The Best Time to Visit Top of The Rock, NYC (2024 guide for visitors)

NYC skyline from the Top of The Rock

If you’re looking for one of the best views in New York, then you should visit the Top of the Rock. Top of the Rock offers visitors stunning 360-degree views of New York.

Since it is one of the most popular attractions in NYC, it can be busy and you will need to know the best time to visit Top of the Rock.

In this blog post, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about visiting Rockefeller Center and the best time to visit Top of the Rock.

What is the Top of the Rock?

The Top of the Rock is one of the most popular tourist attractions in New York City, and it has been featured in numerous films and television shows.

This attraction has 3 observation decks that sit on top of Rockefeller Center in New York City.

The 70th floor open aired observation deck sits 850 feet high and has one of the best views of NYC.

From the deck you can see stunning panoramic views of the New York City skyline and its most famous buildings, including the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, One World Trade Center, Central Park, Hudson River, and the Statue of Liberty.

Central Park from the Top of the Rock

When is the best time to visit Top of the Rock?

The best time to visit the Top of the Rock is early in the morning (Best for waiting times)

Not only will you avoid the queues, but you’ll also be treated to views of the city as it wakes up. The light is softer at this time of day, and you’ll be able to see for miles.

If you’re hoping to get some pictures, this is the ideal time to visit. However, be aware that the Top of the Rock can be quite chilly first thing in the morning, so make sure to dress warmly.

Late afternoon is another good time to visit (Best for sunset views)

Not only will the views be just as impressive, but you’ll also be able to watch the city lights come on as night falls. Just be sure to wrap up well, as it can get cold at sunset too. It also tends to be more crowded during this time.

Insider tip: The best time to get pictures of popular attractions anywhere is always early in the morning, just after sunrise. This is the least crowded time.

New York Skyline with Empire State Building from Top of the Rock

Location and how to get there?

The Top of the Rock is located at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

By subway

The best way to get to the top of the rock is by subway. You can use the following trains to get there:

  • B, D, F, or M trains to 47th-50th Streets at Rockefeller Center Station.
  • Take the 1 train to 50th Street Station between 5th and 6th Avenues. It is a half a mile walk from there.
  • 6 train to the 51st Street stop and walk west on 50th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues.
  • N, Q, or R trains to 49th Street Station and walk east on 49th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues.

By Bus

You may also access Rockefeller center by taking the following busses:

From 5th Avenue or Madison Avenue:

  • Take the M1, M2, M3, M4 or M5 bus to 50th Street. Buses run north and south.

From 49th Street:

  • Take the M50 bus. Exit anywhere between 5th Avenue and 6th Avenue. Buses run east and west.

From Broadway:

  • Take the M7 bus. Exit at 50th Street and walk east to Rockefeller Center. Buses run north and south.

By cab

Taking a cab can be a quick and easy way to get to the top of the rock.

Insider tip: When hailing a cab, note it is important to hail the cab from the correct side of the street. In NYC, for example, cabs can only be hailed from the right side of the street.


Walking to Rockefeller Center is a great way to see some of New York City’s most iconic sights. The walk takes about 30 minutes and is relatively flat, making it manageable for everyone.

To walk to Rockefeller Center, start at the southeast corner of Central Park. From there, walk south on 5th Avenue until you reach 50th Street. Rockefeller Plaza will be on your left-hand side.

Then follow the signs to the main entrance elevator lobby. The elevators will take you up to the top.

Rockefeller Plaza Ice Rink

What are the rock hours?

  • Usually, open daily from 9 am – 11 pm
  • Last elevator at 10:10 pm

Top of the rock timings varies by season.

Do you have to wait in line for Top of the Rock?

Yes, the Top of the Rock is popular, and can often be crowded, especially during peak times like summer and holidays.

To avoid long waiting times, it’s best to buy your tickets in advance or visit during off-peak hours. You can also purchase the express pass which allows you immediate entry at any time of the day of your choice.

How much does it cost?

Prices for a general admission ticket:

  • $40 for adults
  • $34 for children
  • $38 for seniors

Price for express pass ticket (dedicated time slot entry):

  • $75 per person

Purchase tickets

For a more interactive experience, download the free Gesso Audio Tours ap.

You can choose an audio experience while exploring the observation deck.

Gesso Audio Tours ap – Image from Rockerfeller center

People also ask:

What is the best day of the week to visit Top of The Rock?

Monday is usually the quietest day.

Is Top of the Rock worth the money?

Yes, If you’re looking for a unique and breathtaking view of New York City, visiting the top of the rock is an absolute must.
Not only does it offer panoramic views of the cityscape, but it also provides a unique perspective on some of the city’s most iconic landmarks.
From the observation deck, you can see the Empire State Building, the Rockefeller Center, and Central Park – all in one place.
And if you time your visit right, you can even watch the sunset over the Manhattan skyline.

Should I buy tickets in advance?

Yes, If you’re planning on visiting the Top of the Rock Observation deck at Rockefeller Center, it’s generally a good idea to buy rock tickets ahead of time. I purchased tickets online and getting through was a breeze.

Queues can form to purchase tickets onsite. By buying your rock tickets online, you can avoid these queues and often get a small discount as well.

Insider tip: many online ticket vendors offer combo tickets that include other attractions in the area, such as the Empire State Building or the American Museum of Natural History.

How long do you spend at the Top of the Rock?

Visitors take an elevator to the top, where they can walk out onto an open-air deck and enjoy the view. The entire experience takes about 45 minutes to an hour (without queues), from the time you enter the elevator until you return to the ground floor.

Insider tip: Visitors are welcome to stay for as long as they like, and many people spend an hour or more enjoying the views from the top.

What can you see from Top of the Rock?

From The North View, you can take amazing photos of Central Park and the Upper East and West Sides, Harlem, and Yankee Stadium.

From The South View, you can enjoy views of the Empire State Building, NYC skyscrapers, Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, and the New York Harbor.

From The East View, you can get to see a beautiful sunset, Manhattan’s west side, the Hudson River, and across to New Jersey.
From The West View, you can observe the Chrysler and MetLife Buildings, and Queens.
The Observation Deck is open year-round, and weather permitting, visitors can also enjoy outdoor deck space on the 67th floor, and the 69th floor.

I hope my tips for visiting the top of the rock will help you make the most of your visit.

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