Tuesday Travel Bite: New York’s Top of the Rock


Where do you go for the best view of New York: The Top of the Rock or the Empire State Building?

It’s a perennial question and one to which there is no right or wrong answer. Ask around and you will find that everyone has a reason for preferring one over the other but better still, visit both and then you can decide!

Me…I love heading to the top of the Rockefeller Centre, better known as the Top of the Rock, for the fabulous views of Central Park and the Empire State Building.


View over Central Park from the Top of the Rock, New York

This unobstructed view of Central Park is one of the reasons I prefer the view from the Top of the Rock.

You finally realise how much of New York the park covers. The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir is clearly visible at the northern end of the park with the Metropolitan Museum of Art just below it on the right.The Dakota Building is on the left and the George Washington Bridge can be seen crossing the Hudson River in the top left hand corner.



View from the Top of the Rock, New Yok

Turning towards the east, you get a glimpse of the wonderful Chrysler Building peeking out from behind the Metlife Building with the East River behind.



View of the Empire State Building from the Top of the Rock-, New York

Reason Number 2! The Empire State Building takes pride of place in the view to the south.

Just to the right in the distance, the new One World Trade Center Building already making its mark on the landscape by being the tallest building in New York. Once completed it will be the tallest building in Western Hemisphere and the 3rd tallest building in the world.
That small dot in the distance in the middle of the water is, believe it or not, the Statue of Liberty!



View from the Top of the Rock, New York

If you look carefully in this view to the west over the Hudson River, you can see the Times Square Ball just above the date.



View from the Top of the Rock, New York

Don’t forget to look down for  another view of the city.


Next time I’m going back at sunset!



Top of the Rock
30 Rockefeller Plaza

The main entrance to the Top of the Rock is on 50th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues
Open 7 days a week, 365 days a year from 8am to midnight.
The New York City Pass can be used for entrance to the Top of the Rock
You can book tickets online at Top of the Rock. Highly recommended!
There are viewing platforms on the 67th, 69th and 70th floors.

There’s also a fabulous free app called Top of the Rock available from the App Store that provides information about the landmarks around the city that you will see.



Which view over New York do you prefer? 





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14 Responses to Tuesday Travel Bite: New York’s Top of the Rock

  1. Leigh January 22, 2013 at 11:54 am #

    I hadn’t appreciated what an awesome view you got from The Top of the Rock – especially of Central Park. I agree sunset would be amazing up there.

    • [email protected] January 23, 2013 at 9:59 am #

      It’s an incredible view, isn’t it Leigh. I’ll have to go back to New York just for the sunset photo though I bet it is really crowded at this time of the evening

  2. Debra Kolkka January 22, 2013 at 1:24 pm #

    I have been to the top of the Empire State Building a couple of times, but not the top of the Rock…I will remedy that next month…thanks for the tip. I can’t wait to get back to New York.

    • [email protected] January 23, 2013 at 10:02 am #

      I’ll be very envious when your photos start coming through Debra. See if you go to the Top of the Rock at sunset. You’d be able to get some stunning photos at this time of the evening.

  3. Mary {The World Is A Book} January 23, 2013 at 5:24 am #

    Beautiful views and pictures, Jenny! We loved going up to the Top of the Rock. I don’t think atop Empire State can match the view of Central Park. Plus, we need the Chrysler Building and Empire state on the NYC skyline. 🙂 We went during Fall and the leaves in Central Park were gorgeous from above. I’d love to return during sunset too.

    • [email protected] January 23, 2013 at 10:07 am #

      Thanks Mary. I too love seeing the Empire State Building in the photos from the Rockefeller Centre. I hadn’t though about the difference that the photos from here in fall would show…how stunning they would be.

  4. Johanna at ZigaZag January 23, 2013 at 9:29 am #

    What a wonderful perspective. Just makes me want to visit New York and drink it all in. Think of the dreamy pics you would get at sunset 🙂

    • [email protected] January 23, 2013 at 10:09 am #

      I’m already thinking and planning the sunset photos Jo! New York is an amazing city that’s for sure…hoping you do get there one day!

  5. Michele @ Malaysian Meanders January 23, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

    Thanks for that tpur of the NYC skyline. I liked that you pointed out the little details.

  6. Francesca Muir January 23, 2013 at 3:31 pm #

    Oh I love every photo – such an exciting city. Must make it to the Top of the Rock – such an amazing view of Central Park.

    • [email protected] January 24, 2013 at 11:52 am #

      Thanks Francesca. To me the view over Central Park really says it all! It’s certainly worth a visit!

  7. Jill September 3, 2013 at 8:05 pm #

    Dear Jenny,

    Can you help us out? Searched everywhere online but can’t find the answer!
    How long does it take to get to the top? From the waiting line I mean. Because I want to take pics of the dusk but then I have to know when I’ll be on the observationdeck;-) And the time on my ticket..is that the time to entrance the building or the time to entrance the observationdeck itself? Hope you can help me out and thanks for sharing these wonderful pics!
    Jill-from Holland

    • Jenny Freedman September 10, 2013 at 3:26 am #

      Hi Jill. We ordered out tickets on line so went straight in.The trip in the lift only took a couple of minutes so it was very easy. We weren’t there at dusk so I’m not sure if this changes at various times of the year.You may also want to go up a bit earlier and secure your ‘spot’ especially in the high tourist months. Maybe you could check at the ticket booth when you arrive in New York as to how crowded it has ben at dusk over the previous days. I’m sorry if this is not the specific answer you were wanting but crowds vary everyday. I’m going to try and go at dusk this year when we visit in October and will certainly make sure I’m up there well before sunset.Good luck!

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