O Christmas Tree: Where to See the Biggest Evergreens Around the City

December 9, 2014

New York Stock Exchange Christmas tree via Mille Fiori Favoriti

Last week, we took a look back at the history of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree to mark the annual lighting celebration. Though this is probably the most famous Christmas tree in the world, many of us jaded New Yorkers would rather not deal with the crowds and traffic jams that come with visiting Rock Center. So as an equally festive alternative, we’ve rounded up some of the other huge trees illuminating the city this holiday season.

South Street Seaport

Sure, the Rockefeller Center tree is 85 feet tall, but down at the South Street Seaport there’s a not-too-shabby 55-foot tree awaiting your oohs and aahs. And just like Rock Center, the Seaport has an ice rink, which offers fun activities like curling lessons and vintage skate sessions in addition to the standard free skate.

Washington Square Park Christmas TreeWashington Square Park Christmas tree via Kevin Bedell via photopin cc

Washington Square Park

Another tree that always draws the crowds is in Washington Square Park. Popular thanks in part to its perfect photo-op location at the arch, this tree has an even longer historic tradition than the one at Rockefeller Center. The first Christmas tree erected in Washington Square Park went up in 1924, seven years before its famous rivalry. This year’s tree lighting festivities (the 90th annual, to be exact) will take place tomorrow night, December 10th, at 6:00pm.

New York Stock Exchange

The New York Stock Exchange Christmas tree holds the record for THE oldest tree lighting in the city. Beating Washington Square by just a year, the first ceremony in the Financial District was held in 1923. In recent years, the tree has reached 65 feet in height with 10,000 multi-colored lights.

NYC Christmas Trees, American Museum of Natural History, Cathedral of St. John the DivineCathedral Church of St. John the Divine via koborin (L); American Museum of Natural History via wallyg via photopin cc

Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine

This Upper West Side tree is a little bit different–in a good way. For more than 30 years, the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine has been decorating its 20-foot tree with paper cranes, an Asian symbol of harmony, longevity, and reconciliation.

American Museum of Natural History

Just a short walk from St. John the Divine, the American Museum of Natural History has its own unique holiday tree. The 13-foot Origami Tree has 500 folded paper creations dangling from its limbs, and this year’s theme is “Origami Night at the Museum.” Crafters from OrigamiUSA begin folding the origami ornaments each year in July.

DUMBO Christmas Tree, Pearl Street Triangle
DUMBO Christmas tree by Daniel Greenfeld via dumbo.is


Head over to Brooklyn this Thursday, December 11th, for the DUMBO Improvement District‘s ninth annual holiday tree lighting in the Pearl Street Triangle. The celebration will also include a toy drive, live music, visits with Santa, and, our personal favorite, hot cocoa donated by chocolatier Jacques Torres. Last year’s tree made headlines for being powered by a 500-pound high-tech fire pit.

MetroTech Commons

Another Downtown Brooklyn beauty, this tree was lit this year by a robot named Caesar (an acronym for Cellularly Accessible Expressive Semi-Autonomous Robot), made by the NYU Mechatronics Lab. It’s the 25th year the tree has gone up in MetroTech Commons.

Have another favorite holiday tree around the city? Let us know about it in the comments!

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