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 parties, the inevitable surprise engagement and a chance to be featured on live television. Note: It takes many layers of clothing, a strong bladder (no bathrooms) and a great attitude to enjoy the experience, so we’re providing all the tips and all the information you need in order to make the most of it. If watching the ball drop and getting covered in confetti isn’t your thing, there are many other New Year’s Eve events worth checking out.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to New Years Eve in NYC
When should I arrive to the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration?
First off, prepare for a long night! If you want a prime viewing spot of all the performances, it is recommended that you get there by noon on Tuesday, December 31. The best viewing area for the show is near the Bowtie (where Broadway meets Seventh Avenue). If you want to get a good spot to watch the ball drop, don’t fret. There will be plenty of video screens set up showing One Times Square (where the ball is located.) The ball can be seen best along Broadway from 43rd Street to 50th Street, and along Seventh Avenue to 59th Street. If you’re heading to Times Square after 3pm, enter from the north. Since the ball drops at the southern end, the area fills up from the bottom, so filtering down from the top lets you ease your way into the crowds, rather than trying to punch in where they're most dense. Note: You can only access Times Square from Sixth Avenue and Eighth Avenue only on New Year’s Eve.
How do I get to the Times Square New Year’s Eve Celebration?
Our advice? Don’t take the subway. Times Square–42nd Street is one of the biggest hubs of the subway system, serving eight (or 11, depending on how you look at it) different lines. Do not attempt to get off there. It will be far too crowded. Plus, the MTA may close off some exits due to security/crowd flow concerns, making it even more of a nightmare. Your best bets are the B, D, F, or M to 47th–50th Streets/Rockefeller Center or the C or E to 50th Street.
What time does the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration start?
At 6pm, the Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball is raised to the top of the pole at One Times Square (Broadway at 43rd St). Shortly after, the Times Square Alliance sanitation crew will distribute thousands of party favors, including hats, glasses, noisemakers—you name it. The live, televised show and performances kick off at 8pm.
Who will be performing during the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration?
Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve is hosted by Ryan Seacrest and Lucy Hale. This year, multi-platinum rapper Post Malone will headline. Other live performances include K-pop group BTS, country singer Sam Hunt, singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette plus the cast of Broadway’s “Jagged Little Pill."
What should I bring to Times Square New Year’s Eve?
Bring your own food (or eat beforehand). The city is kicking out every hot dog cart and halal stand for the big night, so the only way you're getting to eat is if you BYO munchies. We'll leave it up to you to decide if it's worth smuggling booze into Times Square and risking a ticket, but you should definitely bring some water.
What if I can't make it but still want to see the ball drop?
The Times Square Alliance and Countdown Entertainment are streaming a webcast of the 2020 New Year's Eve celebration starting at 6pm with performances by rock group X Ambassadors (known for songs Renegades and Unsteady), The Marching Cobras Sapphire Danceline, Flag Unit, and A Military Salute by the USO Show Troupe to honor the Armed Forces. You can tune in here.
Times Square New Year’s Eve guide
Watch the Times Square New Year's Eve webcast live here
We get it—watching the ball drop in Times Square for New Year's Eve is still magical after all these years, but the thought of physically standing in that freezing cold crowd repels you. If watching it all go down from your heated apartment is the preferred choice, you don't need cable to do it. The Times Square Alliance and Countdown Entertainment are streaming the 2020 New Year's Eve celebration starting at 6pm, which you can watch below. You, and about 1.8 million viewers from across 200 countries, will see performances by rock group X Ambassadors (known for songs Renegades and Unsteady), The Marching Cobras Sapphire Danceline, Flag Unit, and A Military Salute by the USO Show Troupe to honor the Armed Forces. Actor Jonathan Bennett (Mean Girls, Halloween Wars and Holiday Wars) will host the six-hour webcast with Andrea Boehlke and Jeremy Hassell, who will speak with revelers in the crowd and special celebrity guests about their wishes for the New Year. RECOMMENDED: New Year’s Eve 2019 in NYC guide