you’re safe.
- Pick a time slot during the evenings so that you can enjoy yourself by catching lovely hues over the horizon.