A Guide to Rockefeller Center


Rockefeller Center is one of the famous attractions of New York City. It is a large group of complexes consisting of 19 commercial buildings, covering an area of 22 acres between the 48th street and 51st street of Midtown Manhattan. 

Rockefeller family later authorized 14 Original Art Deco-styled buildings to be built. They cover the entire Fifth and the Sixth Avenue area, separated by a large sunken square and a private street known as Rockefeller Plaza. The latest renovations include the 75 Rockefeller Plaza across 51st street at the Plaza’s end and four international buildings situated on the west side of Sixth Avenue. 

In 1928, Columbia University’s owner leased the land to John D. Rockefeller Jr., who was the primary reason behind the construction of the complex. The site was initially reserved for building a new Metropolitan Opera building. 

The Center’s construction started in 1931, and the central part of the complex was completed by 1939, with the famous Art Deco-styled architecture. The Rockefeller Center incorporated this artwork style throughout public and private spaces, adding parking garages and having centralized health systems.

Things to Do in Rockefeller Center

1. Get a Wonderful View From the Observation Deck

The Rockefeller Center’s observation deck, commonly known as “Top of the Rock,” is an outdoor space with protective glass that allows you to get a 360-degree view of the city from the top of one of its most legendary buildings. 

New York has many significant buildings that give you a great view of the city; the Rockefeller Center is one of them. An interesting thing to note is that the Rockefeller center is 200 feet higher than the Empire State Building.

2. You Can Go Skating

Rockefeller Plaza

Many TV and movie scenes were shot in Rockefeller Center’s skating rink. Originally it was supposed to be used as a commercial space, but it didn’t seem profitable in the long run, so they wanted to tear it down. 

The skating rink was supposed to be a temporary thing, but the tourists and locals loved the idea of the skating rink, so that plan change. It then became an iconic part of the building and New York City as a whole.

Hence in 1939, a permanent skating rink was installed, and now, around 150 people can easily skate in this rink at a time, making it a fantastic experience in the city’s heart. The skating rink remains open from October to April.

3. You Can Relax in the Garden

The Channel Gardens are still unknown to most people in the Rockefeller Center. The buildings surround the gardens in a courtyard typesetting. They are both separated from the city’s hustle and bustle while still directly being in the middle of it. 

The Channel Gardens remain open throughout the year, and they have several installations that transform with the seasons so that people keep on coming back.

4. Take a Guided Tour

You can take a guided tour of this 80-year-old building if you want to learn everything about it. An expert guide can take you through the building while telling you about John D Rockefeller’s early ideas for the building to the modern and artistic vision it has become. 

If you want to take a tour of the other parts of the Rockefeller Center, you can check out the NBC Studios. If you like reality TV shows, you will love learning about some of the most extensive TV networks and everything that goes into making some of your favorites, like Saturday Night Live or The Tonight Show. 

5. Attend Seasonal Festival Events

The Rockefeller Center has many seasonal attractions, including flowers and plants in the Channel Garden and Rockefeller Center’s skating rink. To find out the dates, you can check the schedule or calendar of events. 

The Rockefeller Center is one of New York’s most visited places, especially during the winter’s holiday festivals with the legendary tree and the ice skating rink.

6. Food Places to Check Out

One of the things you can do here explore various kinds of food places and diners and experience the taste and quality of food.  Many people come with their families and dine here. There are some great restaurants in the Center, and the following are some of the most known:

  • Alidoro

Alidoro is an Italian food place inspired by the classic and traditional sandwiches of Italy. It is a place where you can grab a delicious Italian sandwich. They offer things like a cheesesteak or the Alidoro special made with prosciutto, peppers, mushrooms, fennel, and arugula. Alidoro was opened back in 1986 and is one of Rockefeller’s favorite food places. 

  • La Maison du Chocolat

La Maison du Chocolat specializes in sweets. It has been Rockefeller’s favorite cafe for over the past 30 years that serves homemade and high-quality chocolate.

La Maison du Chocolat is an excellent spot for relaxing with a quick cup of coffee, tea, or picking up some sweets. You’ll find many enjoyable treats with the taste of fruity chocolate and exotic flavors, or you can indulge in some of the freshly home-cooked pastries.

Things to Buy in Rockefeller Center 

  • FAO Schwarz

FAO Schwarz is situated in 30 Rockefeller Plaza and is an iconic store in New York City. It is in service for several years now and is one of the oldest stores in the United States. It was based on the idea of having a huge store filled with many great toys and one-of-a-kind wondrous objects. The shop has so many toys and things that can keep the children busy and can also make the adults remember their childhood.

  • The Shop at NBC Studios

Here, you can shop around and take home several collectibles and apparel from your favorite NBC TV shows and bring back that nostalgia. The shop has t-shirts, posters, DVDs, coffee mugs from some of NBC’s famous TV shows like Seinfield, The Office, Friends, and SNL. It also has a rotating calendar of events so that you can keep track of new things upcoming in the store.

Ways to Get to Rockefeller Center

1. Subway

Taking the subway is the easiest way of getting to Rockefeller Center. The trains B, D, F, and M, go to 47-50th Street Rockefeller Center stop. The N, Q, and R trains go to the 49th Street stop, and from there, the Rockefeller Center is just a short distance walk. You can also take the one train to the 50th Street Stop or the sixth train to the 51st Street Stop.

2. Buses

You can take the buses M1, M2, M3, M4 or M5 to 50th Street.

Additional Tips for Visitors

  • Accessibility

The Rockefeller Center is easily accessible for people on wheelchairs and is compliant with The Americans With Disabilities Act.

  • Parking

If you live in New York, you already know how hard it is to find a parking space, but Rockefeller center provides a parking space on-site on 48th street between 5th and 6th Avenue. It also has designated parking spots for people with disabilities. 

Rockefeller Center – New York’s Top Attraction

Rockefeller Center is one of New York City’s excellent attraction places that you can visit with your family. You can do many things there, like visiting the skating rink, going to the observation deck for a good view of the city, and checking out the food places. It offers an excellent New York City holiday experience, especially on holiday festivals such as Christmas. 

Rockefeller Center is one of the top places you should certainly check out if you’re in New York City.

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