Visiting The Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting 2019

The 87th Annual Rockefeller Center Tree lighting will take place on Wednesday, December 4th this year. This is your guide to attending the tree lighting, a journey every New Yorker should make at least once! Read on for some background about this year’s tree, including where it came from, how tall it is, and how many lights it took to make it a reality.


Rockefeller Center Christmas tree surrounded by angel sculptures

Great Fact About The Tree Lighting

For thirteen years straight, the Christmas tree will be donated to Habitat for Humanity once it has been taken down after this holiday season! The tree becomes lumbar that the organization will use to build homes.  Truly the holiday gem of Midtown East!


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Attending The Tree Lighting

Mark your calendars for the evening of December 4th, when the lights will be live for the first time on the Rockefeller tree! From 7pm to 9pm there will be live performances by top singers and bands as well as the Radio City Rockettes. At 9pm on the dot the lights will be sparkle upon the tree for the very first time. All of this will be taking place at Rockefeller Plaza between West 48th and West 51st Streets and Fifth and Sixth Avenues.

So you’re probably wondering: “Okay, so how early do I have to get there to score a decent spot?” Unfortunately, you’ll have to plan several hours in advance since this is such a popular event. To ensure that you nestle into a spot where you can actually see what’s going on, it’s recommended to get to the tree no later than 3pm (the earlier you are, the better the spot!) And if seeing the performers is high on your list, arrive closer to noon (there’ss very limited spots near the stage.)


Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lit up at night
The world famous 2016 Rockefeller Center Christmas tree in New York City.

Things to know:

  • The tree lighting is free and open to the public on a first come, first served basis.
  • Like any large event, security measures will be in full force. You will not be allowed to bring any large bags, backpacks, or umbrellas into the area.
  • If you prefer to watch the tree lighting from the comfort of your own apartment, it’s broadcast live on NBC from 7pm to 9pm, and is also available streaming through NBC.

The location is ideal for residents living at The Bamford and The Bristol, since the lighting is just a few short blocks away!

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Person standing in front of the rockefeller christmas tree with all the twinkling lights

Visiting The Tree At Other Times

If braving the crowds isn’t your idea of a good time, know that the tree will remain lit and can be viewed until 9pm on January 7, 2019 (it’s lit daily from 5:30pm until 11:30pm, except on New Years Eve when the lights turn off at 9pm).

December is obviously going to draw the crowds no matter what day or time you swing by, but the influx of tourists does tend to die down once Christmas hits (The tree will be practically desolate on Christmas morning! And another perk about visiting on Christmas? It’s the only time that the tree is lit 24 hours.) So if you’re a local Glenwood resident you have the advantage of being able to plan your visit post-holiday rush, really savoring the beauty of the spruce and the spirit of the season, sans the crowds.

And don’t forget to check out last year’s post on where to catch all the Christmas tree lightings in New York City!


Are you excited to attend the Rockefeller Center Christmas Lighting? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter!

Posted in Glenwood News, manhattan living, Midtown East | Tagged