2020 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is Lit in NYC
Photograph: Courtesy Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Tishman Speyer

The Rockefeller Christmas Tree guide

Tourists and natives can’t deny that the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in NYC is a stunning sight to see.

Rossilynne Skena Culgan

The fabulous holiday icon of NYC, The Rockefeller Christmas Tree, is a must-see for both locals and visitors during the holiday season, whether you're stopping by before ice-skating on The Rink at Rockefeller Center or just passing through on your way to Times Square.

We’ll tell you everything you need to know, from how to get tickets to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular to where to grab winter cocktails nearby.

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When can I see the Rockefeller Christmas Tree?

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree will be lit daily from 5am to midnight daily after a special light-up night ceremony on Wednesday, November 29. On Christmas Day, the tree is lit for 24 hours and on New Year’s Eve it is lit from 5am to 9pm. The tree goes dark for the season at 10pm on January 13.

Where can I find the Rockefeller Christmas Tree?

As the name says, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is located at Rockefeller Center Plaza on 49th St between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.

How do I get to the Rockefeller Christmas Tree?

Hitch a ride on the B/D/F/M train to 47th-50th Sts-Rockefeller Center.

How big is the tree?

This year's tree, selected from the Binghamton area, measures in at 80 feet tall! The gigantic Norway Spruce stretches 43 feet in diameter and weighs 12 tons. More than 50,000 multi-colored LED lights wrap around the towering tree. It's topped with a three-dimensional Swarovski star that weighs 900 pounds and sparkles with 3 million crystals. Architect Daniel Libeskind designed the stunning star in 2018.

Why is the Rockefeller Christmas tree famous?

This giant spruce is one of the most beloved Christmas trees in the nation. The Rockefeller Center tree tradition dates back almost a century. In 1931, construction workers building Rockefeller Center put up a Christmas tree, and the tradition began. Two years later in 1933, the first formal Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting Ceremony was held; that tree sported 700 lights.

Now, more than a century later, it's become a time-honored tradition. With its glamorous star and colorful lights, what's not to love?

Who pays for the tree?

Generally, it's donated. Rockefeller Center's gardener picks out a tree then asks the family if they'd be willing to part with it. Transportation costs, however, are estimated to cost upwards of $70,000, according to Fast Company, but Rockefeller Center's ownership foots that bill.

After inspiring joy during the holiday season, the tree is recycled. It's donated to Habitat for Humanity, where the lumber is used to build homes for those in need.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

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