When it comes to breathtaking, unobstructed views of New York City, the observation deck at the top of the GE Building in Rockefeller Center, the “Top of the Rock,” is unmatched. From any of the three decks on the 67th, 69th, or 70th floors of the building, visitors are treated to stunning views of the City that Never Sleeps both day and night.
The Top of the Rock was initially opened to the public in 1933 upon completion of the building – then called the RCA Building. Then, the observation took place only on the 69th and 70th floors. It was designed to look like an ocean liner complete with gooseneck fixtures and air conditioning vents that were designed like the smoke stacks of a ship. The decks were then closed in 1986 because of the renovation of the Rainbow Room and not reopened until November of 2005 after a massive $75 million renovation of its own. It was at this time that the 67th floor was added to the Top of the Rock experience.
The main allure of the Top of the Rock is what many consider the best panoramic views of New York City. Though the GE building is only the 10th tallest structure in New York, its location in Midtown gives viewers the ability to see “all” of New York quite easily. Its location also provides the best views of the “skyline” which is mainly in reference to Lower Manhattan and includes the Empire State Building. In addition, the unobstructed 360° views on the 70th floor are unmatched by even the ESB’s.
The three observation deck options at Top of the Rock provide visitors with a chance to see the city from indoors (67th and 69th floors) or outdoors. There are Kodak photographers located at each deck who are able to take professional-style pictures of your entire party as an added memento. There are also several excellent opportunities to take your own photographs at each deck.
Many visitors to New York combine their trip to the Top of the Rock with other events in Rockefeller Center including the NBC Studios Tour which takes place in the same building. Top of the Rock tickets are only offered on a timed basis, which makes preplanning a must, especially for sunrise or sunset times. Once at the top, there is no limit to the time one can spend on the decks, though 45 minutes is average. The timing assures viewers that they will have a ride to the top on the spectacular Sky Shuttle elevator as well as seat in the Mezzanine Theater in order to view a short video on the history and art of Rockefeller Center before ascending to the top decks.
Why It’s a Must-See
Going to the Top of the Rock and Rockefeller Center in general is a quintessential New York experience. Its main entrance is on 50th Street between 5th and 6th avenues. Fans of NBC News and programs will love the opportunity to see where some of their favorite events and shows are filmed as well as get and “insider’s view” of the process if they choose to go on the NBC Studios tour as well.
In terms of views, the Top of the Rock cannot be beat, even by the ESB for the simple reason that one cannot see the ESB from its own observation deck. In addition, Top of the Rock, though clearly popular, is not usually as busy as the Empire State Building, giving visitors more flexibility with their time when choosing to go to this attraction.
Where to Buy It
There are a number of ways you can enjoy admission to this attraction.
Save up to 20% online at Smart Destinations. If you add more than one attraction to the cart, you will get an automatic savings of up to 20%. It’s called Make Your Own Pass.
Pay Full Price and purchase a ticket from Top of the Rock either online or in person.