Rockefeller Center Area – The ‘City within a City’
A collection of 19 high-rise commercial buildings, this National Landmark features some of the best attractions in all of Manhattan. The Rockefeller Center covers 22 acres situated between 48th and 51st Streets and stretching between Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. Apart from its famous annual Christmas Tree Lighting and the immensely popular ice rink that accompanies the tree during the winter season, the beautiful Rockefeller Center offers a beautiful combination of history, art, entertainment, dining, and shopping.
Hosts of must-see attractions are enough to justify the afternoon or even full-day itinerary in this locale. From seeing the sublime view of NYC from the Top of the Rock to touring the iconic Radio City Music Hall, the area has an all-star roster of things to see. The famous Fifth Ave shopping, beautifully encapsulated by the Saks Fifth Avenue luxury department store, is another draw for window shoppers and big spenders alike. A long list of solid restaurants ranging from cheap and quick to pricey and glamorous make for a particularly worthwhile destination.
Beyond the amazing draws that the Rockefeller Center area has to offer, it also is one of the most accessible destinations in Manhattan. Thanks to a spacious layout, a level and smooth surface, curb cuts and cross walks throughout the entire area, navigating the space is very easy. Each street throughout the area has lanes reserved for commercial vehicles that make for easy drop-off areas if traveling by car. There are also countless benches and areas to use for a quick rest or to enjoy people watching or a tasty pastry. Rockefeller Center is worth visiting rain, snow, or shine given the countless activities inside climate-controlled buildings. Another positive characteristic is that the majority of the best attractions and restaurants are located within just a few blocks’ radius. Given the accessibility, beauty, and attractions of the area, there is certainly no excuse not to visit the ‘City within a City’.
The Rockefeller Center Area is a very navigable destination, especially in comparison to other less maneuverable neighborhood counterparts in Manhattan. The area is well-maintained, very level and sidewalks are smooth pavement. Crosswalks and curb cuts at every intersection make for a reasonably maneuverable layout. The area also experiences less vehicle traffic and fewer crowds than most of the notoriously hectic Big Apple. Nearby public transportation and parking options along with a plethora of drop-off areas make for convenient access to the area.
Street Parking: Street parking is fairly restricted in the Rockefeller Center, with many areas reserved for Street Cleaning or Commercial Vehicles until 6pm on Monday through Saturday. While it is possible to find paid street parking, it is still difficult and often limited (especially on weekends when the area experiences heavier tourism).
Parking Garages: Rockefeller Center has a limited selection of parking in the nearby vicinity. Unlike many other places in Manhattan, this area does not have many garages to support the tourism of the area, meaning many people prefer to arrive by public transportation. Below, we have listed the two most central lots for access to the center of the Rockefeller Center. We recommend using the websites or calling ahead to reserve a spot to avoid any inconvenience, but both garages accept payment of spots on site. Use the website link below to check location, rates, and reserve tickets ahead of time!
- SPPlus Rockefeller Center Parking:
- Address: 25 West 48th Street, Manhattan (Entrance is 55 West 48th Street)
- Varying Rates, $52 for 10 hours (10 hour tends to be best option)
- IconParking 44 West 47th Street:
- Address: 44 West 47th Street, Manhattan
- Varying Rates, $48 for 2 hours, $58 for 10 hours
- Bus (Public Transportation): All NYC metro buses are fully accessible with designated spaces for wheelchairs (located behind driver), accommodating seating, automatic ramps, and hydraulic lowering abilities for easy entrance. Buses to Rockefeller Center are: M1, M2, M3, M4, and M5 to 50th Street (all run north and south); M7 to 50th Street (runs north and south); M50 to 49th
- We highly recommend using the buses to navigate NYC since they are all fully accessible and allow you to enjoy views of the bustling city during your trips.
- 47-50th Street Rockefeller Center Subway Station: To access Rockefeller via train, ride the subway to the 47-50th Street Rockefeller Center Subway Station with the B, D, F, or M lines. All of these lines are completely accessible at this particular stop. This subway station brings you directly the heart of the Rockefeller Center area. An elevator is located at the northwest corner of 6th Avenue and 49 Street.
- Access-a-Ride: If you are a New York City resident eligible to use Access-a-Ride services, consider this method of transportation.
- Taxi: NYC has a large fleet of accessible taxis that are marked by the standard “handicap-accessible” logo. However, you can also call (646) 599-9999 and press 1 on the keypad to order an accessible taxi. Just make sure you have an exact address, and they will pick you up wherever you are in Manhattan.
- Website: http://www.accessibledispatch.com/
- Phone: (646) 599-9999
- Car Rental: Wheelers Accessible Van Rentals, a company that specializes in renting out accessible equipment, offers services in NYC and can be a convenient way to access the the Rockefeller Center.
- Website: http://wheelersvanrentals.com/US/featured-locations/new-york-city-wheelchair-van-rentals/
- Phone: (800) 456-1371
- Uber/Lyft/Via/Juno: Multiple ride-sharing services operate in NYC and are convenient ways of arriving at Rockefeller Center. Uber and Lyft tend to be the least expensive and most reliable of the options.
City Tour Discount Packages:
New York City has hundreds of phenomenal attractions. If you are planning to visit more than a couple of attractions during your stay (which we highly recommend), you should consider saving money and time by purchasing one of the following packages. The packages are less expensive than the individual tickets would be, and each package allows you to download a ticket to your phone that functions as a ticket at each chosen location.
While there are plenty of packages to choose from, we selected the best 3 options (The New York Pass is our favorite!). Each package below includes access to a specified number of selected attractions (including the most notable ones like the Top of the Rock) throughout the city. Read the descriptions to find which one makes the most sense for you and your party! Use the given links to buy your package online or learn more!
- The New York Pass: The most extensive of NYC packages, the New York Pass grants unlimited access to its long roster of famous attractions for a selected number of days. You can decide to purchase the pass for 1-10 days, and your ticket gives access to as many places as you can visit in that selected time period! The 15 busiest attractions also offer Fast Track entry to New York Pass holders. There are also 17 tours that this pass allows you to book in advance to secure a place!
- Prices: 1 day ($109), 2 days ($161), 3 days ($203), 5 days ($239), 7 days ($279), 10 days ($319); children receive discount
- Roster of Attractions: 76 of most popular attractions, 17 of most popular tours
- Website: https://www.newyorkpass.com/En/
- Phone: (877) 714-1999
- New York City Explorer Pass: This pass allows you to build your own pass by selecting attractions, or purchase prearranged packages. You can also buy a pass that grants you access to 3, 4, 5, 7, or 10 attractions (roster of 58 of the city’s most popular attractions available).
- Prices: 3 ($84), 4 ($110), 5 ($125), 7 ($160), 10 ($199); prices vary for build-your-own packages and prearranged packages; children receive discount
- Roster of Attractions: 58 of most popular attractions
- Expiration: 30 days after visiting first attraction
- Website: https://www.smartdestinations.com/new-york-attractions-and-tours/_d_Nyc-p1.html?pass=Nyc_Prod_Exp
- Phone: (800) 887-9103
- CityPASS: The CityPASS is a booklet of tickets to a selection of 6 preselected attractions (some attractions you have to decide between one of two options). You can buy your voucher online, which you must then print and bring to the first attraction you visit to exchange for the booklet. Alternatively, you can have the company ship the booklet to you or simply buy the booklet at the first attraction you enter (simply mention you want the CityPASS and the staff will be able to assist you).
- Prices: $122 adult, $98 youth
- Roster of Attractions: Empire State Building, American Museum of Natural History, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Top of the Rock Observation Deck OR Guggenheim Museum, Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island OR Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises, 9/11 Memorial & Museum OR Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum
- Website: http://www.citypass.com/new-york
- Phone: (888) 330-5008
You could write an encyclopedia on the number and range of places to eat in this area (you arguably could for every area in NYC, but this is certainly no exception). Street food, casual underground eateries in the Concourse at Rockefeller Center, and high-end restaurants provide you and your party’s stomach whatever option is most suitable for the moment.
Restaurants in the Rockefeller Center area tend to be pretty accessible, but make sure you do your homework to avoid any unwanted surprises (for instance, a number of restaurants are tightly crammed with tables or do not have accessible restrooms). Many of the best restaurants are located within just a couple of blocks from the Rockefeller Center Plaza. Below, we have selected some of the location’s top accessible restaurants! While the listed restaurants might top your budget, there are plenty of less expensive alternatives that will be sure to satisfy your stomach as well.
NYY Steak ($$$, 4 Stars on Yelp, 4½ Stars on TripAdvisor)
One of the best restaurants in the area (Zagat, TripAdvisor), NYY Steak has great food and service with a location less than a minute walk away from the Rockefeller Center Plaza. Beyond the excellent dining experience, the restaurant is an awesome place for Yankees fans and sports fans of any kind. The restaurant is filled with Yankees memorabilia and gear, and large TV’s add a sporty edge to the location. This dedication to sports does not compromise the elegance of the experience at all, however, and we recommend this restaurant to all interested in an excellent meal!
NYY Steak is as accessible as they come. Thanks to a very spacious layout and an elevator, every part of the restaurant is easy to enjoy. If you prefer the most convenient table, call ahead and ask for table 26 which is directly beside the elevator!
Address: 7 West 51st Street
Phone: (646) 307-7910
The Sea Grill ($$$, 3½ Stars on Yelp, 4 Stars on TripAdvisor)
The Sea Grill is a classic Rockefeller Center restaurant that offers quality food commensurate to the awesome location and view. The Grill overlooks the iconic skating rink and holiday Christmas tree during the winter season and has a beautiful view of the Rockefeller Center Plaza along with outdoor patio seating during the other seasons. The seafood-oriented menu does not disappoint either.
The restaurant is particularly accessible thanks to its unbelievably convenient location in the heart of the area along with a spacious layout. The restaurant also benefits from elevator access that takes you from the street directly to the venue’s front door (elevator located at W 49th Street). The Sea Grill is a great option if you wanat to minimize walking or enjoy postcard views of Rockefeller Center from your table.
Address: 19 West 49th Street
Phone: (212) 332-7610
Brasserie Ruhlmann ($$$, 3½ Stars on Yelp, 4 Stars on TripAdvisor)
This dining option provides a top-notch French menu with great décor, outdoor patio dining, and service in the heart of the area. The restaurant is also entirely accessible in exterior and interior, and offers great people-watching from the patio dining or tables by the huge windows.
Address: 45 Rockefeller Plaza
Phone: (212) 974-2020
Bar SixtyFive and Rainbow Room ($$$, 4½ Stars on Yelp, 4½ Stars on TripAdvisor)
Bar SixtyFive and Rainbow Room are NYC classics known for their breathtaking 360-degree views of the city from 65 floors up, especially during sunset. While the Rainbow Room restaurant is only open on Fridays after 5:00pm (it is closed the rest of the week for private events), Bar SixtyFive is open 7 days a week. Beyond offering the highest terrace bar in NYC, the bar has pricey but great drinks along with a solid menu.
Both venues are entirely accessible! The easiest way to arrive at the bar and restaurant is to enter the building from West 49th street and take the elevator from the lobby to the mezzanine, and then the elevator from there to the restaurant. It is important to note that formal dress code is required (collard shirt for gentlemen) and there is a $65 per person minimum for the outdoor seating. However, you can dine inside without the minimum and still wander outside to enjoy the view. If you want to dine at the Rainbow Room, we recommend making reservations as early as possible given the extremely high demand and limited seats.
Address: 30 Rockefeller Plaza – 65th Floor
Phone: (212) 632-5065
Limani ($$$, 4 Stars on Yelp, 4½ Stars on TripAdvisor)
Limani offers one of the best dining experiences in the area. Modern, all-white décor with an infinity pool in the center of the room compliment the stellar Mediterranean menu. Outdoor patio seating is also available for those who prefer the fresh air. Prix options off the menu help offset the lofty prices.
Limani is also completely accessible with a very navigable layout and an elevator that provides easy access to both floors of seating. Limani can be a great option to sit back and enjoy top-notch service after a tiring afternoon or evening of exploring the area.
Address: 45 Rockefeller Plaza
Phone: (212) 858-9200
Fig & Olive Fifth Avenue ($$$, 3½ Stars on Yelp, 4 Stars on TripAdvisor)
Fig & Olive is a beautiful Italian eatery a couple of blocks removed from the bustle of the center of Rockefeller Plaza. Italian dishes that are easy on the eyes and stomach make this restaurant worth considering for an upscale experience.
The restaurant has two floors of dining, but the second floor is only accessible via a long flight of stairs. Every other feature of the restaurant is accessible, however, so we recommend calling ahead to specifically reserve a table on the first floor to ensure a hassle-free experience.
Address: 10 East 52nd Street
Phone: (212) 319-2002
Attractions/Things to Do
The Rockefeller Center Area hosts an extensive list of attractions and tours in the immediate area, many of which are very accessible. Additionally, shopping and great places to sit and people-watch make the area attractive for any visitor. Read below for our hand-picked accessible activities in the area!
Occupying the heart of the area, the Rockefeller Plaza flaunts an elegant layout and design with a gorgeous surrounding of well-designed skyscrapers, a beautiful fountain, notable sculptures, and an assortment of stores and restaurants. Thirty shows of art, including Prometheus above the fountain in the sunken plaza and Atlas centered in front of the International Building, all add to the beauty of the area. The scattered artwork all focuses on the theme of ‘Man at the Crossroads Looks Uncertainly but Hopefully at the Future.’ The Channel Gardens, located in the entrance to the Plaza, also contributes a fresh natural beauty to the Plaza.
The Plaza is a gorgeous place to relax, eat food or pastries to-go, and people watch. The Plaza is also extremely accessible thanks to ramps, smooth and level surfaces, minimal crowds, and well-located elevators.
The Concourse at Rockefeller Center
The Concourse at Rockefeller Center is a huge underground network of shops and restaurants. From quick bites to fine dining, and with stores ranging from USPS to Jamba Juice, wandering the Concourse is an event unto itself.
It is also very accessible thanks to elevators, ramps, accessible restrooms, and tons of places to sit throughout. Additionally, the stores and restaurants tend to be very accessible as well.
Address: Rockefeller Plaza
Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and Ice Rink (Seasonal)
The famous Christmas tree and ice skating rink are enormous tourist attractions during the winter season. The ice skating rink is open from October through April, and the Christmas tree is typically on display from the very end of November until the first week of January. The ice skating rink admission costs around $25 and skate rental costs $12. Elevators allows for easy access to the rink located in the sunken plaza. Both of these seasonal attractions add to the atmosphere of the area and are extremely worthwhile sights.
Address: Rockefeller Plaza
Saks Fifth Avenue
This famous luxury department store is home to the highest fashion brands – Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Cartier, and Burberry just to name a few. Ten floors of shopping, accessed by vintage elevators, offer up the crème-de-la-crème of fashion brands. Elevators and a very open layout, along with accessible restrooms, make Saks Fifth Ave an extremely accessible location, so anyone can come peruse and shop to their heart’s desire. It is worth noting the department store has a legendary sale each year during January.
Address: 611 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan
Phone: (877) 551-7257
Radio City Music Hall
One of the highlights of the area, the legendary Radio City Music Hall is a necessary destination for any visitor. While the concert hall hosts big name performers, it equally notably offers tours that capture the rich history (dating back to 1932) and sheer opulence of the building.
Tours last 75 minutes and cover nearly the entire building. Let your tour guide know if you prefer more accessible routes and they will use elevators rather than stairs, making the entire tour completely accessible. The behind the scenes tour does not move too fast and affords a variety of opportunities to sit down as well. Tours cost $27 for adults and $20 for seniors. Concerts are also accessible with designated accessible seats available for purchase.
Address: 1260 Sixth Avenue, Manhattan
Phone: (212) 247-4777
Top of the Rock Observation Deck
Considered one of the best attractions in the big city, the Top of the Rock offers one of the best views of NYC from 70 floors above ground. With wide indoor and outdoor observation decks that afford stunning views of the concrete jungle, including a picturesque view of the Empire State Building.
The Top of the Rock, built in 1933 and sitting atop the GE Building, is fully accessible (restrooms, space, elevators, etc.) on all 3 observation floors. Tickets cost $34 for adults and $32 for seniors, and visitors typically spend 30-40 minutes at the top (although you can stay as long as you please). Elevators leave every 5 minutes for the top, and the observation decks are predictably busiest at sunset.
Address: 30 Rockefeller Center, Manhattan
Phone: (212) 698-2000
NBC Studios Tour
The NBC Studios Tour walks you through the iconic home to some of the most famous shows like Saturday Night Live and Late Night with Seth Myers. The tour takes you behind the scenes to marvel at the fully restored Art Deco Rotunda, the NBC Production Gallery, at least 2 studios, the NBC Broadcast Operations Center, and the interactive Tour Studio where you get the opportunity to create your own show in a simulative experience. The tour also covers fun facts and insights into how the company produces and disseminates their shows.
The tour is entirely accessible and moves at a manageable pace. The guided tour takes about an hour and ten minutes, and the guide usually stops for ten minutes to explain the given room and then continues onto the next location to stop and explain again. The tour begins at The Shop at NBC Studios and costs $33 for adults and $28 for seniors. Tickets can be bought in advance online (link below). We highly recommend purchasing tickets as far in advance as possible, as the highly popular tour tends to sell out quickly!
Address: 30 Rockefeller Plaza, Manhattan (The Shop at NBC Studios)
Phone: (212) 664-3700
Rockefeller Center Tour
Widely considered to be one of the best tours in NYC, the Rockefeller Center Tour is a highlight for anyone interested in history, art, culture, architecture, or simply curious about the area’s rich background. Led by an expert historian or accompanied by an available personal headset, you will see and learn about the area’s greatest spaces, gardens, sculptures, and buildings.
The guided tour is completely accessible, although you should be sure to inform your tour guide if you prefer to go at a slower pace. The tour stays within the Rockefeller Center area, but it does require navigating a reasonable distance in total, so be ready to find a place to kick your feet up afterwards! The tour leaves from 30 Rockefeller Plaza every 30 minutes every day of the week (except at 6:00 and 6:30pm), and tickets cost $25 (tickets may be purchased in person or online in advance).
Address: 30 Rockefeller Plaza, Manhattan
Phone: (212) 698-2000
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
The country’s largest Catholic cathedral is a beautiful architectural edifice on Fifth Ave. The historic building was constructed for $2 Million during the Civil War and flaunts an enormous elegant rose window (26 feet wide), a 7,000 pipe organ, and a gorgeous pair of 330 feet tall spires.
The entire Cathedral is fully accessible thanks to a flat, level, and spacious layout along with a ramp entrance from the 51st Street side. Entry to the church is free, although a $5 donation is suggested. Guided tours for groups of 10-60 persons are available Monday-Friday between 9:00am and 11:00am and between 1:30pm and 4:00pm and must be scheduled in advance email (email@example.com). Public tours begin at 10:00am on scheduled days (check link below for schedule), are free, and usually take an hour.
Tour Schedule: https://saintpatrickscathedral.org/schedule-of-tours
Phone: (212) 753-2261
Address: 460 Madison Avenue, Manhattan
Hop On Hop Off Tour
If you are looking for an easy way to see NYC, it is hard to beat the Hop On Hop Off Tour. This bus tour has multiple tours throughout the city, including the Downtown Tour which leaves from Times Square and brings passengers to views such as the Empire State Building, Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, and the Rockefeller Center.
The open-top bus is entirely accessible with a ramp for on/off-loading and accessible seats as well as areas reserved for wheelchair seating (restroom is not accessible, however). Leaving every 25-30 minutes from outside the Olive Garden restaurant on the corner of 7th Ave. and 47th Street, the bus makes 17 different stops before returning to the starting location. The entire loop takes about 3 hours to complete. With your ticket, you are welcome to enter and exit the buses as you wish throughout the route for 24 hours. The bus operates between 8am and 6pm, with tickets costing $39 when booked in advance online ($59 when booked in person).
Vouchers must be exchanged at any one of the following Gray Line CitySightseeing New York Visitor Centre for the actual tickets:
- At 777 8th Avenue, between 47th and 48th Streets.
- Street level entrance of Port Authority Bus Terminal on 42nd Street, just off the corner of 8th Avenue.
- Inside Empire State Building: 350 Fifth Avenue (between 33rd and 34th Streets), ground level.
- Ripley’s Believe It or Not, 234 West 42 Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues. (desk is on the left)
Once you have exchanged your voucher at Gray Line CitySightseeing New York Visitor Centre, you can board the double-decker bus from any of the stops.
Phone: (212) 445-0848
Address: Multiple starting points to choose from, including:
- 49th Street between 6th and Rockefeller Plaza
- Outside of Olive Garden at corner of 7th and 47th Street
- 566 7th at 7th Ave. between 40th and 41st Street
Other Notable Accessible Destinations Nearby
– Museum of Modern Art
– New York City Public Library
– Times Square (see Accessible Times Square Guide)
Omni Berkshire Place (4½ Stars on TripAdvisor)
The Omni Berkshire Place is a top-notch, luxurious accommodation just three short blocks away from the Rockefeller Plaza. The location is perfect for those who prefer to stay slightly removed from the bustle of the center of Rockefeller Plaza, yet still have easy access to all of the restaurants and attractions. Housing 398 rooms, including 7 that are ADA-compliant and 2 with roll-in showers, the hotel pays attention to detail. Fine linens, Italian marble bathrooms, and opulent decorations ensure you never forget you are living in the lap of luxury. The spacious hotel is easy to navigate and entirely accessible. The hotel also offers a beautiful view from the accessible St. Patrick’s Terrace on the 17th floor, 24-hour room service, and internal access to Bob’s Steak & Chop House. The staff is also notably helpful!
Phone: (800) 578-2900
Address: 21 E 52nd Street (at Madison Ave.), Manhattan
Jewel Hotel (Facing Rockefeller Center) (4½ Stars on TripAdvisor)
The Jewel Hotel is as central as it gets in the Rockefeller Center area, just blocks away from the Rockefeller Plaza. The boutique hotel offers comfortable accommodations. Eight of the 135 guestrooms are ADA-compliant with roll-in showers (all 8 are Superior Rooms), and the hotel’s entrance and interior spaces are completely accessible as well. The hotel also features direct access to Hama (sushi and sake restaurant) via the main elevator, making for an easy meal for those times you prefer to relax in the comfort of your building rather than explore the concrete jungle for food.
Phone: (646) 374-2477
Address: 11 West 51st Street, Manhattan
Lotte New York Palace (4½ Stars on TripAdvisor)
Overlooking the iconic St. Patrick’s Cathedral and just a 3-minute walk from the Rockefeller Plaza, the Lotte New York Palace is a great lodging option with an equally great location. With an extensive history dating back to the 19th century, the Lotte New York Palace offers 733 luxurious rooms, 10 of which are ADA-compliant and 5 of which feature roll-in showers. The Lotte New York Palace is distinct from even more posh accommodations at The Towers at Lotte New York Palace, but it still offers one of the best overnight stays in the entire area. Guests benefit from a wide selection of eateries a short walk away along with on-site access to The Villard (breakfast and lunch), Pome Palais (bakery), Trouble’s Trust (specialty cocktails), and Tavern 51 (specialty cocktails). There is also a fitness center and spa on site, providing all the amenities one needs to truly enjoy “the comfort of their own home.”
Phone: (646) 681-7226
Address: 455 Madison Ave, Manhattan
The Towers at Lotte New York Palace [Warning: no accessible rooms] (5 Stars on TripAdvisor)
The Towers at Lotte New York Palace is a first class venue, but it unfortunately does NOT offer any ADA-compliant rooms or rooms with roll-in showers. The Towers, the upscale 5-star portion of the Lotte New York Palace, is renowned as one of the city’s most premier hotels. The Towers include 176 rooms, featuring opulent suites on floors 41 to 54 with exquisite views of St. Patrick’s Cathedral or the city skyline. The Towers also offers 24-hour access to butler service, its own private lobby, and its own concierge. The hotel’s premises are very accessible thanks to a spacious design, elevators, etc.
Guests benefit from a wide selection of eateries a short walk away along with on-site access to The Villard (breakfast and lunch), Pome Palais (bakery), Trouble’s Trust (specialty cocktails), and Tavern 51 (specialty cocktails). There is also a fitness center and spa on site. History, elegance, and convenience (3-minute walk from Rockefeller Plaza) all coincide at The Towers, making it one of the best accommodations in the entire Big Apple. However, we recommend avoiding this hotel if you require higher levels of access that standard hotel rooms do not provide.
Phone: (646) 759-0607
Address: 455 Madison Avenue, Manhattan