Radio City Music Hall

A beloved entertainment venue that has earned the moniker of 'Showplace of the Nation.'

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When John D. Rockefeller Jr. decided to finance the Rockefeller Center, he wanted a music hall that was pinnacle of showbiz. He dreamed of bringing back the high class entertainment that had been lost during the Great Depression. The result was Radio City Music Hall, hailed as the “Showplace of the Nation”.


It was the brainchild of vaudeville producer Samuel Roxy Rothafel. He launched his venue on 27th December 1932 with an extravaganza that included Ray Bolger, Doc Rockwell and Martha Graham. But the night was a disaster: the program was too long, and the stars’ voices were lost in the cavernous auditorium.


Partly because of this, the music hall was also converted to be used for feature films. This tradition continues today: the premieres of the Harry Potter film series took place there. In the past it has also played host to the Grammy Awards, the Tony Awards, and even the NFL draft. To this day, the Tony Awards still take place there.


A break with tradition

Movie palaces of the time were typically of an ornate, rococo style. Radio City broke with this tradition: behind its iconic neon facade lies a relatively austere, Art Deco interior, which was designed by Donald Deskey and declared a city landmark in 1978. Glass, aluminium, chrome and leather were his materials — and the result exemplifies 1930s New York style. As one journalist of the time wrote: “It has been said of the new Music Hall that it needs no performers.” High praise indeed.


State secret

Radio City’s Great Stage measures 20 by 44 metres and resembles a setting sun. According to Radio City lore, its system of elevators was so impressive that the U.S. Navy copied its hydraulics for their aircraft carriers. During the war, government agents guarded Radio City’s basement to ensure the Navy’s technological advantage.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in New York
Times Square
Neon-lit and monumentally busy, this most famous of intersections is a mecca for tourists, shoppers and protesters.
St Patrick’s Cathedral
This imposing Neo-Gothic construction has been the beacon of Catholicism in New York since 1878.
Fifth Avenue
The world's most prestigious (and expensive) shopping street.
Rockefeller Center Observation Deck
This high vantage point gives an incredible vista of the Big Apple.
Starry Night
Arguably Van Gogh's most famous painting, 'Starry Night' is on display at the MoMA.
Saks: Christmas
An American chain of luxury department stores, with its main flagship store located on Fifth Avenue.

Related Tours

Welcome to New York City: Private Half-Day Highlights Walking Tour
Welcome to New York City, The Big Apple, The City that never sleeps! This fabulous private tour of the highlights of NYC in midtown Manhattan will ensure you see all the very best this vibrant city has to offer, from the famous department store Saks with its dazzling window displays on 5th Avenue, to the bright lights of Broadway and Times Square, and everything in between. Your expert private guide will ensure you see some of the city’s most iconic landmarks and skyscrapers such as the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings, as well as more historic places like St Patrick’s Cathedral. 

On your private tour, you will: 

  • Begin your tour on the iconic Lexington Avenue - known locally as ‘Lex’ and walk to your first stop the Chrysler building;
  • Hear all about the history and formation, architecture and culture of New York City and the borough of Midtown Manhattan;
  • Walk through the romantic Grand Central Terminal and stop outside the magnificent Empire State Building;
  • Pass by the lions by New York Public Library and tranquil Bryant Park;
  • Enjoy the vibrant ambience and glittering lights of Times Square and explore Broadway: the world-famous musical theatre district;
  • Walk up the iconic Fifth Avenue and pass by Saks one of the world’s most spectacular department stores;
  • Admire the impressive Neo-Gothic St Patrick’s Cathedral (from the outside) - the city’s beacon of Catholicism since 1878 - a historic contrast to the modernity of NYC; 
  • Stop by Radio City Music Hall, still the country's leading venue for popular concerts and media events;
  • Wander into Rockefeller Plaza and admire some of NYC’s best architectural and art deco masterpieces including the Rockefeller Centre known as ‘The Rock’ and Lawrie’s statue of Atlas;
  • End your tour at the Rockefeller Center where you can continue to explore this iconic neighbourhood at your own pace.

Your tour begins on Lexington Avenue - known to locals as simply Lex - and you’ll walk towards some of the most iconic architectural masterpieces of New York City. Your first stop is the Chrysler Building, considered by many to be New York’s finest art deco skyscraper. It was the tallest building in the world for just one year from 1930-31. Its antenna spire reaches 319 m.

Next, you’ll walk through NYC’s transport hub - Grand Central Terminal - made famous in countless romantic movies, and emerge in front of the Empire State Building - which remains the top attraction in the USA today. From starring in movies like King Kong to its incredible design, the Empire State remains one of the city’s most beloved features. It is the 4th tallest skyscraper in NYC, the 6th tallest in the whole USA and the 43rd tallest in the world! 

Not far away, you’ll meet the giant stone lions outside New York’s beautiful public library. In the midst of all the hustle and bustle, you’ll be able to enjoy a moment of tranquillity as you walk through Bryant Park, a green oasis in the heart of Midtown, before entering the one and only Times Square. With its flashy billboards, you’ll see the news ticker on the One Times Square Building, the NASDAQ board, and a myriad of other flashing neon signs that have made this place so recognisable the world over. 

Soaking up the bright lights, learn about the evolution of Broadway and how theatre transformed Times Square into one of the most famous destinations in the world. Hear many stories of famous shows and actors that have made their home on Broadway. 

As your tour continues, you will see the impressive St Patrick's Cathedral a neo-gothic church built in 1878 and the seat of the Archdiocese of New York. Heading north toward Central Park, you will have the chance to experience the shopping mecca that is Fifth Avenue, abounding in old-world style and glamour.

You’ll see many of the historic buildings in the area dating back to 1900, as you head towards the recently restored art deco masterpiece— Radio City Music Hall. 

And lastly, a short walk will lead you to the Rockefeller Center on Rockefeller Plaza, a magnificent complex of towering skyscrapers, where your guide will show you one of the great remaining art deco structures. Your guide will happily give you plenty of suggestions for how to spend the rest of your day to delve into Midtown or direct you to the nearest metro, so you can explore other parts of Manhattan. 

Midtown Manhattan & Empire State Observatory: Private Walking Tour
South of Central Park lies one of the world's most important cultural and business centres. With many of the city’s most famous sights, Midtown Manhattan is one of the best places to experience the spirit of New York. Soak up its unique ambience, breathe in its frenetic pace, and seek out its unforgettable highlights. 

On your private tour, you will: 

  • Meet your private guide beside the greenest heart of New York City, Central Park;
  • Stroll glamorous, affluent Fifth Avenue to gaze at the world-famous window displays such as Saks Fifth Avenue;
  • Marvel at Neo-Gothic St Patrick’s Cathedral - the city’s beacon of Catholicism since 1878;
  • Admire some of Manhattan’s most beautiful Art Deco structures, like the Rockefeller building, and Lawrie’s statue of Atlas;
  • Step into the bright neon lights of Times Square, NYC’s most famous intersection, a monumentally busy mecca for tourists, shoppers and protesters;
  • Learn about the city’s rich architectural history, seeing the classics including the Chrysler Building and Grand Central Terminal; 
  • Finish your experience with jaw-dropping views from the Empire State Building observation deck, arguably one of the most iconic landmarks in the world. 
Conjure up images of New York City, and it will be Manhattan: the ritzy, glitzy heart of the Big Apple jam-packed with big-name attractions. If there is a per-place limit on iconic landmarks, Manhattan flouts the rules - squeezing Central Park, the Empire State Building, the Met and MoMA, Times Square’s 3,685-square-foot flashing LED screens and Broadway’s bright lights into 22.7 small square miles. 

Well known by actors and stage junkies, New York’s dazzling Theatre District has been part of Manhattan since the late 19th century and its rich history provides a glorious mix of greasepaint, star-spotting and backstage gossip. While in the bustle of Times Square, learn how it earned its name when the New York Times opened an office there and erected an electronic news ticker - “The Zipper'' - in 1928. 

Though the newspaper office has relocated, the area remains a media hotspot, serving as host and home to the likes of MTV and Condé Nast. Times Square is an icon, a Hollywood backdrop, and the heart of the Big Apple, and where there is proof - should you need it - that New York is the city that never sleeps. 

After a long stroll past New York’s Public Library, depart from your guide in front of the Empire State Building, where you will enjoy tickets to the top of the Observation Deck on the 86th floor to retrace your steps and gaze out upon the city that never sleeps. 

Please note: your tour guide will finish the tour at the base of the Empire State Building, and will guide you to the correct line with your tickets for the observation deck, where you are free to explore the views at your leisure. 
The Magic of Christmas in New York: Private Walking Tour

New York City is fantastic year-round, but during the holidays, the city is even more spectacular and magical as the Christmas lights come on and the holiday cheer is in full swing.

On your private tour of New York City, you will:

  • Enjoy the iconic city at its best with a private tour guide;
  • Explore Midtown Manhattan, as it lit up for the holidays;
  • Visit Christmas markets in several iconic sites, including Bryant Park and Grand Central Terminal;
  • Refill energy with a hot drink included at one of the Christmas Markets;
  • Stroll Fifth Avenue’s world-famous window displays;
  • Take a stroll down the Rockefeller Center, and see its spectacular tree, ice-skating rink, and its wonderful music.

The magic of New York City at Christmas is best experienced in Midtown, where the major department stores each adorn their window displays with unique themes each year, and where the parks turn into ice-skating rinks and Christmas markets.

On your private walking tour, your guide will be sure you see all of the highlights of Midtown – from Bryant Park and Grand Central Terminal—through Saks Fifth Avenue, Times Square, and Saks Fifth Avenue. (if you book the afternoon tour, you may even see the Saks Fifth Avenue light show. )

Enjoy the masterful works of art on display throughout the city, which are only available to be seen for one month a year! Delight in the wonder of these window decorations, the music and lights throughout the city, and the yuletide cheer that captures everyone. Enjoy the best of the Big Apple, dressed up for the holidays.

Note: This tour runs after Thanksgiving through the new year.

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