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Image courtesy of McKittrick Hotel
Image courtesy of McKittrick Hotel
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12 Ways to Celebrate New Years Eve in NYC This Year (That Aren’t the Ball Drop)

Picture of Julia Goicochea
Updated: 18 November 2017
On New Year’s Eve (and on any other day of the year), there are far better destinations than New York’s Times Square. From classic firework displays and intoxicating affairs to less traditional events (think: midnight workouts and silent meditations), New York City provides plenty of ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve. In 2018, last year’s ball drop doesn’t stand a chance against these off-the-beaten-path parties.

Central Park Fireworks

The only thing more classic than a New Year’s Eve fireworks display is this timeless attraction. This year, enjoy the Central Park Fireworks from your favorite spot in the park (the display can be seen from just about anywhere in this Manhattan mainstay). Winter sports, hot food, and drinks courtesy of Park vendors—plus plenty of romantic vibes—will keep you warm while ringing in 2018.

Winter fun in Central Park | © Pixabay

Time’s Up New Year’s Eve Bike Ride & Outdoor After Party

Get a head start on your health-related resolutions on this cross-city bike ride, held every New Year’s Eve night. This year marks the 19th edition of the annual Time’s Up New Year’s Eve Bike Ride & Outdoor After Party, in which celebrants break a sweat biking or skating from Washington Square Park to Central Park’s Belvedere Castle. For those more interested in entertainment than exercise, the event’s outdoor after party, held in picturesque Central Park, is free and open to all.

New Year’s Eve Concert for Peace at Saint John the Divine

Since 1984, the New Year’s Eve Concert for Peace at Saint John the Divine has provided a peaceful start to the new year. Free and open to the public, this candlelight concert held in the world’s largest cathedral is New York City’s most elegant New Year’s event. Attendees can expect to hear everything from Vivaldi to This Little Light of Mine performed with a classical twist at this music-lover’s pick founded by New York Philharmonic director Leonard Bernstein.

Neal Slavin, courtesy the Cathedral of St. John the Divine
Courtesy of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine | © Neal Slavin

Brooklyn Ball

This year, for the first time in history, New York will be home to two New Year’s Eve balls. The inaugural New Year’s Eve Brooklyn Ball, weighing a hefty 4,418 pounds (a whopping two tons!), will reach the sky in 2018, preceded by a free celebration featuring special performances, music, and food and drink. Top tip: if there was ever a time and place to do it up, it’s New Year’s Eve in Brooklyn, where VIP tickets come with cool perks, like heated tents.

Phish at Madison Square Garden

Music fans wait all year for Phish’s New Year’s Eve run at Madison Square Garden. This year, December 28 marks the band’s return to the Big Apple, where Phish will play a show a day right up until New Year’s Eve. If the band’s 2015 MSG performance, when they played three sets plus an encore, is any indication, your New Year’s Eve night will be something to sing about.

Phish concert | Wikicommons
Phish concert | © Wikicommons

New York Harbor Fireworks

Selfie-snappers, take note: the holiday’s most picturesque fireworks display can be found over New York Harbor. Snag a waterfront spot at Manhattan’s Battery Park or the Brooklyn Heights Promenade to watch fireworks illuminate New York City’s skyline, the Statue of Liberty, and (get that selfie-stick ready) your ‘best side.’

The King’s Winter Masquerade at The McKittrick Hotel

Count on the team behind the surreal Sleep No More theater experience to deliver New York City’s most intoxicating (literally and figuratively) New Year’s celebration. Deck yourself out in your best black, gold, red, or white attire for The McKittrick Hotel’s King’s Winter Masquerade. A full open bar, a decadent dinner, one-night-only performances, and, because it’s the McKittrick, a few special surprises round out the offerings at this New Year’s soirée.

Soul Sweat: New Year’s Eve Edition at Laughing Lotus

Enter 2018 with a clear mind and heart at Laughing Lotus’ Soul Sweat: New Year’s Eve Edition. Featuring an asana practice, chanting, and more, this two-hour ‘intention-setting ceremony’ helps you start the new year the same way you’d like to end it: hopeful, grateful, and surrounded by good vibes.

Concert at The Knitting Factory

Local music-lovers (and Williamsburg residents who’d rather not brave the L train) can count on The Knitting Factory any night of the year, including New Year’s Eve. This year, New Year’s Eve brings three acts to the Knitting Factory: The Budos Band, Electric Citizen, and Evolfo. Live music and a complimentary champagne toast at midnight? It’s enough to make a New Yorker sing.

Concert at the Knitting Factory | Treefort Music Fest Flickr
Concert at the Knitting Factory | © Treefort Music Fest/Flickr

Go on a Midnight Run with New York Road Runners

There’s no party pre-game quite like this late-night workout, sure to boost your endorphins and your mood. At the New York Road Runners’ Midnight Run, Central Park’s fireworks are the race’s starting pistol, propelling you on a four-mile run through the famous park. Equipped with dancing, music, and sparkling cider, this is one finish line—and perhaps the first New Year’s Eve night—you won’t forget.

Watch waterfront fireworks

Each year, in-the-know New Year’s celebrants take to the sea (or, river) for a front-row seat to all of the city’s best fireworks displays. Climb aboard the free Staten Island Ferry to catch fireworks displays above Manhattan, Brooklyn, and New Jersey, along with stunning waterfront views of the city that never sleeps, a nickname that’s especially earned on New Year’s Eve night.

Waterfront fireworks in New York City | Anthony Quintano Flickr
Waterfront fireworks in New York City | © Anthony Quintano/Flickr

Silent Reflection at the Jivamukti Yoga

Every New Year’s Eve, the Jivamukti Yoga Center in Manhattan opens its doors to locals looking for reflection over revelry. At this alternative event, a three-hour silent meditation, or reflection period, is marked only by a group chant commemorating midnight and the arrival of a new year.