We could all use a little holiday cheer right now, right? With all the holiday markets opening up as well as Christmas window unveilings underway, it's only a matter of time before NYC is covered in Christmas lights and gorgeously decked-out, yuletide trees.
RECOMMENDED: Christmas in NYC
We rounded up the best tree lighting ceremonies you don't want to miss this year, so prep your peepers and check out these dazzling LEDs!
Nov 26: Park Slope Fifth Avenue
There’s a forest’s worth of tree-lighting ceremonies happening in New York, and it all starts with the Park Slope Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District’s celebration on Small Business Saturday. After perusing discounts and goodies at local shops during the day, take a moment to listen to some live music while gorging on seasonal treats. Make sure to bring the kiddos to pose for photos with Santa Claus, too. Fifth Ave and 4th St, Brooklyn (parkslopefifthavenuebid.com). Sat 26 6:30–8pm.
Nov 28: Winter's Eve at Lincoln Center
This 17-year-old cold-weather festival is an action-packed affair that begins with this year’s holiday tree lighting in Dante Park. American Idol and Broadway star Justin Guarini and Grammy nominee Bettye LaVette are set to croon a few holiday hits before a lovely tribute to jazz singer Sharon Jones is played during the official lighting of the tree. Afterward, join amazing artists, musicians, dancers and street performers as they usher in the holiday season by juggling, walking on stilts, creating ice sculptures and performing circuslike entertainment near Time Warner Center. And if this event leaves you feeling peckish, more than 30 restaurants on the Upper West Side offer food tastings for a couple bucks. Mini Magnolia Bakery cupcakes for $2 and P.J. Clarke’s miniburgers for $4? Yes, please! Tree lighting: Broadway and 63rd St; Entertainment: Broadway from Time Warner Center to 68th St (winterseve.nyc). Mon 28 5:30–9pm.
Nov 29: Seaport District
You can expect Seaport District’s 33rd annual tree lighting ceremony to be a festive affair, with live musical performances and photos ops with Santa, followed by the luminous lighting of the 60-foot tree. 19 Fulton S; (southstreetseaport.com); 6:30–7:30pm.
Nov 30: Rockefeller Center
This iconic and always-packed tree-lighting ceremony is filled with celebrity performances, so you’ll want to arrive early to get a good view. Enjoy a two-hour variety show featuring live music by Neil Diamond, Josh Groban, Dolly Parton and more before 50,000 energy-efficient LED lights covering the 94-foot spruce are switched on inspiring oohs and aahs. This is the only tree-lighting ceremony you can watch live on TV (tune in to WNBC), which is great for anxious New Yorkers—er, all of us—who want to avoid the crowds. Between Fifth and Sixth Aves and 49th and 50th Sts (rockefellercenter.com); Wed 30 7–9pm.
Dec 2: Bank of American Winter Village at Bryant Park
This year, the Winter Village plans to make this beloved event the best to date—and we have a feeling it will be. Expect the usual theatrical ice-skating show, starring Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje from the No. 1 world-ranked ice-dancing team in Canada as well as Javier Fernández (four-time European Champion) and Kimmie Meissner (former Olympian). Jazz group Lapis Luna provides the jams, and you’ll definitely want to stop by to see this year’s celebrity host in the flesh. Check out more than 125 holiday shops and food vendors while you’re there. 40th St to 42nd St between Fifth and Sixth Aves (wintervillage.org). Fri 2 at 6pm.
Dec 2: Fort Hamilton
Go for the tree lighting, but stick around for the holiday shopping during this market's spectacle, which is conveniently nearby the Dyker Heights Christmas lights. 101st St and Fort Hamilton Pkwy; 4–9pm.
Dec 7: Washington Square Park
This 91-year-old tradition features holiday sing-a-longs with the Rob Susman Brass Quartet and a visit from the big man in the red suit before a giant pine is transformed into a multi-colored illuminating wonder. 1 Washington Sq E; 6–7pm.
Dec 8: Madison Square Park Conservancy
Take a stroll through Taste of Home’s Gingerbread Boulevard before the countdown to the illumination of Madison Square Park’s tree starts at 4:55pm. The celebration continues with performances from The Sweetback Sisters, The New York Life Singers and more. Holiday goodies will be provided by neighborhood restaurants Hill Country Chicken, Umi Kitchen, Almond and Shake Shack. Fifth and Madison Avenues from 23rd to 26th Sts; 3:30–5:30pm.
Dec 10: Holiday on the Hudson
Get merry along the waterfront and learn dance moves with the Harlem Swing Dance Society, watch the tree light up for the season and listen to Christmas carols performed by Barnard Bacchantae. Hot chocolate will be served (while supplies last), so make sure to bring your reusable mug! 125th and Marginal Sts; (nycgovparks.org); 4:30–6:30pm.