Exploring Rockefeller Center: Tour NBC Studios, Visit the Top of the Rock Observation Deck, and More! | Take Our Downtown Bus Tour and See the Sights

Rockefeller Center

Location: 45 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10111

The iconic Rockefeller Center dates back to 1930, when John D. Rockefeller Jr., assembled a team of architects to design what would become this famous landmark. Rockefeller prioritized the overall architectural design of his complex, and he felt a keen responsibility to contribute positively to the overall urban quality of New York City. Construction would not be completed until near the end of 1933, and the project would eventually encompass 19 separate buildings and more than 8,000,000 square feet of real estate in Midtown Manhattan.

Rockefeller was the son of oil magnate John D. Rockefeller. He initially leased the land for this project from Columbia University and planned to finance the project with outside help. However, the 1929 stock market crash forced Rockefeller Jr. to pay for the entire project himself; it was the most expansive private building project of its time. Originally, Rockefeller Center was designed for mixed purposes and was supposed to house the Metropolitan Opera, but this plan did not come to fruition. Instead, the Radio Corporation of America stepped in to provide the anchor tenants of the complex, RCA subsidiaries NBC and RKO.

The building complex is decidedly Art Deco in style, and it is one of the most famous and popular New York City attractions. A single tall building, the RCA Building, today is often known as 30 Rockefeller Plaza or “30 Rock,” stands in the center of the complex, with a plaza in front and many shorter buildings surrounding it. A highlight of any Rockefeller Center tour is the sculpture of Prometheus that stands 18 feet high at the front of the building. Rooftop gardens are another iconic feature of Rockefeller Center.

Art-lovers flock to the center today to view the Art Nouveau murals, while others visit to tour NBC Studios. Rockefeller Center visitors can also take in one of the best views of the city from the Top of the Rock observation deck: From 70 floors up, you’ll have a panoramic view of New York City from three separate viewing decks. But for those to prefer to keep their feet on the ground, Rockefeller Center has plenty to offer. Explore the sights at street level, or head underground to the concourse to find shopping, dining options, and a post office, just in case you need to mail a postcard home.

Aboard a TopView Sightseeing double-decker bus, you can get a great view of Rockefeller Center, then hop off to check out the sights up close before hopping back on to continue your tour. There’s plenty to explore: Whether you choose to tour NBC Studios, Rockefeller Center landmarks like Radio City Music Hall, or just the shops of the concourse, you’re sure to have a good time. For the full experience, take a guided Rockefeller Center tour, then take in the view from the Top of the Rock observation deck. From this vantage point, you can look out over Midtown and see Central Park and the Empire State Building in the distance. It promises to be an unforgettable part of your New York City vacation!

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This page was edited by Steven Thomas