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Rockefeller Center

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

45 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10111, USA

Opening Hours

24 hours

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps

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expert
Colm
Local tour guide
"Visit Rockefeller Center during the early morning hours to avoid the crowds and have a more intimate experience with the art deco masterpieces and stunning views; locals know it's the best time for photos without the hustle and bustle. Also, check out the lesser-known underground concourse where you'll find a surprising array of shops and eateries away from the tourist track."

What is Rockefeller Center?

Rockefeller Center is an iconic complex of commercial buildings in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Known for its stunning Art Deco architecture and cultural significance, it's a beacon of entertainment, media, and business. The center is comprised of 19 buildings and is spread across 22 acres, boasting some of the city's most beloved landmarks, including the famous ice-skating rink, an observation deck called Top of the Rock, and the annual Christmas tree lighting that has become a national tradition.

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The GE Building, also known as 30 Rockefeller Plaza, stands as the centerpiece of this urban marvel. At the base of this skyscraper, you'll find the iconic studios of NBC, where legendary shows like "Saturday Night Live" and "The Tonight Show" are brought to life. Rockefeller Center isn't just a group of buildings; it's a symbol of New York City's relentless spirit of innovation and ambition.

History of Rockefeller Center

The story of Rockefeller Center begins amidst the economic turmoil of the Great Depression. Spearheaded by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., the complex was an enormous private building project that illustrated prevailing optimism in a time of economic struggle. Construction began in 1931, and despite the economic conditions, Rockefeller's vision for a grand "city within a city" took shape, featuring the innovative use of "setback" architecture that became a model for skyscrapers thereafter.

Originally intended to house an opera house for the Metropolitan Opera, the plans changed drastically with the rise of radio and television. The inclusion of Radio City, home to the famous Radio City Music Hall, and the RCA Building (now the GE Building) meant Rockefeller Center became an epicenter for media and entertainment. The center officially opened in 1933 and has been a fixture of New York's landscape ever since.

Why is Rockefeller Center Important?

Rockefeller Center holds a special place in the heart of New Yorkers and visitors alike for numerous reasons. It represents a fusion of art, commerce, and innovation. The Center showcases some of the finest examples of Art Deco art and architecture, which perfectly encapsulate the period in American history when it was built. It's a place where business thrives, with numerous offices and headquarters calling it home.

Moreover, Rockefeller Center serves as a cultural hub. The annual lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is a holiday spectacle that brings together citizens from all walks of life. Not to mention, the public art scattered throughout the plaza, including the statue of Atlas and the gilded Prometheus overlooking the ice rink, provides a museum-like experience in an open, public space.

Things to Do & See at Rockefeller Center

When visiting Rockefeller Center, the opportunities to explore and enjoy are vast. A trip to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck offers sweeping panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline, including unobstructed sights of the Empire State Building and Central Park. During the winter months, lace up your skates and glide across the famous ice rink, a quintessential New York experience.

If you're keen on entertainment history, join one of the NBC Studio Tours to get a behind-the-scenes look at some of television's most iconic programs. Art enthusiasts will appreciate the numerous Art Deco statues and murals throughout the center, including works by artists such as Isamu Noguchi and Josep Maria Sert. And, of course, no visit is complete without exploring the shops and dining options—ranging from casual eateries to high-end dining spread throughout the center.

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From surprising seasonal events, like the summer farmer's market and outdoor film screenings, to holiday traditions that are broadcast across the country, Rockefeller Center always has something new for you to discover. Did you know that secret passageways and private gardens hide amongst these famous facades? It's these little-known tidbits that add an air of mystery and discovery to every visit, and why Rockefeller Center is not just a must-see but a must-experience in New York City.

Frequently asked questions

What is the history of Rockefeller Center?

Rockefeller Center is a large complex of commercial buildings in New York City. It was developed by the Rockefeller family and built during the Great Depression, officially opening in 1933. The complex is famous for its Art Deco architecture and for housing numerous corporate headquarters, as well as the iconic ice skating rink and Top of the Rock observation deck.

What are some must-see attractions at Rockefeller Center?

Must-see attractions include the Top of the Rock Observation Deck that offers a stunning view of Manhattan, the famous ice skating rink, Radio City Music Hall, and the annual Christmas Tree lighting ceremony. Additionally, visitors can take a tour of the NBC Studios or admire the art deco details and sculptures scattered throughout the complex.

Can you take a tour of Rockefeller Center?

Yes, there are guided tours available for Rockefeller Center where visitors can learn about the history and architecture of the complex, as well as explore some of its famous landmarks and artworks.

What dining options are available at Rockefeller Center?

Rockefeller Center offers a range of dining options, from quick bites to fine dining experiences. Notable establishments include The Sea Grill, which features seafood with views of the ice skating rink, and various cafés and fast-food options located within the concourse.

How can you get tickets to see a show at Radio City Music Hall?

Tickets for shows at Radio City Music Hall can be purchased online through the venue's official website, through ticketing platforms, or at the venue's box office. It is recommended to purchase tickets in advance, especially for popular shows and events.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

45 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10111, USA

Opening Hours

24 hours

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps