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A Visitors Guide to Rockefeller Center NYC
by Staff Writer

Rockefeller Center Sights, Buildings, Tours, & Art

Rockefeller Center Outdoor Plaza

Rockefeller Center is located in Midtown Manhattan, from 5th to 6th Avenue between 48th and 51st Streets.  It consists of 19 art deco buildings housing offices, shops and restaurants, yet it is also a cultural center with art and leisure activities.  Construction of the Center dates back to the 1930's and today reflects both the history of its origin and the modernism of the 21st century.  Whether you spend a couple hours or a full day at the Center, it is a “must-see” when visiting New York.



The Sights

Perhaps the most famous building at Rockefeller Center is the GE Building, also known as "30 Rock", which is home to NBC Studios, the oldest tenant of the complex.  Just outside 30 Rock is the Lower Plaza, where you'll see the ice skating and grandest Christmas tree in winter and the Today Show's plaza concerts in summer.  There is always a bevy of activity in the Plaza, including some fabulous art exhibitions.  The Channel Gardens is a serene pedestrian area connecting the Plaza to 5th Avenue.  It is aptly named as it runs between the British Empire and La Maison Francaise buildings. 

If you'd like to do some shopping or get a bite to eat, check out the Concourse, which is an "underground city" connecting all of the Rockefeller Center buildings and seven subway lines.  Here you'll find over 100 stores and 40 restaurants. 

Near the northeast corner of the Center is Radio City Music Hall, the largest indoor theater in the world hosting concerts and other stage shows, including the legendary Rockettes who put on their Christmas Spectacular each season.

In and around the buildings of Rockefeller Center you'll see beautiful building details and artwork.  The Prometheus Statue, the best known at the Center, is located near above the Lower Plaza.  Wisdom is a panel sculpture found at the main entrance to 30 Rock.  The Greek figure Atlas is found at the International Building at the southeast corner of the Center.  In the Grand Lounge at Radio City Music Hall, you'll see the Dancing Figure sculpture.  The list of artwork at Rockefeller Center is endless.  For the real art enthusiasts, you can purchase a book to help guide you through the Center.

Tours

As you can imagine, there's a lot to see and a lot of ground to cover when visiting Rockefeller Center.  A guided tour will help you out. 

You'll definitely want to to check out Top of the Rock where, from the top of the 30 Rock building, you'll get a panoramic view of the New York skyline, Central Park and the Empire State Building.  After seeing an educational exhibit of photos & artifacts and a short video, you'll be on your way to the 70th floor, which is an open-air deck allowing for a 360 view of the city.  Alternatively, the observation deck on the 69th floor has glass windshields all around and the 67th floor is covered.  This tour can be upgraded to add a 75-minute tour of Rockefeller Center, led by an historian guide.

Another tour you're sure to enjoy is the NBC Studios Tour.  You'll go backstage at the studios of the NBC Nightly News, Dateline, NBC Sports and/or Saturday Night Live.  Which studios you see is dependent upon which are not being used at the time of the tour.  All tours include the NBC History Theater.  Before or after the tour, you can check out the NBC Experience Store for some extra fun and a souvenir.

Perhaps you would prefer the Radio City Music Hall Tour, where you'll spend an hour behind the scenes, admiring the art deco interiors, learning more about preparations for events and meeting a Rockette.

If you plan to do a lot of sightseeing while in New York, you'll want to consider purchasing the New York CityPass.  For one price, you get access to many of New York's top sights and attractions, including the tours we've mentioned above.

Make a Day Of It

There's so much to see and do in this 22-acre complex; here we've given you just a brief overview.  Plan your time here wisely so you can see as much as possible - maybe even set your alarm clock extra early.  First thing in the morning, you can check out the sunrise from Top of the Rock, then pick up a pastry and espresso drink from Bouchon Bakery before you head to the Plaza to see if you can get a glimpse of the Today Show crew.  Plan a self-guided tour from building to building and pick your favorite sculptures.  Stop for lunch and perhaps do a little shopping.  Take a guided tour.  Attend a taping of the Jimmy Fallon show or Saturday Night Live.  People watch.  Have a special dinner at the Sea Grill.  It's all up to you, but to accomplish all would like, you may have to return for a second day!

Local Hotels

  Check out our selection of Hotels near Rockefeller Center.

Official Website of Rockefeller Center
Official Web Site of Rockefeller Center

NYC Location Map of Rockefeller Center NYC
Map of Rockefeller Center


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