Located in midtown Manhattan and one of New York City’s most popular sights, the Rockefeller Center has been an icon since its completion in 1933. Originally conceived in 1928 as a new building for the Metropolitan Opera, it soon became apparent that the Met would not be able to fund the project alone, so John D. Rockefeller Jr. stepped in and agreed to help financially. However, after the stock market crash in 1929, it fell to Rockefeller to finance the project alone. Built in Art Deco style during the Great Depression, the construction of this immense complex of buildings brought much-needed employment for New York residents. Now a huge media, publishing and entertainment complex, it houses, among others, NBC Studios, Radio City Music Hall, and Today Show Studios, as well as some exquisite pieces of art.
Due to its size, there is plenty of things to do at the Rockefeller Center. If you want to learn more about the Center, there are a number of guided tours available, giving you a behind-the-scenes view on what happens in various parts of the complex. There is the Rockefeller Center Tour, which guides you through all the amazing art and architecture that make up this magnificent structure. You could also go on a tour of NBC Studios or Radio City Music Hall.
For great views over Manhattan, consider taking the elevator to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck. Open daily from 8 am to 12 pm (last elevator at 11 pm), it costs $38 for adults, $36 for seniors and $32 for children aged six to 12 years.
The holiday season is the best time to visit the Rockefeller Center when it transforms into a winter wonderland, and kids will especially love the magnificent, world-famous Christmas tree and ice rink, both quintessential New York experiences. However, there is plenty more here that kids can enjoy. The Lego Store and Nintendo NYC both draw in crowds; at the Lego Store, they can see a replica of the Rockefeller built from Lego, whereas the on-display gaming systems at Nintendo can keep kids entertained for hours.
But it is not just winter that makes a great time to visit; various events are held throughout the year. Currently, the Center is hosting an Art in Focus exhibition, which runs to the end of 2019, and focuses on showcasing installations inspired by contemporary life in New York City and its landscapes. Each season sees the Rockefeller Center Channel Gardens bloom in a series of themed plant installations, so whichever season you are there, you will see completely different flowers and plants.
With all the attractions and stores the Rockefeller has to offer, no doubt you will be hungry. The Center has a whole host of eating options, from bakeries and cafes to casual restaurants and fine dining. So whether you want a quick bite to eat, a sit-down dinner or just evening drinks, there will be something for you.
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