Many have already started counting down the days until Christmas, and one of the New York holiday season’s biggest traditions -- the 2015 lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree -- is coming Wednesday. Tens of thousands are expected to gather for the annual ceremony, which will be broadcast on NBC and feature a star-studded lineup of performers.
Since the Great Depression, the Rockefeller Center Tree has been the epicenter of Christmas in New York City and a symbol of the holidays around the world, with hundreds of thousands of visitors passing by each day while the tree is on display.
The lighting ceremony will be broadcast live on NBC starting at 7 p.m. EST and will run until 9 p.m. EST. (Find your local NBC station here.) “Today” anchors Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker and Natalie Morales will host the "Christmas in Rockefeller Center" special. The musical acts chiming include Sting, James Taylor featuring Chris Botti, Mary J. Blige, Andrea Bocelli, The Band Perry, Andy Grammer and Carly Rae Jepsen.
For those paying a visit in person, the festivities begin at 7 p.m. EST between West 48th and 51st Streets and Fifth and Sixth Avenues. The ceremony is free and is open to the public on a first-come, first-serve basis. With tens of thousands of New Yorkers and visitors from around the world expected to attend, you can anticipate a large crowd.
Those who cannot make it Wednesday night can visit the tree while it is on display through 8 p.m. EST on Jan. 6, 2016. Visiting hours are 5:30 a.m. to midnight daily.