If you’ve ever watched a Christmas Hallmark movie or any TV series based in New York City, you’ve probably heard of Rockefeller Center. While this attraction offers several activities, one of the best is to take in the views from the Top of the Rock Observation Deck. The Top of the Rock offers brilliant panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline from its Midtown location and is easily one of the most popular things to do in NYC.
Because of its popularity, there are several ways to go about visiting the observation deck, and some are better than others. We here at Road Affair want to make sure your visit goes as smoothly as possible, so we’ve created this guide for how to buy tickets to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck. This way, you can find the Top of the Rock ticket that best fits your itinerary!
Quick Answer – How to Buy Tickets to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck at Rockefeller Center: The best way to buy tickets to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck is online in advance here. These tickets allow you to skip the line and are refundable up to 24 hours in advance.
Best Ways to Get Tickets to the Top of the Rock
While the Top of the Rock isn’t the most famous observation deck in the city, it’s a popular NYC attraction with roughly 2.5 million visitors per year. Below, we’ll outline where to buy tickets to the Top of the Rock and the best way to visit based on what you’d like from your experience.
Line Up in Person (Not Recommended)
It’s possible to purchase a ticket at the door, but we don’t recommend going this route. The Top of the Rock works on a time-based entry ticket, so the time slot for when you arrive may have already sold out. Purchasing a ticket at the gate also means you’ll have to line up in person, which can be quite a pain in extreme weather. To avoid lines and have a smoother experience, consider buying tickets to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck another way.
Book Online (Recommended)
The easiest way to visit is to book tickets to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck in advance online. When you pre-book your tickets, you avoid the lines at the ticket office and jump directly into the security line. You can purchase Top of the Rock tickets directly from the official website or from a third-party seller like GetYourGuide.
We recommend purchasing your tickets through GetYourGuide because, unlike on the official website, the tickets are 100% refundable up to 24 hours before your visit. Tickets to the Top of the Rock are the same price through GetYourGuide as on the official website, but GetYourGuide offers the useful option of reserving now and paying later.
Whether you buy them through the official website or GetYourGuide, your tickets come with a weather guarantee, meaning you can reschedule for another day if visibility is poor on your original date. Before you head up to the observation deck, staff will tell you what the visibility conditions are like.
Purchase a Tourist Pass
There are many fantastic attractions in New York City beyond Rockefeller Center and the Top of the Rock. If you plan to visit other popular attractions (such as the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, the Empire State Building, or the Guggenheim Museum), save yourself some coin by purchasing a tourist pass. You can save up to 40% on entrance tickets and experiences with a Go City Explorer Pass, New York Pass, or New York CityPASS. We recommend narrowing down the attractions you want to visit and then purchasing the pass that best fits your plans.
Other Things to Do at Rockefeller Center
Rockefeller Center has more to it than the observation deck, so consider adding some of these other experiences to your visit.
Take a Guided Tour of Rockefeller Center
Another popular way to experience this Midtown attraction is with a guided tour of Rockefeller Center. The 75-minute Art & Architecture tour from GetYourGuide is a chance to gain greater insights into this famous art deco complex. This daily tour leaves every hour from 1:30 to 6:30 p.m. and covers the Atlas statue, the Channel Gardens, 10 Rockefeller Plaza (formerly the Eastern Air Lines Building and now home of the Today show), the Comcast Building murals, and the International Building. In the winter, the tour also includes the famous ice-skating rink and Rockefeller Christmas tree.
Go Ice Skating
If you visit in winter, have your festive Hallmark moment by booking tickets to one of the most popular things to do in NYC, ice skating at Rockefeller Center! Don’t worry if you don’t know how to skate or don’t own skates, as skating lessons and rentals are available at the rink.
Watch the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
If you’re in NYC on the first Wednesday after Thanksgiving, you can watch the mayor light the famous Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. This yearly event is one of the best free things to do in NYC.
Useful Information for Visiting the Top of the Rock
What’s the Best Time to Visit the Top of the Rock?
The best time to visit the Top of the Rock depends on how you want to experience it. If you’re looking to avoid crowds, it’s best to visit either right when the observation deck opens at 9 a.m. or around 9 p.m. when most visitors are gone. If you want to snag some amazing pictures of the city, though, consider visiting the Top of the Rock at sunset. This is a very popular time to visit, so make sure to book your tickets to the Top of the Rock in advance.
What Are the Top of the Rock Hours of Operation?
The Top of the Rock is open 365 days a year from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., with the last entrance being allowed one hour before closing.
How Do You Get to the Top of the Rock?
The Top of the Rock is located in Rockefeller Center in Midtown Manhattan. Manhattan is notorious for its heavy traffic and limited parking, so we recommend taking public transport. You can take the orange subway line (B, D, F, M) to the Rockefeller Center Station or the blue line (E) to the Fifth Avenue and 53rd Street Station. There are also several bus stops nearby.
How Do the Top of the Rock Tickets Work?
There is one general admission ticket, which allows you to enter during your reserved time slot and then spend unlimited time at the observation deck. No additional skip-the-line Top of the Rock tickets are available unless you upgrade your ticket. As long as you purchase your Top of the Rock ticket in advance, you’ll head straight to the security line right before your entrance time. After going through security, you’ll line up for the elevator.
You have a few other ticket options if you want to experience more. The Express Pass includes access to the observation deck, a skip-the-line ticket for the Top of the Rock elevators, and a 20% discount at the gift shop. You can also book a private guided tour of the Top of the Rock and Rockefeller Center.
How Much Do Top of the Rock Tickets Cost?
Tickets to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck cost the same on the official website and on GetYourGuide. A standard ticket costs roughly $43.50 for adults, $41.35 for seniors ages 62 and older, and $37 for children ages 6-12. Children ages 5 and younger can enter the Top of the Rock for free.
In case you’d rather purchase a tourist pass, the CityPASS starts at $138 for adults and $118 for children ages 6-12. The New York Pass starts at $149 for adults and $109 for children ages 3-12. Go City Explorer Pass prices start at $79 for adults and $69 for children ages 3-12.
What Are the Best Hotels Near the Top of the Rock?
Since Manhattan traffic can be so crazy, consider staying close to the Top of the Rock at one of these fantastic hotels. This will also keep you close to several more of NYC’s top attractions.
If you’re looking for an excellent boutique hotel near Rockefeller Center, consider staying at the Casablanca Hotel. This four-star hotel offers a continental breakfast, an on-site restaurant, and room service.
Another great choice in Midtown Manhattan is The Kimberly Hotel. This four-star accommodation offers on-site car rentals, a business center, a gym, and private parking.
If you want a luxury NYC hotel, look no further than The Sherry-Netherland on Fifth Avenue at the corner of Central Park. The five-star hotel offers on-site dining, parking, and a large fitness center.
What’s the Security Process at the Top of the Rock?
Every visitor needs to go through a security checkpoint to access the observation decks. To get through security easily, make sure you don’t have weapons of any sort on you, such as guns, knives, or pepper spray. Outside food and drink, glass bottles, and tripods are also prohibited.
What About Visiting the Top of the Rock With a Disability?
Touring the Top of the Rock with a disability is a completely accessible experience. All three observation decks and the paths to them can fully accommodate wheelchairs and strollers. Service pets are allowed, and transcripts of the films at the Top of the Rock are available. You can learn more about accessibility at the Top of the Rock here.
FAQs: Facts About the Top of the Rock
What Is the Top of the Rock?
The Top of the Rock is a series of three observation platforms at Rockefeller Center that overlook New York City.
How Old Is the Top of the Rock?
The Top of the Rock has been offering fantastic views of the city to tourists and locals since 1933.
Who Built the Top of the Rock?
The Top of the Rock was built as part of Rockefeller Center, commissioned by John D. Rockefeller Jr. in the 1930s.
Why Was Rockefeller Center Built?
Rockefeller Center was built as part of an effort to modernize and revitalize Manhattan during the Great Depression.
How Tall Is the Top of the Rock?
There are three observation decks at the Top of the Rock, with the highest deck sitting on the 70th floor at 800 feet above street level. The other two decks are on the 69th and 67th floors.
Where Is the Top of the Rock Located?
The Top of the Rock is located in Midtown Manhattan at Rockefeller Center.
Can I Do an Audio Tour of the Top of the Rock?
Yes, a free audio tour of the Top of the Rock is available through its mobile app.
Now you have all the knowledge you need to have a relaxing and fun visit to the Top of the Rock. Remember to charge up those cameras and phones so you can snap some epic NYC photos!
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