The Rink at Rockefeller Center; 8:30am; $25, skate rental $12
Even if the sidewalks are overrun with tourists, you’ll have ample room to skate at the city’s most iconic rink; only 150 people are allowed on the ice at once. So be prepared to spend a bit of a wait in line fantasizing about your waltz jumps and double axels: the buildup will be worth it once you're on the ice.
The Bad Plus Village Vanguard; 8:30pm, 10:30pm; $35, plus one-drink minimum
Alt-jazz phenomenon the Bad Plus made its name—and earned itself a few haters—interpreting favorites by Blondie, Nirvana and other rock icons, but has since aimed the spotlight on its striking, inventive postbop-gone-pop originals, tunes that handily demonstrate the group's uncommonly broad pool of influences. After this holiday week of shows, the Bad Plus says goodbye to pianist Ethan Iverson; they'll welcome his replacement, Orrin Evans, in 2018. The New Year's Eve date will be his final gig as part of the trio.
RECOMMENDED: What’s open on Christmas Day in NYC
Astronomy Live: Grand Tour of the Universe American Museum of Natural History; 7pm; $15
Pro astronomers Irene Pease and Ted Williams preview the major cosmic events of 2018.
Holiday Train Show New York Botanical Garden; 10am; $23–$28
The garden lights up with its collection of trains that chug along a nearly half-mile track by 150 miniature NYC landmarks like the Empire State Building and Radio City Music Hall, all made of natural materials such as leaves, twigs, bark and berries.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra Prudential Center; 3pm; $45–$75
If nothing gets you in the holiday spirit quite like thick metal riffs, indoor fireworks and head-spinning light shows, you're in luck. Our favorite shamelessly bombastic prog-pop-metal-classical spectacular visits town for two sets at the Prudential Center.
Festivus! A Sorta Holiday Comedy Show Eastville Comedy Club; 8pm; $10, $15 at the door
The best way to soften your hatred for Christmas? Have a laugh! Luckily, Brad Stoll and Freddy G—two self-hating comedic Jews who can’t bear the line for the Rockefeller Christmas tree—can help. An ace group of funny folks (Mike Cannon, Ian Lara, Nathan Macintosh and more) dish their best jokes to provide a little anti-Christmas cheer.
Sandra Bernhard: Sandemonium Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater; 7:30pm; $65
The Divine Sandra's best work gives pop culture a big, sloppy kiss, while simultaneously biting it on the lip. Her annual year-capping residency at Joe’s Pub blends irony, wistfulness, sentiment and tongue-in-cheek (or are they?) rock songs. This year's edition, backed by the Sandyland Squad Band, promises "a brief respite from the endless madness" of the ever more stressful news of the world.
POP! A Bingo Party Parklife; 7pm; free
Not all bingo players are created equal. For those of us with a particular predilection for pop culture, this delicious night of catty geek revelry provides clips, trivia and drunken debates on sacred topics from the media vault. This edition honors emo and pop punk, so draw on that eyeliner and join host Bobby Hankinson for a night of feathered bangs and lip rings—oh so many lip rings.
Late Skate at Bryant Park’s Winter Village; 10:30pm; $49
One night only: skate after hours in the middle of Manhattan at Bryant Park’s Winter Village. After closing hours, The Rink will open for an exclusive, late-night skate event with photo ops, a DJ, and more. Your ticket gets you skate rental, bag check and one gratis hot chocolate.
Zach’s Slumber Party After Party Club Cumming; 10pm; free
No grim detail of the human experiment escapes the penetrating eyes of stand-up Zach Zimmerman, who brings his delightfully dark observational humor to Club Cumming's stage for a twisted and fun late night of laughs. He's joined by Ashley England, Becca Taubel, Brad Einstein and HQ Trivia host Scott Rogowski. Onesies welcome.
Hot Box Comedy et al.; 8pm; free
The mercilessly funny buddies and Unofficial Expert podcast cohosts Marie Faustin and Sydnee Washington take over the charming new LES cocktail bar et al. for a night of dope comedy to wrap up the year. They welcome their very funny friends Liza Treyger, Mike Brown, Rebecca O'Neal and Petey DeAbreu. Show up looking sharp, or these two will read you to filth.
Dessert Cart: Full Fat! The Pit Loft; 10:30pm; $3
Hula-hooping, joke-spewing sexagenarian Mimi Fischer invites new and established improv teams to throw down at this reliably wild showcase. You'll fall in love with some of the city's most promising indie improv teams as they sweat it out on stage.
Good Riddance Day Times Square; noon; free
Rid yourself of 2017’s baggage at the tenth annual Good Riddance Day, inspired by the Latin American tradition of burning dolls that represent issues from the year before. Bring the things you want to forget to Times Square—the Times Square Alliance will provide shredders, dumpsters and sledgehammers. Goodbye to all that!
Dungeons & Drag Kings Talon; 8pm; $10–$15
Grand dame Anja Keister and reigning king Lee Valone host this mad monthly night of gender-bending, kink and geek ecstasy at Talon. Witness inventive performances from burlesque drag diva Munroe Lilly, Agent Wednesday, Tiny D and Miss Rose Quartz, with trivia hosted by Keister. Before the show gets started at 9, join a wild kink demonstration at 8:30pm.
Bring Your Friends Comedy Village Lantern; 10pm; free
Head to Greenwich Village for this delightful free stand-up show featuring top local talent. As an added bonus, be one of the first five people through the door and get a free frozen margarita.
Tammy Faye: Just a Kiss Away Pangea; 7:30pm; $20–$25 plus $20 minimum
The daring, hilarious, persona-shifting singer, who has previously taken on the oeuvres of Nico and Marianne Faithfull, blasted through the rock & roll canon of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards in her October concert series at Pangea, devoting a show apiece to the Rolling Stones albums Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main Street. Her December encore show features highlights from all four.
A Gay Show for All People Littlefield; 8pm; $8, at the door $10
Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp—the gay terrorists from Funny or Die’s Jared & Ivanka videos and The Opposition with Jordan Klepper—host their bananas variety show featuring an array of queer and honorarily gay performers. Look out for Oscars trivia, stabs at our current presidential administration and renditions of Ariana Grande favorites. The holiday bonanza includes Henry Koperski, Naomi Ekperigin, Liza Treyger, Patti Harrison, Blake Daniel, Matt Rogers, Bowen Yang and Cole Escola.
Gogol Bordello + Lucky Chops Brooklyn Steel; 8pm; $32
Eugene Hütz and his collective of Gypsy punks support their latest, Seekers and Finders, with a two-night pre–NYE stint in Brooklyn. Over 15 years of playing together has tightened the outfit's melting-pot output of polka, hardcore and so much more into a taut thread of zany debauchery. If only the same could be said of our own antics when we celebrate the new year.
Phish Madison Square Garden; 7:30pm; $80
The tireless jam band returns to Madison Square Garden for another New Year's Eve run. The Vermont quartet has played MSG more than 50 times, making it part of an elite club that includes Billy Joel, Elton John and the Grateful Dead. With seasoned vets like these (in particular ones that have a reputation for eye-popping NYE shows), you're pretty much guaranteed to enjoy your trip at…umm, we mean to the Garden.
The Disco Biscuits PlayStation Theater; 11:30pm; $39.50–$45
It's easy to poke fun at the Disco Biscuits (trance fusion?). Still, more than two decades in, bisco music (as they call it) remains a huge hit among the jammy throngs, and the fan base just keeps on growing. Count on a packed house when the Philly juggernaut hits Playstation Theater for a four-night run.