How to get a Great Photo at Top of the Rock

If you’re looking for Top of the Rock photography tips, this blog post is for you! Here are 6 tips you can use to get a great photo at the Top of the Rock.

Emma's Edition - Seattle travel blogger - travel blogger - Petite Style

My first time at the Top of the Rock was last fall. I was in New York for New York Fashion Week and my friend/photographer Karya suggested that we go to the Rockefeller Center to get photos at the Top of the Rock. I had never been to Rockefeller Center so I was excited to go.

I was blown away by the views of New York. You could see Central Park on one side and the Empire State building on the other side of the view. So when my friend Maddy decided to join me in New York for fashion week a few weeks ago, I told her we should also go to the Top of the Rock.

It was Maddy’s first time in New York so I knew the Top of the Rock would be a great stop during our trip. I learned a few tips and tricks on how to get a great photo at the Top of the Rock last year so I’m excited to share them on the blog today!

What is the Top of the Rock?

The Top of the Rock is the Rockefeller Center’s Observation Deck. It’s one of New York City’s top things to do. If you’ve seen photos of the constructions workers sitting down on a piece of steel with the New York City buildings in the background, you’ve seen photos at the Top of the Rock.

Where is the Top of the Rock?

Address: 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112

What time does the Top of the Rock open?

The Top of the Rock is open Saturday-Sunday from 8am-Midnight.

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Here is how you can get a great photo at the Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center:

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1. Reserve tickets ahead of time – preferably right when they open at 8am

If you’re looking to take photos at the Top of the Rock and not compete with crowds, I highly recommend reserving tickets ahead of time and right when they first open at 8am. I’ve done this two years in a row and it’s truly the best way to beat the crowds. You get to see the city wake up from the Rockefeller Center and not feel like you’re pushing through the crowds.

2. Visit on a weekday

Besides waking up early and getting to the Top of the Rock at 8am, I also recommend visiting on the weekdays (if your schedule allows you to). I’ve heard the weekends can get pretty busy. We ended up going to the Top of the Rock on Friday morning at 8am and it super crowded. We were able to take photos with the clear vision (“quarters only) machines without waiting for one to open up.

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Photo inspiration of New York City - NYC Views

3. There are three levels of the Top of the Rock – start at the highest level and make your way back down

Did you know the Top of the Rock actually has three levels of observation decks? Personally I love the very top level. There isn’t as glass pane separating you from the view. I recommend starting at the very top and making your way to the mid-level and then bottom level of the observation decks.

When you get off the elevators, you’ll have to take another set of escalators then a short flight of stairs to get to the very top view. There was only a handful of people at the very top level so it made it really easy to take photos.

4. (Personal opinion) The best view of the Empire State Building is on the mid-level

From the two times I’ve visited, I think the best level to see the Empire State building is on the mid-level.  I’m confused why people stay on the lowest level to take photos with the Empire State building when it’s usually the most crowded. Again, I recommend starting at the very top level and then heading to the mid-level of the observation deck to take photos with the Empire State building.

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5. Grab a photo next to the clear vision quarters only machines

If you’re looking for an iconic Top of the Rock/NYC type of photo, you need to snag a photo with the clear vision quarters only machines.

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6. Grab a photo with the Empire State Building on the windowsill

Another place to capture a great photo of the Empire State building is on the windowsill of the lowest level of the observation deck. Since we started top to bottom, we grabbed a photo here last!

Windowsill of Observation Deck at Rockefeller Center - Empire State Building view

What are your tips for getting a great photo at the Top of the Rock?

View of Empire State Building from the Top of the Rock Obeservation Deck - Rockefeller Center

If you’re planning a trip to NYC soon, make sure you also check out 10 Tips for Going to New York For Your First Time.

Thank you for reading!

Love,

Emma

Photos: @madcrayy

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