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Even though winter is approaching in New York, the official Holiday Season does not start until the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Plaza has been lit in a legendary and impressive lighting ceremony. This year, the lighting of the tree ceremony at Rockefeller Center will take place on Wednesday, December 4th, 2019.
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The Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center
In New York, the Tree Lighting Ceremony right after Thanksgiving is the official start of the Holiday season. Over the past years, we weren’t super lucky with the weather but the Tree Lighting Ceremony attracts tons of people every year. Of course, the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center is the highlight of tourists coming to New York from all over the world during Christmas time. Most visitors only know the tree from movies or pictures, so it’s very impressive looking at it in person.
About the Tree Lighting Ceremony
It’s the spectacle of the holiday season. Many people travel great distances to New York City just to attend the Tree Lighting Ceremony in person. It’s a dream come true and over the years, it’s become a bigger and bigger event that features many performances. The tree lighting ceremony lasts for about 3 hours, starting at around 7 pm and ending around 10 pm. Here’s what you need to know if you want to attend the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony:
When is the Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting Ceremony?
The ceremony takes place the Wednesday after Thanksgiving, which is the third Thursday in November. This year, the Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting Ceremony falls on December 4th. The ceremony starts around 7 pm but the tree won’t be lit until 9:55 pm. Usually, at the moment of the lighting, a general hush descends upon the masses gathered to view the event (a rarity in New York City), followed by thunderous applause. And the applause is warranted – the tree is a sight to behold.
When should you arrive at the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony?
Sparkling and beautiful, it is the centerpiece of the Plaza every year. Our tip: if you would like to witness the lighting of the tree at Rockefeller Center, be sure to get there no later than 3 pm with the ceremony starting at 7 pm. Every year, the crowds get bigger. You won’t be able to see the tree if you’re only an hour or two early. If you want to see the tree and be part of the ceremony, expect to wait outside in the cold for hours.
How can I avoid the crowds at the Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting Ceremony?
If you want to avoid the crowds, you can attend an exclusive tree lighting party with views of the tree. These parties do not only offer views of the trees from a warm room but also let you enjoy a great party with food in a festive atmosphere. Because the tree lighting ceremony is such a big deal in New York and only a few locations have great views of the tree, tickets are quite expensive. You will need to decide for yourself whether it is worth it. Check out the details of an exclusive party below.
*If there are no tickets left anymore, it’s because they are sold out! Because of high demand, you need to reserve your spots as soon as you can.
The Star of Manhattan until January
Visitors that travel to New York during the timeframe of December 4th and January 17th get to see the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center; the tree enjoys celebrity status in Manhattan during that time and turns into the most photographed attraction in the city during that time.
At 9 PM on January 17, the lights are turned off. In the following days, the tree will be removed and then turned into valuable building materials for Habitat for Humanity.
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Being a photographer and creative in general, New York City, I think is the perfect place to be. I moved to NYC from Boston in 2013 and never looked back. Loving New York has given me the opportunity to do what I love and share those images with you all.