Since 1933 families have been enjoying the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall. The iconic theatre, mesmerizing synchronized dancing, a live-animal nativity, and Santa Claus himself round out a truly magical childhood experience for the holidays. After nearly a decade in NYC we finally checked off this bucket-list item ourselves this year. And as always did the research to bring you a complete guide for an amazing experience seeing the Rockettes with your kids. From where to buy tickets, the best seats in the house, and local good eats for before or after the show, this guide covers it all.
When and where to get your tickets
Tickets and experiences are available for all budgets. If you are looking for the best deal, you want to either purchase in advance with a discount code or buy discount tickets the day of near the theatre. For the higher end, over-the-top experiences offered you will want to purchase in advance! More details about getting the best deal on Rockettes tickets are below.
Purchasing in Advance
Purchased your tickets directly through the Rockettes website, managed by Ticketmaster. Be sure to sign-up for their email list to receive promotional discounts which will range from 20%-50% off throughout the fall and winter. Buying your tickets early and attending an earlier show in the season is your best budget-friendly option. The ticket price goes up for shows closer to Christmas, and the shows the days just before and after Christmas almost always sell out and are not available for purchase with promo codes.
Additionally, Groupon and Living Social offer promotional pricing, often even lower than the Ticketmaster discounted code rates. Do ensure you carefully review all processing fees and taxes which can be quite steep with shows and concerts.
Buying Tickets the Day-Of
If you are flexible on your date to visit, you can snag same-day or next-day tickets for shows with open seats. This option becomes much more difficult closer to the Christmas holiday when shows do sell-out.
Find a Rockette
No, you don’t have to know a Rockette (but if you do, can you please message us?). Rockettes can be spotted near Times Square or Radio City Music Hall passing out discount vouchers for any unsold seats for that afternoon/evening. You can use the coupon code to purchase tickets online through the official website or at the Radio City Music Hall box office (45 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10020).
Visit the Radio City Music Hall Box Office
Even if you don’t track down a Rockette you can swing by the Box Office to grab same-day tickets. Head to 45 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY the morning of or day before your ideal show date.
Visit a TKTS Booth
TKTS ticket booths usually have discounted Rockette tickets for same-day or next-day performances. Seats are limited and pricing fluctuates based on demand, but it’s worth the stop especially if you hope to snag tickets for additional shows as well. There are 4 locations; Times Square, South Street Seaport, Downtown Brooklyn and Lincoln Center.
What are the best seats?
This all going to depend on your budget but I will say, there isn’t a bad seat in the theatre! You can use this website to help get an idea of the layout and views from each section.
After doing a lot of research we chose seats in the first mezzanine, where you get a great view of the entire stage, action in the lower aisles, and the light show! We sat in the back row of the first mezzanine with the kids which was perfect for their pre-show wiggles and so they could sit up a bit and even kneel when they wanted a quick better look without bothering any other attendees. We always try to book an aisle seat for quick bathroom breaks.
Preparing the kids for the show
The Rockettes’ website and social media pages have videos and pictures to share with your little ones to build excitement. Our kids first saw the Rockettes during the Thanksgiving Day parade on TV. They were enchanted, we knew this was the year they were old enough to enjoy the show.
Review basic theatre/show etiquette and build in time to talk about the show after you leave (maybe over a sweet treat (recommendations below!).
How old should kids be to attend?
The official recommendation is for kids 6 and above which I think is about just right. While the show is very engaging, basic theatre etiquette is expected.
It is a 90-minute show without an intermission. Our four-year-old is a very patient kid and also really loves theatrical entertainment. We knew he could be engaged and attentive during the show. But even so, a 90-minute show had the potential to be a stretch. We ensured they were well-rested, fed, and had the promise of a sweet treat after the show.
Both our 4 and 6-year olds were mesmerized the entire time. We had ourselves set-up for success, but the brilliant show covered the rest.
Getting to Radio City Music Hall
Do arrive 60-minutes before the show as recommended. We found this to be a perfect amount of time to get through security, use restrooms, and buy snacks before the show.
Radio City Music Hall is located at 1260 Avenue of the Americas (6th Avenue) between W. 50th St. and W. 51st St. Type the address into the Citymapper app for the best subway/bus/taxi directions.
There are multiple entrances to the theatre. Locate one of the greeters, dressed in candy-cane inspired accessories, to locate the best entrance for your seats. Security is very thorough so only bring what you absolutely need. They do not allow any outside food or drink, so I wouldn’t attempt to sneak it in.
Be sure to visit the bathrooms right away, the queue can be quite long and moves slowly.
Where to eat
A sweet treat after the show is a must for us, we love the flavors at Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream or grabbing a few whimsical mini cupcakes at Baked by Melissa. These tiny sweets are the perfect size for little ones.
If you want a sit-down meal, check out our NYC top restaurant recommendations for families, Pio Pio 8 and Gyu-Kaku are close by!
Have the most amazing time at the show, and do share your photos with us tagging @fivepax on social media!