Your Complete Guide to the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

See the World's Most Famous Christmas Tree in NYC

Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting
••• Photo credit: Bryan Bedder / Getty Images Entertainment

When: Tree lighting on December 2, 2015; tree can be viewed through January 7, 2016

Where: 30 Rockefeller Plaza (W. 48th to W. 51st sts., btwn Fifth and Sixth aves.)

There's no single more iconic symbol of the glorious holiday season in Manhattan than the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. In 2015, Rockefeller Plaza sets the stage for a massive 78-foot Norway Spruce, which towers over the famous ice-skating rink below, for one of the most picture-postcard Christmas scenes within the city.

Here's everything you need to know to optimize your tree viewing experience:

What Does the Rockefeller Center Tree Look Like?

This year's tree, a Norway Spruce, measures 78 feet tall and 47 feet wide, weighing a staggering 10 tons. The approximately 80-year-old tree was donated from the property of a family based in New York's Hudson Valley.  

The tree will be decorated with more than 45,000 colored LED lights, spread out over some five miles of wire, and comes topped by a Swarovski crystal star. The star measures nearly 10 feet wide, and touts some 25,000 crystals, which sparkle with LED lights.

When Will the Rockefeller Center Tree Be Lit?

While the tree has been perched in the plaza since November 6, being prepped, the official tree lighting ceremony—now in its 83rd year—occurs on December 2, 2015. The ceremony runs from 7pm through 9pm, though the tree is not actually illuminated until 8:55PM.

Who Will Perform at the Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting Ceremony?

TODAY show anchors Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker, and Natalie Morales will co-host the evening's festivities The program will include live performances from Sting, The Rockettes,Mary J. Blige, James Taylor, Andrea Bocelli, and more.

How Can I Watch the Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting Ceremony?

The annual tree-lighting ceremony attracts thousands of spectators and is viewed by millions more on TV. If you're coming in person, arrive several hours in advance of the 7pm start time, take mass transit, dress warmly, and be prepared to stand around in thick crowds. Space is very limited, and only the very first to arrive will get within viewing distance of the tree, when the switch is flipped at 8:55pm.

Alternatively, the ceremony will also be televised locally and nationally on NBC.

Until When Can I See the Rockefeller Center Tree?

The tree is lit each day from 5:30am through 11:30pm, between December 2, 2015 and January 7, 2015. Special hours apply on Christmas Day (when it's lit up 24 hours straight), and on New Year's Eve (from 5:30am to 9pm).

What Else Can I See in Rockefeller Center During the Holidays?

Rockefeller Center is a hub for the holidays, what with its storied ice-skating rink, a plaza spilling over with even more decorations like toy soldiers and illuminated angels, and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular just across the way. Plus, don't miss out on attractions like The Top of the Rock observation deck, or legendary dining-and-entertainment haven, the Rainbow Room, on the 65th floor of the 30 Rockefeller Center tower.

Is There Anywhere Else to See Christmas Trees and Tree Lighting Ceremonies in Manhattan?

Absolutely! We counted 16 tree lighting ceremonies in Manhattan alone for the 2015 holiday season. Best of all, none of them have the crowds that Rockefeller Center does. Check 'em out via our Guide to NYC's Christmas Tree Lightings.