It’s no secret that New Year’s Eve in New York City is a bucket-list item for thousands of folks all around the globe. If you’re making the trek and visiting the Big Apple for NYE, I’m a local here to help you make the most of it.
From the confetti showers at the Times Square Ball Drop to an evening dressed to the nines at a cocktail party, you can get as fancy (or relaxed) as you want. Why don’t we see what kind of trouble we can into?
Visiting New York City? If you haven’t decided where to stay (yet) check out our helpful guide on Where to Stay in New York City (The best neighborhoods for first timers +3 to avoid). Don’t have time? Here’s our favorite hotel in NYC, hands down.
Things to Do on New Year’s Eve in New York City
Table of Contents: New York City NYE Guide
Table of Contents: What to Do on New Year’s Eve in NYC
- Things to Do on New Year’s Eve in New York City
- NYC Observation Decks with New Year’s Eve Celebrations
- Restaurants Hosting New Year’s Eve in New York City
- Best Clubs for Celebrating New Year’s Eve in NYC
- Alcohol-Free NYC New Year’s Eve Events
- More Fun Things to Do in New York City During New Year’s Eve
- Tips for Celebrating NYE in NYC
- Fun Activities in New York City for New Year’s Eve (Post Summary)
- Map of Fun Things to Do during New Year’s Eve in New York City
Watch the Times Square Ball Drop
The Times Square Ball Drop has been a New Year’s Eve tradition in NYC for over 100 years. Celebrity performers and television crews cram into a few small city blocks to ring in the new year, with more than 1 billion people worldwide watching the ball drop online and on TV.
For many, attending the Ball Drop is a bucket-list item, but I’m not keen on the experience. I wrote an article about celebrating New Year’s Eve in Times Square. To summarize, the cold, lack of restrooms, and anti-climactic ball-drop are reasons I’m not the biggest fan (but you do you).
Ring in the New Year in NYC Aboard a Cruise
Yes, you read that right, one of the most popular ways to ring in the New Year’s in New York City is on a cruise around Manhattan Island. There’s more than one cruise company hosting booze-filled, dance-inducing cruises in NYC. My two suggestions are Liberty and Skyline Princess Cruise Lines, each provides food, drinks (including a champagne toast), and a dance floor.
The biggest difference is that Liberty Cruise charges per person, and doesn’t guarantee seating. Skyline Princess on the other hand rents tables for the night, but can be a bit pricier.
NYC Observation Decks with New Year’s Eve Celebrations
Summit One Vanderbilt
Summit One Vanderbilt is the most unique observation deck in NYC, with glass floors, ceilings, and windows making guests feel like they’re floating 1,100 feet in the air. They also host an NYE party in NYC, where for $300 (2024 price), guests receive two cocktails, a live DJ, a dessert bar, and a midnight champagne toast overlooking NYC.
The Edge is one of the newer observation decks in New York, but its glass floor ledge overlooking the city has quickly made it a fan favorite. For $375, or $3500 for a 10-person table (2024 prices), guests are welcomed to the Peakaboo restaurant at The Edge from 11 PM to 1 AM to celebrate NYE in NYC. Otherwise, The Edge is open until 11 PM on New Year’s Eve with a general admission ticket.
Restaurants Hosting New Year’s Eve in New York City
Westlight is a popular rooftop bar offering stellar views of Midtown Manhattan, and they host an annual New Year’s Eve party in Brooklyn. General admission is $275 per person, or tables are available for $400 per person (2024 pricing).
An upscale Italian restaurant in the Greenwich Village, Carbone is the go-to spot to celebrate anniversaries, engagements, and, in this case, New Year’s Eve in NYC. Famous for rejecting Justin Bieber after he showed up without a reservation, it’s safe to say Carbone is exclusive. Those hoping to snag a table at the nicest New Year’s Eve dinner party in NYC can expect to pay $395 (2024 price).
Tavern on the Green
Located in Central Park, Tavern on the Green is one of the most iconic restaurants in New York City. The restaurant is cozy and warm, and they host a (disco themed!) NYE party for $350 per person from 9 PM to 2 AM (2024 prices). The price tag includes a five-course dinner and a sparkling wine toast.
Best Clubs for Celebrating New Year’s Eve in NYC
The Copacabana is arguably the most storied club in New York City (famous for being featured in the movie Goodfellas).
In the present day, the Copacabana is in Hell’s Kitchen and movie buffs can still show up for a good time at this Latin-centric club. They even host an annual NYC New Year’s Eve party full of salsa, bachata, and other popular Latin genres. Prices vary from year to year (usually around $100), but I’ll update this post when information for 2025 is released.
HK Hall is in Hell’s Kitchen and was formerly known as Stage 48. Located in a former horse stable, the two-story venue is large enough to fit in a sizeable dance floor that swells with a lively crowd enjoying the classic American pop party anthems. Ticket prices for the NYC New Year’s Eve party have yet to be made available, but I will update this post when they are.
House of Yes
As one of the most popular clubs in Brooklyn, it should come as no surprise that House of Yes hosts one of the best New Year’s Eve in NYC. Located in a former ice-making warehouse, the dance floors are spacious and inviting. Ticket prices have yet to be announced, but I will update this post when available.
Alcohol-Free NYC New Year’s Eve Events
New York Road Runners MIDNIGHT RUN
If working out on the dance floor isn’t your style, why not work out with a run through Central Park to ring in the New Year in New York City? Thanks to the New York Road Runners (NYRR), this NYC New Year’s Eve event is available to anybody willing to stay up until midnight for a friendly neighborhood race. Entry costs $70 for the 4-mile race (2024 prices), with registration taking place on NYRR’s website.
Firework Show at Prospect Park
Show up at Prospect Park’s Grand Army Plaza at about 11 PM to celebrate free fireworks in NYC on New Year’s Eve. Not only is this event alcohol-free, but there will also be hot drinks and live music. This is a great event to bring the whole family to (if the kiddos are still awake). When the clock strikes midnight, fireworks will light up the sky, giving the perfect backdrop for that New Year’s kiss.
More Fun Things to Do in New York City During New Year’s Eve
If you’re in New York City for a few days leading up to, or after, New Year’s Eve consider checking out some of the following fun things to do.
Go Ice Skating
There are few things more iconic than ice skating in NYC. The holiday season is as magical as you’d imagine, and ice skating in NYC among towering skyscrapers can make anyone feel like they’re in a Hallmark movie. If you’re celebrating New Year’s Eve in NYC, there will be plenty of ice skating rinks to enjoy. Many people (myself included) consider this a can’t-miss winter activity.
Check Out The Beautiful Christmas Trees
Most Christmas trees stay up past New Year’s Eve in NYC, so while you peruse the Big Apple, consider checking out some lingering holiday magic. I recommend checking out the Rockefeller Center’s Christmas Tree for those with only enough time for one. It’s centrally located in Midtown near plenty of attractions and is the city’s most popular tree. It’s usually up until mid-January.
Enjoy a Holiday Show
If you want to stay out of the cold, check out one of New York City’s many Christmas shows. Whether it’s Broadway or the Ballet, you won’t be disappointed. I suggest checking out The Christmas Spectacular, Starring the Radio City Rockettes. However, there is one caveat: the last show is on January 2nd. However, if you’re in New York City before New Year’s Eve, this is without a doubt the top show I’d recommend.
Tips for Celebrating NYE in NYC
- NYC is COLD during the winter season. Average temperatures in December hover around 44°, but the windchill makes it feel colder. When celebrating New Year’s Eve in NYC, wear an insulated coat, a warm hat, or a beanie; plus, these bad boys don’t hurt.
- The subway is an efficient mode of transportation, but it won’t drop you off at the door, so you’ll be doing a lot of walking. You will want walking shoes that will keep your feet dry and comfortable. You’ll be getting those steps in, I guarantee it.
- New York City averages more than 63 million visitors annually, and the holidays are busy. Expect crowds when celebrating New Year’s Eve in NYC, make reservations in advance, and show up early.
Fun Activities in New York City for New Year’s Eve (Post Summary)
- Times Square Ball Drop
- Skyline Princess Cruises
- Liberty Cruises
- Summit One Vanderbilt
- The Edge
- Tavern on the Green
- HK Hall
- House of Yes
- New York Road Runners Midnight Run
- Fireworks at Prospect Park
Map of Fun Things to Do during New Year’s Eve in New York City
Frequently Asked Questions: Things to Do on New Year’s Eve in New York City
On New Year’s Eve, New Yorkers typically gather in Times Square to watch the iconic ball drop, celebrate with friends and family, and enjoy fireworks displays across the city.
Yes, it is free to watch the ball drop in Times Square on New Year’s Eve; however, securing a good viewing spot may require arriving early and enduring large crowds.
Yes! So long as you’re okay with large crowds, cold weather, and bustling celebrations, attending New Year’s Eve festivities in NYC can be an unforgettable experience.
Whether the Times Square ball drop is worth it depends on your tolerance for large crowds, cold weather, and the excitement of being part of an iconic New Year’s Eve celebration.
More Helpful New York City Guides
- EPIC Guide to 4 DAYS in NEW YORK CITY (+Advice From Locals)
- 15 EPIC Things to Do in New York City With Kids
- 10 Memorable Manhattan Bars Everyone Should Visit
- 50 Best Things to Do in New York City
- 20 MAGICAL Things to Do For Christmas in NYC (And 5 to Avoid!)
- What to Wear in New York City in the Winter (+Packing List)
- 15 Charming Christmas Shows in New York City (2024 Guide)
- 10 Cheerful Christmas Markets in New York City (Worth the Visit!)
- 10 Impressive Ice Skating Rinks in New York City (+ Where to Skate For FREE!)
- 20 Free Things to Do During Christmas in New York City
I hope you found this guide to spending New Year’s Eve in NYC helpful.
Happy New Year’s, stay safe, and enjoy our city. Cheers!