NOTE: Watch Friday evening’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony at 6 p.m. in the player above.
In a sure sign the holidays are near, Chicago lit up its official Christmas tree Friday evening.
A 55-foot Colorado Blue Spruce tree from suburban Morton Grove was picked as the city’s 109th annual Christmas tree for the holiday season, casting a glow across Millennium Park. A lighting ceremony featuring live performances and fireworks kicked off the evening of celebrations.
From schedules to streaming, here’s what to know about the tree’s lighting:
Chicago’s Tree Lighting Ceremony Schedule of Events
The tradition that ushers in the holiday season will begin at 5 p.m. Friday in Millennium Park near Cloud Gate.
Guests heading to the ceremony can enter the park through the South Promenade on Monroe Street.
Multiple viewing locations with screens and concessions will be set up across the grounds, with the ceremony’s main stage set on Grainer Plaza.
Keep Reading: From Tree Lightings, to Christmas Markets, to Ice Skating at Wrigley Field, Chicago Holiday Events are Here
Nearby parking garages and public transit information can be found here.
Matthew Rodrigues and Cortney Hall of NBC 5’s “Chicago Today” will host the ceremony, which will include live music, performances from Broadway in Chicago’s “Wicked” and more.
Here’s a rundown of the scheduled events:
- 5 p.m.: Pre-Show with DJ Mwelwa and Cabaret ZaZou
- Around 6 p.m.: Traditional Tree lighting ceremony, with performances by Son Monarcas, Broadway In Chicago: Wicked’s Lissa deGuzman “Elphaba” and Jennafer Newberry “Glinda” singing “For Good,” Jumaane Taylor and Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s Stone Soup Rhythms; and special guests Dreezy Claus and Sister Claus
- 6:25 p.m.: Fireworks
- 6:30 p.m.- 7 p.m.: Electric Violinist Adia and DJ Mwelwa
The tree will be on display at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Washington Street through Jan. 9, 2023.
How to Watch the Chicago Tree Lighting
NBC 5 Chicago will stream the event live online and on the NBC Chicago app.
More: Ice Skating at McCormick Tribune Ice Rink, Millennium Park Art Market
The tree lighting is joined by a flurry of other holiday events. Also opening for the season is the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink and the Millennium Park Art Market.
Admission to the rink is free, but online reservations are required. Skate rentals range from $16 to $20.
Millennium Park’s Art Market, which features local artists selling jewelry, pottery, art and more, begins Friday and will run through Sunday.
Chicago’s “official” tree isn’t the only on display in the city this season.
Shortly after Halloween, Macy’s on State Street began installing its 45-foot Christmas tree inside the department store’s historic Walnut Room.
The “Great Tree” dons 1,500 ornaments designed by the Macy’s visual team. Unlike other Christmas trees, it hangs from the ceiling instead of sitting on a base — and the star that sits at the top is the very first piece to be installed, Macy’s says.
According to a press release, Macy’s holiday windows will be on display until Jan. 1, and the “Great Tree” will remain up through Jan. 9.