I try not to needlessly judge people who are crazy enough to wander toward Times Square on New Year’s Eve in New York City just to watch the ball drop. But there are so many other parties, events, galas, concerts, and things to do that can lead to a great evening out without needing to be stuck in that mess. I feel like everyone should do it once, but after that, you’re free to wander the greater city to find the many other things the locals like to do in NYC on NYE (New Year’s Eve). Check them out; this city has so many great things to offer!
Fun Plans That Don’t Involve Alcohol
- The New Year’s Eve Concert for Peace at The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine: Since 1984, this event has helped to bring in the near year with a choir, orchestra, and famous soloists.
- The New York Philharmonic’s La Vie Parisienne: Celebrate the new year of 2016 with the Philharmonic as they perform their musical love letter to the city of Paris.
- The Brooklyn Bridge Walk: This event features a tour of the famous Brooklyn Bridge and some great views, including a view of the Statue of Liberty.
Free Stuff to Do
- Enjoy a Fireworks Cruise: The Staten Island Ferry travels across the water and is in full view of some of the best fireworks displays in the city, including the Grand Army Plaza show and the shows happening in New Jersey. (And it’s free!)
- Time’s Up Bike and Ride Event: Grab your bike and ride up to Belvedere Castle in Central Park and enjoy a free dance party.
When You Want to Start Your Resolutions Early
- The NYRR Midnight Run: This four-mile trek in Central Park is accompanied by a fireworks display, strobe lights, DJs, neon face-painting, and a sparkling cider toast.
- Yoga and Meditation: There are several places where you can ring in the new year while being at peace. Kundalini Yoga East offers inspiration, refreshments, and fun.
- Dave and Buster’s New Years Eve Party: Enjoy this kid-friendly bar/arcade, which is located right in Times Square. (There’s also a five-hour open bar for parents, too.)
- The Children’s Museum of Manhattan: Watch the ball drop at noon instead of midnight and have a blast with your child at this cute dance party. This is great for when you have little kids who won’t stay up until midnight.
- The Countdown Bus: Instead of hiring a sitter, make sure your child has a great night on the Countdown Bus, which involves movies, snacks, and a lot of family-friendly fun.
Party Like it’s 2016
- Casino Battle Royale: Famous for their ridiculously creative parties, Gemini and Scorpio have created a new theme for their New Year’s Eve bash: 1960s spies.
- BangOn!NYC “Time & Space” Party: If you want your new year to involve pyrotechnics, 3D projection mapping, and cuddle puddles, this is where you want to be. (I’m too old for that.)
- The Celestial Ball: If you’d rather hang out with gods and goddesses, puppets, magicians, and performers while drinking champagne, you might prefer this party.
- Rinsed 5: Party until morning with this huge team of excellent DJs.
- Disco Extravaganza: Is it possible that disco is actually, really coming back? Well, this party in Brooklyn might fool you.
This list just barely scrapes the surface of what’s out there. And who knows? The best option this year, if the weather stays nice, might just be to climb to your roof to watch the fireworks with someone special. Whatever you do, remember to stay safe and drive sober, and have a happy new year!