What to Know About The Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Radio City Christmas Spectacular Opening Night
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Want to see the Rockettes and their amazing legwork in person this holiday season? Head to Radio City Music Hall where you can see 36 Rockettes in each performance of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, one of New York City's most iconic Christmas events. Their precision dance moves and eye-high kicks are truly impressive to experience in person. The classic "Parade of the Wooden Soldiers" continues to be a part of the production and it's mesmerizing to see the Rockettes move in perfect harmony.

The show features a number of live animals, including camels, sheep, and donkeys that are featured in the "Living Nativity" scene at the end of the production. The animals actually live in Radio City Music Hall with their handlers throughout the show's nine-week run, and they can sometimes be spotted outside of Radio City getting exercise early in the morning or late at night.

In 2013 the show first introduced "Snow" to the production—it includes lots of high-tech dazzle, including GPS-enabled snowflakes, as well as the Rockettes.

The show is recommended for all ages, which means that they will allow kids of all ages into the performance, but it doesn't necessarily mean you should bring your child. Take into consideration what their attention span is like and don't forget to think about naps, meals, and bedtime when booking your tickets. You don't want to spend lots of money to take your child to see the show and then have to leave because they can't stand it—and you certainly don't want your child disturbing other people who are there to enjoy the performance.

Radio City Christmas Spectacular Opening Night
Steve Zak Photography / Getty Images

Tips for Attending

Before you buy tickets to see the show, there is some insider information you should know.

  • Doors open one hour prior to the performance. It's recommended to arrive about 20-30 minutes before the show begins to give yourself time to explore Radio City Music Hall, hit the restrooms, and get any food or drink you might want.
  • There is no coat/bag check, but you can check your stroller.
  • Performances last 90 minutes with no intermission.
  • Some portions of the show require the use of 3-D glasses.
  • There are lots of things to buy at the theater like popcorn, candy, and souvenirs. Be prepared to pony up or let your kids know in advance what you will and will not be buying them. After spending all the money on tickets, it's amazing how expensive the little extras can get at the theater.
  • Don't miss out on the opportunity to visit the art-deco men's and women's lounges before the show.
  • Once the show is over, the audience is cleared fairly quickly—there are so many performances (between two and six daily!) that they need to prepare the theater for the next show.
  • Plan to walk or take the subway home after your performance. It can be very difficult to find cabs during the busy holiday season and nothing is less fun than standing on a cold street corner with two kids trying to hail a cab. Alternatively, you can try Uber, though surge pricing can make the service expensive during popular times.
Radio City Christmas Spectacular Opening Night
Steve Zak Photography / Getty Images

Tips for Buying Tickets

Because this is a holiday spectacular, tickets for the show will be quite pricey.

  • Tickets are most expensive during the peak holiday weeks and on weekends. Attend the show before Thanksgiving for the most affordable pricing.
  • There are no special tickets for children, although kids under 2 don't need a ticket of their own as long as they sit on someone's lap during the performance.
  • It's no surprise that the closer you are to the stage, the more expensive the tickets will be. That said, you can still get a great experience from the seats that are further back—the theater was designed so that there are no obstructions in the way of the stage.
  • If your dates are limited, purchase your tickets well in advance to ensure you get the best seats in your ticket category.
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