Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

The world famous Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is one of the hallmarks of Christmas in New York City. Each year a tree is carefully chosen, cut down, and brought to New York City's Rockefeller Center in early November.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

The tree is illuminated for the first time in a televised lighting ceremony that takes place the week after Thanksgiving.

Millions of New Yorkers and New York City visitors marvel at the splendid tree every Christmas season.

Tree Lighting Ceremony

The annual lighting ceremony for the Christmas tree takes place in Rockefeller Center starting at 7 pm on the Wednesday after Thanksgiving. The tree is then lit from 5:30 am - midnight every day through the first week of January.

The ceremony is always a big event featuring well-known musical performers. It is free and open to the public. If you plan on showing up, be sure to arrive at least several hours early and expect huge crowds. The tree lighting is also televised so you can watch it even if you're not in NYC (or unwilling to deal with the crowds).

The Journey of a Future Christmas Tree

How does a massive tree get to the middle of Rockefeller Center...?

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

...On the back of a flatbed tractor trailer!

Once in position next to the Rockefeller Center Ice Skating Rink, the tree spends some time "getting fancy". It is covered in scaffolding so that electricians can string the tree with five miles of wire holding 30,000 energy-efficient LED lights.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
Workers fix up the world's most famous Christmas Tree.

Holiday Season Bragging Rights

Think there's a tree in your yard that might measure up?

It’s not easy to qualify as one of the world’s most famous Christmas trees. The minimum size requirements are 65 feet tall and 35 feet wide, but of course bigger is better. No compensation is offered for the tree but you can’t beat the bragging rights!

Summary of Recent Trees

Tree Type
Norway spruce
76 ft
Shelton, CT
Norway spruce
80 ft
Flanders, NJ
Norway spruce
74 ft
Mifflinville, PA
Norway spruce
74 ft
Mahopac, NY
Norway spruce
76 ft
Easton, CT

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in Numbers

  • 40,000 - Number of multicolored LED lights illuminating the tree.
  • 5 - Miles of lights stringing the tree.
  • 1931 - The year the first Christmas Tree was set up in Rockefeller Center, by workers building the complex.

Christmas Cards of Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center Christmas Card

New York City Christmas Cards
With Scenes of Rockefeller Center

Remember your New York vacation and share it with others. Scenes of New York City make perfect Christmas cards!

Cards feature original New York City photography.

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Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

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