Visiting NYC this holiday season? Here's how to plan a perfect winter day at Rockefeller Plaza

There's nothing quite like Christmastime in New York City — but in order to really enjoy the magic, advance planning is non-negotiable. An estimated 60 million tourists visit NYC each year, and the holiday season is one of the most jam-packed times to stop by. The crowds can be tough, but with a bit of strategic organization, you can make the most of your Big Apple trip this winter.

Whether you're a veteran visitor or a newbie New Yorker, it's impossible to resist the allure of Rockefeller Center and its iconic larger-than-life Christmas tree. Here's a quick and easy guide to one of Manhattan's most glittering attractions this holiday season.

1. Book a dinner and skating package that secures you seats at the Sea Grill or the Rock Center Cafe. Both restaurants are situated beneath the ground level of 30 Rock, the famed home of "Saturday Night Live" and "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon." Both restaurants are especially lovely in the wintertime because they both look out onto the picturesque seasonal skating rink. The Sea Grill is a bit more upscale, and a VIP package (starting at $89) will also snag you access to the VIP igloo entrance to the rink. Perks of the igloo? Cookies, hot chocolate and a break from the cold whenever you need it.

If you're traveling with kids or just really love Santa, there's also a Breakfast with Santa package (starting at $45) with menu of our winter dining dreams: Brioche French toast, a chocolate fountain, bacon, gingerbread men, a crepe station, a charcuterie table, and (of course) a New York bagel station are all at your disposal.

PHOTOS: See the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree through the years

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The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree through the years
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The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree through the years
Rockefeller Center glows in the light of its hug Christmas tree. The lights went on last night. December 08, 1961. (Photo by Arty Pomerantz/New York Post Archives / (c) NYP Holdings, Inc. via Getty Images)
CHRISTMAS AT ROCKEFELLER CENTER -- Aired 12/9/66 -- Pictured: NBC Color Mobile Units at the Christmas Tree Lighting in Rockefeller Center, New York City, on December 9, 1966 (Photo by NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Spectators bask in glow of Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. December 20, 1968. (Photo by Vernon Shibla/New York Post Archives / (c) NYP Holdings, Inc. via Getty Images)
A 60-foot Norway spruce this year's Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, is set in place today. The tree will be lighted in a ceremony Dec. 5. November 22, 1974. (Photo by Vic DeLucia/New York Post Archives / (c) NYP Holdings, Inc. via Getty Images)
Christmas Tree Lighting at Rockefeller Center. December 09, 1985. (Photo by Michael Norcia/New York Post Archives / (c) NYP Holdings, Inc. via Getty Images)
Weather -- Bill Abbate, electrician at Rockefeller Center, tries to keep himself warmly dressed as high atop the giant tree he installs Xmas lights as skaters far below ignore the cold. December 05, 1985. (Photo by Michael Schwartz/New York Post Archives / (c) NYP Holdings, Inc. via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 5: Santa Claus (C) and the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes celebrate the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree 05 December in New York. The 75-foot high Norway Spruce was decorated with 25,000 multi-colored lights for the 63rd lighting of the tree. AFP PHOTO Robert MILLER (Photo credit should read ROBERT MILLER/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 12: Rockefeller Center is sparkling during lighting of this year's Christmas tree, a 100-foot Norway spruce, at the 67th annual holiday celebration. (Photo by Corey Sipkin/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree shortly after the annual lighting ceremony in New York City, December 3, 2000. Thousands of people braved heavy rain to line the streets surrounding the landmark center on Fifth Avenue to watch as the 80foot-high Norway Spruce from Buchanan. New York was lit with nearly 30,000 bulbs. (Photo by Keith D. Bedford/ImageDirect)
397873 01: The Christmas tree sits moments before the 69th Annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lighting ceremony November 28, 2001 at Rockefeller Center in New York City. (Photo by George De Sota/Getty Images)
397873 02: The Christmas tree sits moments after the 69th Annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lighting ceremony November 28, 2001 at Rockefeller Center in New York City. (Photo by George De Sota/Getty Images)
The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is seen from the nearby offices during the lighting ceremony in New York 04 December 2002. The 76-foot Norway spruce from Bloomsbury, New Jersey, is lit by 30,000 lights. AFP PHOTO/Doug KANTER (Photo credit should read DOUG KANTER/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: A general view of the 71st Annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony December 3, 2003 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 10: The holiday season in New York City is officially underway as the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is put into position in Rockefeller Plaza. The 74-foot-tall Norway spruce was cut down from the property of Arnold Raquet in Wayne, N.J., and transported to the city this morning. (Photo by Craig Warga/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, UNITED STATES: The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree after it was lit, 30 November, 2005, in front of the NBC Building in New York. The 9-ton, 74-foot high 65 year-old Norway Spruce has 30,000 lights. AFP PHOTO/Stan Honda (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 09: Workers secure into position the annual Rockefeller Center Christmas tree November 9, 2007 in New York City. The 84-foot-tall, 60-year-old Norway spruce will be lit November 28 and arrived in Manhattan this morning. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 03: A general view at the annual tree lighting ceremony and Christmas celebration at Rockefeller Center on December 3, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)
The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is dwarfed by buildings in Manhattan on December 15, 2009 in New York. AFP PHOTO/DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is lit on November 30, 2010 in New York. Originally from Mahopac, New York, the 12-ton, 74-foot Norway Spruce is adorned with 30,000 environmentally friendly LED lights on more than five miles of electrical wire, and topped with a Swarovski crystal star. AFP PHOTO / Stan Honda (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 30: A woman takes a picture of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree with her cell phone as it stands illuminated after the annual lighting ceremony November 30, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)
[UNVERIFIED CONTENT] Looking up '30 Rock' in Rockefeller Center, New York City, during the holidays. The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree also stretches to the sky where a plane can be seen overhead.
The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is lit November 30, 2011 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 30: The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree at the 2011 Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting on November 30, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/WireImage)
The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is lighted November 30, 2011 in New York. (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 19: A view of the 2012 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Center on November 19, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Bobby Bank/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 28: The Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center awaits lighting on November 28, 2012 in New York City. After two weeks of preparation, the 45,000 lights will be lit on the 80-foot high Norwegian spruce this evening during a celebration televised on NBC and hosted by Al Roker and Savannah Guthrie. The tree will remain lit every evening until January 7. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 04: Spectators enjoy the celebration during 81st Annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Rockefeller Center on December 4, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 03: A general overview of the 82nd Annual Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Rockefeller Center on December 3, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, Dec. 3, 2015 -- Photo taken on Dec. 2, 2015, shows the Norway Spruce during the 83rd Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Rockefeller Center in New York, the United States. Thousands of people witnessed the lighting of 45,000 multi-colored, energy efficient LED on the 78-foot-tall, 80-year-old Norway Spruce, which is topped with a spectacular Swarovski crystal star in Rockefeller Center on Wednesday. The Rockefeller Center has held the Christmas tree lighting ceremony annually to greet the upcoming Christmas since 1933. (Xinhua/Li Muzi via Getty Images)
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2. Take in 360-degree views of the city on the Top of the Rock Observation Deck. Many tourists make the mistake of thinking they'll just be able to head up whenever they so choose. Not exactly: You'll be given a designated time to board the elevator, and the assigned time could complicate your evening plans. You can grab advance tickets here (tickets are around $40) to avoid any issues.

3. See a taping of "The Tonight Show," "Late Night with Seth Meyers" or the morning "Today" show. Tickets for Fallon or Meyers are free but require a bit of luck; you can try your hand here for "Tonight Show" and here for "Late Night" to see if any tickets are still available. For "Today," all you have to do is show up bright and early!

4. Pop over next door to Radio City Music Hall to see the Rockettes. The annual show is always a holiday favorite, but as we get closer to Christmas Day, tickets start to grow scarce. If the evening you had in mind is sold out, consider a mid-day performance. On Fridays and Saturdays in December, there are a remarkable five performances throughout the day. Get tickets right here.

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