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Top of the Rock Observation Deck

The Top of the Rock Observation Deck crowns the famous 30 Rockefeller Plaza building, also known as the Comcast Building, a 1933 Art Deco skyscraper.  The Comcast Building, formerly known as the the RCA and GE Building, is most famous for housing the NBC television network headquarters.  The building rises an impressive 850 feet making it one of the tallest in New York City.  The 70-story building is the 14th tallest in New York City and stands 400 feet shorter than the Empire State Building.

Visiting Top of the Rock:
The Top of the Rock Observation Deck is comprised of a three-tiered deck at the top of 30 Rockefeller Plaza and 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.  The observation decks feature spacious 360-degree indoor and outdoor decks that many consider to be the finest open-air panoramic views of New York City from the 67th, 69th and 70th floors.

Since we had visited the Empire State Building previously during the day, we decided to visit the Top of the Rock Observation Deck at night, so we could see New York City light up the night sky.

Entrance and Tickets:

The main entrance is located on 50th street between 5th and 6th avenues, with an additional entrance on the concourse level of 30 Rockefeller Plaza.  
Concourse Level Entrance
Street Level Entrance
There are a variety of ways to get a ticket to the observation deck and depending on what other sights you may be visiting in new York City, it may make sense buying a New York CityPass or New York City Explorer Pass, to save money across all of the attraction ticket prices.  

If you don't buy a timed ticket through the official Top of the Rock website, then you will need to take your pass/voucher and exchange it for a timed ticket.  You can visit the Top of the Rock box office to exchange your pass/vouchers for either the next available time slot or for the most optimal time that will work in your itinerary. 

If you don't have a timed ticket, be sure to grab one before getting into line.

The Joie Chandelier:

After getting your timed ticket, which helps with crowd control and wait times, you'll make your way past the impressive Joie Chandelier (made by Swarovski), which spans, three floors over the Grand Atrium Lobby.  

Mezzanine Exhibit:

Next, you'll have to go through a security checkpoint before heading on the Mezzanine Exhibit, which features a collection of photos and artifacts that tell the story of Rockefeller Center and the era of when it was built.

Beam Walk:
The famous 1932 photograph “Lunch Atop a Skyscraper” depicts workers calmly eating lunch on a steel crossbeam during the construction of the building, framed by the city far below.  You'll get the chance to recreate this iconic moment with your friends and family by taking a souvenir photo (available for purchase), although you won't actually be dangling 70 stories above the city to get the effect.

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia


As you make your way past the Mezzanine Exhibit, you'll be led into lines where you will await your turn to head up to the observation deck via the Sky Shuttle elevators.  While you wait, you'll get to watch short videos about the history of Rockefeller Center.

Courtesy of the Top of the Rock Website
Views of Manhattan:
The views from the 70th floor open-air observation deck are spectacular and well worth a visit the next time you're in New York City.
Views of Central Park
Views of Times Square, the Empire State Building and the One World Trade Center Building in the distance
Tips for Your Visit:
The entire visit at Top of the Rock should take approximately 45 minutes to an hour and depending on what other attractions you plan on visiting, I'd recommend visiting at night or just before sunset, so you can take in both day and night views of the Manhattan skyline.
Other general information and tips on planning your visit include:

Location: 30 Rockefeller Plaza

Hours: Open from 8:00 AM to Midnight, 7 days a week.  Note that the last ticket is sold at 11 PM and the final elevator goes up at 11:15 PM. Hours of operation may vary on holidays. 

Tickets: A standard ticket bought on-site or online from Top of the Rock website will cost you $32 (Adults), $26 (Kids), or $30 (Seniors).  Note that kids 6 and under are free. 

If you're planning on visiting multiple attractions in New York City, then I'd recommend buying a pass that includes multiple attractions that will help save money on all of the places you'll be visiting during your visit to New York City.  

Examples include the New York CityPass or the New York City Explorer Pass.  I plan on highlighting the differences between these options for New York City in a future post and seeing if it makes sense to buy a pass or purchase each attraction ticket individually.