Best New York City Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremonies to Visit in 2021

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Best Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony in New York City

New York holiday tree lighting ceremonies are the best way to start the holidays. There is no better way to engage in the spirit of the festival than to interact with your community, large or small, and sing songs, drink hot cocoa and capture the beauty of the dazzling decorations or glittering Christmas trees. The holidays are the weirdest time of year in New York City, and that magic is always started by flipping the switch on the festival decorations and lights.

Here are some holiday lighting ceremonies for your family to attend this coming holiday season. Whether you’re looking for product images or small community gatherings, we have a perfect list for you!

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88th Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting – Midtown, Manhattan
December 1
30 Rockefeller Plaza

Be one of the thousands who flock to the sidewalks to see the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lit for the very first time this holiday season. You can also watch it in the comfort of your own home on NBC’s national broadcast of the event, previously, there were live performances by leading singers and the Radio City Rockettes! The annual wood burning ceremony is free and open to the public and operates on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Don’t forget a bucket list experience in New York, plan your trip to Midtown to see America’s most famous Christmas tree come alive for the 88th time. The ceremony will take place from 8pm to 10pm and the tree will remain lit and on display between West 48th and 51st Streets and Fifth and Sixth Avenues until the holiday season.

The Washington Square Association Annual Tree Lighting – Greenwich Village, Manhattan
December 8
Washington Square North

Gather under the arch of Washington Square Park for the annual tree lighting ceremony. You and your family can join in the happy spirit with the Rob Susman Brass Quartet as they sing holiday songs. The twinkling lights of the beautiful tree will be lit to celebrate the start of the festive winter evening. Some say that Santa Claus himself promised to show up! The ceremony will take place from 6pm to 7pm in person and virtually. The Washington Square Association will also provide songbooks when guests come in person so everyone can join in the singing.

Annual Central Park Holiday Lighting – East Harlem
December 2
Charles A. Dana Discovery Center on 110th Street

Celebrate the holidays in Central Park! The whole family can start their feast, have a chance to meet Santa and friends, sing songs in the Plaza, and warm up to the perfect combination of hot chocolate and cookies. The festive evening comes to a spectacular end with the lighting of a flotilla of holiday trees on the Harlem Meer. The event is scheduled to take place, rain, snow or shine, starting at 5:30 pm. The event is free and no registration is required.

Origami Holiday Tree at the American Museum of Natural History – Upper West Side
November 24 to January 2, 2022
200 Central Park West

Don’t miss one of New York’s most beloved holiday shows! This winter, visit the American Museum of Natural History to see the Origami Holiday Tree, an annual tradition for the past 40 years. The theme for this year’s 13-foot tree is Museum Gems, with 1,000 pieces of origami inspired by Allison and Roberto Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals Thanks for collaborating with Origami USA, the wood is composed of these beautiful paper models created by local, national, and international origami artists.

Sinterklaas – St. Nicholas Day & Tree Lighting – East Flatbush
December 4
Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum, 5816 Clarendon Road

Bring your whole family to meet Sinterklaas and enjoy an exciting day of the festival! The day will begin at 2:00 pm with a traditional concert by colonial balladeer Linda Russel. Arrival of St. Nicholas on horseback, guests can follow Dutch traditions and eat his horse carrots and hay. Afterwards, families are invited to drink delicious hot cider, decorate with a Dutch clog, and dress up the tree for tree lighting to close out the sunset. This event is free but tickets must be reserved online ahead of time.

7th Annual Fort Greene Tree Lighting-Clinton Hill
December 5
100 Washington Park

Gather with neighbors on the northwest corner of Fort Greene Park, near Myrtle Avenue and St. Louis. Edwards Street entrance for an annual event full of holiday cheer! Take a selfie with Santa, bring and unpacked toys for the toy collection, enjoy holiday music, and enjoy the tree light as you sip free hot cocoa and cider and enjoy the cookies provided at local restaurants on Myrtle Avenue. This free activity is great for the whole family and takes place from 4pm to 5pm.

Winter Wonder in the Garden – Flushing
December 4
Queens Botanical Garden, 43-50 Main Street

Enter the festive spirit at the Queens Botanical Garden with fun for the whole family! Winter Wonder in the Garden will welcome guests with live musical performances, photos with Santa, a beautiful tree lighting, holiday crafts, a tree tour, and blowout sales at the QBG Shop. This exciting holiday activity has everything you need to start the holiday season! The free activity takes place from 12 pm to 5 pm and is great for all ages. Specific activities may require a separate fee. If you are planning to attend, you are encouraged register online.

9th Annual Holiday Festival and Tree Lighting Celebration – Astoria
December 5
Astoria Park Lawn, 19th Street and 23rd Ave.

Come on one, go all to Astoria Park for the 9th Annual Holiday Festival and Tree Lighting Celebration! Everyone is invited to this highly anticipated and sought after free community activity that rings in the holidays. Gathering on the park lawn for photos with Santa, face painting, balloon art, crafts and more, all followed by a unique tree lighting ceremony! The Astoria community tradition takes place from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Bronx Little Italy Christmas Tree Lighting – Little Italy
November 27
Ciccarone Park, E 188th Street and Arthur Ave.

Ring the holidays and celebrate small businesses with special guest Chazz Palminteri at A Bronx Tale! Enjoy festive holiday music as you indulge in Italian cookies and hot chocolate. Santa Clause is even scheduled to travel from the North Pole to show up at Ciccarone Park! Kids can even line up for a toy giveaway before they set out for the bright and beautiful tree lighting ceremony. The toy giveaway is first-come, first-serve, and the free activity is scheduled to take place from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights – Crotona
November 19 – January 9
2300 Southern Blvd.

Find out the holiday season at the Bronx Zoo! Unique animal lanterns, animal sculptures, and colorful designs will light the way throughout the park. Enjoy the magic of the zoo, accompanied by a beautiful display of holiday lights. Enjoy an unforgettable experience brighter than ever thanks to LED technology. Admission tickets are $ 39.95 for adults (ages 13 and up) and $ 24.95 for children ages 2 to 12. Tickets can be purchased online. Holiday Lights is not open on December 24 and 25.

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