Must Visit Places,  USA

Must Visit Places: Top of the Rock, New York

The Top of the Rock in New York was definitely a highlight of our trip to New York so today, I thought I’d tell you all about it, including the reason why we very nearly didn’t make it to the top. 😉

The View from the top of the rock

When my daughter and I visited New York for the first time we did a LOT of research and put together a bit of a bucket list of things we wanted to do while we were there.

Before we started researching, we had it in our head that we would do the Empire State Building as that’s the iconic building that seems to symbolise New York but by the time we’d finished, we decided to go to the Top of the Rock as we’d discovered that the view from there includes the Empire State Building so for a view of the city skyline as a whole, the Top of the Rock is the place to be.

We had a City Pass for this trip (we haven’t bought one for any subsequent trips though as we don’t really get our money’s worth) so we got to skip most of the queue but judging by the area building, you could spend a good while in a queue if you don’t plan carefully.  We got there about 8.50am as we wanted to beat the crowds and it was the perfect time to go.

We were both quite nervous about the height of the building and oddly enough the lift ride up and while we were stood in the queue for the lift, we almost decided not to go up.  If it hadn’t been should a short queue we would have absolutely changed our mind as we were about at that point when we moved to the front of the queue and into the lift itself.

We had no idea what we would have been missing out on if we hadn’t have gone ahead with the journey up to the top!

The lift up was super quick and walking out at the top, we were greeted by this view…

The View from the top of the rock

It was a bit windy up there and definitely wasn’t warm but thankfully we had a lovely clear day for our visit and could see all around the beautiful city of New York – we even spotted the Statue of Liberty in the distance!  Despite not being great with heights, all nerves were completely forgotten as we explored the three observation decks.

The observation decks have clear panels around them instead of a fence so you can genuinely get an unobstructed 360-degree view all around the city and if you want to take photos, they come out perfectly fine through the panels or there are gaps of about 6 inches between the panels so you can get a photo through those gaps if you’re after a better quality.

We visited on our first day so we hadn’t yet got our bearings of the city and couldn’t identify all of the iconic buildings that we saw but now, after the rest of that trip and our trip there earlier this year, I can identify more of the buildings in the photos which makes it even more fascinating to me.  There’s an app you can download which I’m presuming will help you identify the buildings you can see and I’d definitely recommend that if you get chance as I wish we had.

How to get there – The main entrance to Top of the Rock is located on 50th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.

Cost – $32-$38 for a standard ticket, $85 for a VIP ticket which offers immediate access when you arrive.

Opening hours – 8:00am – Midnight with the last lift up departing at 11pm

Find more information on the Top of the Rock website.

The above details are correct at the time of publishing but as always, it’s worth checking their website to make sure nothing’s changed and that they’ll be open when you’re planning to visit.

The View from the top of the rock
The View from the top of the rock


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