If you’ve made a resolution to be smarter with your budget or your eyes bulge when you look at the price tags of the best New Year’s parties, don’t fret: You don’t need a dime to have a good time come December 31. Ring in 2016 at one of these super fun AND free celebrations.
Perhaps the most famous celebration in the entire world, the ball drop is not only a spectacular experience, but also doesn’t cost a thing. Not for the faint of heart, or frequent urinater, the full-day saga (trust us, you’re going to need to get there by 3pm at the latest) of standing in a packed crowd without access to food vendors or bathrooms is worth it for the spectacle of live bands, the crystal ball and the spirit of camaraderie as you countdown the final 10 seconds with a million other live spectators and tens of million television viewers.
Grand Army Plaza
Forget Manhattan, and settle for a first-rate pyrotechnic display over Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. Head to Grand Army Plaza for gratis hot cocoa—according to the weather forecast it might actually finally be chilly enough to enjoy it—and a concert at this prime viewing spot for the fireworks.
New Year’s Eve Ride
Every year the folks over at Time’s Up give New Yorker’s a head start on their fitness goals for the upcoming year with this group ride on bikes and roller blades up Manhattan’s west side. The excursion ends at Central Park’s Belvedere Castle a few minutes before the midnight fireworks. Be sure to bring a snack, and one to share, because they also do an annual potluck.
Coney Island New Year’s Eve
Just because it’s too cold to go swimming, doesn’t mean you can’t have fun by the sea. This year America’s Playground is pulling out all the stops: Not only will the iconic Parachute Jump provide a special light display far brighter than any old bedazzled ball, but from 9pm to 11pm you’ll be able to skate at the Abe Stark Rink and take a spin on the Wonder Wheel, B&B Carousel and the Thunderbolt Roller Coaster for zero dollars. Insanity!
New Carroll Garden’s bar Fawkner, which was opened by the folks behind the Bell House and Union Hall, is hosting its inaugural New Year’s Eve bash. While formal wear isn’t required, a cocktail dress and dapper jacket will perfectly fit the decor, which includes a large fireplace, lush furnishings, and beautiful woods. There’s no cover to enter and at midnight the bar will have a complimentary champagne toast. Cheers!
Staten Island Ferry
Okay, we admit that spending the last few minutes of 2015 in the ferry terminal might not seem all that glamorous, but by being on board the free midnight ferry you’ll get a spectacular view of the fireworks in New Jersey and over the Hudson on the boat’s deck. They might not sell champaign, but a $4 Budweiser will do just fine as you get the same view some suckers paid hundreds for on their fancy harbor cruise.
New Year’s Eve Concert For Peace at St. John the Divine
Get in line early for this spectacular concert at St. John the Divine. The free, first-come-first-served general admission tickets grant you access to a show that will include a full orchestral performance of Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms and songs sung by celebrate chanteuse Judy Collins.