Called a city within a city, Rockefeller Center encompasses 22 acres and contains 19 highly-adorned, commercial buildings in Midtown Manhattan.
A tour of Rockefeller Center is an opportunity to learn about the political scene and intrigue of a by-gone era, experience magnificent examples of art deco and modern day artwork and architecture, and learn about the powerful family which influenced much of New York City’s pulse, both then and now.
Check out our helpful guide for visiting the world famous Rockefeller Center, packed full of ways to save on admission, tips for visiting, other nearby attractions, and much more.
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Visit other top attractions like Top of the Rock, Radio City Music Hall and many more.
Tips for Visiting Rockefeller Center
- Rockefeller Center can get very crowded during the holidays and on weekends. The earlier in the day you visit, the lighter the crowds will be.
- Tours take place every half hour from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm, except for 6:00 pm and 6:30 pm, 365 days a year.
- Each tour is about an hour long, but make sure to allot lots of extra time to enjoy the surrounding area and to go back and re-visit particular places of interest you learned about on the tour.
- Tour groups are intimate in size and questions are welcomed.
- Everyone in the group is provided with closed-circuit headsets with adjustable volume controls. This way, visitors can hear the guide speaking even if they become separated by a short distance.
- The tour takes place both indoors and outside, so make sure to dress accordingly and to wear comfy walking shoes.
- Please note that tours are available in English only.
- If you plan on also visiting the Top of the Rock, you may also wish to avoid foggy days, which can reduce the range of vision and limit view scope.
What You Should Bring
- Make sure to have a camera and extra batteries on hand, to take lots of pictures. Photography is allowed on most parts of the tour, with the exception of elevator interiors in all buildings.
- You never know who you’ll bump into in New York! If you love getting autographs, bring your autograph book with you, particularly if you visit early in the day, when NBC stars of shows like “The Today Show” and their guests are out on the Plaza.
What to Do at Rockefeller Center
Well known for housing the world’s most famous Christmas tree and a legendary ice rink, celebrated as the marriage proposal capital of the world, Rockefeller Center is renowned for its astonishing artwork and an intricate history, as multifaceted as New York itself.
Tours of this historic spot explore the origins of various pieces, such as Lee Lawrie and Rene Paul Chambellan’s imposing figure of Atlas and its mysterious relationship to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, located directly across the street.
Visitors also learn about Abby Rockefeller, a patron of the arts and wife to John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Mrs. Rockefeller played a pivotal, yet highly controversial role in the design and execution of Rockefeller Center’s art deco trappings and was co-founder of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), located nearby.
Rockefeller Center’s artwork celebrates science and the world of the mind, humankind’s triumph over ignorance and the everyday travails of workers.
Many illustrate the political struggles of the 1930s. Other, more playful motifs display acts from Vaudeville, the burgeoning entertainment and media industries and historical references to world events.
Television shows like “30 Rock” and “Saturday Night Live” were filmed at NBC studios, inside 30 Rockefeller Plaza. The Shop at NBC Studios in that building sells souvenirs from these renowned hits and more, that kids and adults will love.
You don’t have to be a millionaire to enjoy the artwork at Christie’s Auction House, located in 20 Rockefeller Center. Here you can view renowned masterpieces and stroll exhibitions, unavailable at any museum.
A stroll through the ever-changing Channel Gardens is magnificent in any season. Highly photographed at Christmastime when larger-than-life, gossamer angels fill their flower beds, the Gardens are also home to extraordinary floral displays, weeping willow forests and autumnal splendor. The Gardens link Fifth Avenue to 30 Rockefeller Center.
Ice skating and Christmas tree photo opportunities are experiences on many people’s bucket lists. Don’t forget your mittens!
A premiere shopping destination, Rockefeller Center’s underground concourse is filled with over 100 shops and restaurants. You’ll also want to stop at the above ground Metropolitan Museum of Art gift shop, located alongside the Channel Gardens. A favorite of New Yorkers, the shop is chock full of eclectic collectibles, reminiscent of exhibits at the Museum.
Located in the heart of New York City, Rockefeller Center is a stroll (or subway ride) away from just about everything the city has to offer.
Here are a few we suggest adding to your itinerary…
- Top of the Rock Observation Deck – Here, locals and visitors alike can stand on the roof of New York and enjoy 360 degree, breathtaking views of the entire city and surrounding area.
- Radio City Stage Door Tour – A behind the scenes look at the Showplace of the Nation®! Take the Radio City Stage Door Tour® for an insider’s look at America’s most legendary theater.
- No trip to New York is complete without a stop at Saks Fifth Avenue. Located directly opposite Rockefeller Center, Saks is to style what “30 Rock” is to comedy and a great celebrity-sighting location.
- Audrey Hepburn (star of legendary movie, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”) and diamond fans alike, will love stopping into Tiffany & Co.’s flagship store, located on Fifth Avenue and 57th Street. Here, magnificent baubles designed by talents like Paloma Picasso and the Atlas Watch Collection, are available to enjoy, and even purchase.
- A few blocks north you’ll find Central Park, a wondrous, natural haven within the city. Any trip with children must include a stroll up to 75th Street to see the Alice in Wonderland statue and the 6.5 acre Central Park Zoo, located at 64th Street.
Places to Eat Nearby
At last count, New York housed over 20,000 restaurants, offering diners everything from a great slice of pizza to a haute cuisine extravaganza. Several sure bets include:
- Rock Center Café – located directly adjacent to the ice skating rink, this casual American café offers great views of happenings on the ice and delicious cuisine.
- Brasserie Ruhlman – located at 45 W. 50th Street and serving delectable French food, this art deco restaurant has a patio for warm-weather, outdoor people watching.
Need to Know
- Daily, 10:00 am-7:00 pm (tours depart every 30 minutes, excluding 6:00 pm and 6:30 pm)
- Use the entrance on the 50th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues).
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10112
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Save up to 50% on top museums, tours, and activities vs. paying at the gate. Visit multiple attractions for one low price.