How to spend New Year’s Eve in New York

por Postcards from IvI

Spending New Year’s Eve in New York is a dream come true: the christmas lights, the snow, the ice-skating… everything is just like in the movies. This post is for you if you’re looking for options on how to spend New Year’s Eve in New York.

After years of dreaming of spending Christmas and New Year in New York, I finally travelled to the city with my boyfriend on December 2017. Christmas time simply transforms the city and makes it even more magical.

There are several options on what to do on New Year’s Eve in NY. From the classic ball drop at Times Square to a luxurious dinner on a cruise. No matter which one you choose, I assure you that they all have something special and you will definitely feel the magic of New York.

How to spend New Year’s Eve in New York

1. Ball Drop in Times Square

How to spend New Year's Eve in New York

This is the typical and iconic celebration in New Year. Every year since 1907, millions of people gather in Times Square to watch the famous ball drop at midnight. While this is an exciting option, it is also the most touristy and crowded.

Being an event that brings together so many people, the organization of the event is pretty strict. Around 2 pm you can’t enter or exit Times Square area. This means that to see the ball drop at midnight you have to spend at least 10 hs standing around in the cold. There are no bathrooms in the area and you can’t even buy food.

At around 6 pm the music and performances start. And finally at midnight you see the ball drop and the fireworks. Although this is a unique event in the world, it has many disadvantages. So I decided not to spend New Year’s Eve here.

If you choose to spend New Years’ Eve in Times Square, make sure you’re prepared for the weather and download this free New York winter packing list.

2. Party at a club or roof top

How to spend New Year's Eve in New York An alternative for those who don’t want to spend New Year’s Eve in Times Square is to attend a party in one of the many restaurants, hotels and clubs hosting New Year’s Eve parties.

Some parties even have a direct view of the ball drop at Times Square. Many tickets include unlimited open bar, food or a free champagne toast at midnight.

Check out all New Year’s Eve parties here

3. Enjoy a concert or show

What’s better than starting the year at a concert of one of your favorite artists? There are many concerts and shows that take place in New York on the night of December 31st.

Find concerts in New York here

4. New Year’s eve fireworks

How to spend New Year's Eve in New York

There are 3 places where you can see fireworks at midnight, aside from Times Square:

  • Central Park

Central Park celebrates New Year’s Eve with fireworks fired at the central area of the park. They last about 15 minutes and although it will be less crowded than Times Square, you need to get there before 12 am because there are security controls to enter the park.

Then at midnight, you can trek with hundreds of joggers at the NYRR midnight run.

  • Prospect Park

A much less touristy option but just as amazing is Prospect Park in Brooklyn. The best spot for viewing the fireworks is Grand Army Plaza. You can also enjoy live music and hot chocolate!

  • Brooklyn Bridge:

Another place from where you can see the fireworks is Brooklyn Bridge, with an incredible view of the skyline of the city included.


5. New Year’s Eve Dinner

If your plan is to have dinner at a restaurant in New Year’s Eve, I recommend you make reservations as early as possible because as you can imagine, all the places are filled for that night. You can make reservations at OpenTable.

New Year's eve in New York


6. New Year’s Eve Cruise

Spend New Year’s Eve on a cruise while you watch the New York Harbor fireworks. You have different options to choose from: some companies offer family-friendly tours and some offer elegant and luxurious experiences. As always, there’s an option for everyone.

Book New Year’s Eve Fireworks Cruise here

My experience in New Year’s Eve in New York:

After reading many blog posts about people who spent New Year’s Eve in Times Square, I decided it wasn’t the best option for me. My boyfriend and I opted for a more relaxed option: we had dinner at a restaurant and around 11 pm headed to Central Park to see fireworks.


What to do in New York on January 1st ?

On January 1st most of New York’s restaurants, shops and attractions remain open despite being a festive day.

Closed Attractions: The Brooklyn Museum, the Met and the cloisters. There are also some companies that don’t offer tours that day. The rest of the museums and attractions like the Top of the Rock Open normally on January 1st.

A good option to spend the first day of the year is to rent a bike and discover Central Park, cross the Brooklyn Bridge and end the day attending a Broadway show.

If you dare: welcome the New Year by swimming in the Atlantic Ocean. The Coney Island Polar Bear Club New Year’s Day Swim takes place each year on the 1st of January. For more details on the event, visit

For more activities check out this post: The best things to do in New York.

New York accommodation in New Year

If you are going to travel to New York for New Year I recommend you book the accommodation in advance because prices increase a lot as the holiday season is closer.

  • YOTEL New York: I stayed 8 nights in YOTEL and I loved it. It’s an affordable hotel with a distinctive futuristic style offering a unique experience. The location is great and the hotel hosts a New Year’s Eve Party. Read my review here.
  • Also check out the list of recommended hotels: Cheap hotels near Times Square

As you can see there are many options for spending New Year’s Eve in New York. The important thing is to choose the one that suits you best and you’re comfortable with. The atmosphere in the city in Christmas and New Year is just unique and I’m sure you’ll have a fantastic time no matter how you decide to spend New Year.

Other posts about New York:

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on certain links within this post and make a purchase, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Read more about it here.

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