Radio City Music Hall, Midtown. ©Dan Herrick/Lonely Planet.

©Dan Herrick/Lonely Planet

Radio City Music Hall

Top choice in Midtown

This spectacular moderne movie palace was the brainchild of vaudeville producer Samuel Lionel 'Roxy' Rothafel. Never one for understatement, Roxy launched his venue on December 23, 1932, with an over-the-top extravaganza that included camp dance troupe the Roxyettes (mercifully renamed the Rockettes). Guided tours (75 minutes) of the sumptuous interiors include the glorious auditorium, Witold Gordon's classically inspired mural History of Cosmetics in the Women's Downstairs Lounge, and the VIP Roxy Suite, where luminaries such as Elton John and Alfred Hitchcock have been entertained.

As far as catching a show here goes, be warned: the vibe doesn't quite match the theater's glamour these days. That said, there are often some fabulous talents in the lineup, with past performers including Lauryn Hill, Rufus Wainwright, Aretha Franklin and Dolly Parton. And while the word 'Rockettes' provokes eye rolling from most self-consciously cynical New Yorkers, fans of glitz and kitsch might just get a thrill from the troupe's annual Christmas Spectacular.

Same-day tickets are available at the box office inside the Sixth Ave entrance. Whether you book here or in advance online, expect horrendous queues to get into the show; it's hugely popular. Tour tickets are usually easy enough to book on the day, and tours depart from the entrance around the corner on W 50th St.

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