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Your Guide to a Very Merry Rockefeller Center Christmas in New York

The Rockefeller Center, an iconic New York City landmark, transforms into a breath-taking winter wonderland during Christmas. Adorned with dazzling lights, a towering Christmas tree, an ice skating rink, and intricate decorations, this cultural hub encapsulates the essence of seasonal joy and timeless celebration.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

History

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, a celebrated symbol of holiday spirit, originated during the Great Depression era in 1931. Erected by workers building the Rockefeller Center, the first tree was a humble 20-foot-tall balsam fir adorned with handmade decorations. In 1933, the official tree lighting ceremony commenced, marking the inception of a cherished tradition. Over the years, the tree grew in stature and magnificence, symbolizing hope and resilience during challenging times. 

In 1942, during World War II, three smaller trees stood in place of one large tree due to wartime regulations. As the nation gradually recovered, the tree regained its grandeur, becoming a beacon of joy and unity. Today, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree continues to captivate millions worldwide, standing tall as a testament to the enduring magic of the holiday season and the unwavering spirit of the New York City community.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

Lights

The annual lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, a cherished tradition, brings everyone in and around the city together to celebrate the festive season. Typically held in late November, the festive ceremony features live performances by renowned artists, spreading joy and merriment. Adorned with thousands of dazzling lights and stunning decorations, the towering tree radiates an enchanting glow, capturing the essence of the holiday spirit. 

Timings: The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree will be lit every day between 5 AM to 12 AM from 29 November until 13 January, 10 PM. On Christmas Day, the tree will be lit the entire day and on New Year’s Eve, it will be lit from 5 AM to 9 PM. 

Rockefeller Center Ice Skating

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

Ice skating at the Rockefeller Center during the holiday season is a quintessential New York City experience, epitomizing the joyous festivities of winter. Against the backdrop of the towering Christmas tree and intricate decorations, the world-famous ice rink invites visitors to partake in a timeless tradition. The rink, located in the heart of the bustling Midtown Manhattan, fosters a sense of community and togetherness, as families and friends create cherished memories amidst the festive ambiance.

With the option of reserving tickets in advance, you can partake in this enchanting experience from October to April, revelling in the enchanting holiday spirit that permeates the rink.

Top of the Rock

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree



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Frequently asked questions about Christmas at the Rockefeller Center

When is the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lighting ceremony held each year?

The first Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lighting ceremony will take place on 29 November.

What is the history behind the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree tradition?

The tradition of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree dates back to the early 1930s during the Great Depression.

How tall is the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree?

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is 82 feet tall.

How long is the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree on display?

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree remains on display until early January.

Can I make advance reservations for ice skating sessions at the Rockefeller Center?

Yes, you can and should make advance reservations for ice skating sessions at the Rockefeller Center.

What are the operating hours for the Rockefeller Center ice skating rink during the holiday season?

The operating hours for the ice skating rink during the holiday season are generally from 8:30 AM to midnight.

Are there any special events or performances at the Rockefeller Center during the Christmas period?

Yes, the Rockefeller Center hosts various special events and live performances during the Christmas season.

What are the opening and closing times for the Top of the Rock during the Christmas period?

The Top of the Rock is open from 9 AM to midnight daily, including the Christmas season.

Are there dining options or restaurants available at the Rockefeller Center during Christmas?

Yes, there are various dining options and restaurants available at the Rockefeller Center, many of which offer holiday-themed food and drinks.

What is the best time to visit the Rockefeller Center to avoid large crowds during Christmas?

Weekdays and early mornings are generally the best times to visit the Rockefeller Center to avoid large crowds during Christmas.

Are there any specific guidelines or restrictions for visitors at the Rockefeller Center during the holiday season?

Yes, there are certain guidelines and restrictions for visitors, including security checks and limitations on certain items such as large bags and outside food or drinks.