Thursday, May 11, 2017

Top O the Rock - Sun and Stars

On my trip to New York last summer I had the opportunity to do something I've always wanted to do  - visit the Top of the Rock, the observatory at the top of Rockefeller Center. We purchased the sun and stars tickets which are, just as it sounds, for one visit during daylight hours and one visit after dark. 



When you arrive at Rockefeller Center, you enter into the line - which for us was incredibly fast moving. You'll go through a metal detector and bag check. As you walk through the line, there are historic pictures of the building being built and then you watch a short little video about it. You're ushered into the elevator and boom....you're at the top of New York.




Unlike the Empire State Building which has chain-link fence to obstruct your view, the Top of the Rock has glass panels so you can see Central Park, Midtown and Downtown. I have to say that the views are pretty incredible. 


There are three levels at the top: the first one is behind the glass wall, the second is entirely outdoors and the third, and highest level, is an open-air deck without glass enclosures. 

Our nightime visit was my favorite. There's just something about looking down on all the lights of the city twinkling below you - and feeling like you're on top of the world, or in this case, the Rock.
Our evening visit went exactly like our daytime visit. Except, of course, that it was dark out. Can you see the really bright light close to the middle of the photo above? That's Times Square!






How about Times Square in this one?

Top of the Rock tickets aren't cheap. But for me it was a one-and-done thing. So it was worth the one time splurge. And, of course, day/night tickets cost more because you're getting two visits. I definitely preferred this visit to my past experiences at the Empire State Building. Plus, here your view includes...yep, the Empire State Building. I'd highly recommend you give it a go - at least once!

And while you're in the area, there are other things to see and do. Along with Top of the Rock, you can tour Rockefeller Center itself. There is the outdoor cafe on the ground level - or the skating rink if you're there in the winter. This being New York City, there are plenty of shopping and dining options around. (We hit up Magnolia Bakery right around the corner for a late night cupcake!) And if you really feel like a splurge, there is Bar Sixty-five at the Rainbow Room on the 65th floor of Rockefeller Center. It's a bar and cocktail lounge with 10 feet high windows - it's open only in the evenings and requires proper attire.





Tips for visiting the Top of the Rock:
Tickets purchased are for timed tickets - you pick your date and time. This conveniently erases most lines.
You will go through a metal detector and security screening. As with most public places, weapons are not allowed nor are food or beverages.
If someone in your party has a fear of heights, there is an indoor viewing room that they may feel more comfortable in. Of course, the views aren't as good but they may not mind as long as they're inside.
The Top of the Rock is wheelchair accessible and you may bring strollers - but they must be collapsible.


How about you? Have you been to the Top of the Rock? The Empire State Building? Which do you prefer?


This post is part of a link-up with: Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox, The Weekend Wanderlust Travel Blog Party and Weekend Travel Inspiration at Reflections Enroute!








20 comments:

  1. I love going to the Top of the Rock. I went during sunset and the experience was great. Would like to visit during another time of the day when the light is different. #TPThursday

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    1. Oh sunset would be cool! That's probably the most popular time for viewing! Thanks for visiting, Ruth!

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  2. I've been to Top of the Rock and really enjoyed the experience. Love the iconic picture as you go in with the workers sitting on the girder - how did they do that? Spectacular views of NYC. Thanks for reminding me of a great trip! #Wkendtravelinspiration

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    1. That picture is really something - and as someone who is not fond of heights, it terrifies me a little! Thanks for visiting The Unpaved Road!

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  3. Oooh, I hadn't heard of this. Will definitely add it to my list for the next visit to NY. Thank you for sharing! #WeekendWanderlust

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    1. Hope you make it there - it's pretty cool! Thanks for visiting The Unpaved Road!

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  4. I've been to Rockefeller center a few times but not gone up to the Top iof the Rock. Maybe next time, the views do look stunning! Thanks for the inspiration and for linking up this weekend at #wkendtravelinspiration!

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    1. Thanks for the link-up and for visiting, Jim!

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  5. I live in NY and never done this! although I am a little afraid of heights, not going to lie! I do love the area around Rock Center, especially during the holidays its the best!

    Http://www.mommatogo.com

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    1. I've always wanted to visit NYC during the holidays! I bet Rock Center is beautiful. Thanks for visiting The Unpaved Road!

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  6. I have never been to Rockefeller Center. There is so much to do in New York City that this one didn't appear on the radar. Hubby grew up in New York and had never been to the Rockefeller Center observation decks. I love your photo looking out over Central Park.

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    1. Thanks Rhonda! And you're right, there's so much to do that it's hard to find the time - though I'm really glad I did the Top of the Rock this time. Thanks for visiting, Rhonda!

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  7. I've never been up the Empire State Building, but I really enjoyed my own visit to the Top of the Rock. I'm glad that you said the line moved fast because my first thought about going up twice was "what about the line?" When we were in NYC, we went up just before sunset so that we could see late day, sunset and then dark. Of course, we had to stay up there a while to see it fully transition, and my kids were getting a bit antsy.

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    1. I can imagine kids getting antsy - it's not a big space and once you've gone round it once there isn't anywhere else to go. I did enjoy it though - such a unique place. Thanks for visiting, Michele!

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  8. Wow - spectacular photos and I can imagine the adrenalin looking at the views from the top.

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    1. Thanks Jan! I didn't think about it but it is quite the adrenalin rush!

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  9. Top of the Rock is one of my favorite places in New York! All three times I've gone to the city, I've also gone up because the views are just incredible.

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    1. The views are incredible - and it's quite peaceful even though there were lots of people there. Thanks for visiting The Unpaved Road!

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  10. Stunning photos! Love the night picture with Times Square lit up. Whilst it was great being able to see the Empire State from Top of the Rock, we found the overall experience at the ES to be much better. The view from the top was the icing on the cake of a journey through history. Top of the Rock just felt a bit rushed in-up-down. But still enjoyed both. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks! And it's good to hear another opinion - by having timed tickets it was a bit of a rush. But for me the Empire State had such a long line that by the time we got to the top it felt a bit anti-climactic. But like you I still enjoyed both! Thanks for visiting, David!

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