New Year's Eve in New York

Different ways to celebrate December 31st in NYC!

Date: 12/31/2023
Categories: Events

How to celebrate the New Year's Eve in New York

An increasingly number of people makes plans to spend New Year’s Eve in New York. Already in the early afternoon, people start to converge towards Times Square, which traditionally hosts the New Year’s Dropping Ball party, with live music, dances and special effects that leave New Yorkers and Tourists alike speechless.

New Year's Eve in Times Square

When you say New Year's Eve in New York, you immediately think up one of the most famous events that takes place every year in Times Square; a great show broadcasted worldwide with live music, great performances and the famous Ball Drop. In the iconic Times Square, every 31st of December, there are at least a million people present and over a billion tuned in from all over the world to watch the countdown from the Times Square’s clock which has now become a worldwide tradition.

The schedule for this year Times Square New Year's Eve show will be available in early December (you can check previous years - New Year's Eve in Times Square Program) but as always we expect some big names of the entertainment and music industry. We remind you that there is no Pass that gives exclusive access to the Times Square NYE Show, which is by the way totally free, the only way you get in is arriving in Times Square in the early afternoon hours and access one of the corrals as directed by the local authorities. It’s all first-come, first-served, so the earlier you get to Times Square the closer to the stage corrals you find. If you choose to attend dinners or events held in Restaurants / Clubs located around Times Square with the reservation you are given a PASS that you will present as your “passport” to reach the venue you have booked.

Are you planning to spend New Year's Eve in Times Square? Let's see at what time the streets are shut down:

  • Already at 3:00 pm, the streets around the square are closed to general traffic. The viewing sections that are nearest to the 2 main stages fill up from the late morning and are closed off as soon as they are at capacity (keep in mind that people arrive as early as 10 am to get these coveted spots) ... Once those first few sections are full, the NYPD officers will direct viewers to the next open zone and so on, until all sections are occupied. The preparation for the festivities will continue throughout the day and Times Square will be filled with people all along Broadway and Seventh Avenue from the 43rd street all the way to Central Park South! Bottom line is -- the sooner you get there, the better chances you will have to be closer to the action and thus the better the view will be. However, if you can't manage to be there 12 hours in advance, there are screens all around the square and the 360-degree sound system will engulf you so that you can still enjoy the celebration.
  • At 6:00 pm the party starts, the ball is "turned on" and raised up to the top of the spire of the famous One Time Square building.

When Does NYE Party begin in Times Square

  • At 6:30 pm a large Alliance Sanitation team, in brilliant red uniforms, will begin distributing gadgets and flyers for the evening.
  • From 7:00 pm onwards, internationally renowned bands, singers and artists will perform on the 2 stages. The official program is not yet available so we will update you on our NEWS section!
  • At 11:59 pm the countdown begins. The Ball --12 ft in diameter, 13 Lb in weight, 2688 crystal triangles illuminated by over 32,000 LED lights -- it will begin to drop to the bottom of the spire.
  • At 12:00 am the lights of the Ball will go off as v"2020" the New Year number lights up above Times Square, colorful confetti (exactly a ton!) will fall from the sky and fireworks will coronate the celebration lighting up the New York Sky!

Tips for Watching the New Year's Show in Times Square - The Ball Drop:

  • How to reach Times Square: the subway train is the easiest way but remember not to get off at the 42nd Street Stop ... It's packed in the AM and later closed for security! Choose one of the open stations around the area and continue on foot, on this occasion the Times Square subway station is a real traffic jam.
  • Don't carry any bags, the police don't let anyone in with packages or bags! Plus, the wait is long so it will be convenient not to have extra weight.
  • Speaking of convenience ... think about your feet ... Comfortable and warm shoes are a must. I challenge anyone to stand for hours, and maybe in low temperatures, on stiletto heels!!! What's more, nobody will see shoes in the middle of that crowd!
  • More about the temperatures ... just to give you an idea, the official website of the Times Square Alliance mentions wearing Gore-Tex ......... so be prepared for the real cold and cover yourself properly.
  • No alcohol is allowed and there are no food and drink retailers open. If you leave your "Zone" to go to a restaurant or deli, it will not be possible for you to return. So make sure to arrive fed and hydrated for the night.
  • Another tip is to pay a visit to the bathroom before mentally prepare for the long wait; please note the only public bathroom in the area is at the Visitor Center but that closes at 8:00 pm. ALSO, THERE IS NO POSSIBILITY OF GETTING OUT FOR YOUR "NEEDS" & THEN COME BACK - YOU WILL LOSE YOUR SPOT!!!!
  • There are no Passes or Admission Tickets or anything else. The event is free and anyone who is trying to sell you some Special Pass is just trying to gimmick you and sell you something else entirely! NYPD does not accept any Pass, the only thing you can present is your ticket or voucher for some previously reserved restaurant or club party, this will allow you to pass through the security area and reach your final destination in Times Square.

(From the official Times Square Alliance website): WARNING: Multiple Venue/Pay-One-Price/All Access Pass Alert -- There are companies that offer Multiple Venue/Pay-One-Price/All Access passes which advertise access to Times Square on New Year’s Eve but that is actually not possible. These companies advertise these passes as allowing the holders to visit numerous venues throughout Times Square on New Year's Eve. Such Multiple Venue/Pay-One-Price/All Access passes presume the holder will be able to get past police security lines. In years past, such pass holders were refused access beyond police checkpoints, leaving the holders that were refused access beyond police checkpoints frustrated and without a place to go. It is reasonable to assume that the police will take the same stance this year.)

If all this discourages you, think that roughly one million people every year try to arrive in time to participate at this crazy event and the first New Year's Eve Ball Drop celebration was held in 1904! For some people, it must be worth it!

At 11.59 pm the colored and illuminated ball begins to descend from the spire of the One Times Square building and the countdown begins!

New Year's Video New York

Good to Know & Useful Tips

By now, we should have realized that the New Year's Ball Drop party in Times Square requires some "sacrifices" on our part, but it is also true that New York offers many other possibilities for the evening  ... celebrations, events, and fireworks are offered in all the districts of the city, so here are some tips for spending this special evening without having to spend crazy
money, mixing up with New Yorkers and certainly with some extra comfort!

Let's see some of the most followed Free Events in New York:

  1. Running in Central Park. Surely this appointment will thrill runners, if you want to sign up for the ride visit NYRR Midnight Run if you want to attend the Midnight Fires and attend the party with Music and Dance the appointment is at Central Park Bandshell. You will find mostly residents and you will spend a more intimate New Year!
  2. Central Park Bike/skating. For all fans of cycling (cyclists, skaters and skateboarders) the appointment is at 10:00 pm in front of the Arch in Washington Square Park for a ride up to Belvedere Castle in Central Park and then have fun at the party.
  3. New Year's Eve in New York - Free Midnight Concerts in New York - In addition to the free Times Square show, some free concerts are organized throughout NYC but the calendar is not yet available (check our NEWS section once we get closer to the date) - Also, there are many shows for which you need to get a ticket ... and as always for those don't expect budget prices! New York is normally an expensive city and it becomes even more so during the holidays.

What to do on New Year's Eve in New York

Fireworks at Midnight on NYE

Another classic NYE Event are the Midnight Fireworks that are shot in different areas of New York. For a breathtaking views, you can go up to one of the observatories, recommended the Empire State Building or the new ONE WORLD. Fireworks are also launched in Central Park and near the Statue of Liberty. To really admire the main fireworks show in the New York Bay and over the Statue of Liberty, we advise you to choose one of the dinner cruises in the Bay of New York.

  • New Year’s Eve - Midnight Fires at the Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn -- Another popular fireworks location is Brooklyn, the appointment here is at the Grand Army Plaza, Prospect Park's main entrance for Hot Chocolate and free entertainment! The occasion is perfect to stay in one of the laidback neighborhoods of Brooklyn: Park Slope offers lots of restaurants and bars.
  • New Year’s Eve - The Midnight Fires at the Coney Island Luna Park -- The party starts at 6 pm with Fireworks starting at 11:59 pm. Free activities: ice skating, live music, and the Wonder Wheel and Gigamon VR will be open, running from 6am to 10pm.
  • New Year’s Eve - Midnight Fireworks in Central Park by The Bandshell -- If you don't want to take part in any race, running or biking, you can still arrive before midnight in Central Park for the Fireworks and Music party.
  • New Year’s Eve - The Midnight Bay Fireworks in New York City on Liberty Island --- A barge is positioned near the Statue of Liberty and the show begins at midnight. You can see the Fireworks from the Brooklyn Bridge or from the Brooklyn Park and the Promenade. Or in one of fun the Dinner Cruises.

Special Offers New Year's Eve in New York City

Our New Year's celebrations in New York include the Dinner at Times Square eatery The Swing Club and some elegant and fun Cruises along the Hudson River carefully selected to meet different needs and budgets. Visit our page dedicated to:

Special Offer New Year's Eve in New York

New Year's aboard Yacht and Special Cruises

Planning the New Year's in New York can be difficult, you always have to book in advance, the prices are high everywhere, traffic becomes impossible, taxis hard to find (remember Uber too) the subway is overcrowded, and the cold doesn't invite you to walk outside for long blocks. That's why the Cruises in the Bay of New York often become a perfect alternative to live a special evening with Dinner, Music, Dances and Midnight Fireworks in the Bay that illuminate the Manhattan Skyline. 

There is a wide choice of cruises you can choose from ... from the New Year's Cruises for the youngest one, very informal with DJ music for the possibility of dancing the night away with Drinks and light appetizers at budget prices, to the Cruises with Buffet Dinner up to the most elegant and refined Cruises aboard luxurious yachts with 4 or 6-course plated Gala Meals served table-side, live music and midnight toast with a bottle of Champagne. All the cruises, regardless of the budget, are accompanied by music, dances and guarantee a first pick spot to view of the Fireworks in the Bay of New York!

Christmas in New York

Are you going to be in town for the Holidays as well? Your Christmas trip to New York will remain indelible and you will surely find yourself wishing to come back again because New York at Christmas is pure Magic!!

It all starts right after the big Thanksgiving party with the famous parade. They will start by lighting up the famous tree in the Rockefeller Center Plaza, all the ice-skating rinks will be open by then, the Holiday Markets will populate squares and parks around New York, the windows of popular stores will "blind" you with brilliant lights and decorations, and the magic of Brooklyn with the famous Dyker Heights's Homes will transport you into a movie setting.

If you have any doubts visit our page on

Christmas in New York

Traveling to New York? 3 Articles to learn how to get around the city

Read our  Top-3 Articles to learn how to get around New York City using Public Transportation.

A New York Vacation for Christmas/New Year's Eve - How to plan it

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