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2012 Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting Ceremony

See the Famous Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting


The famous Rockefeller Center Christmas tree will be lit for the first time this holiday season on Wednesday, November 28, 2012.

The lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree has become a star-studded holiday tradition that attracts thousands. The tree will arrive at Rockefeller Center on November 14, if you'd like a sneak peek at this year's most famous evergreen while it's being hoisted into place and decorated.

As always, NBC will broadcast the 2012 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting. Check back soon for updates on celebrity performers who will join The Radio City Rockettes.

If you don't want to brave the teeming crowds for the tree lighting ceremony, you can also see the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree during the holiday season -- from 5:30AM to 9:30PM daily through January, 7, 2013 (and 24 hours on Christmas Day).

Attend the 2012 Tree Lighting Ceremony At Rockefeller Center

When: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 from 7PM-9PM (live NBC telecast begins at 8PM and the tree will light up at 8:55PM)

Where: Rockefeller Center, Rockefeller Plaza, From West 48th Street to West 51st Street between 5th and 6th Avenues

  • Take the B,D,F,V to Rockefeller Center/47-50th Street station

  • Take the N,R,W to 49th Street and Seventh Avenue

  • Take the E to Fifth Avenue and 53rd Street
More Information: 212-632-3975

Tips For Attending The Tree Lighting Ceremony At Rockefeller Center:
First and foremost, leave your car at home. The annual tree lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center creates traffic mayhem every year and is one of the city's official Gridlock Alert Days. If you plan to attend, take public transportation and allow plenty of time for navigating through the crowds.

If you must drive, keep in mind that there will be street closures and parking near the event will be a challenge. According to Gridlock Sam, streets between 48th and 52nd Streets between Fifth to Sixth Avenues will be closed from 3 PM until about 10 PM.

Margot Tohn of Park It! NYC says that most garages within five blocks of Rockefeller Center have an Evening Special rate between $14 and $26 that starts after 5 PM or 6 PM. Be sure to confirm the rate with the garage first, though, because some garages will decide to declare a higher ‘Event’ rate for the tree lighting.

History of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

  • In 1931, the very first Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree was erected on Christmas Eve by a group of construction workers. The tree was 20-feet high and Rockefeller Center at the time was little more than a muddy construction site. Decorations were made from tin cans and scrap paper.

  • In 1933, a publicist came up with the idea for the first Rockefeller Center tree-lighting ceremony.

  • In 1944, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree stayed dark due to wartime blackout laws.

  • In 1951, NBC televised the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting for the first time,on The Kate Smith Show.

  • In 1971,the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree was recycled for the very first time, creating 90 bushels of mulch for use on nature trails in upper Manhattan.

  • In 2009, Swarovski created a new tree topper for the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree -- a ten-foot star composed of 25,000 crystals.

More About Rockefeller Center and the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree:

Some Rockefeller Center Christmas Gift Ideas

The Art of Rockefeller Center -- by Christine Roussel. This full-color art guide provides an in-depth look at the art and architecture of Rockefeller Center. Also available in paperback.
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Redbird at Rockefeller Center-- by Peter Maloney and Felicia Zekauskas. Kids will love this beautifully illustrated story about tiny Redbird, who wakes up in Rockefeller Center after the giant spruce he calls home is transported to New York for the holidays.
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The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree -- by Nancy Armstrong. Read all about the history and lore of the world's most famous Christmas tree.
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Rockefeller Center 1932 (Resting on a Girder)by Ebbets -- Display an art print of the iconic photograph by Ebbets that depicts 1932 construction workers napping on a girder dangling high above Rockefeller Center.
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