The Ultimate Guide: Radio City Musical Hall and The Christmas Spectacular, Starring The Rockettes

The International Music Hall 

Holiday Tours, Radio City Christmas Spectacular Starring The Rockettes
Left: On December 24, 1931, a group of construction workers put up the first unofficial Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. They are seen here lining up to receive their pay. Right: Radio City Music Hall a few days before it’s opening on December 27, 1932.

Radio City Music Halls original name was The International Music Hall, but as early as 1932, its creators decided to rename it, influenced by its first tenant, the Radio Corporation of America (RCA).

When Radio City Music Hall made its grand debut on December 27, 1932, as a venue for concerts, movies, and stage performances, it instantly became the largest indoor theater in the world. Remarkably, it has held this prestigious title for the past nine decades.

Holiday Tours, Radio City Christmas Spectacular Starring The Rockettes
Radio City Music Hall’s impressive scale encompasses an entire city block, a testament to the theater’s grandeur. Beyond its record-breaking size, the auditorium itself reaches a height of 84 feet, equivalent to that of an 8-story building.

On December 27, 1932, when Radio City Music Hall made its grand debut, it claimed the title of the world’s largest indoor theater—a distinction it has maintained for the past 90 years. In the realm of such records, it’s not uncommon for the titleholders to change every few years. For instance, since Radio City Music Hall’s inauguration, there have been six different buildings that have claimed the record for the world’s tallest tower, making this venue’s achievement all the more remarkable.

The Iconic Legacy of the Rockettes

The Rockettes rehearsing their routine for the annual Christmas Spectacular show at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, Dec. 13, 1962.
For nearly a century

The Rockettes have held a special place as iconic symbols of American culture, gracing the stage at Radio City Music Hall in countless breathtaking performances. Their dance ensemble has played an important role in numerous historically significant events, including their participation in USO shows during World War II.

Russell Markert
Russell Markert, the Rockettes founder, director and choreographer, leads rehearsals, 1946.

The Rockettes embarked on their iconic journey when Russell Markert, who served as their chief choreographer, guardian of their image, and the revered “father figure” of the renowned troupe until his retirement in 1971, established the exemplary American chorus line in 1925. This precision dance company was distinguished by its captivating style, panache, and glamour.

The Tiller Girls
Holiday Tours, Radio City Christmas Spectacular Starring The Rockettes
The Tiller Girls were among the most popular dance troupes of the 1900s

Inspired by the British dance ensemble led by John Tiller (known as “The Tiller Girls,” who graced a 1922 Ziegfeld Follies production), Russell’s vision was rooted in achieving absolute precision and ultimate uniformity in the dancers’ movements. Initially, a Rockette’s height requirement was set between 5’2″ and 5’6 ½”, but today, heights range from 5’6″ to 5’10 ½”, and proficiency in tap, modern, jazz, and ballet is a prerequisite. Commencing with just 16 women, the troupe expanded over the years to encompass a line of 36 dancers.

The Missouri Rockets
Holiday Tours, Radio City Christmas Spectacular Starring The Rockettes
Russell Markert and the Missouri Rockets in 1925

The performers, recognized as the “Missouri Rockets,” made their inaugural appearance in St. Louis. During the same year, they journeyed to New York City to grace the stage in the Broadway production “Rain or Shine,” where they were discovered by the showman S.L. “Roxy” Rothafel. This dance troupe garnered such rapid acclaim that Rothafel was reluctant to see them depart following their performances at the Roxy Theatre.

He earnestly implored Markert to assemble another group of dancers to replace those who were leaving. In the early ’30s, although there were three distinct dance troupes performing in New York City, Rothafel relocated two of them to Radio City Music Hall for the grand opening on December 27, 1932.

The Roxyettes become the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes
Holiday Tours, Radio City Christmas Spectacular Starring The Rockettes
In 1934, the Roxyettes officialy became The Radio City Music Hall Rockettes.

At first, Rothafel christened the troupe as the “Roxyettes,” and they graced the opening night stage with a performance set to the tune of “With a Feather in Your Cap.” Nonetheless, by 1934, the “Roxyettes” went through a formal metamorphosis, emerging as the illustrious Radio City Music Hall Rockettes, though they did not have any dedicated shows like the ones you can experience today. Surprisingly, merely a year after its inauguration, Radio City underwent a transformation into a movie theater. It presented a new film each week, complemented by an extravagant and distinctive stage production starring the Rockettes.

The Rich History & Tradition of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Holiday Tours, Radio City Christmas Spectacular Starring The Rockettes
The Radio Christmas Spectacular debuted in 1933, and the Rockettes have been performing “The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” ever since.

One of the reasons why the Radio City Christmas Spectacular is so special is its rich history and tradition. Since its debut, this holiday extravaganza has become an iconic part of New York City’s Christmas season. From its early days at Radio City Music Hall to its evolution into the elaborate production it is today, the show has never failed to captivate audiences of all ages.

The Rockettes, in particular, have been an integral part of the Christmas Spectacular since its inception. With their precision dance routines and dazzling costumes, these talented dancers have become synonymous with the show. Over the years, they have continued to elevate the performances with their incredible athleticism and unwavering professionalism.

Parade of the Wooden Soldiers
Holiday Tours, Radio City Christmas Spectacular Starring The Rockettes
The “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” in the Christmas Spectacular is a remarkable showcase of precision and ingenious choreography, beloved by fans since the show’s inception in 1933.

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular also features a diverse array of enchanting performances, such as the iconic “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” and the heartfelt “Living Nativity,” both of which have been cherished traditions since their debut. The show also includes the high-energy “New York at Christmas” and the thrilling spectacle of Santa’s aerial entrance, among many other captivating acts!

Holiday Tours, Radio City Christmas Spectacular Starring The Rockettes
The Radio City Christmas Spectacular features the Living Nativity.

Securing Tickets to the Most Coveted Holiday Show in Town

Holiday Tours, Radio City Christmas Spectacular Starring The Rockettes
Radio City Musical Hall and The Christmas Spectacular, Starring The Rockettes

Now that you’re well-versed in the rich history and captivating performances of the Radio City Musical Hall and The Christmas Spectacular, Starring The Rockettes, it’s time to get down to business: securing your tickets to this highly sought-after show. With its popularity and limited run during the holiday season, it’s essential to plan ahead to ensure you don’t miss out on this unforgettable experience.

First and foremost

It’s important to decide on your preferred show date and time. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular typically runs from early November through the end of December, with multiple performances daily. Consider your schedule and the availability of tickets when selecting the date and time that work best for you and your fellow attendees.

To purchase tickets, there’s no more convenient or better method than to have Amazing Destinations handle all the details ­ tickets and transportation! “We Take You There!” So, sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!

Our package includes:
  • Round-Trip Deluxe Motorcoach Transportation
  • Choice of Show Time
  • Meal Gratuities

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🌍 Online: Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Starring The Rockettes

It’s worth mentioning that tickets for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular tend to sell out quickly, especially for prime dates and times. If your top choice is already sold out, don’t despair. Consider exploring alternative dates or even weekday performances, which are often less crowded and offer a wider selection of available seats.By being proactive and securing your tickets ahead of time, you’ll ensure that you won’t be disappointed and will have the opportunity to witness this amazing extravaganza firsthand. 

Arriving at the Iconic Radio City Music Hall & FAQ

Holiday Tours, Radio City Christmas Spectacular Starring The Rockettes
The Famous Radio City Music Hall Art Deco Lobby

Now that you’ve successfully secured your tickets and transportation to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, it’s time to enjoy your journey to the iconic Radio City Music Hall. Amazing Destinations makes it easy!

As you enter the theater, be sure to enjoy all the beautiful Christmas decorations  in the Grand Foyer. It’s the perfect spot for a photo opportunity and will truly help set the festive mood for the evening.

Once you’re inside

Take a moment to explore the incredible Art Deco lobby, visit the merchandise stands to browse the wide selection of souvenirs and Rockettes memorabilia.

As the show approaches, make your way to your reserved seat and prepare to be amazed by the talent and precision of the world-famous Rockettes. The anticipation in the air is palpable as the lights dim and the curtains rise, signaling the start of a truly incredible experience.

Can I bring a bag?

Keep in mind that Radio City Music Hall has a strict bag policy, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with the guidelines before arriving.  Bags do not have to be clear, but they must fit comfortably under your seat. Oversized bags larger than 22” x 14” x 9” are prohibited.

Radio City Music Hall does not provide an area to check bags, coats or any other personal belongings. Large bags, backpacks, and luggage are not permitted, and all bags will be subject to a security check. Plan accordingly and travel light to make your entry into the theater a seamless experience.

Do children require tickets?

Children aged 1 and older require a ticket.

Can I bring a stroller to Radio City?

Strollers are permitted at Radio City, but they must be collapsible and able to fit comfortably under your seat. Radio City offers a stroller check free of charge at the Christmas Spectacular on all seating levels.

Are nursing facilities available? Can I bring my breast pump or breastmilk?

Guests may nurse their child in any public location where they are comfortable. Nursing parents seeking more discreet accommodations are welcome to use the sitting areas off the restrooms in the Grand Lounge. For direction to the family/all-gender restroom, please see an usher or guest experience representative onsite. Breast pumps and associated equipment, and breastmilk, are permitted inside the venue. Please let us know prior to your event to ensure smooth entry into the venue.

Can I bring a camera and take pictures or video during the performance at Radio City?

To ensure a pleasant experience for all our guests, we kindly request that video cameras, monopods, tripods, selfie sticks, audio recording devices, and professional cameras (those equipped with telephoto or zoom lenses) remain outside of Radio City Music Hall. We strictly prohibit any form of pictures or video recording during performances.

Can I bring in outside food or beverage, or a reusable water bottle?

Outside food and beverages (including sealed cans and bottles) are not permitted inside Radio City. Clear, soft-plastic, empty bottles are permitted. Accessible water fountains are located throughout the venue.

If you or someone in your party have a medical condition or specific needs that require bringing in outside food or beverage, please contact us prior to your event to ensure smooth entry into the venue.

How long is the show?

The show is approximately 90 minutes long.

Is there a first aid facility?

If you or someone in your party begin to feel ill or require medical assistance, please see an usher, security officer or guest experience representative immediately. The medical office is located on the lower level in the Grand Lounge near the elevator bank. If there is an emergency, please contact the nearest Radio City employee, or call the security office at 212-485-7200.

Radio City is equipped with Automatic External Defibrillators (AED) which are located throughout the building. Designated employees, including Radio City medical staff, have been properly trained and are certified to use AEDs.

Exploring the Festive Atmosphere Surrounding the Show

Holiday Tours, Radio City Christmas Spectacular Starring The Rockettes
The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

Attending the Radio City Christmas Spectacular is more than just seeing a captivating performance – it’s immersing yourself in a festive atmosphere that truly embodies the holiday spirit. From the moment you arrive at Radio City Music Hall, you’ll be greeted by the sights and sounds that make this event a cherished tradition for so many.

When the curtains rise

let yourself be swept away by the incredible performances and heartwarming stories that unfold on stage. The enchanting music, the dazzling costumes, and the stunning sets all contribute to an experience that is truly unforgettable.

Departing with Heartwarming Memories

As you step back out into the hustle and bustle of New York City, hold onto the joy and holiday spirit that the Radio City Christmas Spectacular has instilled in you. Allow yourself to be inspired by the beauty and wonder of the show experience, and carry that holiday cheer with you throughout season.

Make your reservations today! Let us take care of all the details and help you plan your next trip to Radio City Musical Hall and The Christmas Spectacular, Starring The Rockettes. Amazing Destinations, “We Take You There!” Contact Us today!