Things to do in New York

Spend this Christmas season at the Rockefeller Center in New York

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What’s more synonymous with New York City Christmas than the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree? Each year, more than 125 million people arrive in the city from all parts of the world to experience this splendid sight. This indisputable symbol of Christmas celebrations in the city deserves a place on your bucket list too. This page contains all the information needed to plan your visit to the most beloved Christmas attraction in New York this festive season.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

Handy information

Christmas Tree Lighting:

Date: November 29, 2023 to January 13, 2024
Timings: 5 AM to 12 AM (Daily); 12 AM to 12 PM (Christmas Day); 5 AM to 9 PM (New Year’s Eve); 5 AM to 10 PM (January 13th)

Ice Skating:

Date: October 21, 2023 onwards
Timings: 9 AM to 11 PM

Top of the Rock:

Date: 9 AM to 12 AM
Last admission: 9 AM to 11 PM

Why spend Christmas at the Rockefeller Center?

  • Become part of a timeless tradition that has brought locals and tourists together to the Rockefeller Center for more than 90 years.
  • You will be hard-pressed to find a more marvelous Christmas display anywhere else in the country. That’s saying a lot considering that all of New York City does Christmas with much fanfare.
  • Witness the opulence, extravagance, and grandiosity of a Rockefeller Centre Christmas in person at least once in your lifetime. It will far surpass your expectations, we promise.
  • You will walk away from this festive tour with the most fun-filled memories with your loved ones and cherish them for years to come.
  • The spectacular Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree will serve as the perfect backdrop to your holiday pictures. What’s more? Make your selfies really stand out by capturing the scene from different angles and vantage points.

Recommended tickets

Steps to have a Merry Rockefeller Christmas

Ready to have a rollicking Rockefeller Center Christmas? Here’s the lowdown of all the fun-filled activities you can do during your time there.

1Admire the age-old Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

Arguably, the most famous Christmas tree in the world, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is a spectacle unlike any other. The tradition (or rather tree-dition) began in 1931 and has continued over time, only to grow stupendously in popularity. Throughout the years, the tree has ranged in height from 69 feet (21 meters) to an astounding 100 feet (30 meters)!

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

2Witness the Lighting of the Tree

The annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony is one of the highly anticipated events that mark the start of the Christmas season in the city. Watch the tree dazzling with over 50,000 LED lights and a Swarovski star sparkling on top as its crowning jewel. Enjoy live performances and Christmas carol singing that can be enjoyed by everyone for free either in person or through its live telecast.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

3Go ice skating at the Rockefeller Rink

Take part in one of the city's most beloved Christmas traditions by going ice skating at the Rockefeller Ice Skating Rink. Feel the festive cheer as you skate away on the famous ice rink with family and friends while being surrounded by the ornate Prometheus statue and the Christmas Tree in the background. It promises to be an absolute treat!

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

4Head to Top of the Rock for aerial views

Experience the city's festive glory from a whole new perspective at Top of the Rock! Its location on the top floor of the Rockefeller Plaza offers sweeping 360° views of the city from a height of 260 meters. You can marvel at the beauty of the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, Central Park, etc. from the three indoor and outdoor observation decks.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

5Admire the window displays

Take a stroll through the world’s most expensive shopping street at Fifth Avenue, which is home to high-end storefronts including Bergdorf Goodman, Cartier, Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany & Company, and Bloomingdale’s. These department stores set up the most magnificent Christmas-themed window and light displays for all to enjoy during this time of the year.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

6Enjoy a delicious Christmas meal

The city serves up a fantastic Christmas dining experience with a plethora of festive-themed restaurants that you can choose from. One of the most popular is the Christmas-themed Rolf's which specializes in German cuisine. For a Christmas spin on French delicacies, head to Papillon Bistro. Central Park's Tavern on the Green, and Winter Wonderland at Watermark are other highly recommended eateries for their festive-themed menus.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

7Shop for your loved ones

As the shopping capital of the world, New York City is the most ideal place to shop for Christmas gifts and souvenirs during the holiday season. Your best bet would be visiting holiday markets that open up in places like Union Square, Borough Hall, Columbus Circle, etc. Here, you will find a wide array of items like seasonal gifts, holiday bites, locally crafted products, and much more.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

Insider tips for visiting the Rockefeller Center during Christmas

  • If possible, plan your visit during the first week of December as it tends to get more crowded closer to Christmas Day.
  • For a more relaxed time at the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, visit between Monday through Friday either early in the morning or late at night post 10 PM.
  • Avoid weaving through the hustle and bustle on the streets by using a series of underground pathways called as concourse that connect the different buildings of Rockefeller Center. There are multiple entrances to the concourse, but a failsafe option is to enter from 30 Rockefeller Center located behind the Christmas tree and make your way one level down. There, you will find plenty of directions/signage spread throughout the area to help you navigate easily.
  • Since this is the busiest time of the year, opt for public transit instead of arriving by car/taxi and avoid the street traffic completely.
  • While attending the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony, make sure to carry a jacket as it can get quite chilly by the end of the event.

Things to do around Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
Radio City Music Hall

Kick off this festive season by watching an exhilarating 90-minute Christmas Spectacular performance by the Rockettes at the Radio City Music Hall. You can’t help but feel utterly transfixed by their super-synchronized choreography and tantalizing signature high kicks. Lastly, the legendary performance venue boasts a fantastic Art Deco architecture and state-of-the-art sound system that will take your viewing experience to great heights.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
St. Patrick's Cathedral

Add visiting St. Patrick's Cathedral to your itinerary while visiting the Rockefeller Christmas Tree. If you don’t mind the crowds too much, try attending the Christmas mass in this ornate 19th-century cathedral on December 24. You can also plan your visit on other days to admire its iconic Neo-Gothic architecture and learn of its historical significance.


Where is the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree?

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree can be found between 5th Avenue and 6th Avenue in the middle of 49th and 50th Street in Midtown Manhattan.

How many people visit the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree each year?

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is visited by approximately 125 million people during the festive season each year.

How long will the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree be on display in 2023?

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree will be displayed for a total of 46 days starting from November 29, 2023, until January 13, 2024.

What is the best time to visit the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree?

If you want to be free of large crowds, the best time to visit the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is in the early morning or late at night on weekdays.

Is ice skating open at the Rockefeller Center?

Yes! You can go ice skating at the Rockefeller Center rink anytime between 9 AM and 11 PM.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Guide