New Year’s Eve is going to be a lot different in NYC this year

Make New Year’s Eve 2020 worth remembering using our guide containing things to do and how to celebrate

Fireworks
Photograph: Shutterstock

New Year's Eve 2020 couldn't come any sooner. We'll happily say "goodbye" and ring in 2021 this year with gusto. Of course, the biggest party in NYC in Times Square, will still go on, but as a massively scaled-down virtual event. It'll be a strange NYE, but there's much fun to be had as we kick 2020 to the curb. This is our essential guide to New Year's Eve 2020 in New York City

When is New Year’s Eve?

New Year’s Eve takes place on the last day of the year: Thursday, December 31, 2020.

Is the Times Square Eve Ball Drop still taking place?

Yes. This year, the party in Times Square will be limited to an "extremely limited" group of socially distanced in-person honorees, who will "reflect the themes, challenges and inspirations of 2020," according to the Times Square Alliance.

You'll have to tune in virtually.

 

When is the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration?

Thursday, December 31, starting at 6pm. 

Who will be performing and what will I see during the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration?

The New Year’s Eve Ball coverage begins at 6 p.m. and will include hourly countdowns, live musical performances from Gloria Gaynor, Pitbull, Anitta, Jennifer Lopez, Billy Porter, Cyndi Lauper, Jimmie Allen, Machine Gun Kelly, The Waffle Crew, and USO Show Troupe, and the pushing of the Waterford Crystal button that signals the Ball Drop at midnight.

Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve is hosted by Ryan Seacrest will be headlined by Jennifer Lopez, who will be joined by Billy Porter, Cyndi Lauper and Jimmie Allen. Ciara will oversee the Los Angeles festivities again for the fourth year.

NBC and Carson Daly will host their own show with performances across the country featuring AJR, Busta Rhymes, Doja Cat, Goo Goo Dolls, Kylie Minogue, Chloe x Halle, Jason Derulo, Pentatonix, Bebe Rexha, Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani, Sting, Shirazee, Anderson Paak and CNCO.

How do I tune in to see the ball drop?

The Times Square Alliance and Countdown Entertainment are streaming a webcast of the 2021 New Year's Eve celebration starting at 6pm.

This year, VNYE (Virtual New Year's Eve) is bringing Times Square to our mobile devices and computers in an over-the-top way through a virtual reality- and augmented reality-based platform, where everyone can create and customize their own avatar and explore a vibrant virtual Times Square.

You can also watch the ball drop live at TimesSquareNYC.org, TimesSquareBall.net and livestream.com/2021 

Or you can simply catch it on our Instagram Live.

Are parties still happening?

No, the new rule of having a maximum of 10 people in a gathering is putting the kibosh on parties this year. But below, we've come up with a number of ways you can still celebrate this year, from joining the Times Square celebration virtually to comedy shows and special hotel stays.

 

New Year’s Eve 2020 in NYC

The best New Year’s Eve events in NYC
Things to do

The best New Year’s Eve events in NYC

It's been a very long year and now we all have the opportunity to leave the bad of 2020 behind and start fresh, we need to start it off right with the best New Year's Eve possible. No matter how you’re hoping to ring in 2021—sloppy, sober, laid-back or nuts—we’ve got the NYE celebration for you. So don your festive getups and get ready for a night of New Year’s Eve fireworks, amazing dinners and more first-of-the-year festivities with this roundup of the best attractions and events for ringing in the New Year. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to New Year’s Eve in NYC

Times Square New Year’s Eve guide
Things to do

Times Square New Year’s Eve guide

An iconic Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration is not only a New York tradition, it’s a global phenomenon. An estimated one million revelers flock to the land of LED screens to witness one of the best NYC events in December, which includes star-studded New Year’s Eve parties, the inevitable surprise engagement and a chance to be featured on live television. This year is much different and the desire to say "goodbye" to 2020 is great. Here's what you need to know about this year's Times Square New Year's Eve. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to New Years Eve in NYC Is the New Year's Ball Drop happening? Yes. This year, the party in Times Square will be limited to an "extremely limited" group of socially distanced in-person honorees, who will "reflect the themes, challenges and inspirations of 2020," according to the Times Square Alliance. You'll have to tune in virtually or rent this geodesic dome on Airbnb. When is the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration? Thursday, December 31, starting at 6pm.  Who will be performing and what will I see during the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration? The New Year’s Eve Ball coverage begins at 6 p.m. and will include hourly countdowns, live musical performances from Gloria Gaynor, who will sing "I Will Survive," special guests, and the pushing of the Waterford Crystal button that signals the Ball Drop at midnight. Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve is hosted by Ryan Seacrest will be headlined by Jennifer Lopez, who will be joined by Billy Porter, Cyndi Lauper and Jimmie Allen. Ciara will oversee the Los Angeles festivities again for the fourth year. NBC and Carson Daly will host their own show with performances across the country featuring AJR, Busta Rhymes, Doja Cat, Goo Goo Dolls, Kylie Minogue, Chloe x Halle, Jason Derulo, Pentatonix, Bebe Rexha, Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani, Sting, Shirazee, Anderson Paak and CNCO. How do I tune in to see the ball drop? The Times Square Alliance and Countdown Entertainment are streaming a webcast of the 2021 New Year's Eve celebration starting at 6pm. This year, VNYE (Virtual New Year's Eve) is bringing Times Square to our mobile devices and computers in an over-the-top way through a virtual reality- and augmented reality-based platform, where everyone can create and customize their own avatar and explore a vibrant virtual Times Square. You can also watch the ball drop live at TimesSquareNYC.org, TimesSquareBall.net and livestream.com/2021 and right here:

The best New Year’s Eve dinner in NYC
Restaurants

The best New Year’s Eve dinner in NYC

Peace the ’eff out, 2020. Like everything this year, New Year’s Eve celebrations will be slightly different, but thankfully some traditions remain, from the Times Square New Year's Eve ball drop (yes, it’s still happening) to the holiday menus and specials on offer from some of NYC’s best restaurants. Indoor dining may be closed, but you can still have yourself a festive feast at home on December 31st thanks to these NYC takeout and delivery options. Consider it a delicious way to bid adieu to this chaotic year. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to New Year’s Eve in NYC

There's a wild new way to watch the Times Square ball drop this year
News

There's a wild new way to watch the Times Square ball drop this year

It wouldn't be 2020 if our largest and most iconic New Year's Eve celebration wasn't affected by the global pandemic.  This year, New Year's Eve in Times Square won't be open to the public. So instead of bringing out 1 million visitors to Times Square New Year's Eve ball drop, organizers of the famous event are inviting everyone across the globe to join in on what will be a first-of-its-kind virtual experience that "gamifies" the experience. RECOMMENDED: Times Square New Year’s Eve guide Named VNYE (Virtual New Year's Eve), the experience brings Times Square to our mobile devices and computers in an over-the-top way through a virtual reality- and augmented reality-based platform, where everyone can create and customize their own avatar and explore a vibrant virtual Times Square. How does it work? After creating an avatar, visitors to VNYE can visit the 2020 Remembrance Hall, play games, check out an observation deck, watch "concerts" from Alex Boyé, Armani White, and Chloe Gilligan, see digital art from artists around the world in the Time Gallery, dance, take in nature, experience "zero gravity," and collect celebratory confetti to earn points customize their avatars. Photograph: Courtesy Jamestown Of course, the whole draw for those who visit Times Square on New Year's Eve is the ball drop and subsequent fireworks and shower of confetti. That won't be lost this year (the ball will still drop IRL)—it can also be seen from this virtual world via livestreams from 11 cameras across Times Square on the night of December 31. Revelers can also check camera feeds of New Year's Eve celebrations from across the world, as well as a stream from NASA's International Space Station. Separately, users can bring the NYC skyline to their living rooms and wear Planet Fitness Father Time hats and New Year's glasses via augmented reality. When the AR clock strikes midnight, fireworks will explode their devices' screens. How do you access VNYE? Download the free app on your phone or device as early as December 19 to access the virtual world. Michael Phillips, President of Jamestown, which owns One Times Square where the ball drops each year, said that the company began planning a virtual celebration in May once it became clear that hundreds of thousands of people were not going to be able to gather in Times Square. "It was not an inexpensive feat—it was a huge lift," he said during a press conference on Monday night, explaining that it was their goal to get people to "engage in any way they can and move out of the PAUSE moment of the last year." "Our biggest challenge was wrapping our heads around the scale of the project...," he said. "Every week, there was another large partner who came to the table and said 'Yes, we’re in.' That fueled us to the next layer and the next 2 weeks of insurmountable hurdles. We were working across time zones, but there was no opportunity not to do it. We had to do it." It's likely Jamestown and its partners will continue to make its virtual Times Square a part of the celebrations in years to come. Phillips said that VNYE is a "beta test" for how event programming could be in the future and that in future years, there could be an added level of complexity to the program. "We are the stewards of times in our capacity as the owner of One Times Square—home of the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop Celebration for more than 100 years," he said. "As time ticks on, the Ball Drop Celebration remains a symbol of hope, reflection, and connection, all which couldn’t be more important as we come to the close of 2020 and ring in 2021." Photograph: Courtesy Jamestown Most popular on Time Out - The Dyker Heights Christmas Lights Guide 2020- The best Christmas movies for kids- The coolest drive-thru Christmas lights near NYC- A major snow storm is predicted to hit NYC this week- 60 notable NYC restaurants and bars that have now permanently closed Want to know what’s cool in the city before your friends do? Sign up to our newsletter for the latest and greatest from NYC and beyond.

Advertising
New Year’s Eve fireworks in NYC
Things to do

New Year’s Eve fireworks in NYC

Imagine: The clock strikes midnight on December 31 and stunning New Year’s Eve fireworks light up the sky while you plant a big smooch on your honey. 

The best places for New Year’s Day brunch in NYC
Restaurants

The best places for New Year’s Day brunch in NYC

You're exhausted: You watched the Times Square ball drop, took in the beautiful New Year’s Eve fireworks and now have the ultimate New Year’s Day hangover—what better way, then, to ring in the first day of the year with New Year’s Day brunch in NYC? Whether you want yours sweet or savory or both, these holiday specials and kits available for takeout and delivery are great options for your first meal of 2020, RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in NYC

The best things to do on New Year’s Day in NYC
Things to do

The best things to do on New Year’s Day in NYC

The party continues on New Year’s Day with fun daytime activities, DJ sets and great ways to unwind

You can sleep in a geodesic dome right under the Times Square NYE ball
News

You can sleep in a geodesic dome right under the Times Square NYE ball

Even though the iconic Times Square ball drop will be closed to the public, there is one way to see it in person this year. You can rent a geodesic dome via Airbnb on the Nasdaq terrace, right under the ball for just $21 (in honor of 2021). That's right—you'll have panoramic views of Times Square, its broadcasted events and concerts when no one else will. The experience is so VIP that Mariah Carey, the Christmas Angel herself, will welcome you to your new digs in a virtual message. RECOMMENDED: There's a wild new way to watch the Times Square ball drop this year Those who book the stay will also get to enjoy an indoor art lounge where you can watch the celebrations, relax in a reading nook with board games, grab snacks from a fully-stocked dining area with Mariah's cookies (yes, she has her own cookies), and a dinner prepared by a private chef and cheesecake from Junior's. Photograph: Courtesy Airbnb Not only that, but the guests get a $5,000 shopping credit to use at shops on Fifth Avenue or in Times Square before your stay, a "trunk full" of NYE accessories like hats, 2021 glasses, noisemakers and more, and a piece of crystal from this year’s Waterford crystal ball design as a memento to take home. Not into sleeping outdoors? There's an indoor queen bed for you to sleep on. If you're wondering what the catch is, it's that it's a first-come, first-served experience, so once reservations open on December 21, you need to be the first in line to have a chance at booking it. The experience is open to two locals from the same household. You can reserve a dome for two guests starting at 9am on December 21 at airbnb.com.  Airbnb will make a contribution to an organization serving New York City frontline workers and their families in honor of the work they did this year during the pandemic.  Photograph: Courtesy Airbnb Photograph: Courtesy Airbnb   Most popular on Time Out - The Dyker Heights Christmas Lights Guide 2020- The best Christmas movies for kids- The coolest drive-thru Christmas lights near NYC- A major snow storm is predicted to hit NYC this week- 60 notable NYC restaurants and bars that have now permanently closed Want to know what’s cool in the city before your friends do? Sign up to our newsletter for the latest and greatest from NYC and beyond.

Vita Coco is giving away free hangover kits to New Yorkers
News

Vita Coco is giving away free hangover kits to New Yorkers

Listen, we already know all of the hangover cures: Sleep, hydration, a couple of aspirin, a bacon egg and cheese. The problem is having to haul our hungover selves down to the bodega to get all of said supplies, especially after a night of celebrating. Thankfully, you won't have to do that sad schlep this New Year's Day: Vita Coco and Postmates are giving out free hangover recovery kits to New Yorkers on January 1, which just so happens to be National Hangover Day.   Photograph: Vita Coco The limited-edition kits come with all of the essentials needed to transform you from a champagne-chugging zombie back into a functioning human adult person: Coconut water (electrolytes, praise), a warm breakfast sandwich, cozy socks, a head massager, earplugs in case your roommate is a dreaded morning person, and a webcam cover because, no, we will not be taking any Zoom calls today. It also comes with some Banila skincare and one free month of Obé Fitness, in case you really want to get a head start on your resolutions. To order the free kit, choose the Vita Coco National Hangover Day Recovery Kit on the Postmates app (available on iOS or Android). Contactless deliveries will kick off at 11am on January 1st to those within delivery radius. For every kit distributed, Vita Coco will donate five bucks to ABC Food Tours, a non-profit that provides nutritional education and resources to New York youth.  Most popular on Time Out - Stella Artois will pay for your takeout in NYC this week if you order local- The best Christmas movies for kids- The Dyker Heights Christmas Lights Guide 2020- You can sleep in a geodesic dome right under the Times Square NYE ball- Is New York heading for another full shutdown? Want to know what’s cool in the city before your friends do? Sign up to our newsletter for the latest and greatest from NYC and beyond.

The best New Year’s songs
Music

The best New Year’s songs

Ring in the new year with this list of the best New Year's songs, from dance music classics to German punk rock

Show more

Past New Year’s Eve in NYC coverage

News

20 things you’ll definitely see on New Year’s Eve in NYC

You're ready to rage through the night, ringing in the New Year with an animal fervor that brings New York City to its knees, its lesser humans begging you for mercy. Maybe you've planned it all out or maybe you're going to wing it. Either way, you need to prepare yourself for the good, the bad, the ugly and the very, very awkward.  RECOMMENDED: New Year's Eve in NYC 1. Five minutes 'til midnight, people sizing up their make-out options.   2. People being charged absolutely ludicrous prices for drinks (and not giving a shit).   3. Some stooge waiting to hear this.    4. People getting the hell out of Manhattan after midnight any way they can.   5. A very quick flip from celebrating to sick. via GIPHY   6. The person who woke up in the wrong borough.   7. Someone who felt left out gets invited to a party at the last minute.   8. The guy who should be dead by now, but is somehow still partying.   9. The person who needs to be picked up off the floor when it’s time to go home.   10. The guy who sees his two ugliest friends making out with each other   11. That dude convinced he’s the sexiest man on Earth. And ladies: New Year’s Eve is your lucky night.   12. People realizing that the dumb thing they just did is going to be all over their Facebook feed the next morning.   13. The cute single person who brought their super awkward friend to the party.   14. The girl who’s just completely failed to kiss her crush at midnight.   15. Regret. So much regret.   16. The dude who took Molly for the first time.   17. Someone having a shitty night who remains determined to turn it around.   18. Wasted bros who currently find everything hilarious.   19. A victim of circumstance.   20. Seacrest elbowing his way into your night.    

25 classic photos of New Year’s Eve in New York
Things to do

25 classic photos of New Year’s Eve in New York

Feeling nostalgic as we gear up for the New Year? Ogling these classic photos of New Year's Eve in NYC will make you even sappier. Whether you’re getting the singular New Year’s Eve experience of braving the cold during the infamous Times Square celebration or hitting up one of the dozens of New Year’s Eve parties or concerts that will be ushering in 2018, you’re guaranteed an incredible night out in New York. How do we know that? Because people have been getting crazy on December 31 here forever. Check out these shots of NYC on New Year’s Eve through the decades for proof. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to New Year’s Eve in NYC

10 rooftop bars you can go to for New Year’s Eve
News

10 rooftop bars you can go to for New Year’s Eve

The best Champagne deals for your NYE toast
News

The best Champagne deals for your NYE toast

Show more