There’s nothing like getting a view of Manhattan from one of the tallest buildings in the city. Top of the Rock offers 360-degree views of Manhattan, Central Park, the Empire State Building–all from the vantage point that gets you pretty darn close to the heavens. Find out when to visit, how much time to budget, why you should skip, and how to get secret deals on tickets to Top of the Rock.
Why You Should Visit Top of the Rock
Iconic: Though not as famous as the Empire State Building, Top of the rock is one of the top viewing platforms in NYC.
Architectural: Top of the Rock’s viewing platforms are at the top of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, a mammoth structure built by famed architect Raymond Hood. Photos of its Art Deco interiors are included in art history and architectural textbooks world wide.
Historic: Built during the Great Depression by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., 30 Rock has seen New York City’s history transition from the age of radio to the age of television.
Kid Friendly: Kids love the views from the Top of the Rock just a much as adults.
Artsy: The great murals in the lobby entitled Man at a Crossroads were painted by Jose Maria Sert.
Foodie: The building’s famed restaurant The Rainbow Room has some of the most highly coveted tables in the city. They serve high-end new American fare.
Cinematic: Plenty of movies and TV shows have filmed in 30 Rock and in Rockefeller Plaza, including 30 Rock, Elf, and Sleepless in Seattle. The Today Show and Saturday Night Live are also filmed in studios off Rockefeller Plaza.
Like a Local: Top of the Rock used to be a local fan favorite place to get above the city. Even though the viewing platform has become extremely touristy, locals still prefer it over the Empire State Building.
How Much Does Top of the Rock Cost?/Money Savers:
Tickets start at:
- $37 for adults
- $28 for kids
Hot Tip!: Instead of buying a ticket to Top of the Rock, head to the Rainbow Room’s bar. You’ll need to buy a drink (they cost around $25 each), but you’ll get nearly the same view as the ticketed platforms, fewer crowds, and a drink!
How Much Time to Spend at Top of the Rock/Time Savers:
VIP tickets give you priority access, skip the line status, and access to a priority elevator.
Fly-By: 30 minutes
In-Depth: 60 minutes
Need to Know:
Why You Should Skip:
You really only need to visit one viewing platform in NYC. If you decide to go to the Empire State Building or the World Trade Center viewing platform, you can skip Top of the Rock.
When to Visit Top of the Rock:
First thing in the morning or late at night to avoid long lines. Or, visit during an off-peak season.
How to Get to Top of the Rock:
Walking: Head up 5th Avenue to 49th Street. Rockefeller Center will be on your left. Enter 30 Rock, and follow the signs for Top of the Rock.
Subway: Take the B, D, F, or M trains to Rockefeller Center.
Taxi/Car: Traffic can be horrendous in Midtown, but I recommend taking a taxi or Lyft car back to your hotel if visit late at night.
Bus: Though subway is often best, take the M50 crosstown bus to get to the east or west sides of the city to catch the appropriate train.
Related Attractions/Other Ways to See:
- Head up to the Rainbow Room’s bar (see money savers above) to get nearly the same view for a fraction of the price.
- Check out the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s rooftop between May and October for great views of Central Park.
- Visit the Empire State Building or One World Trade instead for views from a different angle.
Need more inspiration on how to focus only on what you love in NYC? Check out a full list of attractions.
Don’t forget to read a few articles on how to hack New York City, so you can see more, do more, and stress less!