Il Rockefeller Center it is a complex of 19 buildings that can easily be defined as a city within a city. Visiting it you will have the opportunity to discover many of the most famous attractions of the Big Apple, starting from the panoramic terrace of the Top of the Rock, from which you can admire one of the most popular New York skylines.
Rockefeller Center certainly gives its best under the Christmas holidays when, in the setting of Rockefeller Plaza, two of the most famous attractions are set up for both tourists and Americans, namely the famous skating ring under the statue of Prometheus and the imposing Christmas tree decorated by hundreds of colored lights.
- Where is it and how to get there
- Radio City Music Hall
- GE Building – Top of the Rock
- Rockefeller Plaza
- NBC Studio
- Rainbow Room – Bar SixtyFive
- Shopping al Rockefeller Center
- Where to eat at Rockefeller Center
- Hotels nearby
- Attractions nearby
Where is it and how to get there
The Rockefeller Center complex is located between 5th Avenue, New York's shopping street, and 6th Avenue and 48th Street and 51st Street.
Reaching it by metro is very simple as there is a dedicated stop in the immediate vicinity. We are talking about the 47-50 Streets – Rockefeller Center Station reached by lines B, D, F and M.
Radio City Music Hall
Radio City Music Hall is one of the historic buildings of New York. Finished in 1932, the building is definitely worth a visit to admire its splendid interior, even if you are not particularly interested in its history. Of particular value is the hall, which with its architecture, combined with the particular colors of the lights, refers to the idea of a sunset. It is such an important building in the history of American entertainment that it has earned the nickname of The Showplace of the Nation.
In addition to hosting numerous shows and concerts, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, lo christmas show par excellence of the Big Apple, one of the most anticipated December events in New York. Of course, tours of the building are available that are included with some New York passes or can be purchased on site. So if you are passionate about architecture or the history of music this will certainly be a stop to be included in your itinerary. Or maybe why not consider attending some concert or show? You can find tickets by clicking the link below.
Look for the Radio City Music Hall shows
GE Building – Top of the Rock
The General Electric building is best known for housing both NBC studies that one of the most famous panoramic terraces in New York or the Top of the Rock to which we have dedicated a specific in-depth article. To its construction we also owe one of the most iconic photos of New York or the famous Lunch atop a Skyscraper by Charles C. Ebbets.
It is the central square of the whole complex, which takes on a leading role especially during the Christmas holidays, when a huge tree is installed and the The Rink, or the famous skating ring immortalized in multiple Hollywood blockbusters. During the remaining months of the year, when the climate in New York is milder, outdoor tables are set up in the space of the Rockefeller Plaza where you can enjoy an aperitif in the evening, or take a break during the day.
- Skating ring: if you want to try the experience of skating in the famous The Rink these are some things you need to keep in mind. For 2017, the attraction will usually open its doors in the first days of October. If you don't know how to skate, don't be discouraged because it will be possible to book skating lessons (for a fee). You can find ticket prices, which vary according to the months, and detailed opening hours directly from the official website.
- Albero di Natale: the huge tree that is decorated every year in Rockefeller Plaza attracts thousands of tourists who are captivated by its hundreds of lights. The ignition ceremony is a real one New York event (if not the entire United States) broadcast on television obviously by NBC. If you want to attend the event, plan to arrive well before the start which usually takes place around 19. Also in this case you can refer to the official website where you will find all the further information. And if you don't have enough of lights and colors and you stay in New York on New Year's Eve, don't miss the Times Square show, where the luminous ball falls from the top of One Times Square.
These are the studios where, among other things, the episodes of the Tonight Show con Jimmy Fallon. You will discover the behind the scenes of the shows that are shot and the history of the NBC productions. If you are therefore particularly passionate about the world of the stars and stripes, you can consider the tour in which, in addition to the studios, you will be guided on a walk along the glimpses of New York used by films and TV series.
Learn more about the NBC Studios Tour
Rainbow Room – Bar SixtyFive
It is not a real attraction as it is a restaurant, but it is worth mentioning as it boasts one of the terraces with views on New York's best in the city. Located on the 65th floor of the Comcast Building within the Rockefeller Center complex, it is the second tallest restaurant in the city after the Freedom Tower. Along with its cocktail lounge called Bar SixtyFive it is particularly recommended to have an aperitif while enjoying the sunset over the Big Apple, or a dinner while observing the thousand lights of New York.
Shopping al Rockefeller Center
Rockefeller Center is also a place frequented by those who want to do shopping a New York and treat yourself to a souvenir from the Big Apple. Let's go and see what are the main shops and possibilities that you will have in front of you.
- The Concourse: a real shopping center that develops in the basement of the Rockefeller Center where you will find shops, restaurants, ATMs and a post office. Personally I found it very useful to walk there to get some respite from the bad weather that was raging on the surface. Its corridors also connect to the metro stop.
- Lego Store: both for children and (especially) for adults. How not to be fascinated by the shop entirely dedicated to the world of construction par excellence? Even if you don't intend to buy anything (but I doubt you can) it is still worth a visit.
- Nintendo Store: if you were born between the 80s and 90s, and you shared your childhood with Super Mario, you can't avoid visiting this shop. Do you have a particular Nintendo designer item in mind? Well here for sure you will find it.
Shopping opportunities certainly do not end here, just think of the presence of shops such as Swarovski, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, J.Crew and Michael Kors. To orient yourself you can take a look at this map that will allow you to go without fail for your purchases.
Where to eat at Rockefeller Center
There are countless places to take a break and refresh yourself in the Rockefeller Center area. It goes by the big fast food chains like Starbucks o Subway, to restaurants of a certain level such as the one already mentioned Bar SixtyFive. If you prefer meat, two of the most established places in the area are the New Steak and Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House.
However, those with a sweet tooth cannot miss a stop at the famous Magnolia Bakery, which has opened its first shop here, where resisting the temptation of its cheesecakes or colorful cupcakes will be practically impossible.
The Rockefeller Center is located less than ten minutes walk from Times Square and Broadway, if you want to stay as close as possible to these two iconic attractions of New York, we would like to refer you to the paragraph that refers to this area of our article about where to sleep in New York.
In the heart of Midtown we point out just a few of the most important attractions that you can find no more than 10 minutes walk from the Rockefeller Center.
- St. Patrick's Cathedral: consecrated in 1879, with more than 5 million visitors a year it is the most visited Catholic church in New York. The contrast between its neo-Gothic style and the very high skyscrapers make this place unique in the world in its own way. Admission is free. To visit for a moment of reflection or simply to take a break from the hustle and bustle of New York.
- MoMA: one of the most famous museums of the Big Apple and a practically obligatory stop for all those who love art. It is almost impossible to summarize everything it offers in a few lines, so we have prepared a special guide to MoMA that can be useful for planning your itinerary.
- Times Square e Broadway: the beating heart of Manhattan located less than ten minutes walk from the Rockefeller Center complex. And if you have always dreamed of seeing a live musical, reading our article dedicated to Broadway shows you will find all the information you need to not miss this opportunity.