© 2019 Elsevier B.V. The Cryogenic Underground Observatory for Rare Events (CUORE) is the most massive bolometric experiment searching for neutrino-less double beta (0νββ) decay. The detector consists of an array of 988 TeO2 crystals (742 kg) arranged in a compact cylindrical structure of 19 towers. This paper will describe the CUORE experiment, including the cryostat, and present the detector performance during the first year of running. Additional detail will describe the effort made in improving the energy resolution in the 130Te 0νββ decay region of interest (ROI) and the suppression of backgrounds. A description of work to lower the energy threshold in order to give CUORE the sensitivity to search for other rare events, such as dark matter, will also be provided.