New York City, NY

How to Visit New York City's Top of The Rock

Jessica Ufuoma

Photo by Dan Freeman on Unsplash

One of the best things to do in New York City is a visit to the Top of The Rock and you'll be surprised how many New York natives haven't yet experienced this.

Top of the Rock is an observatory on the top of Rockefeller Center that offers impressive views of the city. It's definitely a unique experience in New York City and one that can add more excitement to your Manhattan adventures.

Planning your adventure to Top of the Rock shouldn't be daunting. If you intend to visit and aren't sure how to plan your time there, then this article will help you.

Knowing the hours of operation

Top of the Rock is open 7 days a week. Below are the daily hours to keep in mind while planning a visit. Make sure to check the website first before visiting as information can change pretty quickly.

Daily 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)

Photo by Josh Couch on Unsplash

Buying your tickets to the Top of the Rock

One of the very first things you'll want to do is secure your tickets to the Top of the Rock. This is one of the easiest part and you can get it directly from the Top of the Rock website.

Make sure to buy timed tickets so you can select a slot time in advance. Unscheduled tickets can lead to unneccessary delays and your visit is not guaranteed.

There's a range of tickets you can get for your visit. If you're tight on budget or just want something quick and easy without breaking the bank, you can buy general admission tickets for $36 to $38. This is perfect if all you want to do is enjoy some views without going all the way to the top. The general admission tickets stop at the 70th floor and offers 360-degree city views from three observation decks.

Then there's the Top of the Rock VIP access which costs $75. As the name implies, this gives you more out of your visit to the Top of the Rock. You get to the very top of the Rockefeller center, get expedited entry and priority elevator access. If you have more money to spend and really want the full experience of the Top of the Rock, then this option is for you.

Also, you can do the Rockefeller tour too. This costs $25 and gives you more of a history lesson on what the place is about, with a guided tour. Recommended for those who want to learn more and not stop at just seeing things.

Now that you've selected your preferred tickets, let's dive into the best time to visit, because that's important too.

Photo by Micaela Parente on Unsplash

The Best Time to Visit

When you visit the Top of the Rock, matters! However, for most people, visiting just one hour before sunset is the ideal time as you get to see the city transform from day into night and can see the views change that way, kind of giving you a two-in-one experience.

However, if you want to target this timing, you'll need to book ahead of your visit in order to get the sunset time slot but it will be so worth it.

Photo by Johnell Pannell on Unsplash

Upon getting there

There are certain things to expect when you visit. You can expect to spend around 45 minutes to 1 hour on average, giving that there are no delays and longer lines (if you purchase the VIP access ticket, you don't have to worry about this to much as you have expedited access.)

Before you enter, you'll have to undergo tight security. Weapons, sharp objects, glass bottles are not allowed. Food and beverages are also not allowed in.

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I write about lifestyle and travel experiences in the United States. I'm also passionate about Diversity and Inclusion and that reflects in some of the pieces I write. My topics range from culture, travel, uplifting marginalized voices and much more. If you're interested in these topics, feel free to hit the subscribe button.


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