Times Square New Year’s Eve guide

Want to experience a traditional Times Square New Year’s Eve? Here’s how to see the ball drop.

new year's eve times square
Photograph: Shutterstock

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, 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 and right here:

Times Square New Year’s Eve guide

There's a wild new way to watch the Times Square ball drop this year
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This year, New Year's Eve in Times Square won't be open to the public.

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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.

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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...