Holiday and Christmas tree lightings

  • New York Botanical Garden

  • American Museum of Natural History; Photograph: R. Mickens/D. Finnin

  • Metropolitan Museum; Photograph: Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

  • South Street Seaport

  • Lincoln Square

  • Rockefeller Center; Photograph: Courtesy of Tishman Speyer/Bart Barlow

  • Citi Pond in Bryant Park

  • Park Avenue Memorial Trees

  • Carl Schurz Park

  • Photograph: Ken Howard

    Washington Square Park Christmas Tree

  • Madison Square Park; Photograph: Juan Carlos Hernandez

  • Brooklyn Borough Hall; Photograph: Mark Zustovich

  • The New York Stock Exchange

  • Cathedral of St. John the Divine Peace Tree

New York Botanical Garden

American Museum of Natural History's Origami Holiday Tree
After ogling the massive creatures featured in the current exhibition, "The World's Largest Dinosaurs," set your sights on AMNH's Origami Holiday Tree. This year's decor is inspired by "the biggest and best of the museum," including the blue whale, whose gargantuan belly can be found towering over visitors in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life. American Museum of Natural History, Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Hall, Central Park West at 79th St (212-769-5200, Daily 10am--5:45pm; suggested admission $19, seniors and students $14.50, children 2--12 $10.50, children under 2 free. Through Jan 2.

Citi Pond at Bryant Park tree
It's a star-studded affair at Citi Pond, where Bryant Park's 53-foot Douglas fir will illuminate skaters and admirers in this magical setting. Sarah McLachlan is set to perform at this year's celebration, along with the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. Of course, you can appreciate the twinkling tree and its 3,000 ornaments up close throughout the holiday season. Citi Pond at Bryant Park40th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves ( Daily 24hrs; free. Lighting Nov 29 7--8:30pm. Through Jan 9.

Metropolitan Museum of Art Christmas Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crche
The institution's yearly stunner is a candlelit, angel-and-cherub-adorned blue spruce that towers above the 18th-century Neapolitan Nativity scene featuring 200 figures. The display is enhanced by ticketed seasonal concerts (various dates and times, see for more information; $60--$65) and daily lighting ceremonies (first tree lighting Nov 29 at 4:30pm; Tue--Thu, Sun 4:30pm; Fri, Sat 4:30, 5:30pm, 6:30; Dec 24, Dec 31 4:30pm). Metropolitan Museum of Art, Medieval Sculpture Hall, 1000 Fifth Ave at 82nd St (212-535-7710, Tue--Thu, Sun 9:30am--5:30pm; Fri, Sat 9:30am--9pm; suggested admission $25, seniors $17, students $12, children under 12 free. Through Jan 18.

The New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show
Celebrating 20 years of charming locomotive displays, this year's Holiday Train Show offers visitors an inside glimpse into how these models are constructed at the new Artist's Studio. Plus, don't miss the display of candy-coated gingerbread houses, created by New York City--area bakers. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx River Pkwy at Fordham Rd, Bronx (718-817-8700, Tue--Fri 10am--6pm; Sat, Sun 10am--7pm. $20, students and seniors $18, children ages 2-12 $10, members and children under 2 free. Through Jan 16.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
Featuring 30,000 multicolored LED lights and 25,000 Swarovski crystals twinkling from its star, the 74-foot-tall Norway spruce at Rockefeller Center has been the holiday sight to behold since it was first erected in 1931. For the Wednesday 30 lighting ceremony, if you want to avoid the crush of the crowds (and those trying to catch a glimpse of performers Justin Bieber, Cee Lo Green or Michael Bubl), you can catch the spectacle on NBC at 7pm. Rockefeller Plaza, Fifth and Sixth Aves between 48th and 49th Sts (212-632-3975). Daily 5:30am--11:30pm; Dec 25 24hrs; Jan 31 5:30am--9pm. Free. Lighting Nov 30 at 8:55pm. Through Jan 7.

Seaport Chorus Tree
If your workweek needs a bit of holiday cheer, enjoy a bit of "sparkle at the seaport" with a daily light show sure to put a twinkle in your eye (Mon--Fri, hourly 5--10pm). Choirs, including the Young New Yorkers' Chorus and the Big Apple Chorus, lend their voices to the charm of this 40-foot evergreen, performing on weekends (Fri 6, 7pm; Sat, Sun 3, 4pm). South Street Seaport, Pier 17, Fulton St at South St (212-732-7678, Daily 24hrs; free. Through Dec 24.

Carl Schurz Park tree lighting
Enjoy some gratis hot chocolate, cookies and candies, as critically acclaimed choir Cantori New York and the Orbal Brass Quartet serenade you with carols. Carl Schurz Park, East End Ave at 86th St (212-459-4455, Lighting: Dec 4 at 5pm; free.

Park Avenue Memorial Trees
Spanning from 54th to 96th Streets, these firs have been lit to salute those who sacrificed their lives in our nation's wars. A lighting ceremony, with musical accompaniment by the Brick Presbyterian Church's pipe organ and youth choir, inaugurates this year's edition of the 66-year-old tradition. Park Ave at 91st St (212-289-4400, Lighting: Dec 4 at 6:30pm; free. Through Jan 4.

Brooklyn Borough Hall Tree
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and Parks Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey kicks off the tree-lighting ceremony, where they will show off the 39-foot tree's new LED lights. Santa Claus will drop by to welcome the children, with refreshments to follow. Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon St at Court St, Downtown Brooklyn ( Lighting: Dec 5 at 5:30pm; free.

Madison Square Park Tree
The Madison Square Park Conservancy brings the park's nearly century-old tree-lighting tradition to its northern plaza. As a home to the city's first community holiday tree in 1912, the park will celebrate the holidays with the help of Audra Rox and the New York Life Singers. Madison Square Park, 23rd and 26th Sts between Fifth and Madison Aves (212-538-1884, Lighting: Dec 6 at 4:30pm; free.

New York Stock Exchange Christmas Tree
The financial crisis won't stop the New York Stock Exchange from flaunting this 53-foot-tall Norway spruce. Decorated with 3,300 white LED lights and 250 multicolored ornaments, the tree will mark downtown New York's 88-year-old holiday tradition. Broad St between Wall St and Exchange Pl (212-656-3000, Lighting: Dec 6 at 5pm; free.

Washington Square Park Christmas Tree
The Rob Susman Brass Quartet kicks off this festive evening with a performance of holiday songs, while Santa Claus joins the children with a tree-lighting countdown. The Washington Square Association will provide complimentary songbooks to those eager to join the caroling, along with refreshments. The quartet returns on Christmas Eve (Dec 24 at 5pm) to continue the revelry. Washington Square Park, Washington Sq North at Fifth Ave (212-252-3621, Lighting: Dec 7 at 6pm; free.

Peace Tree at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine
In memory of an 11-year-old atomic-bomb survivor who died of leukemia, St. John the Divine has decorated its tree with 1,000 origami cranes as an Asian symbol of longevity and happiness. Inspired by the children's book Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, this 30-year-old tradition will be commemorated at a dedication that features choir music. Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Ave at 112th St (212-316-7490, Dedication: Dec 16 at 11am; free.