“The Showplace of the Nation”, Radio City Music Hall. | Photo Courtesy of Radio City Music Hall
Stepping through the doors of “the Showplace of the Nation”, I’m immediately in awe. The art deco design of the elliptical Grand Foyer is illuminated by 10,000 Swarovski crystals taking the form of a Christmas tree. An Ezra Winter mural cascades up a four-story wall, just above the grand staircase to the mezzanine level. Two long, tubular chandeliers created by Edward F. Caldwell & Co. shine bright above. Entering this room is like traveling through time. And for me, it really is. Years since visiting the legendary Radio City Music Hall, I’m excited for what’s ahead on the Radio City Stage Door Tour.
The Grand Foyer and Ezra Winter mural at Radio City Music Hall. | Photo Courtesy of Radio City Music Hall
The tour begins atop the grand staircase in the mezzanine level. Here, the tour group learns the illustrious history of Rockefeller Center from its beginnings in 1932 to present day. Our guide points out the meticulous interior design work of Edward Durrell Stone and Donald Deskey; details visitors may otherwise miss, like the geometric incorporations of glass, aluminum, chrome and leather, or the textile work of designers Marguerita Mergentime and Ruth Reeves.
A mural on the mezzanine level. | Photo Courtesy of Radio City Music Hall
Running my hand against the smooth, red marble walls, the tour group ascends another set of stairs to what is known as the best viewing area. High above the theater, this level is reserved for special guests and offers a full view of the stage and its shimmering gold curtains. While up there, we’re lucky to witness the finale of the Christmas Spectacular starring the Radio City Rockettes!
What a view! From the level reserved for special guests. | Photo Courtesy of Radio City Music Hall
Next, it’s movie time! In a private room, the group grabs a seat in the original chairs from 1932 as we learn more about the history of Radio City and the Rockettes. Fun fact: The precision dance company, The Rockettes, was founded in Missouri in 1925 and discovered by a New York City showman, S.L. Rothafel after performing on Broadway.
The original seating from 1932. | Photo Courtesy of Radio City Music Hall
What’s better than seeing the Rockettes in action? Meeting one! After the short film, our group is led to a room to meet a Rockette for a Q&A, and photo op before viewing the rehearsal space. A sure highlight, and what seems like the perfect finale to an amazing tour, after meeting a Rockette there’s still more to see, like the secret Rockefeller apartment—still used today for private parties and luxury events, and the Rockette costume shop. Before heading to the exit, we make our way down a long hallway, lined with pictures of the Rockettes that date back to 1932.
S.L. Rothafel’s ‘secret’ apartment, used today for private, luxury events. | Photo Courtesy of Radio City Music Hall
Radio City Music Hall is truly unlike any other theater in New York City. Its pristine condition, painstaking design and hidden gems make it well worth a visit—especially on the Radio City Stage Door tour.
Radio City Stage Door Tour Information
The Radio City Stage Door Tour runs daily from 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., departing approximately every half hour* and lasting for approximately 75 minutes. The tour entrance is located at the Executive Office door on 50th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues (closer to 6th).
Adults tickets cost $31, children (12 & under), students (with valid ID) and seniors (65 and older) cost $27.
Tours sell out fast during the Christmas Spectacular season! Please note when you purchase a Christmas Spectacular ticket and add on a tour voucher, the voucher does not have an assigned tour time and tours are offered on a first come, first served basis. It is recommended reserving your tour time 24 hours in advance at the tour desk at Radio City, located on 51st street. If you purchased a Stage Door Tour ticket separately and not as an add-on to your Christmas Spectacular ticket, you already have a scheduled tour time.
Savings for groups 15+ available! For more information on group tickets, call 212.465.6080 or email Group.Sales@msg.com.
*Tour content, prices, dates and times are subject to change without notice. Tours are offered on a first come, first served basis and are subject to availability. When an event is in progress there may be limited access to the seating area inside the Music Hall and the Hydraulics area. Furthermore, tours may only be able to view the Auditorium from a private viewing area.
Take Amtrak to Radio City Music Hall
From Penn Station, take the 1 subway train toward 215th Street to 50th Street-Broadway. Radio City Music Hall is about a 5-minute walk east along 50th Street from the 50th Street-Broadway station. Or, walk two (2) blocks north and one (1) block east to 34th Street-Herald Square Station and take the B, D, F or M to 47th-50th Street-Rockefeller Center. Radio City Music Hall is about a 2-minute walk north along 6th Avenue from the 47th-50th/Rockefeller Center station.
Uber, Lyft and New York City Taxi are all available from Penn Station, too.
Other Radio City Music Hall Tours
Radio City Art Deco Tour – In addition to all the elements of the Stage Door Tour, this 80-minute specialized tour gives you and your group a more detailed examination of the interior design throughout Radio City Music Hall. Highlights of the Art Deco Tour include the magnificent Grand Foyer, the massive 1.8 million cubic feet auditorium, original aluminum statues, all eight elegant lounges and the impeccable Roxy Suite. Come experience Radio City Music Hall the way you’ve never experienced it before: through the eyes of one of the most progressive designers of the day—Donald Deskey.
Radio City Music Hall Stage Door VIP Tour – A private tour for up to 20 people, the VIP tour is an extended version of the Radio City Stage Door Tour and includes at least one of the following bonus stops: Rehearsal halls, dressing rooms, a complete view of the Roxy Suite and the lighting booth/projection room. *Dressing rooms will only be available for viewing on non-event days.
Radio City Educational Tour – The Radio City Educational Tour includes the Radio City Stage Door Tour plus a meet and greet with a member of our corporate or production team! The speaker will talk about their background and hold a Q&A session.
Other Madison Square Garden Venues
Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden
4 Pennsylvania Plaza, New York, NY 10001
For more than 40 years the versatile, 5,600-seat Hulu Theater at MSG has hosted major events from The Who, Bob Dylan and Elton John to a variety of sporting events, family shows and special events like boxing, the NBA Draft; ELF The Musical, The Daytime Emmys and more.
The Beacon Theater
2124 Broadway, New York, NY 10023
This legendary, 2,600-seat venue was built in 1929 and designed in the art deco style of architect Walter Ahlschlager. Many of the greatest names in music have played The Beacon Theater, including the Rolling Stones, Steely Dan, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Coldplay and many more.