The Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center will be illuminated by more than 50,000 multicolored lights on Wednesday, kicking off a Midtown Manhattan holiday tradition that dates back to the 1930s.
Crews have been hard at work decorating and preparing the tree — a 12-ton Norway spruce — since it arrived in Rockefeller Plaza on Nov. 11 after being transported nearly 200 miles from Vestal in upstate New York.
On Wednesday evening, a 900-pound star adorned with three million Swarovski crystals will be illuminated, and approximately five miles of LED string lights will be switched on for the first time this season. The festivities will feature musical performances by Cher, Barry Manilow, Keke Palmer and others. Here’s what you should know.
When is the Rockefeller Center tree lighting?
The lighting ceremony will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 29 at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
It will be broadcast live as part of the NBC special “Christmas at Rockefeller Center,” hosted by the singer and talk-show host Kelly Clarkson.
How can I watch the tree lighting ceremony?
In addition to NBC, the musical performances can be seen on NBCUniversal’s streaming platform, Peacock, beginning at 8 p.m. You can also stream the event on platforms like Hulu with Live TV, DirecTV Stream or Fubo TV.
Or, if you’re in New York, you can brave the Midtown crowds and watch it in person.
Who is performing at the event?
Numerous big-name performers are expected to take part in this year’s celebration, including Chloe Bailey, Adam Blackstone, Keke Palmer, Cher, Darlene Love, David Foster, Katharine McPhee, Liz Gillies, Seth MacFarlane and Barry Manilow.
As is tradition, the Radio City Rockettes will also make an appearance, along with the “Today” show hosts Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Al Roker and Craig Melvin.
What is there to know about this year’s tree?
While not quite as large as last year’s tree, the 80- to 85-year-old Norway spruce at the center of all the excitement is by no means small.
This year’s tree stands 80 feet tall and 43 feet wide, and weighs roughly 12 tons. The spruce came from Vestal, about 200 miles northwest of Manhattan in New York’s Southern Tier.
Approximately five miles of wire containing more than 50,000 multicolored LED lights have been wrapped around the tree’s branches, and a 900-pound, three-dimensional star designed by the architect Daniel Libeskind will be lit on top. The tree topper has more than 70 spikes and is covered in more than three million Swarovski crystals.
How long will I be able to see it in person?
The tree will be lit daily and open to the public from 5 a.m. to 12 a.m. until it is taken down on Jan. 13 at 10 p.m. The tree will stay lit for 24 hours on Christmas Day.
After the tree is removed in January, it will be donated to Habitat for Humanity International and milled into lumber that can be used to build furniture, flooring and cabinetry.
What streets will be closed?
The streets surrounding Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall will be closed to car traffic throughout the holiday season, beginning with the tree lighting on Wednesday.
City officials announced that 49th Street and 50th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues will be open only to pedestrians during the tree lighting, and will remain pedestrian-only between 11 a.m. and midnight every day through January.