The Definitive Guide To The Best Tree-Lighting Ceremonies In NYC This Year

Bianca Bahamondes Bianca Bahamondes

The Definitive Guide To The Best Tree-Lighting Ceremonies In NYC This Year

There are few places on Earth that inspire that magical kind of Christmas spirit like New York, and the city has already begun its holiday transformation. With the Saks Fifth Avenue window displays revealed, as well as those at Macy’s Herald Square, the only things left are the stunning tree lighting ceremonies that’ll completely illuminate the city.

Here are the events taking place this year (in chronological order):

Tavern on the Green

Tavern on the Green
  • Where: 1 Tavern on the Green (Enter at 67th & Central Park West)
  • When: Tuesday, November 30, 2021 at 6 p.m.

Central Park’s historic Tavern on the Green restaurant will host its own 5th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony on Tuesday! The iconic eatery’s very own 20-foot Christmas tree will be topped with more than 2,000 ornaments and 10,000 lights to make NYC’s Upper West Side skyline glow. The ceremony includes performances from the Manhattan Holiday Carolers and DJ Tweed, plus complimentary hot chocolate, hot cider and cookies! More info here.

Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting Ceremony

  • Where: Rockefeller Plaza between West 48th and 51st Streets
  • When: Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021 at 8 p.m.

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is a world-wide symbol of the holiday season…need we say more? Info. on whether you can watch the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in person this year is still yet to be released, but either way you can definitely catch it on NBC at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday. Read more about this year’s tree — which comes from Maryland for the first time EVER — here.

NYSE Annual Christmas Tree Lighting & Closing Bell

Instagram / @newyorkcitykopp
  • Where: 11 Wall Street
  • When: Wednesday, December 1, 2021 at 4:15 p.m.

A tradition since 1923, the New York Stock Exchange 98th Annual Tree Lighting will take place in Experience Square, located in front of the New York Stock Exchange at the corner of Wall and Broad Streets. Sip some hot cocoa, send a note to Santa, and enjoy the sounds of the season as The New York Stock Exchange hosts featured artists, organizations and listed companies. Performances are open for public viewing and refreshments will be served. Events take place from 2-6 p.m., with the actual lighting at 4:15 p.m. Find out more here!

Central Park Holiday Lighting

Instagram /@mob280
  • Where: Charles A. Dana Discovery Center
  • When: Thursday, December 2, 2021 at 5:30 p.m.

The 25th Annual Holiday Lighting in Central Park invites guests to meet Santa and friends, sing carols on the Plaza and of course watch the dazzling flotilla of trees light up the Harlem Meer! There’s even ice-carving demonstrations and other seasonal festivities to take part in. Download song lyrics and hot cocoa recipes to bring on their website here!

Seaport District

Seaport District
  • Where: Fulton St.
  • When: Thursday, December 2, 2021 at 6:45 p.m.

The Seaport District (formerly known as South Street Seaport) has an entire extravaganza to celebrate the start of the holiday season! On Thursday, Dec. 2 there are tons of activities from crafts and live music to pop-up markets to hot chocolate and mulled wine to an Ugly Sweater Party to, of course, the tree lighting around 7 p.m.! See the full schedule here.

Holiday on the Hudson

Instagram / @summeronthehudson
  • Where: West Harlem Piers Park, West 125th Street & Marginal Street
  • When: Saturday, December 4, 2021, 4:30 p.m.–6 p.m.

Celebrate the annual holiday tree lighting on the Hudson River in West Harlem back in person this year! Enjoy live music, tree decoration making and hot chocolate (while supplies last). For everyone’s safety, they are asking all participants to please wear a mask if you are unvaccinated, or if it makes you feel more comfortable, and that all individuals should maintain social distancing of six feet during programming, regardless of vaccination status. Read more here.

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park

Winter Village at Bryant Park
  • Where: Bryant Park, Sixth Avenue between 40th and 42nd Streets
  • When: Monday, December 6, 2021 at 6 p.m.

Each year the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park puts on a Tree Lighting Skate-tacular to kick off the holiday season. This year’s event will be hosted by the Classical Theatre of Harlem Producing Artistic Director Ty Jones, and will include performances by The Classical Theatre of Harlem Choir as well as a stellar lineup of live skate performances from Olympic and World champion skaters.

The evening will also include fireworks and a special appearance from Santa himself! You must reserve free tickets on their website here (and proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test is required)  — don’t miss seeing the 43-foot-tall adorned with 12,000 lights in person.

Washington Square Park

Instagram / @gourmet_traveler_
  • Where: Washington Square Park Arch
  • When: Wednesday, December 8 at 6 p.m.

NYC’s 2nd Longest Running Tree will be illuminated on December 8 this year, so gather under the arch (will also be live streaming the lighting on their Facebook Page). The Rob Susman Brass Quartet will lead the group in holiday songs, with songbooks provided, and event Santa will appear (with candy canes!) to lead the lighting countdown. The multi-colored lights on the 45-foot tree will be turned on to mark the beginning of festive winter evenings. The tree will then remain lit from 4 p.m. until 1 a.m. every day of the season. See more info here.

Madison Square Park

Madison Square Park
  • Where: Madison Square Park, Fifth Avenue & Madison Ave. and 23rd St. & 26th St.
  • When: Thursday, December 9 from 4-5:30 p.m

Did you know NYC’s own Madison Square Park was actually home to the nation’s first public holiday tree? You can take part in its 109th annual holiday tree lighting on Thursday, Dec. 9! More info on their website here.

Also published on Medium.

Tags: christmas, winter
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