Top of the Rock Observatory sits at the top of the Rockefeller Center in the heart of New York City. From this incredible location, the Observatory offers breathtaking views of the city including the Empire State Building and Central Park.
The main entrance to Top of the Rock is on 50th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. There is a red carpet out the front of the entrance – and usually a queue. If there is indeed a queue when you go, try the second entrance, located on the Concourse level of 30 Rockefeller Plaza.
Entry to the Top of the Rock is timed. The best way to get in with minimal queuing is to buy your ticker online in advance and select the day and time of your choice. Unscheduled tickets are also available but you will have to line up to exchange these for timed tickets at the box office and you might not be able to get in for a period of time if it’s a busy day.
After buying a ticket, all visitors must pass through the security checkpoint so be prepared for the scanners. No food and beverages allowed, however my water bottle and snacks were not mentioned and we were able to take them with us inside.
Once through security the queue winds through the mezzanine level, which is filled with information about the Rockefeller Center, its founder, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and how the Top of the Rock began.
Next is a photo-op against a green-screen to recreate the famous photo of construction workers eating lunch on a steel beam high above the city that was taken at the Rockefeller Center.
Before entering the Sky Shuttle to the Top, all visitors are ushered into a theatre to watch a short video presentation about the history of NBC and Rockefeller Center. We found the video interesting, particularly the parts featuring the annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.
The Sky Shuttle to the Top takes less than a minute to travel up to 850 feet (260 meters) above street level to the 67th floor. Look up when you’re in the elevator – you’ll be glad you did!
The Sky Shuttle brings visitors to the first of three observation floors. The 67th floor is largely indoors with two outdoor areas protected by high glass panels.
On this floor you’ll find the Radiance Room, which absolutely enchanted Cheese.
The room has a wall made up of glass panels that was created by Swarovski and contains crystals, fiber-optic lighting and lots of blown glass. It’s sparkly and mesmerising.
Head up to the 69th floor next which is completely open with glass panels. On this floor you will find the Breezeway Room, an interactive colour experience.
The final floor is the 70th, which has no glass or metal enclosures, so it’s the perfect spot for photos with no reflections.
On each of the 67th, 69th and 70th floors are binoculars that give a close-up view of various points of interest.
Tips for visiting with kids
Under 6 is free.
Arrive early! The Top of the Rock is quietest between 8am-10am.
Rug up on cold days: it can get extremely cold up there!
Buy tickets in advance to save lining up.
Top of the Rock
Hours: Daily, 8am-Midnight
Last elevator up at 11:00pm
30 Rockefeller Plaza,
New York, NY 10112
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!