One thing that often amazes first-time visitors to NYC is the fact that you never need walk further than a block in this city to find something else worth seeing.
And that is especially true when it comes to Rockefeller Center — a historic complex of 19 Art Deco buildings seemingly built to keep you busy in the upscale area of Midtown Manhattan located right on Fifth Avenue. From NBC’s famous studios to Radio City Music Hall, there’s so much to see in the area surrounding Rockefeller Plaza that we recommend making ample room in your itinerary for this historic landmark that’s wall-to-wall with attractions.
Grab a coffee and hit the Plaza early in the a.m. if you want to wave to mom back home from the sidelines of the Today Show, which films at NBC’s Studio 1A in Rockefeller Plaza. You never know who the guest will be — and if they’ll appear outdoors alongside weatherman Al Roker to rub elbows with the patient masses who start lining up at 7 a.m.
Following that, hop on the NBC Studio tour to get a backstage look at many of the network’s famed studios, including the Today Show studio, the Saturday Night Live stage, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon’s studio, and the NBC Nightly News desks. Guests also get a gander at the NBC Sharp Globe Theater, Broadcast Operations, and the make-up room. You can even produce your very own news and weather program in the High Definition Mini-Control Studio.
Or opt instead for the Rockefeller Center Tour, which hits all of the historic complex’s most significant examples of Art Deco art and architecture. Led by experienced historians, the Rockefeller Center Tour includes a dozen pieces by sculptor Lee Lawrie, including the heroic 45-foot-tall bronze Atlas sculpture on 5th Avenue, as well as the nine-ton stainless steel bas relief sculpture “News” by Isamu Noguchi on 50 Rockefeller Plaza.
And while you’re at it, cross the street to Radio City Music Hall, also part of Rockefeller Center, where you can tour the historic concert venue’s signature “Setting Sun” stage and maybe even meet a Rockette! If you’re lucky enough to visit during the holiday season, stick around for the Christmas Spectacular, one of New York City’s most beloved Christmas traditions.
Tired of walking? Head up to Top of the Rock, Rockefeller Center’s sky-high observatory, which features bird’s eye views of Midtown Manhattan and beyond (many consider the view from Top of the Rock to be the best in city for its unique vantage point near Central Park). With three levels of viewing space, including on open-air deck with 360-degree views of the city, there’s plenty of room for incredible photo ops. And with a timed ticketing system, Top of the Rock ensures it’s never too crowded.
So what’s your favorite attraction or activity at Rockefeller Center?