There is no shortage of New Year’s Eve events to choose from in New York City. In fact, the hardest part about spending NYE in NYC is probably deciding on one event (and getting all your friends to agree to the same one). Here we’ll give you the truth about trying to see the ball drop and some awesome alternatives if battling for your life amid the largest crowd of tourists you’ll ever see doesn’t sound like your idea of the perfect way to ring in the New Year.
New Year’s Eve in Times Square
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but NYE in Times Square isn’t all that its cracked up to be. The NYPD starts putting up barricades around all of the streets surrounding the ball at around noon on New Year’s Eve. This means that you have to get there extremely early to get in. Over 1,000,000 people each year pack into this couple of block radius to watch the ball drop, so you have to get there early and plan to stay for a few hours.
Once you’re inside the barricades, there is no leaving. You can’t bring in any food or drink, and there aren’t any bathrooms available sooo I guess you have to just learn to hold it? All in all, it’s a lot of waiting for about one minute of excitement. Oh, and you can expect it to take hours to get out of the Times Square area–if you ask any New Yorker, they’ll tell you that there are a million better options out there.
So if that doesn’t sound that fun to you… here are some other options.
Go to a Concert
There are always a ton of incredible concerts going on at venues all over the city. This is a great way to ring in the New Year because you get your ticket in advance, have a plan for the whole evening and get to see some stellar live music in the process. Most concerts will do a nice countdown for midnight, and then keep on rolling through.
Hang out on a Rooftop Bar
Everyone wants to be up on a rooftop in NYC to catch a sight of some fireworks, and while there are plenty of great options, you will have to get your tickets in advance. In fact, most bars are going to have some kind of advance ticketing situation.
Some suggestions that will offer great parties and views of fireworks include Upstairs at The Kimberley, The Jimmy, STK in Meatpacking, Le Bain at the Standard, or Berry Park in Brooklyn. Prices vary greatly and different things come included depending on the locale.
Go for A Run
While this might not be everyone’s idea of a fun NYE, if you’re looking for something a little less party-centric and a good way to start off the New Year on the right foot, the Midnight Run has become increasingly popular among New Yorkers. It’s a free 4 mile run followed by a dance party with a DJ, costume contest and fireworks in Central Park. Not a bad way to go!
Ride the Staten Island Ferry
The Staten Island Ferry offers some of the best views of both Manhattan, Brooklyn and New Jersey, giving you a great view of all the fireworks shows. And even better, it’s free! You’ll want to dress warm and get there early. If you like the cruise idea, but want something a little more structured, there are also tons of NYE cruises that you can pay for that include food and drink.
NYC is a wild and crazy city, and a fantastic place to ring in the New Year, but it’s definitely a good idea to plan ahead. We hope that this gave you the lowdown on some of the best ways to enjoy the city on NYE.