Post Overview: The Best Christmas Trees in NYC
The holiday season draws the biggest crowds to New York City, with folks coming from all across to globe in search of dazzling lights and the Christmas spirit.
New York never disappoints, and it seems everything is adorned with charming wreaths and garlands, from the corner cafe to the neighborhood stoop. However, nothing embodies the holiday vibe quite like the awe-inspiring Christmas trees in NYC.
You might be wondering — where can I find the best Christmas trees in New York City?, well I’m here to help you.
As a local with a love for the holiday season I’ve put in the work to find the best Christmas trees in NYC that you can’t afford to miss. From jam-packed lighting ceremonies to hidden gems, we’re going to cover it all.
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Tips for visiting NYC for the holidays
- There’s no sense in sugarcoating it, NYC is COLD during the winter season. Average temperatures in December hover around 44° but the windchill makes it feel colder! When out looking for the best Christmas trees in NYC, wear an insulated coat, warm hat or beanie, and these bad boys don’t hurt.
- The subway is an efficient mode of transportation but it won’t drop you off at the door, so you will be doing a lot of walking. On your trek to see all the pretty Christmas trees in NYC you’re going to want shoes that will keep your feet dry and comfortable. You’ll be getting those steps in, I guarantee it.
- New York City averages more than 63 million visitors per year, so crowds are all but guaranteed, that’s a lot of people trying to see the same popular Christmas trees in NYC. To avoid the crowds try showing up early and whenever possible, aim for weekdays.
Where to Find the Best Christmas Trees in NYC
#1. Rockefeller Center
Putting up a Christmas Tree at the Rockefeller Center is a tradition that dates back to 1933, officially (unofficially, construction workers put up the first tree in 1931).
The fact that even during the Great Depression New Yorkers understood the importance of holiday cheer, it should come as no surprise that in the present this is the most popular Christmas tree in NYC.
For those wondering, this year the tree lighting takes place on November 29th, 2023.
A new tree is selected every year with an impressive requirement: the tree must be at least 75 feet tall. Decorated with more than 50,000 lights and topped with a breathtaking (and super bright) Swarovski star, this is one of the most unforgettable Christmas trees in New York City.
My advice is to visit as early as possible (like first thing in the morning). The crowds are so intense at this popular NYC Christmas tree and it takes away from the overall experience. Plus, the tree is lit at 6AM so you’ll still be able to see the lights.
Address: 45 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10111
#2. Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
Every year Bryant Park transforms into one of my favorite holiday markets in the Big Apple, and what’s more, the market is home to one of the most beautiful Christmas trees in NYC.
The 9 acre park turns into a European-style holiday market, equipped with 100 vendors that line a popular ice skating rink. At any time of day the Winter Village is chock-full of both locals and tourists alike all looking to get in on the holiday fun.
The stalls sell fun Christmas decorations, handmade crafts, unique jewelry and — my favorite — food, lots of good food. Grab a hot chocolate or mulled wine as you sit underneath one of the most beloved Christmas trees in NYC.
What’s more, the lighting ceremony is nothing short of spectacular. Olympic ice-skaters put on an amazing performance which culminates in fireworks (yes fireworks) and the lighting of the treasured NYC Christmas Tree.
The Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony takes place on Thursday, December 28th at 6PM. Can’t make it? — the event will be live-streamed online.
#3. Lotte New York Palace
Lotte New York Palace is a luxury hotel in Midtown Manhattan made popular thanks to the TV show Gossip Girl. It’s not uncommon to see fans gathered out front, hoping to catch a glimpse of Chuck Bass. 😉
The real star of the show however is one of the most elegant Christmas trees in NYC adorning the front courtyard.
The decorations always feel regal and it’s hard not to feel like one of Manhattan’s socialites while taking photos in front of this magnificent New York Christmas tree.
If you’re a die hard Gossip Girl fan and are looking for the full holiday experience consider booking a night at Lotte New York Palace but fair warning, it’ll cost you a pretty penny. Even if you’re not a guest though, stop by and take a photo with one of the most beautiful Christmas trees in NYC.
Something to note: The Lotte New York Palace Christmas tree is under scaffolding this year.
Address: 455 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10022
#4. New York Stock Exchange
If you’re looking for a fun evening full of holiday festivities look no further than the New York Stock Exchange’s (NYSE) 100th annual tree lighting.
Located at Experience Square, right in front of the New York Stock Exchange, you’ll find one of the the most massive Christmas trees in NYC. This year the ceremony takes place on November 30th from 3:00 to 6:30PM and believe me when I say it’s an event you don’t want to miss.
Not only is this one of the tallest Christmas trees in NYC, it’s usually very full and fluffy. Not to mention it’s one of the most colorfully decorated Christmas trees which is a nice touch to the usually gray Financial District.
This is a great Christmas tree lighting ceremony in NYC to bring your kids to. Enjoy some cocoa while taking photos with costumed performers and take the time to write a letter to Santa.
Address: 11 Wall St, New York, NY 10005
#5. Washington Square Park
Located in the heart of Greenwich Village, Washington Square Park is easily one of the most popular parks in NYC. The park is best known for the grand marble arch that celebrates the centennial of George Washington’s inauguration.
During the month of December the park’s main attraction is one of the most popular Christmas trees in NYC. In fact, this annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony is the second longest running in New York City (the first being Madison Square Park).
The massive 45 foot tree is perfectly framed by the arch, and the bright lights of the tree attracts both tourists and locals alike.
Visitors can expect to find Christmas caroling, both at the tree lighting ceremony as well as on Christmas Eve. Washington Square Park is lively and full of energy year-round, and adding the one of the most beautiful Christmas trees in NYC helps draw bigger crowds.
Address: Washington Square, New York, NY 10012
#6. South Street Seaport
If you’ve never visited the Seaport you are in for a treat. It’s home to one of the most picturesque Christmas trees in NYC thanks to the old-school buildings and cobblestone streets that surround it.
Bear in mind since this NYC Christmas tree is near the East River the wind will make the air much colder, so you’re going to want to bundle up. The experience is worth it though because you’ll be able to check out one of the most impressive Christmas trees in NYC, standing over 60ft tall.
The big golden ornaments compliment what feels like thousands of tiny lights, which are sure to grab the attention of those passing by.
Address: 175 Front St, New York, NY 10038
#7. The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met) is one of the most popular destinations for those visiting the Big Apple. Those who do in December are in for a treat, one of the best decorated Christmas trees in NYC.
Standing tall over an 18th century Italian nativity scene (called a Neapolitan Baroque Crèche) the tree is adorned with sculpted 18th century angel ornaments.
As if one of the most history-packed Christmas trees in NYC wasn’t enough, the museum further decorates the exhibit by adding a Spanish choir screen built in 1763. Essentially – the screen was used to separate the choir from the rest of a church.
The Christmas tree at the Met helps serve as a glimpse into what the holiday season looked like hundreds of years ago. If you’re looking for some Christmas trees in NYC and want to take in some history too, the Met has you covered.
Address: 1000 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028
#8. Bloomberg Tower
The Bloomberg Tower serves as a beautiful backdrop to one of the most underrated Christmas trees in NYC. The building encircles the tree, which is located in a public courtyard called Beacon Court.
At the center of the courtyard is one of the most colossal Christmas trees in NYC, looming tall over additional smaller trees. The fact that it’s encapsulated by the building makes it one of the lesser known Christmas trees in New York City.
In fact, I had walked by the tower on more than one occasion completely unaware that one of the most beautiful Christmas trees in NYC was hidden in the courtyard.
If you’re looking for NYC Christmas trees to take photos in front of, but want to avoid the crowds this one is for you.
You may not have it completely to yourself, but the lack of crowds is a breath of fresh air when compared to those you’ll find at other popular NYC Christmas trees. For the best photo-taking scene I recommend coming at night, since the building’s lights come on further adding to the illuminated vibe.
Address: Beacon Ct, New York, NY 10022
#9. Radio City Music Hall
There are few Christmas trees in NYC as instantly recognizable as the one that sits atop the Radio City Music Hall marquee.
Let me fill you in on a little secret though — this isn’t a real tree. It just consists of lights in the shape of a tree, but it’s instantly recognizable so it deserves a spot on our list.
So many movies have used the location for filming holiday scenes. Thanks to the likes of Home Alone 2 to the Godfather, this is one of the first Christmas trees in NYC that comes to mind when I think of the holidays in the Big Apple.
This is also why it’s not uncommon to see visitors taking photos in front of the world-famous venue. And while you’re in the area, make sure to grab a photo next to the giant red ornaments across the street.
Local’s tip: The Rockefeller Center’s Christmas tree is less than a block away. Make sure to add both to the day’s itinerary.
Address: 1260 6th Ave, New York, NY 10020
#10. Hudson Yards
Hudson Yards is a massive mall adjacent to the art project known as the Vessel, featuring tons of high-end shops and restaurants (time for some Christmas shopping!).
And if there’s one thing true about malls in America, you’ll usually find Christmas trees and Hudson Yards is no different. However here you won’t find just one, you’ll find multiple NYC Christmas trees!
The street outside is lined with trees year-round, but during the holiday season they’re adorned with strings of lights. Furthermore, once you’re inside the mall, look up, and you’ll find Christmas trees adorning the NYC mall.
The unique light and music installation at Hudson Yards Mall is called Shine On, and it’s an experience you won’t want to miss. You’re going to want to admire the largest array of Christmas trees in NYC and the more than 2 million Christmas lights adorning the mall!
Address: 20 Hudson Yards, New York, NY 10001
#11. The Lincoln Center
The Lincoln Center is the cultural capital of the Upper West Side. The venue sits on 16-acres and consists of five concert/theater buildings, a library, band shell and two outdoor plazas.
And the Lincoln Center is also home to one of the best Christmas trees in NYC, which unsurprisingly has an artistic lighting ceremony. Traditionally there are bands playing, people singing and last year the tree was adorned with ornaments made by local artists.
This year the Lincoln Center will also be hosting month-long performances in an event called “Lights Up” around the tree and Dante Park (across the street), with further info to be announced.
Luckily for us, we do have a date for the lighting ceremony: December 5th, 2022 at 5:00PM. This is one of the most beautiful Christmas trees in NYC and the Lincoln Center knows how to throw a party, so be sure to add it to your calendar.
Address: Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023
#12. Manhattan West
Manhattan West is a plaza consisting of shops, restaurants, office buildings, and one of the best ice skating rinks in New York City. I can think of few better places to find one of the most impressive Christmas trees in NYC!
Although they only opened in the fall of 2021, Manhattan West has made quick work of getting on board with holiday traditions. The big Christmas tree in the lobby is decorated with golden ornaments to go along with the magical winter wonderland vibe.
When I’m feeling extra-festive I love to stop by for the best hot chocolate in New York City from Daily Provisions while I get my Christmas shopping done. And the tree in the lobby isn’t the only one with lights, the courtyard is home to more illuminated NYC Christmas trees.
Address: 395 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001
#13. Brookfield Place
Brookfield Place calls themselves NYC’s best kept secret, and I can’t say I disagree. The shopping mall is run by the same folks in charge of Manhattan West and as beautiful as it is, I rarely find crowds.
Outside, on the upper plaza Brookfield Place has some of the brightest Christmas trees in NYC. They aren’t traditional pine trees, rather re-purposed year-round trees, but the sheer quantity is magical.
Strangely enough, this mall has palm trees (which are not decorated) and can make you forget you’re in Manhattan. But rest assured, when you catch glimpses of the One World Trade Center it’ll bring you back to reality.
Address: 230 Vesey St, New York, NY 10281
#14. Columbia University
Although Columbia University doesn’t put up a real Christmas tree, they do decorate the trees on their NYC campus with lights.
College Walk is the main thoroughfare of the Ivy League school, and the trees that line the path make for one of the best backdrops of Christmas trees in NYC.
Sometimes I wonder if the notable alumni (Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Barack Obama, Jake Gyllenhaal) also took evening strolls through the lit trees. The fact that the private university opens its doors to visitors for free makes it an opportunity you won’t want to miss.
Address: 535 West 116th Street New York, New York 10027
#15. Tompkins Square Park
The Tompkins Square Park Christmas tree is one you can see anytime of year, it just might not have lights. Unlike most Christmas trees in NYC that are cut down elsewhere and brought into the city, this tree is a growing tree in the park.
Planted in 1992, the Evergreen tree is a memorial to those in the neighborhood who lost their lives to AIDS. Every year around the holidays the tree gets a festive makeover which draws locals to the park.
Keep in mind since it is a growing tree it isn’t as manicured as the other popular NYC Christmas trees, but hey none of us are perfect, right? The tree leans a little and has a little bit of a curve. The imperfections make this one of the most unique Christmas trees in NYC, therefore I make an effort to visit every year.
Address: E 10th St, New York, NY 10009
#16. The Plaza Hotel
A premier New York City institution and world famous hotel, The Plaza has been featured in countless classic films. Perhaps the most famous film is Home Alone 2: Lost in New York that showcases the hotel well decorated for the holidays.
What many folks may not know is that the Plaza Hotel is open to the public (the main floor) and in the lobby you’ll find one of the most beautiful Christmas trees in NYC.
As a 5-Star hotel, the Plaza has come to be recognized as a status symbol, so getting a photo here is sure to impress your friends. F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beatles, Tommy Hilfiger, and Simon Fuller have all stayed at the Plaza adding to its lore as a celebrity playground.
Make sure to stop by in December to see one of the most elegant Christmas trees in NYC, and while you’re here consider stopping by the Plaza food hall for a bite to eat.
Address: 5th Avenue at, Central Park S, New York, NY 10019
#17. New York Botanical Garden
The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) is home to NYBG Glow, an immersive display of lights and music. You’ll have an opportunity to see many of the best decorated Christmas trees in NYC and make memories with your friends.
It seems there’s a never ending supply of decorations and the attention to detail the staff puts into the displays is impressive to say the least. Even the buildings of the New York Botanical Garden light up with colorful beams of light that dance to a music number.
The NYBG’s trees are illuminated by colorful and awe-inspiring decorations, so make a beeline to the the garden if you’re looking for the best Christmas trees in NYC.
Address: 2900 Southern Blvd, The Bronx, NY 10458
Tickets can be purchased on NYBG’s website, click here to learn more info including dates.
#18. Zuccotti Park
Walking through Zuccotti Park feels like walking through a winter wonderland, thanks in large part to one of the largest arrays of Christmas trees in NYC.
The lights encircle not only the NYC Christmas trees, but also the 54 Honey Locusts that are year-round residents of the park. Finding a crowd-less tree to snap a selfie in front of is a breeze!
In the Financial District, full of concrete and skyscrapers, Zucotti Park offers ample seating and serves as reprieve to those looking to rest their feet. Therefore it’s not uncommon to see folks in business suits eating their lunch under the cheery NYC Christmas trees (properly bundled up, course).
Address: 112 Trinity Pl, New York, NY 10006
Where to purchase Christmas trees in NYC
Sometimes the best Christmas trees in NYC are the ones in your own apartment. It’s easy to assume New Yorkers don’t have trees because of our small apartments and lack of trucks to go out into the woods and chop one down.
However where there’s a will there’s a way. Here are some of the places I suggest checking out if you’re looking to buy a Christmas tree in New York City.
- Bodega / pop up stands in neighborhoods
- Whole Foods
- Home Depot
- Tree farm (by car)
Best Christmas trees in New York City (Post Summary)
- Rockefeller Center
- Bryant Park Winter Village
- Lotte New York Palace
- New York Stock Exchange
- Washington Square Park
- South Street Seaport
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art
- Bloomberg Tower
- Radio City Music Hall
- Hudson Yards
- The Lincoln Center
- Manhattan West
- Brookfield Place
- Columbia University
- Tompkins Square Park
- The Plaza Hotel
- New York Botanical Garden
- Zuccotti Park
Map to the best Christmas trees in NYC
And there you have it my friends, the list of the best Christmas trees in NYC.