The Complete Guide to Celebrating New Years Eve in New York City

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Spending New Year’s Eve in NYC is a unique experience that’s on many people’s bucket lists. It’s one of the largest celebrations in the city and there are many different ways to ring in the new year in New York. If you’ll be in New York this New Year’s Eve, keep reading!

11 Ways to Spend New Year’s Eve in New York

Where are you going to be when the clock strikes midnight? If you don’t know yet, this article will provide a handful of great options for you to ring in the New Year in NYC. You can do anything from joining the big party at Times Square to celebrating New Year’s Eve a little more quietly in Central Park or while cruising the Hudson, for example.

1. New Year’s Eve in New York at Times Square

New Year's Eve at Times Square

For many, spending New Year’s Eve at Times Square is the no. 1 place to go. If you want to celebrate your New Year’s Eve at Times Square, you will need stamina and the right clothing. It gets cold in New York in December and the longer you stay outside, the more you will realize what you are wearing will only protect you from the cold for so long. A New Year’s Eve with potentially some very cold feet and a long wait are not for the faint-hearted. Still, the temperature does not keep hundreds of thousands of people yearly from spending New Year’s Eve in New York at Times Square.

The wait in line for the legendary Times Square ball drop begins at 12 pm. You should get to Times Square no later than 3 pm because it will be closed off after that. At that point in time, you can leave, but can’t get back in. If you give up your hard-fought position for any reason, to go to the bathroom, for example, you’re out of luck! It’s also good to know that medium-sized bags are not allowed (including backpacks), small ones will be searched, and alcohol is strictly prohibited.

Nonetheless, the ball drop and other festivities at New York’s Times Square make it THE New Year’s Eve bash. Between megastar performances, people are dancing and singing, and, at midnight, there is a chorus of “New York, New York” where many shed tears of joy.

Times Square Ball Drop

2. New Year’s Eve in New York on a Cruise

New York offers fun activities on the water year-round and New Year’s Eve is not an exception. Boat tour operators offer a very special program with food, drinks, and fireworks. A seat on board will ensure amazing views of the Statue of Liberty surrounded by fireworks and a grandiose view of the southern tip of Manhattan. Ringing in the new year on-board a cruise is definitely one of the best ways to spend New Year’s Eve in New York.

If you are interested in taking a New Year’s Eve cruise, you may be wondering which one you should choose! The options are countless, which is why we have filtered out the best New Year’s Eve Cruises in NYC for 2021 to help pick the best one for you. Keep in mind that the closer we get to the end of the year, the fewer cruises will be available. Spaces are limited and New Year’s Eve cruises have and will always be extremely popular.

  1. Champagne_city_lights_cruise_200202225549014_2048x1024

    01 NYE Fireworks Cruise (choose option 3)

    If you’re looking for a very special New Year’s Eve boat cruise, you must check out the Champagne, Cheese & Dessert Pairing Cruise. You’ll be…

  2. NYC_New_Years_Eve_Celebration_on_the_water_with_Fireworks

    02 New Year’s Eve Celebration on the water with Fireworks

    A fairly new boat tour for New Year’s Eve in New York is this one. It starts at Pier 36 on the East River and…

  3. NYC New Year

    03 New Year’s Eve All-Inclusive Party Cruise 2023

    Enjoy an open bar with great cocktails and champagne and of course fantastic views of the fireworks above the New York skyline that you cannot…

  4. NYC New 4th of July Dinner Cruise

    04 NYC New Year’s Eve Luxury Bateaux Dinner Cruise

    If you want to celebrate a truly beautiful New Year’s Eve in New York on a boat cruise with dinner, there’s no way around our…

  5. La Barca Cantina - All-Inclusive New Year

    05 La Barca Cantina – All-Inclusive New Year’s Fireworks Cruise

    La Barca Cantina is especially popular with New Yorkers in the summer, because here you can eat and drink Mexican food while experiencing NYC from…

  6. Bateaux Dinner Cruise NYC

    06 NYC New Year’s Eve Luxury Bateaux Lunch Cruise

    I love the boat tours aboard the glass-enclosed Bateaux – it is, for me, one of the most elegant vessels NYC has to offer. This…

  7. NYE_Classic_Harbor_Line_New_Year_s_Eve_Champagne_Pairing_Cruises_Pre_Dinner_NYE_Cruise

    07 Classic Harbor Line: New Year’s Eve Champagne Pairing Cruises (Pre-Dinner – choose option 1)

    From Classic Harbor Line’s New Year’s Eve Champagne Pairing Cruises, there are several options to choose from right now.

    On this 90-minute pre-dinner Champagne &…

  8. NYE_Classic_Harbor_Line_New_Year_s_Eve_Champagne_Pairing_Cruises_Post_Dinner_NYE_Cruise

    08 Classic Harbor Line: New Year’s Eve Champagne Pairing Cruises (Post-Dinner – choose option 2)

    From Classic Harbor Line’s New Year’s Eve Champagne Pairing Cruises, there are several options to choose from right now.

    This is the 90-minute Post-Dinner Champagne…

3. Enjoy the view from a rooftop restaurant …

There are some fantastic restaurants in New York from which you can enjoy a sensational view of the city. So you can enjoy an elegant dinner with a view of the fireworks or see New York at night from above!

I recommend The View at Times Square, the Peak NYC at Edge Hudson Yards and the Manhatta!

4. … or from your Hotel with a View

An absolute luxury and especially on New Year’s Eve in NYC but worth every penny, are hotels with a view. You can either relax and enjoy the view from your room or have a good time in the rooftop bars and lounges of the hotel.

Check out this article for my tips on the best hotels in NYC with a view.

5. Celebrate New Year’s at Edge Hudson Yards

Want to ring in the New Year in style? See the city celebrate 2022 from the highest outdoor sky deck in the NYC!

Get Tickets here

6. New Year’s Eve in New York in Prospect Park

Brooklyn has been the antidote to overcrowded Manhattan for many years. On New Year’s Eve, Brooklyn puts on a great celebration at Grand Army Plaza in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. Many tourists have started to opt for this New Year’s Eve alternative. This is largely due to the first-class view of the fireworks. For fifteen minutes, the sky is illuminated above Long Meadow, the large clearing in Prospect Park. Music, drinks and great food are, of course, also part of the fun.

7. New Year’s Eve in New York on the Brooklyn Bridge

The famous Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most popular tourist attractions all year round. It is used daily by thousands of pedestrians, bikers, joggers, and cars each day. On the last day of the year, the Brooklyn Bridge is even more of a magical place than it usually is. A brisk walk across the bridge just before midnight towards Manhattan is something you won’t forget anytime soon. The advantage of the bridge is that you can enjoy the breathtaking view of the New York skyline for free. On the other hand, the freezing wind blows across the East River in the winter. However, I am sure that the beautiful sight will warm your heart.

8. NYE celebrations on New York’s Roofs

New Year's Fireworks in NYC

With so many skyscrapers, New York is the perfect location for rooftop bars. Rooftop bars are not only enjoyable in the summer. You can just as well visit rooftop bars in New York in the winter. Most of them have fireplaces and blankets creating a cozy atmosphere. Just imagine sipping your hot chocolate or mulled wine gazing at New York’s twinkling skyline.

Almost all rooftop bars run specials on New Year’s Eve. Just look up the website of the respective rooftop bar and plan your perfect New Year’s Eve in New York with some of the best views of the city.

See best NYC rooftop bars

9. NYE parties at New York’s hottest venues

If you’re looking for an excuse to party, New Year’s Eve in New York is surely one of the best ones. The city is home to many famous clubs. All of them host large parties on New Year’s Eve. Check out the best clubs in NYC if you want to dance into the New Year!

10. New Year’s Eve Exclusive Ball Drop Party

If you are looking to enjoy the ball drop with a more exclusive experience, be sure to check out some Times Square Ball Drop Parties! They are, without a doubt, a great way to see the spectacular iconic Ball Drop at Times Square without the inconvenience of waiting long hours outside in the cold. You will have unobstructed views of the Times Square Ball Drop.

While these Ball Drop Parties come with a hefty price tag, the experience is something you will never forget. With an open bar, hors-d’oeuvres, a dinner buffet, and dessert you will be well taken care of as the night goes on. You can also take minors (under the age of 21) to the event, though they will not be able to drink.

Typically, you can expect one large room for dancing, one for beverages, and a few others for sitting and relaxing. A professional photographer will also be taking personal photographs (they will be available to download about 2 weeks after the event). Overall, if you want the one-stop package for an amazing New Year’s Eve, watching the ball drop without having to brave the crowds in Times Square, this is the perfect option for you. The available tickets for Ball Drop Parties are very limited, so make sure to grab your tickets as soon as possible!

11. The annual NYRR Midnight Run

Why not kick off the new year with a run? For many people in New York, the New Year’s Eve run in Central Park is the real deal. Instead of champagne and sequin dresses, you will find a jogger’s paradise at night. At the stroke of midnight, the NYRR Midnight Run begins. During the event, which is sponsored by the New York Road Runners, participants complete a course of approx. 4 miles to start off the new year. At first, this may seem like a strange concept, however, it’s much more fun than you think! You really don’t have to be a serious runner to participate. Did you know that you can even enjoy some delicious sparkling cider at the halfway point?

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Can you drink alcohol in Times Square on New Year’s Eve in NYC?

No. In New York City it is illegal to consume alcohol in public spaces, regardless of your age. That restriction also applies to all public spaces like parks and streets. Even on New Year’s Eve, the restriction is not lifted. The alcohol-ban should not keep you from having a memorable New Year’s Eve in NYC, though!

What’s open in New York on New Year’s Eve?

Shops, restaurants, and attractions will operate as usual on December 31st, though local stores may close a little earlier than normal. However, opening hours will be affected by New Year’s Day (January 1st).

What’s open in New York on New Year’s Day?

Most people are given a day off on New Year’s Day. Consequently, all government buildings like banks, libraries, and post offices will stay shut. The subway will run on a weekend schedule.

Is Broadway open on New Year’s Eve?

Though New Year’s Eve 2021 falls on a Friday, Broadway will be dark. Therefore, you will not be able to see a Broadway show on the 31st of December. You can expect irregular show schedules for the first week of the year.

Can I launch fireworks in New York City on New Year’s Eve?

No. All types of fireworks remain illegal in New York. They are featured by the city on special occasions, such as New Year’s Eve, the 4th of July, or the summer fireworks on Coney Island.

What’s the weather like on New Year’s Eve in NYC?

You can expect cold weather in New York on New Year’s Eve. After all, this is winter. Average temperatures in December are 31-44 °F, so be sure to bundle up if you are thinking about spending New Year’s Eve outdoors.

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