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7 fun holiday tree lightings in Harlem and beyond

Updated: Dec 21, 2020

The flotilla of trees on the Harlem Meer in Central Park

Can't make it to the Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting tonight? Not to worry–there are plenty of terrific tree lighting events taking place uptown over the next 10 days. Here are some of the biggest and best, listed in chronological order:

Fourth Annual Harlem Holiday Jazz Tree Lighting

Wednesday, December 4 at 6pm-9pm

Minton's Playhouse/Cecil Steakhouse, 210 W 118th St and St. Nicholas Ave

Harlem's own Dapper Dan will join actress Kim Fields and others at this annual tree lighting outside of iconic jazz club Minton's Playhouse. The jazz performances are what really set this tree lighting apart.

23rd Annual Central Park Holiday Lighting

Thursday, December 5 5:30pm-6:30pm

Charles A. Dana Discovery Center, 110th St between Fifth and Lenox Aves​

Bring the kids to meet Santa, sing carols and drink hot cocoa while watching the lighting of the magical tree flotilla on the Harlem Meer.

Holiday on the Hudson

Saturday, December 7 4:30pm-6:30pm

West Harlem Piers, Marginal and W 132nd Sts

This tree lighting set against the banks of the magnificent Hudson River features live music, hot chocolate and ornament making.

St. Nicholas Park Tree Lighting

Saturday, December 7 5pm-6pm

West 135th Street Plaza, St. Nicholas Ave and W 135th St

Hate seeing trees cut down for the holidays? You'll be happy to know this tree lighting at the base of the sloping hill in St. Nicholas Park features one of the park's own living trees. There will be live music, hot cider and ornament-making.

Community League of the Heights Holiday Tree Lighting

Wednesday, December 11 6pm

Ilka Payan Park, 157th St and Broadway

A tree lighting in Washington Heights featuring decorations by the students from the nearby Duke Ellington School, plus snacks and hot chocolate.

Harlem Tree Lighting

Thursday, December 12 6pm-7:30pm

Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. State Office Building, 125th St and Adam Clayton Powell, Jr Blvd

Santa, Starbucks and more come together at this public tree lighting in front of the State Office Building on 125th Street.

Riverbank State Park Holiday Celebration

Saturday, December 14 3:15pm

Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park, 145th St and Riverside Drive

This free three-part celebration starts with a photo op with Santa (BYO camera), continues with an ice show by the Ice Theatre of New York (get free hot chocolate from Starbucks before the performance), and ends with the lighting of the Christmas tree.

Photo: Central Park Conservancy

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