When you think about New Year's Eve events in New York, the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration is probably the first one that comes to mind. While the rest of the world watches half a million New Yorkers freezing their tails off in midtown, the rest of NYC will be shutting it down like it’s 1999—sorry, we mean 2018. So don your most festive holiday dresses and getups and head out for a night of New Year’s Eve fireworks, amazing New Year's Eve concerts and more first-of-the-year festivities with our roundup of the best parties and events for ringing in the New Year.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to New Year’s Eve in NYC
New Year’s Eve events in NYC
An iconic Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration is not only a New York tradition, it’s a global phenomenon. An estimate of one million revelers will 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 concerts, the inevitable surprise engagement and a chance to be featured on live television.
Instead of spending your night getting lit, watch the night sky light up instead! Brooklyn’s most famous green space once again hosts its annual New Year’s Eve fireworks display that will set the Kings County sky ablaze when the clock strikes midnight. The best spot for viewing the family-friendly nighttime spectacular is Grand Army Plaza, where you can pregame with live entertainment by Quintessential Playlist beginning at 10:30pm.
Countdown the hours to 2018 at one of the best bars in Astoria—The Ditty! End 2017 on a tipsy note with a three-hour open bar followed by a champagne toast at midnight. The bar opens its doors to non-ticket holders once the ball drops to throw an all-night dance party (yes, really—it ends at 8am). And there will be a live telecast of Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve at the venue as well. With great good, booze, dancing and board games to play, what more could you want from a New Year's Eve bash?
The Artist Formally known as Prince may have left the physical plane behind, but his music and influence will live on in 2018 and beyond. Throw on your three-eyed glasses and velour trenchcoat and get ready to dance the night away at this tribute, which will project 1984's Purple Rain on the wall while you get down to classics like "Raspberry Beret" and "Cream."
Run as if 2017 were chasing you (and truly, can you imagine a scarier horror concept?) at New York Road Runners’ annual four-mile Midnight Run, which provides credit to finishers toward the New York City Marathon. The night begins at 10pm with dancing; this is, mind you, a fun run. Then at midnight, start your trek with hundreds of other festive joggers, and take in the gorgeous fireworks display. (Trust us: It’s a hell of a lot healthier than binge drinking and hooking up with a rando.)
Usher in the New Year in a positive way at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, a bona fide New York institution. The Cathedral Choir and Orchestra performs, and the show begins with Joseph Haydn's Te Deum and continues with the U.S. premiere of See the Wretched Strangers by Lucas Wiegerink. The program includes readings, meditations and more festive music, too.
Why settle for the standard two-hour open bar and mundane DJ when you could be throwing down for a full 24 hours with risqué aerial dancers, fire performers, naughty ice sculptures and buckets of confetti? You’re bound to encounter innumerable creative looks and loads of unexpected surprises at this daylong celebration from ZERO Party and Bushwick’s perpetually raging House of Yes. The general vibe is black-tie–meets–Burning Man, and while your ticket lets you dance to live DJs long into the following day, be warned that there’s no reentry after 8am. And be sure to pace yourself as you start the New Year; this endless bash is a party marathon, not a sprint.
Since Prince Harry has finally settled down, your best bet for partying with royals is probably this no-holds-barred theatrical event at the McKittrick Hotel. The luxe venue, home of the hit show Sleep No More, goes all out for this annual bash with opulent masked revelry, a decadent feast and elaborate performances created exclusively for the evening. Guests can milk the open bar all night long, which is a lot more than we can say about Buckingham Palace, thank you very much.
As Rihanna once taught us, one can find love in a hopeless place. Therefore, nothing is stopping you from coming across a lil’ something-something at this rave-tastic dance party in an East Williamsburg warehouse. The massive, space-themed bash is set to have two full stages with music, an out-of-this-world silent disco, back-to-back DJs, psychedelic art installations, fire breathers, art cars and a giant spinning planetarium. So, yeah. There will definitely be a lot to discuss with a new friend. It’s a big, crowded party—Ibiza fave DJ Claptone headlines— so don’t be surprised if you get a little lost in space. Hopefully, you can land someone special in the ether.
From all of the insane tweets and discouraging internet hoaxes to finding out Matt Lauer is one of those guys, the past year has given us all plenty of reasons to hit the bottle—hard. If your liver is begging for a little respite, this tranquil concert, with music about our shared earth and the importance of neighborly compassion, is a good place to launch your healthy intentions for the New Year. This year’s concert, an annual tradition since 1984, also features the American premiere of Lucas Wiegerink’s new work, See the Wretched Strangers.