Best view in New York City: Top of the Rock


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Top of the Rock Observation Deck, a three-tiered deck at the top of the 30 Rockefeller Plaza, offers two distinct advantages over the Empire State Building: a timed ticketing system to avoid long wait times and a view of the Empire State Building itself. Thanks to this – and its spacious 360-degree indoor and outdoor decks – Top of the Rock Observation Deck features what many consider to be the finest panoramic vistas of New York City.

And those views? In a word: Breathtaking. Top of the Rock Observation Deck, which officially opened to the public in 2005 after a lavish renovation, offers sweeping vistas from the 67th, 69th and 70th floors. And, because Rockefeller Center is closer to Central Park than any other observation deck, there are superb views of the iconic park, ringed by skyscrapers. Plus, the observation deck has windows on the two lower levels, and is completely open-air at the top, so there are no security fences to obstruct the view. In other words, it’s ideal for snapping photos places to visit in New York City

Top of the Rock Observation Deck crowns the famous 30 Rockefeller Plaza building, also known as the Comcast Building, a 1933 Art Deco skyscraper designed by acclaimed architect Raymond Hood and his team. Formerly the RCA and GE Building, the Comcast Building rises an impressive 850 feet, making it one of the tallest in New York City. The building has also figured prominently in American culture through the decades: The famous 1932 photograph “Lunch Atop a Skyscraper” by Charles C. Ebbets depicts workers calmly eating lunch on a steel crossbeam during the construction of this building, framed by the city far below. Top of the Rock Observation Deck celebrates this iconic photo by allowing you to recreate the moment with your friends and family (thanks to technology, you won’t have to actually dangle 70 stories above the city to get the effect!)

Top of the Rock Observation Deck experience is bolstered by video presentations about the history and art of Rockefeller Center and glass-topped elevators that zip to the top in less than a minute. Views from the deck include all of Manhattan’s top attractions: Central Park, the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, Grand Central Terminal, One World Trade Center, the Hudson River and more. By night, the view is equally impressive. A tip: If you’d like to see the city under varying shades of light, come by just before sunset, when the sky slowly darkens and the expansive skyline begins to grow and glow.

Tour length
Approximately 45 minutes to an hour

Good for kids?
Top of the Rock Observation Deck is a big hit with the younger set, with its Beam Walk and photos and laser light show across the glass ceiling of the Sky Shuttle elevator (through which you can see the elevator shaft while zooming to the top of the skyscraper in an ear-popping minute).

Did you know?
The original observation deck, which opened in 1933, was designed to look like the grand deck of an ocean liner of that era. The current Top of the Rock Observation Deck continues in that tradition, with an open-air top deck that resembles a cruise ship.

Top of the Rock Observation Deck was closed for nearly 20 years – from 1986 to 2005 – while the famous Rainbow Room restaurant, which was five floors below, was being renovated.

Please Note:
You must bring your printed voucher to the Top of the Rock on the day of your visit to be exchanged for a timed ticket. Guests can visit the Top of the Rock box office to exchange vouchers for either the next available time slot or for the most optimal time in their itinerary.

When is the perfect time to go?
Daytime or night-time – anytime is the a great time to visit the Top of the Rock Observation Deck. There are not often lines you have to wait in due to the improved system of a time linked visit, as well as a larger platform compared to the empire state building. When the weather is nice, you can see all the way to Brooklyn and New Jersey. At night you find yourself above millions of sparkling city lights and advertisements. We recommend the half hour before sunset, as this will guarantee great lighting to take pictures. You will also get the best of both worlds, getting to see the city grow dark until the lights start sparkling on the cities many skyscrapers.

Purchase Tickets for the observation deck
Buying tickets for the Top of the Rock is easy. You can either purchase a timed ticked to avoid lines or purchase an unscheduled ticket and redeem it at the time of your choice. You also can purchase a Sun & Stars ticket and visit twice in one day. Alternatively you can also upgrade to the Premier Pass and receive a free viewfinder and souvenir digital photo once you arrive. All you need to do is have a look and figure out which one you would like to buy. The best prices you’ll find here places to visit in New York City

By the way: as a owner of the New York Pass the entry for the observation deck is included. You want to find out more about the New York Pass?

How much time you need
Even if you have your tickets in advance, schedule half an hour until you’re on top of the rock. How long you stay is up to you – The tickets are not limited.

Security advice
Before you are allowed to enter the observation deck you have to pass a security check. So please make sure, that you don’t have any dangerous items with you: No glass and no tripods.

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