Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Visitors Guide

••• Marvin E. Newman/The Image Bank/Getty Images

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is typically lit the week after Thanksgiving. The 2016 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lighting ceremony is going to be Wednesday, November 30, 2016.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Details:

  • Rockefeller Center is located in the center of the complex of buildings between 47th and 50th Streets and 5th and 7th Avenues. See Rockefeller Center Map.
  • Closest Subways: B/D/F/M to 47-50 Sts/Rockefeller Center or the 6 to 51st/Lexington

    2016 Dates:

    • Tree Goes Up: mid November 2016
    • Tree is Illuminated: Wednesday, November 30, 2016
    • Tree Lit Until: January 7, 2017


    The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is typically illuminated from 5:30 a.m. until midnight daily, except on Christmas and New Year's Eve. On Christmas, the tree is illuminated for 24 hours and on New Year's Eve the lights are turned off at 9:00 p.m.

    Lighting Ceremony:

    The 83rd Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony takes place on Wednesday, December 2, 2015 from 7-9 p.m. The annual event is televised and features musical performances from a variety of popular artists. Typically, the Radio City Rockettes perform and there are also ice skaters performing in the Rockefeller Ice Rink.

    About the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree:

    The Christmas tree that adorns Rockefeller Center is typically a Norway Spruce. The minimum requirement is that the tree be 65 feet tall and 35 feet wide, however manager of Rockefeller Center gardens prefers the tree be between 75 and 90 feet tall and proportionally wide.

    Norway Spruce that grow in forests don't typically reach these proportions, so the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree tends to be one that was ornamentally planted in someone's front or back yard. There is no compensation offered in exchange for the tree, other than the pride of having donated the tree that appears in Rockefeller Center.

    Over five miles of lights are used to decorate the tree every year. Only the lights and the star decorate the tree. After the holiday season ends, the tree is milled, treated and made into lumber that Habitat for Humanity uses for home building. In the past, the tree has been recycled and the mulch was donated to the Boy Scouts. The largest portion of the trunk was donated to the U.S. Equestrian team in New Jersey to use as an obstacle jump.

    The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is only one of many in New York City. Learn about the others here.