Everything you need to know about visiting Rockefeller Center (48th to 51st Sts, New York, 10111).
With 19 high-rises built on 22 acres of prime Manhattan real estate, it’s easy to take this National Landmark for granted. Yet when business tycoon John D. Rockefeller broke ground on the massive complex in 1930, it helped the city weather the Great Depression by employing an estimated 40,000 with construction work. It’s even said that the first Christmas tree at the center was erected by the workers several years before the giant evergreen would become a tradition. These days, thousands are employed within the buildings and tourists come from all over to admire the original Art Deco structures and shops surrounding Rockefeller Plaza.
Flock to 30 Rock
Even without the beloved sitcom that shares its name and location, 30 Rockefeller Plaza is by far the most famous of the buildings—and that’s by design. As the tallest of the lot, 30 Rock was always meant to be the centerpiece, and it shows, from the murals in the lobby to the 70th-floor observation deck with views of Central Park and the Empire State Building, this place is far from subtle. It also happens to be home of NBC. If you’re lucky, you might get tickets to see a live recording of Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Late Night with Seth Meyers or even Saturday Night Live. If you do, celebrate your good luck with cocktails at the Rainbow Room, the swanky restaurant with panoramic views and gorgeous decor on the 65th floor.
Join a tour
You don’t have to be a tourist to appreciate the wide variety of tours offered around these parts. Find out the history of the Atlas or Prometheus statues and those powerful murals on a Rockefeller Center tour focused on art and architecture. Or see how one of the city’s most famous venues operates and meet the Rockettes on a tour of Radio City Music Hall. Television fans will love the NBC studio tours where you can see how broadcasts get made.
Have a Plaza palooza
All year-round, Rockefeller Plaza serves as a pedestrian oasis for the neighborhood otherwise crowded with towering commercial skyscrapers. In warm weather, grab a seat by the well-maintained gardens and appreciate large-scale art installations by celebrated artists like Jeff Koons and duo Elmgreen & Dragset. When December rolls around, brave the crowds to see the gigantic holiday tree rising up to 100 feet tall. Bring a date to the ice rink for a romantic experience lit by the evergreen—it’s well worth the lines and price tag.
Our New York editorial team is constantly updating and reviewing the best attractions, activities and venues across the city, so that you're always in the know, with the best of NYC. at your fingertips. Rockefeller Center was most recently updated with new tips on June 30, 2017.
|Venue name:||Rockefeller Center | Manhattan, NY||Contact:|
48th to 51st Sts
|Cross street:||between Fifth and Sixth Aves|
|Transport:||Subway: B, D, F, M to 47–50th Sts–Rockefeller Ctr|
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.