Rockefeller Center offers a fantastic view of New York City and a fascinating look at New York’s history. The Top of the Rock tour is an attraction that will appeal to anyone wanting a cheaper, less-crowded alternative to the Empire State Building tour.
One does not simply go to New York City for the first time and NOT go to the top of a building for a view of the city. Duh. So, you may be debating between whether to tour the Empire State, Rockefeller Center, or both.
Out of the three of us, both of us who had been to New York before agreed that the Empire State had taken needless hours, standing in line for the most of the time. That’s the main reason we opted for the Top of the Rock tour. It’s not quite as popular! Plus, you get to sneak a peek of Radio City Music Hall.
Unless you purchase a city pass, adult tickets for Top of the Rock currently sell for $25 each–that’s $9 less than a ticket for the Empire State!
When to go
Yeah, there was hardly anyone at the Rock when we went. But that’s mostly because we arrived by 11 PM.
That being said, I do NOT recommend going so late at night! This is because you may find yourself much more entranced with the historical part of the tour than expected (as I did) and take too long. By the time you get to the top and start taking photos, the employees will start kicking you out and won’t even allow you time to buy souvenirs in the gift shop. So, if I were you, I would try to arrive by 10 PM at the latest.
Of course, if your camera doesn’t offer high-quality night shots, then you should try to go before sunset. Catch a drink at the restaurant for a lovely view of Central Park. I found myself super jealous of my friends’ photos, with a perfect square of green surrounded by the city, with a beautiful backdrop of the sunset.