NYC Travel Guide: Top of the Rock

Growing up in New York City, it’s easy to become jaded by the tourist sites. I know people who have spent their whole lives in the city, but have never visited the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building because those are places that tourists go. All these places are filled with tourists, but they are also full of history and really cool to experience, at least once. ¬†Last weeks, Alex and I took a trip to the Top of the Rock. It was the first time that Alex had visited an observatory in NYC and the Top of the Rock holds a special place in my heart because it is where Tommy asked me to be his girlfriend, what seems like a million years ago.

I prefer the Top of the Rock over the Empire State Building because both building are in Midtown and give you a very similar view, but the lines at the Top of the Rock are much shorter and they sell tickets for an assigned time, which helps with crowd control. The Top of the Rock also gives you a killer view of the Empire State Building.

The Top of the Rock has three levels of observation decks, which give you the perfect 360 view of the whole city. The first two levels are behind glass, but the top level has just a small fence, making for some great pictures. Alex really liked using the binoculars to try to look for our house. Pro Tip: there is a change machine in the gift shop at the top, if you happen to visit without quarters for the binoculars.

The weather was perfect on the day that we visited, with clear skies that let us see for miles. If you’re planning on visiting, I recommend checking the weather and choosing a clear day. On days with low clouds, the whole view could be obstructed.

Days like these make me so grateful for living in New York and being able to give Alex these types of experiences!

Have you ever visited New York City? Did you get to stop at the Top of the Rock?

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  1. Love this! I lived in New York for a few years but didn’t manage to see the city from the Top of the Rock until a few years later when I came back as a tourist! Such a cool way to see the city and also a great way to get your bearings when you first get there!

    Carrie & Shannon

  2. I think it’s sad when people who grew up in a place don’t explore the beauty around themselves. It’s good to do the touristy things once and a while. I have never heard of top of the rock and I love the idea of having an assigned time vs it just being open. What a great place to enjoy!

  3. I was grateful to visit New York for a blog campaign and I was amazed at the size of the city. Such beautiful architecture. I visited the 9/11 and I was humbled and left an emotional mess. New York is most definitely a place I want to visit again.

  4. I love this post. As a New Yorker, myself, I can totally relate to typically avoiding tourist traps like the plague but it is nice to every now and then, forget this mindset. Great post, I look forward to adding the top of the rock to my list of New York adventures!

  5. I haven’t been to New York City in such a long time! I’m pretty sure the last time I went was well over 10 years now! I’m sure a lot has changed since then.

  6. Ha I’m one of those people who have grown up here and never visited the Statue of Liberty or Empire State building. I’ve obviously seen them so many times but I’ve never done one of the tours or gone to the top. I think we get so caught up in the every day rush we don’t think to do that stuff.
    Krystal // The Krystal Diaries recently posted..What I Read This SummerMy Profile

  7. I have never been to the Top of the Rock but it sounds like it would be incredible. I need to check it out the next time I am in NYC!

  8. I’m yet to visit New York, but am desperate to go for my 30th next year! If I’m lucky enough to, The Top of the Rock is definitely going to be on my list of places to visit. That view is spectacular!

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