Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting

Dated: 11/23/2011

Views: 5371

79th Annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is a world-wide symbol of the holidays in New York City. The tree, traditionally a Norway Spruce, is illuminated by 30,000 environmentally friendly LED lights on five miles of wire, and crowned by a Swarovski crystal star. Tens of thousands crowd the sidewalks for the event and hundreds of millions watch the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. Guest stars for the 2011 tree lighting include: Tony Bennett, Justin Bieber, Michael Buble, Cee Lo Green, Faith Hill, Carole King, Katharine McPhee, Javier Colon and The Radio City Rockettes


What to Expect: The Rockefeller Tree Lighting is a tradition that is both recognized and celebrated by people not only in New York City, but all around the world. The tree is viewable daily from 5:30am-11:30pm, except on Christmas, when it is viewable all day, and New Years Eve, when it is viewable until 9pm.

·                       Crowds: The Christmas tree lighting event is expected to bring tens of thousands of guests in person, and have hundreds of millions tuning in to watch the event on television.

·                       Enormous Tree: The Norway Spruce trees displayed each year in Rockefeller Center are required to be a minimum of 65 feet tall and 35 feet wide, though they're preferred to be between 75-90 feet tall, by the event managers.

Inside Knowledge: The first Rockefeller Tree Lighting took place in 1931 when a bunch of construction workers decided to put up a tree in the RCA Building. The first formal Christmas tree lighting was two years later and 700 lights were used for decoration. In 1966 the first out-of-country tree was used when Canada donated a tree in celebration of the Centennial of its confederation. Because Norway Spruce trees aren't normally grown to the full preferred size, the ones used in the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting usually come from someone's yard or another selected location, though property owners are not compensated with anything other than pride.

Event Hints:

·                       Arrive Early: Various popular music artists perform each year at the NYC tree lighting, as well as the Radio City Rockettes, so get your spot early at this event so you don't miss any of the exciting performances. 

·                       Take the Subway: Due to the overwhelming crowds, the Rockefeller Center and 5th Avenue transit stops are the best option for getting to the Rockefeller Tree Lighting. 

·                       Bundle Up: Be sure to dress appropriately for the cold autumn whether in New York City, since the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting is at the end of November and takes place at night time.

Blog author image

Marion Romano

I grew up in Bergen County, New Jersey across the Hudson River from New York City. My husband, Dennis, and I raised our two children there. As soon as the kids were finished with school, Dennis and I ....

2 comments in this topic

  • Posted by gary muldowney
    When is it??
  • Posted by Marion Romano
    November 30th beginning at 7pm.

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