FREE printable luggage tags for the kids when you sign up for our newsletter! Plus we share our best travel tips!
Top of the Rock is the name of an observation deck on the top of the GE Building (formerly called the RCA Building) in New York City. The building is part of the Rockefeller Center, a complex of 19 buildings covering 89,000m² in Midtown Manhattan.
The 70 floor building, together with the rest of the historic art-deco towers is a National Historic Landmark. Within the building are the NBC TV network studios and the crowning glory is the Top of the Rock observation deck attraction which spans the 67th to 70th floor. Although originally built in 1933 the Top of the Rock underwent a $75 million facelift in 2005 bringing it into the 21st century.
The 70 storey high observation deck competes with the 86 storey high Empire State Building observation deck. But many prefer the Rock as from here you can also see the Empire State! The Rock also beats the Empire State in shorter waiting time to get in as there are timed entry tickets. The observation deck was designed in the shape of an ocean liner deck, there are 3 viewing decks which give you a 360° view of the city.
While on the deck you can get your photo taken by a professional team and use the "viewfinder" mobile app to get info about the landmarks you're looking at. The three levels of the observation deck cover 5,110m² and the upper deck is 260 meters from the ground.
On the 67th and 69th floors there are outdoor terraces with transparent safety glass walls, the upper level is completely open air giving the most extensive views of the city.
When you arrive at the Rock the first stop is at the pre-show exhibit on the mezzanine level where you can learn about the building and its history. There is a video presentation about the art and history of the Rockefeller Center.
From the atrium a giant crystal chandelier spans three floors and is lit with fiber optic lights. Once you get to the Top of the Rock in a super fast Sky Shuttle elevator there is the Radiance Wall covered in glass panels, blown glass, fiber optic lights and crystals.
Then there is the Breezeway Room where you are assigned a color and lights of that color follow you around. And finally the star attraction is the view from the three decks. Although there is no time limit as to how long you can stay at the top a visit usually takes about 45 minutes.
You'll find the GE Building at 30 Rockefeller Plaza (hence the nickname 30 Rock) but the entrance is on 50th Street between 5th and 6th avenues. The Rock is open daily from 8am to 12 midnight, with the last elevator going up at 11pm. tickets should be bought in advance (up to half an hour before your arrival) as the entrance is timed to avoid crowding. If you arrive early you are allowed to enter the exhibition area until it is your time to go up.
Note that only collapsible strollers are permitted and food and drink cannot be brought onto the observation deck. There are numerous combo tickets including tours of the Rockefeller Center, the city and the Top of the Rock but the general admission prices to the Top of the Rock are $27 for adults, $17 for 6-12 year olds, $25 for seniors.
There are Sun and Star tickets ($40/$22) which allow you to visit two times in one day. If you are unsure about when you will be visiting it is possible to get unscheduled tickets as well. Check out the Top of the Rock website for tickets and more information. Remember that there is a lot to do in and around the GE Building so you could spend the good part of the day in this one location.