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

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting 2023

Don’t be a grinch—if you miss the spectacular Rockefeller Center tree lighting ceremony you’ll surely regret it.

Rossilynne Skena Culgan
Written by
Rossilynne Skena Culgan

The Rockefeller Tree Lighting is an NYC holiday tradition that brings thousands of New Yorkers (and tourists) to the bright and brilliant nexus of town each Christmas.

Sure, various tree lighting ceremonies take place all over New York, but the show at Rockefeller Center is by far the most renowned. Don’t skip your chance to see the towering tree glowing in Christmas lights for the first time only a few days after Thanksgiving in NYC.

This tree is one of the top New York attractions to visit in person. There’s nothing better than going ice-skating, warming up with hot cocoa and taking pictures with the stunning Rockefeller Center tree as your backdrop.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the Rockefeller Christmas Tree

When is the Rockefeller Center tree lighting?

The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree will be lit for the holiday season during a special ceremony on Wednesday, November 29, 2023. There will be fantastic performers and live music that evening. 

Though the tree lights up just before 10pm, the live national broadcast begins at 8pm, per Rockefeller Center. The broadcast will be hosted by Kelly Clarkson, Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Al Roker and Craig Melvin. See it on NBC 4 and Peacock.

Where is the Rockefeller Center tree lighting?

The Rockefeller Center tree lighting ceremony is located at Rockefeller Center between 49th and 50th Sts in Manhattan. 

Who will be performing at the Rockefeller Center tree lighting?

Musician Kelly Clarkson will host the show; she'll be joined on the telecast by "TODAY" co-anchors Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Al Roker and Craig Melvin, per NBC New York. More performers will be announced.

When and where can I visit the Rockefeller Center tree?

The tree will be lit daily from 5am-midnight until early January. On Christmas Day, the tree is lit for 24 hours and on New Year’s Eve it is lit from 5am to 9pm.

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.

What's the history of the tree lighting ceremony?

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. 

Here's more about the fascinating history of the Rockefeller Center tree.

Rockefeller Center tree lighting in NYC

Want to see past Christmas trees?