Best Rockefeller Center activities for families

Take the kiddos to these Rockefeller Center activities to show them the magic that is NYC during the holidays

Photograph: Shutterstock

A visit to Rockefeller Center to see the Rockefeller Center tree lighting ceremony is one of NYC’s holiday traditions, but there are so many other fun things to do in the winter with kids once you’re there. Spend the day ice skating under the twinkling tree, shopping for presents and taking in the breathtaking sights from high above the crowds.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Christmas for kids

These Rockefeller Center activities will remind you why NYC during the holidays is a magical experience for all.

Best Rockefeller Center activities for kids

Filip Wolak
Things to do, Festivals

See the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree

Every year, the Norway Spruce beckons revelers from near and far to bask underneath its 30,000 twinkling lights and a dazzling Swarovski crystal star. This year’s pick hails from Pennsylvania and will come to life at the tree lighting ceremony on November 29th. Be sure to return throughout the holiday season for those festive selfies.

The Rink at Rockefeller Center
Photograph: Bart Barlow/© RCPI Landmark Properties
Things to do, Ice skating

Ice skate around The Rink

icon-location-pin Midtown West

Swerve around on the outdoor ice rink and enjoy the scenery. Just note that the lines here can get long, but that’s because only 150 people are allowed on the ice at one time. During the holidays, the sparking Christmas tree will serve as the centerpiece while shoppers hurry to tackle those wish lists. The rink is open from October through April so there will be plenty of sunny days when you can cool off on the rink, or just bundle up and enjoy one of the best ice skating rinks in NYC. Daily 8:30am–12am. $15–$32; skate rentals $12.

Attractions, Towers and viewpoints

See the sights from Top of the Rock

icon-location-pin Midtown West

The sights from the Top of the Rock just can’t be beat! Kiddos will enjoy 360-degree views of the city and beyond and indoor and outdoor observation decks mean families can enjoy a bird’s eye view of NYC no matter the weather. $28–$34. 

Time Out says
Renderings: Courtesy FRCH Design Worldwide
Shopping, Toys and games

American Girl Place

icon-location-pin Midtown West

American Girl’s new retail space is slated to open November 11 and we cannot wait! The 40,000-foot shop will span two levels and offer some pretty amazing feature including a salon for dolls and kids! Tots will be able to get their hair cut and primped right alongside their favorite doll. A signature studio will allow kids to personalize a doll with their own designs and a media studio will host instructional classes as well as health and wellness activities. If your kids are complete fans of American Girl, then why not host their next birthday party there? The new shop will have private party rooms with themed packages, projection equipment and other features that will make your child’s next event the talk around school.

Shopping, Toys and games

Let your imagination run wild at the LEGO Store

icon-location-pin Midtown West

Who doesn’t love LEGOs? No matter your age, the LEGO store is going to elicit giddy feeling at the thought of building your wildest creations out of those tiny colorful bricks. Kids can channel their inner master builder at in-store events, play areas, themed sets and a chance to hand select each piece of their own LEGO collection at the Pick A Brick wall.

Shopping, Department stores

Holiday window shop at Saks Fifth Ave

icon-location-pin Midtown East

Come the holidays, NYC’s biggest department stores dress their windows up and turn them into an attraction all their own. Saks Fifth Avenue across the street from Rockefeller Center is not one to be missed during the winter season. An enchanting light show of twinkling lights, snowflakes and other holiday imagery dance across the building’s 10-story-tall façade to the delight of all ages.

Shopping, Toys and games

Level up at Nintendo NY

icon-location-pin Midtown West

Test out the most popular games and newest consoles in this 10,000-square-foot store filled with interactive experiences, gaming gear, accessories and all things Nintendo! Good luck walking out of the shop empty-handed once the kiddos take the Nintendo Switch or 2DS XL for a spin.