Our recent November trip to New York City was a whirlwind. This was our first visit to the Big Apple and we loved it; there was so much to see and do with our pre-teen boys. One of our first order of business was the to see the lights of Times Square and Rockefeller Center.
We chose our hotel based on cost and location since I knew we would be doing a lot of walking and wanted to be centrally located to the all the fun touristy places on our list to visit. Read about our hotel selection, Courtyard by Marriott here. Being that we only had four and one half days to see the city, we loved being centrally located to many of the tourist attractions.
The Christmas season was just getting underway in the city so the Rockefeller Center Tree was up, but was still under construction for lights and décor. We decided not to skate at the center this visit, but loved watching others skate around and watching the Zamboni clear the ice. This also seemed to be a great Kodak moment to take the classic Holiday Christmas picture in New York.
We also checked out the local shops near the ice rink and walked over to the Today Show Set window. Being that is was later in the evening the Today show was not on the air, but it was still fun to stand in the spot of the people we watch every morning on TV.
We did decide last-minute to visit the Top of the Rock Observation Deck at Rockefeller Center. Since this was last-minute, we didn’t have any coupons or discounted tickets so paid full price. (I recommend planning this tour with discounted tickets). We paid $32 for an adult regular price and $26 for a child under the age of 13. New York City offers the city pass with numerous discounted tours and visits throughout the city.
Even though we didn’t plan for this tour, being that it was later in the evening was a benefit. The lines were shorter and our wait time to begin our tour was minimal as well. While it was enjoyable to have a shorter wait, I thought the view of the city would be better during the day, however, I was greatly surprised by the night lights as well.
After we purchased our tickets, we passed through a security checkpoint, then we were funneled through a line heading towards the elevator. Prior to reaching the elevator banks, there is a staged interactive Beam Walk backdrop picture moment where you can pose for a take home picture survivor at a cost. After our picture was taken, we continued on our way passing a collection of images and interesting stories about the Rockefeller Center and the Top of the Rock Observation Deck heading toward the elevator. We were loaded in then headed up for a short Sky Shuttle ride to the 67th floor, 69th floor and the open air 70th floor for indoor and outdoor panoramic views of the city.
The elevators open into an enclosed lobby area with the ability to walk about inside and then outside. We headed out one set of doors to see the views and take pictures; the tour is set up so everyone is free to experience the view at their own pace.
I loved they had the unobstructed view (using plexiglass) and even though we were wearing our winter coats and were bundled up, the winter weather got the best of us and we headed back down after about twenty minutes and several selfies. It was also a quick reminder to us this is the beginning of winter and the air/wind on the 70th floor is down right cold! Regardless of the temperature at ground level, you will need your coat, hat and gloves for this visit!
It was absolutely breathtaking to view several iconic buildings in the Manhattan skyline lit up; including the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building. Central Park was harder to see being that the park is not flooded with lights but it was fun looking at all the sights nonetheless. .
Overall, our visit was spur of the moments but so glad we decided to experience the Top of the Rock Observation Deck; knowing we could say our New York City trip was complete.