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Explore an Art Deco masterpiece.

The historian-guided Rockefeller Center Tour takes you from past to present, from John D. Rockefeller Jr.’s initial vision to its realization in the cultural center and National Historic Landmark of today. You’ll get an insider’s view of the incredible architecture, art, iconic buildings, gardens, and spaces found throughout Rockefeller Center. Tours will return Spring 2021.

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Hours

Returning Spring 2021

Directions & Contact

30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10112
1.877.692.7625[email protected]
Contact Us

On the Tour

History

Over 100 years ago, John D. Rockefeller Jr. had a vision to create a “city within a city,” and the story of how Rockefeller Center came to be is a fascinating one. Filled with art, style, and entertainment, it’s a story that is being added to every day.

1929

John D. Rockefeller Jr leases land from Columbia University. Rockefeller’s original vision was was to create a commercial office building community and a new home for the Metropolitan Opera Company. The stock market crash of 1929 thwarted these plans however, as investors withdrew from the project. A determined Rockefeller chose to move forward with the project, opting to create an exclusively commercial business complex.

1931

Construction begins on America's largest privately owned business and entertainment complex of the pre-war period. Throughout the Depression, the construction of the center provided jobs for tens of thousands of laborers and helped boost the building industry in New York City. The fourteen original buildings and their accompanying attractions were completed in 1940.

1932

Center Theatre opens. Originally called the RKO Roxy Theatre when it opened, the Center Theatre featured both live stage shows and screened films. During the height of its popularity in the 1940s, its understated Art Deco–inspired design stood in stark contrast to the lavish Radio City Music Hall nearby. It is the only building from the original Rockefeller Center plan that has been torn down.

1938

Associated Press Building Completed. Soaring above the entrance to the Associated Press Building is News, the first heroic-sized sculpture ever cast in stainless steel. One of the major Art Deco works in the Center, it depicts five journalists focused on getting a scoop. AP’s worldwide network is symbolized by diagonal radiating lines extending across the plaque. Intense angles and smooth planes create the fast-paced rhythm and energy of a newsroom.

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Art

Rockefeller Center is home to a remarkable collection of art deco motifs and sculptures signifying man’s development in spirit, science, industry and more. You’ll see the Center’s most famous artworks, including Four Periods in Italian History, Atlas, Intelligence Awakening Mankind, Prometheus, Sound and Light, and The Joy of Life and many others. And along the way, you’ll learn about how Rockefeller’s vision to create a cultural center was ultimately realized.
Abby Aldrich Rockefeller was a visionary art collector and patron who not only played a decisive role in making Rockefeller Center a haven for public art, but who also co-founded MoMA in 1929 with two other women, Lillie Bliss and May Quinn Sullivan.

Architecture

You’ll learn about the conception and design of Rockefeller Center, the National Landmark and Art-Deco marvel, that has been referred to as a "city-within-a-city." This visionary center combines private with public, and design with a community purpose. The Center was designed by a team of renowned architects, headed by the most celebrated architect of the decade, Raymond Hood, of Hood, Godley & Fouilhoux.
Gertrude Stein once said that the view of Rockefeller Center from Fifth Avenue was “the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.”

Points of Interest

On your tour you’ll see Rockefeller Center’s most significant buildings, gardens, and spaces. Some highlights are stops at the Associated Press Building and where the TODAY Show is filmed. Make sure you bring some comfortable shoes, there’s a lot to see.
The aptly named Channel Gardens sits between the French and British Empire buildings on Fifth Avenue.

Rockefeller Center Tour FAQs

A guide will lead your group through the buildings, streets, and landmarks of Rockefeller Center, focusing on the art and architecture found here. Featuring prominently in the tour are stops at original installations by world-renowned artists, such as:

• Famous sculptures by Isamu Noguchi, Michio Ihara, and Paul Manship, including the iconic Prometheus statue

• Impressive murals by Jose Maria Sert and Sir Frank Brangwyn

• Historic works by Lee Lawrie, Gaston Lachaise, Attilio Piccirilli, and Leo Lentelli

Your group will also be taken through the Channel Gardens and the world-famous skating rink (open seasonally). Several buildings acknowledged as art deco masterpieces will also be visited, including the iconic 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

Tour guides only speak English on the tour. However, if you have a group, it may be possible to arrange for a translator. Please contact our Group Sales department at 212-698-2000 for information.

Both NBC Studios and Radio City Music Hall offer their own tours. These venues are not a part of the Rockefeller Center tour.

Currently, tours are scheduled for 12pm, 2pm and 4pm, Thursday–Sunday.

Yes. The Rock Pass combines this tour with a visit to Top of the Rock observation deck atop 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Most guests take the tour first and visit Top of the Rock second.

Unfortunately, no. This is a walking tour that covers many points of interest, consequently the schedule does not allow for rest periods.

Hours

Returning Spring 2021

Directions & Contact

30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10112
1.877.692.7625[email protected]
Contact Us

Top of the Rock

Top of the Rock – 70 floors up, 3 decks, 360-degree must see views, and a city that’s all yours.

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Use #rockefellercenter, #rockcenter, or #rockefellerplaza.
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