Rockefeller Center

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Rockefeller Center

Since its early beginnings, Rockefeller Center has stood as a modern monolith to the American dream. Built by one of the richest businessmen of his era, John D. Rockefeller, during the height of the Great Depression, the enormous complex–one of the largest private building projects in modern times–employed over 40,000 workers over nine years during its construction. The Art Deco statues and murals, including the bronze statue of Greek gods Atlas carrying the world and Prometheus bringing mankind fire, exude strength and confidence.

On a daily basis over 350,000 visitors make their way to the historic landmark. The foot traffic starts early with folks hoping to see celebrities–or wave to their families on TV–arriving for a spot in the Today Show plaza at 6am for the 7am show. Not long after that tourists descend on the speciality shops like the Lego Store, which is decorated with Lego renderings of the complex’s iconic statues, or the Metropolitan Museum of Art Store. Fans of television, on the other hand, clamour for the NBC studio tour ($33 for adults, $29 for children, advanced reservation recommended), which covers the network’s history and sites in 30 Rock. The busiest time to visit, of course, is December when the enormous–usually over 70 feet tall–Christmas Tree stands proud above the plaza ice rink. Looking at those miles of twinkling lights fills one with almost enough holiday spirit to forget the overwhelming crowds. Almost.

Venue name: Rockefeller Center
Contact:
Address: 48th to 51st Sts
New York

Cross street: between Fifth and Sixth Aves
Transport: Subway: B, D, F, M to 47–50th Sts–Rockefeller Ctr
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Average User Rating

4.4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:7
  • 4 star:6
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|13
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Julie S
tastemaker

Yes, it’s packed with tourists during Christmas time, but it’s a New York City landmark that cannot be missed on any first-time trip to this great city. Who doesn’t love to gaze up at the enormous beautifully lit tree while the ice skaters below you wiz by? Rockefeller Center is the quintessential New York City Christmas tourist attraction. If you are ever brave enough to go to the famous tree lighting ceremony, get there very early and be prepared to stand in the cold for hours. Once they flip the switch on and the tree is illuminated, it will make the suffering well worth it. 

DwEater

Rockefeller Center. A tourist traphole. Understandable. Christmas is an extremely popular time. There's the lighting of the tree, and the ever popular ice skating rink. Don't miss the light show either! That was the first place I ever tried ice skating. I happened to go when it wasn't too crowded, but do be prepared for long waits during high season. There are tons of great restaurants around, so if the crowds are too much, just pop into one- I like going to Magnolia Bakery or anything inside the rockefeller center concourse.

Brian M.

As most people know, this area hosts a giant pine tree for about a month each year in December.  Outside of this, there are usually events or installations year round.  I have seen a display where they actually put $500,000 on display, in pennies.  It was a giant rectangle filled with pennies.  For a PGA event, they set up a 50 yard hole, with water, to shoot over.  There are restaurants and tons of shopping underground as well.  The gold statue of Prometheus is there year round,  spreading his fire to us mortals.  

Adam V
tastemaker

Pretty good for a building complex, gifted by the benevolent overlords of New York to its people. Lots of shopping, dining, and sightseeing. Great seasonal displays, art installations, and general events/activities year round. Can get a bit busy - but generally favorable when compared to Times Square. Iconic sculptures, architecture, and layout that are well maintained and help define the aesthetic of midtown.

Dan Q. Dao

Rock Center is downright magical during the holidays, but there's good food and great shopping year-round. Add it to your New York bucket list. 

Naveen

If you're looking for holiday magic over Christmas the Rockerfeller Center is just that. The tree is all sorts of impressive set against the ice rink, and with any luck, snow. I'd recommend dropping into Bouchon Bakery just opposite for a brownie and hot chocolate to top it all off. Or, if you're feeling a little more spirited, head up to Bar SixtyFive on the 65th floor of the Rock for amazing views and just as good cocktails. 

Bryan R

What can i say about Rockefeller Center that this picture doesn't already express!

Christy S

Many good memories of visiting NYC and skating at the rink or just people watching in the plaza.  Top of the Rock is there and is really cool, plus the absolute best place to get photos of the city. Stunning! 

WS
moderator

Pretty legit. I mean, this place is quintessentially New York. Pose in front of the ice rink/Christmas tree and that picture is guaranteed to be framed on your grandparent's wall. 

Allie E

The tree lighting here at Christmastime is one of the happiest events of the holiday season—I’ve taken friends and family. If you don’t want to battle the crowds, head to Rockefeller Center a few days later to soak things in up close. It’s still just as cool!

Joel M

Such an iconic building. Love skating here in winter (by skating I mean sliding around on my butt) and the Rink Bar in summer is pretty good too. 

Carla S

There is no place more New York than this, period. The biggest, baddest tree around will make even the wintriest grump smile. Absolutely not to be missed. 

Christopher O

A trip to Rockefeller Center is a MUST during the Holiday Season!! Yes, it's crowded but the Christmas Tree is truly spectacular, not to mention a great place to take pictures. My girlfriend and I make sure to come every year, take pictures and get into the Christmas spirit.