The Complete Guide to Celebrating New Years Eve in New York City

Where to spend New Year's Eve in NYC 2022

Spending New Year’s Eve in NYC is a unique experience that’s on many people’s bucket lists. It’s one of the largest celebrations in the city and there are many different ways to ring in the new year in New York. If you’ll be in New York this New Year’s Eve, keep reading!

12 Ways to Celebrate New Year’s Eve in New York

Where are you going to be when the clock strikes midnight? If you don’t know yet, this article will provide a handful of great options for you to ring in the New Year in NYC. You can do anything from joining the big party at Times Square to celebrating New Year’s Eve a little more quietly in Central Park or while cruising the Hudson, for example.

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    Ball Drop: Celebrate New Year's Eve in New York at Times Square

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    For many, spending New Year’s Eve at Times Square is the no. 1 place to go. If you want to celebrate your New Year’s Eve at Times Square, you will need stamina and the right clothing. It gets cold in New York in December and the longer you stay outside, the more you will realize what you are wearing will only protect you from the cold for so long. A New Year’s Eve with potentially some very cold feet and a long wait are not for the faint-hearted. Still, the temperature does not keep hundreds of thousands of people yearly from spending New Year’s Eve in New York at Times Square.

    The wait in line for the legendary Times Square ball drop begins at 12 pm. You should get to Times Square no later than 2 pm because it will be closed off after that. At that point in time, you can leave, but can’t get back in. If you give up your hard-fought position for any reason, to go to the bathroom, for example, you’re out of luck! It’s also good to know that medium-sized bags are not allowed (including backpacks), small ones will be searched, and alcohol is strictly prohibited.

    Nonetheless, the ball drop and other festivities at New York’s Times Square make it THE New Year’s Eve bash. Between megastar performances, people are dancing and singing, and, at midnight, there is a chorus of “New York, New York” where many shed tears of joy.

  2. 02

    Celebrate New Year’s Eve in New York on a Cruise

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    New York offers fun activities on the water year-round and New Year’s Eve is not an exception. Boat tour operators offer a very special program with food, drinks, and fireworks. A seat on board will ensure amazing views of the Statue of Liberty surrounded by fireworks and a grandiose view of the southern tip of Manhattan. Ringing in the new year on-board a cruise is definitely one of the best ways to spend New Year’s Eve in New York.

    If you are interested in taking a New Year’s Eve cruise, you may be wondering which one you should choose! The options are countless, which is why we have filtered out the best New Year’s Eve Cruises in NYC for 2022 to help pick the best one for you. Keep in mind that the closer we get to the end of the year, the fewer cruises will be available. Spaces are limited and New Year’s Eve cruises have and will always be extremely popular.

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    Celebrate NYE in NYC at Rockefeller Center

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    End the holiday season with a dazzling New Year’s Eve party in NYC amidst the lights of the world-famous Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree! Indulge in a delicious buffet dinner and free-flowing drinks from the open bar as you enjoy live entertainment from a jazz band and a DJ. After the gourmet dinner watch the Ball Drop in Times Square on a big TV and get ready to light up the dance floor!

    Don’t miss this NYE Celebration at Rockefeller Center in New York and get your tickets!

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    Be part of the NYE Events in NYC

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    If you are looking to enjoy the ball drop with a more exclusive experience, be sure to check out some Times Square Ball Drop Parties! They are, without a doubt, a great way to see the spectacular iconic Ball Drop at Times Square without the inconvenience of waiting long hours outside in the cold. You will have unobstructed views of the Times Square Ball Drop.

    While these Ball Drop Parties come with a hefty price tag, the experience is something you will never forget. With an open bar, hors-d’oeuvres, a dinner buffet, and dessert you will be well taken care of as the night goes on. You can also take minors (under the age of 21) to the event, though they will not be able to drink.

    Typically, you can expect one large room for dancing, one for beverages, and a few others for sitting and relaxing. A professional photographer will also be taking personal photographs (they will be available to download about 2 weeks after the event). Overall, if you want the one-stop package for an amazing New Year’s Eve, watching the ball drop without having to brave the crowds in Times Square, this is the perfect option for you. The available tickets for Ball Drop Parties are very limited, so make sure to grab your tickets as soon as possible!

  5. 05

    Celebrate NYE in one of New York Clubs

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    If you’re looking for an excuse to party, New Year’s Eve in New York is surely one of the best ones. The city is home to many famous clubs. All of them host large parties on New Year’s Eve. Check out the best clubs in NYC if you want to dance into the New Year!

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    Celebrate NYE in NYC in a nice restaurant

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    There are some fantastic restaurants in New York from which you can enjoy a sensational view of the city. So you can enjoy an elegant dinner with a view of the fireworks or see New York at night from above!

    I recommend The View at Times Square, the Peak NYC at Edge Hudson Yards and the Manhatta!

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    The Midnight Ball at The McKittrick Hotel

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    McKittrick’s hotel is located right on the High Line. Its rooftop bar, Gallow Green, is one of my favorite spots in New York and should be on your itinerary.

    But it’s not only worth a visit in the summer: The Midnight Ball at The McKittrick Hotel takes place on New Year’s Eve. If you’re looking for an event with style, this is the place to be!

    Photo: Jane Kratochvill for The McKittrick Hotel

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    Celebrate NYE in New York on New York’s Roofs

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    With so many skyscrapers, New York is the perfect location for rooftop bars. Rooftop bars are not only enjoyable in the summer. You can just as well visit rooftop bars in New York in the winter. Most of them have fireplaces and blankets creating a cozy atmosphere. Just imagine sipping your hot chocolate or mulled wine gazing at New York’s twinkling skyline.

    Almost all rooftop bars run specials on New Year’s Eve. Just look up the website of the respective rooftop bar and plan your perfect New Year’s Eve in New York with some of the best views of the city.

    These are my favorites:

  9. 09

    Celebrate NYE in New York in Central Park

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    A much more relaxed place to celebrate New Year’s Eve in New York compared to Times Square is Central Park. The famous Bow Bridge has its own fireworks display at midnight (73rd Street level).

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    Celebrate New Year's Eve in New York on an observation deck

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    I love the rooftop bars of New York because the view is magnificent and there is always something to be discovered. They’re also a good option for New Year’s Eve, because two of them host their own events to celebrate the new year.

    The Edge Hudson Yards

    The Hudson Yards observation deck called Edge is New York’s newest and highest open observation deck. It opened in March 2020 and we were there – the view from up here is just sensational, and through the glass floor you can see over 100 floors straight down!

    New Year’s Eve at The Edge

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    The New York City skyline is one of the most famous and recognizable skylines in the world. It’s a city filled with skyscrapers and tall buildings. In most recent years, it has been expanding which made way for new observation decks. The newest observation deck is located at the top of the One Vanderbilt Building and is called The Summit. This deck is the second-highest outdoor deck in NYC which follows the Edge and has been open since October 2021.

    New Year’s Eve at Summit One Vanderbilt

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    Celebrate NYE in NYC in a nice hotel (with Ball Drop views!)

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    An absolute luxury and especially on New Year’s Eve in NYC but worth every penny, are hotels with a view. You can either relax and enjoy the view from your room or have a good time in the rooftop bars and lounges of the hotel.

    My tip: Check out this article for my tips on the best hotels in NYC with a view and the Best Hotels with Ball Drop View in NYC.

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    NYE Fireworks at Prospect Park

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    Brooklyn has been the antidote to overcrowded Manhattan for many years. On New Year’s Eve, Brooklyn puts on a great celebration at Grand Army Plaza in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. Many tourists have started to opt for this New Year’s Eve alternative. This is largely due to the first-class view of the fireworks. For fifteen minutes, the sky is illuminated above Long Meadow, the large clearing in Prospect Park. Music, drinks and great food are, of course, also part of the fun.

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    Celebrate NYE in NYC on the Brooklyn Bridge

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    The famous Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most popular tourist attractions all year round. It is used daily by thousands of pedestrians, bikers, joggers, and cars each day. On the last day of the year, the Brooklyn Bridge is even more of a magical place than it usually is. A brisk walk across the bridge just before midnight towards Manhattan is something you won’t forget anytime soon. The advantage of the bridge is that you can enjoy the breathtaking view of the New York skyline for free. On the other hand, the freezing wind blows across the East River in the winter. However, I am sure that the beautiful sight will warm your heart.

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    NYRR Midnight Run (December 31, 2022, 11:59 PM)

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    Why not kick off the new year with a run? For many people in New York, the New Year’s Eve run in Central Park is the real deal. Instead of champagne and sequin dresses, you will find a jogger’s paradise at night. At the stroke of midnight, the NYRR Midnight Run begins. During the event, which is sponsored by the New York Road Runners, participants complete a course of approx. 4 miles to start off the new year. At first, this may seem like a strange concept, however, it’s much more fun than you think! You really don’t have to be a serious runner to participate. Did you know that you can even enjoy some delicious sparkling cider at the halfway point?

FAQ

Can you drink alcohol in Times Square on New Year’s Eve in NYC?

No. In New York City it is illegal to consume alcohol in public spaces, regardless of your age. That restriction also applies to all public spaces like parks and streets. Even on New Year’s Eve, the restriction is not lifted. The alcohol-ban should not keep you from having a memorable New Year’s Eve in NYC, though!

What’s open in New York on New Year’s Eve?

Shops, restaurants, and attractions will operate as usual on December 31st, though local stores may close a little earlier than normal. However, opening hours will be affected by New Year’s Day (January 1st).

What’s open in New York on New Year’s Day?

Most people are given a day off on New Year’s Day. Consequently, all government buildings like banks, libraries, and post offices will stay shut. The subway will run on a weekend schedule.

Is Broadway open on New Year’s Eve?

Though New Year’s Eve 2022 falls on a Saturday, Broadway will be dark. Therefore, you will not be able to see a Broadway show on the 31st of December. You can expect irregular show schedules for the first week of the year.

Can I launch fireworks in New York City on New Year’s Eve?

No. All types of fireworks remain illegal in New York. They are featured by the city on special occasions, such as New Year’s Eve, the 4th of July, or the summer fireworks on Coney Island.

What’s the weather like on New Year’s Eve in NYC?

You can expect cold weather in New York on New Year’s Eve. After all, this is winter. Average temperatures in December are 31-44 °F, so be sure to bundle up if you are thinking about spending New Year’s Eve outdoors.

Profilbild Steffen Kneist
About the author
Steffen

I'm a true New York fan! Not only have I visited the city over 20 times but also have I spent several months here at a time. On my blog I show you the best and most beautiful spots of the city, so that you have a really good time! You can also find lots of insider tips in our New York travel guide. Also check out my hotel finder for New York!

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Olivia

Where can you get information and book for the New Year’s Eve Exclusive Ball Drop Parties?

Maureen Steinert

Hi Olivia,

most events are not available yet but we will be sure to update the article once they are! In the meantime, you can take a look at our Ball Drop Guide if you like!

Maureen

Andrew Smith

Hi There Are Some Things that ☺ 😊 🙂 Have Been Doing For Me in New York City

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