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What to Do on New Year's Eve in NYC

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While seeing the ball drop in Times Square on New Year's Eve seems like the place to be, there are many other fun ways to ring in the New Year in New York City!

Here are 8 great ways to celebrate New Year's Eve in NYC! 


1. See The Ball Drop In Times Square

For some, this is the ultimate way to spend New Year’s Eve, a once-in-a-lifetime moment, though it does take some stamina to take part in this fantastic event. 

We explain all you need to know to make this occasion special in our post, How To Watch The Ball Drop In Times Square.


2. Gather On The Brooklyn Bridge At Midnight

If you were planning to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge during your trip, why not do it on New Year’s Eve!

This is an informal tradition and quite a popular one.

Brooklyn Bridge on New Year's Eve

Revelers walk over the bridge and count down the clock to midnight among strangers, both locals and tourists.

The vibe is festive and friendly. The views of the city skyline and the harbor are fantastic. 


3. Take a Fireworks Cruise

Here are some of the best New Year's Eve cruises and boat rides. Most offer food, drinks, and a view of fireworks.

What you get depends on how much you spend.

You will be pleasantly surprised by the prices of some of these cruises and what you do get for your money. Check them out!

Find out about Boat Tours and Cruises in New York City available all year.


4. Celebrate in Central Park

Central Park is amazing to visit year-round. Each December 31st, there are two events to choose from.


Fireworks

Fireworks are launched in Central Park each New Year’s from the Bow Bridge, in the middle of the park.

You can see them from just about anywhere in the park.

New Years Eve Central Park

Note that around 8 pm, some entrances to the park are closed for safety reasons.

We recommend that you bundle up, arrive early, and bring some hot chocolate while you wait for the midnight pyrotechnics show.


Midnight Run

Start the New Year off with a brisk 4-mile run at midnight! 

This annual event is sponsored by the New York Road Runners Club. See the NYRR website for information and to register for the run.


5. Watch The Ball Drop From Your Hotel

Of the many hotels in Times Square, a few have rooms that offer great views of Times Square.

Others have rooftops and common areas with views like this!

view from St Cloud Bar

Hotel Rooftops and Common Spaces

Rooms With Views

We won’t pretend that the room rates will be sky-high, but we can assure you that you’ll have an incredible time!

If you are considering staying in Times Square, see our post Where to Stay in Times Square.


6. Attend An Exclusive New Year's Eve Party

There are many restaurants and clubs in Times Square that offer New Year’s Eve parties, which typically include dinner and a champagne toast, some may have open bars as well.

However, just because the restaurant is in Times Square does not mean that they have views of the ball.

New Years Eve Party

See the official Times Square website for a list of New Year's Eve Parties in Times Square.

NOTE: Beware of people selling “All-Access” passes for New Year’s Eve, promising access to multiple venues. These passes were not valid for access to locations promised and worse, many of the passes sold were counterfeit.


7. Head To Brooklyn For Free Fireworks

For free and fun fireworks, head to Brooklyn! While you are out in New York City’s most populated borough, check out some of these other things to do in Brooklyn.


Coney Island Fireworks

This annual event takes place on the boardwalk and features live music and of course a pyrotechnic show at midnight. See the official Coney Island website.

Read more about things to do in Coney Island all year.


Prospect Park Fireworks

This annual - and popular - celebration occurs at Grand Army Plaza just north of Prospect Park located in Park Slope.

Starting at 11 pm, surrounding the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch, built in 1892, there will be live music and free hot chocolate. 

At midnight, fireworks are launched and look magnificent in the sky above this gorgeous historic arch.

Find out more here.


8. New Year’s Eve at Madame Tussauds

Celebrate with your favorite celebrities - in wax form- at this all-ages party! 

There will be food, an open bar (age over 21) and a special 4-D cinema experience (with wind, snow, mist, and scent). 

This activity is especially family-friendly! Read more about Madame Tussauds.


Even on New Year’s Eve, most of NYC is open for business.

You can go out to eat, grab drinks, hear live music, see a movie, or just walk around and take in the celebratory mood. 

No matter what you do, New York City is THE place to be for New Year’s Eve!


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About The Author

Courtney

Courtney is a lifelong New Yorker fascinated with the city’s history, culture and cuisine. She loves exploring the world, as well as sharing her travel expertise with others. She joined the Free Tours by Foot team in 2011, first as a guide and then as a writer. She has a law degree, a teaching degree and a worn-out passport. Her motto is “Have backpack, will travel”.
Updated: September 22nd, 2022
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