Starting at 2 p.m., the crowds flock to Rockefeller Plaza to witness the spectacular Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting Ceremony. As you can imagine, it takes a lot of perseverance to wait so long in the cold. Restaurants in the immediate vicinity, therefore, offer special parties that guarantee a glimpse of the opening of the famous Christmas tree. We tested one of the VIP parties to tell you about it.
The Rockefeller Christmas tree opening parties promise great food, an open bar, and most importantly, a view of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree when it is lit.
As a VIP guest, you can go back and forth between the outside and inside, depending on whether you prefer it warm or whether you want to hear more of the opening outside.
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The following is included in the price:
We would like to give you a good impression of how such an event usually works. But please note that these times all relate to our own experiences. The process can be slightly modified depending on the provider. Still, we think this is a good idea of what to expect at a VIP Rockefeller Christmas tree opening party.
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. or 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.: First things first – the voucher must be exchanged for a ticket. In our case, it was only possible to pick up the tickets at certain times of the day. You get a badge and a letter with a confirmation and all the necessary information. Don’t lose your badge under any circumstances! Only with you can you successfully push your way through the crowd and gain entry to the party.
7:00 p.m .: Even though the party didn’t start until 7:30 p.m., we were there by 7:00 p.m. Since the crowds were difficult for me to assess, we didn’t want to take the risk that we would be there too late. The meeting point for the event was opposite St. Patrick’s Cathedral, at the Atlas statue. Over five employees were waiting there and gave me a warm welcome. So we didn’t have to look far. The signs were very clear. Upon arrival, we were shown to the lobby and waited for official check-in.
7:30 pm: After цу got checked in, it was time to join the party and enjoy the food, drink, performances, and festive atmosphere! A total of around 300 people attended the party, using both the outdoor terrace and the cozy interior.
9:55 p.m.: After almost three hours, the Christmas tree was finally lit! For a moment everyone was looking forward to liking mad. But even after the ceremony, the guests stayed at the party either to admire the beautiful tree or to dance the night away inside. Overall, the party lasted longer than stated when booking.
The nibbles on offer included sushi, small hamburgers, shrimp, and more. The waiters walk around with trays so you never have to look for food. This also applied to drinks. The choice of drinks included soft drinks, beer, wine, mimosas, and more. Since the tour did not include a full dinner, only small bites, we recommend planning a light dinner beforehand.
Guests wear their winter jackets outside
A party like this usually requires a certain dress code. On the booking confirmation, the recommended dress code was described as “dress to impress” and “business to elegant”. The invitation specifically asked to avoid jeans or t-shirts. In reality, however, the dress code was very mixed. Some guests came in Ugg boots, others put on their most beautiful clothes. We decided on black jeans and a blouse. But since we were heading straight for the outside area, we wore our coat the whole evening so that our choice of clothes was irrelevant. So don’t worry too much about it! When dressing up, make sure to dress warm enough anyway. The temperatures are typically around 0 ° C.
Were all the party’s promises kept? Let’s take a closer look and first look at the pros and cons of a Rockefeller Christmas tree opening ceremony.
Yes, the promises were kept. There was food and drinks, everyone had a view of the tree and there was a lot of celebration! For many guests, it was a dream to see the Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting Ceremony with their own eyes. They attended the party because they didn’t want to leave it to chance whether they would see the tree or not. For the seats on the terrace, “first come, first served” applies. We decided to secure a front-row seat straight away and not stop in the restaurant.
However, it would have been perfectly fine to spend more time in the restaurant and only go outside just before the lights were on. You could see the tree from every seat on the terrace. Some, like me, spent the whole evening outside, others switched between inside and outside.
A ticket to a Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting Party can cost anywhere from $ 500- $ 800. At first, we were honestly shocked by the price, but looking back at our own experience, our mind has changed a bit.
Although the cost of a ticket is very high, we have a better understanding of why many choose to have a VIP party. In terms of mood, it was not a “luxury event”. Some guests celebrated special occasions and for many, it was just a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see the ceremony with their own eyes. They decided for themselves it was worth the cost. In the end, you have to decide for yourself whether this investment is worthwhile for you.
The performances can only be seen on a screen in the square or in the restaurant. But even those who stand in the cold for hours in front of the public square do not necessarily get to see the performances with their own eyes. Only the very first guests on the plaza can actually watch the performances, which mostly take place on the ice rink. In addition, a few gigs have already been recorded in advance. Since you probably wouldn’t see the performances anyway, even without a party, it’s not really a disadvantage, but definitely, something that would make the party even more perfect!
Since we were outside all the time, we wish there were patio heaters. I’m not sure there was a specific reason why it wasn’t. It would have made the experience a bit better for me personally, as I’m real frostbite. But you don’t have a chance to stay warm on Rockefeller Plaza either. So it is again not a real disadvantage compared to a conventional visit.
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