13 Great Spots to Watch Christmas Trees Light Up

’Tis the season to be jolly, and cities are certainly decking the halls with boughs of holly. We’ve rounded up some of the best tree-lighting ceremonies this season has to offer. Whether you’re traveling to one of these cities for work or one of them is your home base, get ready to put on your warm coat and watch that city go up in lights. These tree lightings have already been scheduled, so planners have a rare chance to sit back and enjoy the Christmas magic.

New York City

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree will be lit on Nov. 29, and will offer live performances from 7 to 9 p.m. Watch the ceremony between West 48th and West  51st streets, and Fifth and Sixth avenues.

This is your chance to act out that scene from Elf, where Buddy and Jovie run around looking at all the big Christmas trees until they end up at this one.

Union Fare provides an industrial-chic, light-filled dining space that you could use to host your next holiday party, or make your next meeting aesthetically pleasing.

Washington, D.C.

National Christmas Tree Lighting takes place in President’s Park on Nov. 30. Here’s your opportunity to put aside political differences for one magical night, full of twinkly lights that will make even your Scroogiest friends crack a smile.

Consider buying out the ice rink at Pentagon Row for your holiday Christmas party. The rink can hold up to 100 party-goers.

Newport Beach

Leave it to Southern California to find a way to make it snow while it’s sunny and 75 degrees. On November 17 and 18 at Fashion Island, the tree lighting comes complete with Mario Lopez as a host, a live musical show, Santa—and, of course, the aforementioned “snowfall.”

Balboa Bay Resort can host large and small events, with a range of spaces that can accommodate from 50 to 500 guests. More than 21,000 sq. ft. of indoor space and 20,000 sq. ft. of potential space outdoors gives you the chance to create your own winter wonderland.

San Francisco

This year’s Union Square Tree Lighting Ceremony (Macy’s 27th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony) is on Nov. 24. Festivities begin at 6 p.m., with the tree lighting scheduled for 6:40 p.m. Get to Union Square early for the best spot. The tree illuminates every night throughout the holidays.

You can book the Union Square ice rink to get up close and personal with the tree, and then meander over to the nearby Slanted Door restaurant and bar. The space can host a dinner for up to 50; your co-workers will need sustenance after all that skating.

Orlando

The annual Tree Lighting Celebration will be held on Dec. 1 at Lake Eola Park and feature a countdown to light the 72-foot Christmas tree, live performances and food from TheDailyCity.com Food Truck Bazaar.

Check out Icebar Orlando for you next event, and embrace the chill of socializing in an ice palace. This is probably the closest you’ll get to the castle from Frozen without leaving the country. The venue provides ample space to accommodate groups of up to 1,200 guests within its Icebar, Fire Lounge and outdoor patio.

Chicago

Get ready for Nov. 17 at Millennium Park, where the City of Chicago is proud to present the 104th Anniversary of the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.

Chez is a contemporary loft event space that can be easily transformed for any event. Situated two blocks from the Magnificent Mile, the 5,000-square-foot main floor provides tall ceilings, polished concrete floors, floor-to-ceiling windows and brilliant white brick walls—essentially the perfect blank canvas to build your next event around.

There is space for 200 at a seated dinner, 180 at a seated dinner with dance floor or 300 at a cocktail reception.

Atlanta

As the weather gets chillier and the smells of hot chocolate pour out of Kilwin’s, it’s clear that Atlantic Station will soon become a winter wonderland! Look forward to enjoying seasonal favorites and a few new, exciting holiday activities, beginning with the annual Christmas Tree Lighting on Nov. 18.

If your team is ready to play some reindeer games, head on over to Whirly Ball to play the most fun sport you’ve never heard of.

Whirlyball combines the best of whiffle ball, basketball and bumper cars into an action-packed sport that’s almost as fun to watch as it is to play. And of course, the space has a full bar, a party room and a stage for your karaoke-inclined office mates’ performances.

Dallas

Galleria Dallas is home to what is billed as America’s tallest indoor Christmas tree, sparkling with nearly a half-million lights and more than 10,000 ornaments.

Macy’s Grand Tree Lighting Ceremony, which repeats five times from Nov. 28 to Dec. 20, features skating Santa Missile Toes, who will shoot sparks from his skates and do some back-flips in free ice shows that also feature Olympic, world and national champions at Galleria Dallas Ice Skating Center in the mall’s center court.

With a whopping 5,080 sq. ft. of outdoor space, City View Terrace at the Renaissance Hotel is a breathtaking space for your holiday shindig. Enjoy panoramic views of downtown Dallas, grab a cocktail from the bar, or just bathe in the attractive modern decor.

The two spaces are set apart from the rest of the hotel, with guest access via a separate set of elevators and escalators, giving your party ultimate privacy.

Nashville

Enjoy the annual Nashville Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on Dec. 1 at 6 p.m. in Nashville’s Public Square Park in the downtown area. There will be live music, food and tons of family fun.

The Cordelle isn’t your everyday venue, but that’s what makes it special. This former home-turned-event space has Victorian charm that is hard to find anywhere else in Nashville. Surrounding the gorgeous property are ample grounds, perfect for a tent if you want outdoor access during your party. The combined indoor and outdoor areas at The Cordelle allow for a total capacity of 400 attendees.

Boston

Mayor Marty Walsh will turn on the 50,000 glowing blue and white lights along the 260 foot trellis and 14 nearby trees on Nov. 20 at 5:30 pm in Christopher Columbus Park. Witness the transformation of the waterfront park into a magical light garden. The event includes music, entertainment and refreshments.

The State Room: A Longwood Venue, is a downtown urban space that has been the scene for exceptional events in Boston for quite some time. Planners will especially love the expansive and unobstructed view of Boston’s Bay from the Great Room on the 33rd floor.  The space can accommodate 50 to 1,000 guests.

Seattle

Each year, Pike Place Market gets in on the holiday action with its Magic in the Market event. This year, you and your crew can meet Santa under the Market’s iconic sign and take free photos with the jolly ole fella, plus decorate cookies in Market Atrium Kitchen and listen to festive caroling choirs.

Everyone will enjoy noshing on delish food from Market vendors while shopping for locally made gifts. At 5 p.m., Santa will lead a countdown to the lighting of the 20-foot holiday tree and lights throughout the Market.

Swoon over the sweeping views of Seattle’s mountains and city skyline from the light and airy Olympic Rooftop Pavilion on the fifth floor of the elegant 29-room Hotel Ballard. Gather your team of up to 150 (standing room) for a wine tasting, because the holidays practically demand vino.

Portland

On Nov. 24, thousands of Portlanders will gather at the Pioneer Courthouse Square to celebrate 30 years of lighting of the spectacular 75-foot-tall tree provided by Stimson Lumber Company.  This year’s event will feature a holiday sing-a-long featuring Thomas Lauderdale and other members of Pink Martini, Oregon’s Own 234th Army Band and Pacific Youth Choir.

Andina serves tasty Peruvian food and has four different private event spaces from which to choose. The family-style tapas menus are a natural fit for festive celebrations of all kinds. There is space for 66 seated and 100 standing, with the smallest room accommodating 14 seated.

San Jose

The annual start to Christmas in the Park is a tree lighting event held the day after Thanksgiving (Nov. 24 this year) and features the official arrival of Santa Claus in downtown San Jose. All the fun and excitement kicks off at 6 p.m.

Special tree lighters will be Polina Edmunds and Rudy Galindo representing the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, being held in San Jose in January.

The Glasshouse is the perfect venue to host a crowd, whether that means 30 or 300 people.

At 12,000 sq. ft., the venue contains three lounges, two dining areas and a beautiful outdoor patio right in the heart of downtown San Jose, which also means right next to Christmas in the Park.

Keep the celebrations going there after watching all of the lights go up at Christmas in the Park.

Anaheim

The holidays begin in fashion at Disneyland Resort, and you can help light up the park in a new way on Friday, Nov. 17, without having to make a trip there. Be part of the holiday magic by helping light the Main Street Christmas Tree on Facebook Live with Disney’s holiday campaign, Likes for Lights.

Instead of Christmas magic, the park is using likes to make lights. Your Facebook reactions will light up the spectacular 60-foot-tall tree in real time.

Spread the holiday cheer by liking and sharing, and join in at 5 p.m. PST on Nov. 17, on Disneyland Facebook to turn your likes into lights on the Main Street Christmas Tree.

Las Vegas

In commemoration of winter and the return of one of Las Vegas’ top holiday destinations, On December 4th The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas presents the resort’s inaugural tree lighting ceremony with special host Olympic figure-skating champion Kristi Yamaguchi. The lighting of the 36’ tall Christmas tree will take place at 7 p.m.

Reserve a fire pit next to the ice rink to stay cozy while you experience snowfall from 7 p.m. to midnight on Tuesdays, beginning Nov. 20 and running through Jan. 10.

Where do you plan to be to watch these festive lights go up? Let us know!

advertisement