If you have a penchant for rocking around the Christmas tree in a beautiful city lit up with festive glow and Christmas lights, this is the post for you. We’ve gathered ten of the best urban Christmas trees already shining brightly as this festive season begins. Which one would you like to go to first?
Rockerfeller Center, New York City, USA
Let’s kick off with a king of Christmas trees. Already up before Thanksgiving turkeys were on the table, the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center is almost as much of an institution as Christmas itself. With an ice skating rink at its foot and accompanying decorations as far as the eye can see, the Christmas tree at Rockefeller is a must see if you find yourself in New York at this time of year.
Trafalgar Square, London, UK
Creeping up behind NYC with its Christmas tree traditions, is London, a city full of beautiful trees. However, the Norwegian spruce that is donated to London by Norway in a tradition that began in 1947 is considered the city’s centrepiece. It will be revealed on 5th December and you can head there to enjoy carols being sung under the tree every evening from 9th – 22nd December 2013.
Galleries Lafayette, Paris, France
Arguably Paris‘s most famous Christmas tree is housed in the centre of the glamorous Galleries Lafayette department store. It has already been on show since early November and this year’s tree was a collaboration with watch brand Swatch, with time being the main theme. Suspended from the store’s famous art deco dome, the animated tree is decorated with pink flowers and a fairy tale village scene at its base. Stay for long enough to see the characters and tree come alive on the hour, every hour.
Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany
Stood in front of the symbolic Brandenburg Gate, Berlin’s Christmas tree is uncomplicatedly decorated but still beautifully drenched in light. While the city is flooded with Christmas trees standing along the many miles of the city’s Christmas markets, the Christmas tree at Brandenburg Gate is where most people gather for quiet reflection during the holiday season, oh and for the not so quiet fireworks on New Year’s Eve.
Old Town Square, Prague, Czech Republic
One of Europe’s most popular spots for gothic winter wonderland scenes, the Christmas tree that stands in Prague‘s Old Town Square comes from the Krkonose Mountains in the north of the country and can be admired every night while you eat and drink treats from the Christmas market also held here.
Terreiro do Paço, Lisbon, Portugal
There’s not a pine needle in sight with Lisbon’s giant Christmas tree, a structure made out of metal and lights. Fireworks were set off as the tree was lit for the first time last weekend, but with giant red baubles and the sparkle of hundreds of fairy lights bouncing off the marble mosaic floor, Lisbon’s main town square will be lit up for the remainder of the festive season.
Floating Christmas Tree, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio de Janeiro got into the Guinness Book of Records with their giant floating Christmas tree, and every year in Brazil Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without it. Currently found floating on Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, the huge tree is lit up with over 3 million light bulbs and this year will also be moved to different locations in the city so as many people as possible can gawk at it.
Vatican City, Rome, Italy
Thousands of Catholics descend on the Vatican City in Rome for Christmas and the tree that stands in the centre of St Peter’s Square is considered one of the most beautiful in Italy. Traditionally the Vatican’s Christmas tree is donated by a region or city in Europe and this year, it’s – delightfully drolly – the turn of Bavaria, homeland of ex-Pope Benedict XVI. Decorations will feature both a Bavarian and a Neapolitan theme, as Naples has donated the Vatican’s nativity scene this year.
Martin Place, Sydney, Australia
Image from kidsizeliving
Despite soaring temperatures and bright blue skies, Australia doesn’t hold back with the Christmas decorations and Christmas has already arrived in the Central Business District in Sydney. This year’s tree in Martin Place is already shining brightly surrounded by Christmas lights and decorations. Just don’t expect anyone to be standing underneath it on Christmas Day, they’re all at the beach, including Santa.
West Palm Beach, Florida
Made with more than 650 tons of sand and standing at over 36 feet, in Florida, West Palm Beach’s sand Christmas tree is one of the area’s most popular attractions and while it may not see any snow it isn’t without lights or sparkle. A lighting ceremony will take place on the beach this evening, the 5th of December 2013. Click here to learn more.
Prince Bishop’s Shopping Centre, Durham, UK
credit: The Crystal Gazer
Every year Christmas prompts people to discuss how commercial and consumer-focused the festive season has become. Durham – an historic north English city – has erected a tree designed to highlight this issue as part of its recent Lumiere Festival. This 9 metre tall tree is made of discarded plastic shopping bags donated by members of the public and is the work of Spanish art collective Lutzinterruptus.
Which other cities have great Christmas trees or decorations? Feel free to share your recommendations and maybe your photos in the comments.
Guy Fawkes in the UK, then Diwali around the world, Thanksgiving in the USA to Hanukkah and Christmas just gone we’ve had plenty of things to celebrate at this time of the year; and to go along with all these festivities are the whizzes, pops and bangs of fireworks displays. However, fireworks design teams around the world are saving the best for last with New Year’s Eve being the highlight of their calendar. Here’s our guide to some of the best places in the world to see them master their craft and stop and shop coinstar Coinstar Money Transfer, ROMANIA, MURES welcome in 2013 with a bang. Literally.
Let’s start with the most obvious shall we? There’s no denying that Sydney has the best New Year’s Eve parties, with their consistently spectacular fireworks that the whole world tunes in to see. 7 tonnes of fireworks and 52 illuminated boats in the harbor light up the city, certainly making Sydney one of the most breathtaking places to usher in the New Year. It’s also the peak of summer in Australia; so on top of a world-class light show, the weather is gorgeous.
Sydney © Christopher Chan
Every year, Londoners and tourists alike line the banks of the River Thames, waiting in the cold and often the rain for midnight, breath hanging in the air. They wait so eagerly and jovially because London consistently offers some of the most well-choreographed, beautiful light shows on earth – and a wait in damp weather is always worth it. With the Olympics and the Queen’s Jubilee taking place in 2012, we fully expect this year’s fireworks display in London to be one of their best yet. For a different experience, head to Alexandra Park or Hampstead Heath for some of the best views at a distance without the crowds.
London © Beacon Radio
‘Hogmanay’ is Scotland’s chance to put its city on the map as one of the best places to see in the New Year. New Year’s in Edinburgh is all about its parties, with event being held all over town from the 30th including concerts, the torchlight procession and the world famous, family-friendly street party on Princes Street. At midnight, the cannon is fired from Edinburgh Castle to kick off a fireworks display which lights up the whole city.
Torchlight processional © Rude Cech
Fireworks are a huge part of Silvestre celebrations with many being let loose from peoples’ balconies and gardens – you have been warned! A number of organized displays take place throughout the city but one of the most popular is the always dramatic and visually brilliant fireworks set off against the stunning backdrops of Brandenburg Gate and Victory Column. Combined with the largest open-air New Year’s Eve party in the world (with live bands, electronic music, laser and light shows and heaps of good food and drink to find), New Year’s in Berlin is always an unforgettable experience.
Berlin © bby_
Amsterdam is at its most festive for the new year, and every year the city invites its inhabitants and visitors to join in a night of free live music and entertainment starting from 9pm and culminating in, of course, a massive fireworks display. Head down to Museumplein to join in this year or find a spot near the canals to watch the reflections of the fireworks light up Amsterdam’s beautiful waterways at midnight. Another popular view is of the fireworks over the Amstel River, with the Magere Bridge, popularly known as skinny bridge, offering the best viewpoint if you can find a spot.
Museumplein, Amsterdam © evghoul
There is one very special and unique tradition in Miami called the Big Orange; a fully lit up neon sign of an over-sized orange, which from 6 o’clock in the evening climbs up the facade of the Intercontinental Hotel, to be dropped at midnight to huge applause and cheering. This is also when the fireworks start, so be sure to head to Miami Beach early to get a good view of both.
Miami Beach © k_paulinka
Mexico City has an annual street festival warming up the locals right up until midnight. You should also expect a grape shortage across the city, as it is a Mexican tradition to eat a grape at each of the twelve chimes of the clock that ring in a new year. If you are staying at a nearby coastal resort, then make sure to visit one of Mexico’s electric beach parties. Enjoy your grapes while watching fireworks set off across the city and find some fireworks of your own to contribute your own fizzes, bangs and pops.
Mexico City © ToñoO
Boston is a great location for families to see an amazing fireworks display. While Public Garden is where Boston’s families traditionally gather to see the impressive fireworks that shoot up over the city at midnight, you don’t have to brave the cold temperatures or keep the kids up past their bed times as nearby Hampton Beach has its own firework display from 8 o’clock in the evening.
Boston © lukevu
Wherever you are in the world, and whatever the size of the fireworks display you are watching, we wish you a prosperous, exciting and travel-filled 2013.
First image © nikicorny