Spending the New Year in New York is something everyone should do at least once, Times Square ball drop or no. Those planning to take on the city’s nightlife on December 31st will find no shortage of options: the glitzy Times Square Ball Drop, sky-high rooftop shindigs, themed parties, a midnight run … the list goes on and on. You can even find things to do for free if you know where to look. Luckily, we do, and we’re happy to share. Party on, party people, and say hello to 2024 for us.
Watch the ball drop.
Yes, the one on everyone’s TVs, every year. Join the madness in Times Square if you’ve got the stamina, or watch from a safe distance.
Times Square Ball Drop:
If you’d prefer to see that glittery sphere descend in person, be prepared for the realities of the event. The performances and energy of the crowd are electric, but the popularity of the event means that people camp out starting in the early morning to get prime spots in the ever-growing sea of people. In other words, be prepared to get really cozy with your neighbors, and to hold your ground when you find a good spot. Dress in warm layers – it will most certainly be frigid – and do yourself a favor by bringing yourself drinks and snacks. Phew! Hey, now you can say you did it.
Watch from above:
Those who want to see the ball drop from a more upscale locale, minus all the street-level chaos, should snag a room with a view or head for a nearby rooftop bar. The Knickerbocker, Marriott Marquis, Hyatt Centric Times Square, and M Social are places you can set up camp to ensure you can ring in the new year without losing feeling in your toes.
Another way to escape the madness of Times Square is to join throngs of locals celebrating on the Brooklyn Bridge. More and more folks are making their way to the bridge each year, so perhaps now would be a good time to enjoy the fireworks and breathtaking skyline views unhindered. The sense of community and excitement is palpable, the view of the city skyline is breathtaking, and the New Year’s fireworks display is the cherry on top.
Have a lofty NYE.
Unbelievable views and open bars? Yes, please. New York City has no shortage of rooftop shindigs on New Year’s Eve, but here are some standouts.
SUMMIT One Vanderbilt’s NYE:
Take your celebration to new heights at SUMMIT One Vanderbilt. With a live DJ, countdown light unparalleled views that’ll have you questioning gravity, this buzzy new observation deck promises a New Year’s Eve that’s more out-of-this-world than your friend’s alien-themed party.
The Rockaway Hotel Rooftop Party:
For a beachy vibe without leaving the city, head towards Rockaway Beach, whose hotel rooftop party offers panoramic views of both the Atlantic Ocean and the city skyline.
We haven’t forgotten you, Brooklynites: Westlight, located in Williamsburg, offers a trendy, dance-y rooftop experience with incredible views of Manhattan. It’s where the cool kids hang out, as they say, and the view is nearly as breathtaking as your dance moves are sure to be.
The Book of the Forbidden at Somewhere Nowhere:
Intrigue, glamour, hanging art installations, an open bar … Somewhere Nowhere’s NYE bash has it all. The Book of the Forbidden, a themed event, promises you’ll start the year in a magical garden in the clouds, surrounded by 360-degree views of the city far below.
Watch the fireworks.
New York City doesn’t skimp on the light shows. Wherever you are, you’re likely to catch a glimpse of a few different fireworks shows throughout the night, but here are the best places to catch them.
The city’s most iconic park hosts a family-friendly fireworks display, creating a magical atmosphere amidst the natural beauty of the park. Grab a hot cocoa, bundle up, and enjoy the spectacle with loved ones.
Those who congregate in Times Square will find out that the show also comes with a rather dazzling fireworks display, adding an extra layer of excitement to the activities. Double the spectacle, double the fun.
Brooklyn’s Prospect Park is another fantastic location to catch a stunning fireworks show, and you can expect it to be full of families local to the area. Grab some hand warmers and your thickest scarf, and enjoy the thinner crowds on this side of the river.
Party it up.
Again, if you’re looking for a party, you’ll be able to find one on every corner on New Year’s Eve. Wandering the city in search of a good function isn’t recommended, though, so feel free to start with some of our favorites.
The Roxy Hotel:
Looking for something a touch more sophisticated? The Roxy Hotel, known largely for its old-world style, hosts a classic celebration imbued with vintage glamour. Live music, elegant cocktails, and an ambiance that transports you to a different era – “This is what it must have been like before smartphones,” you’ll think.
Gala Galactic at House of YES:
Those in search of a more eclectic experience should head for this year’s extraterrestrial-themed extravaganza at the legendary nightlife destination House of Yes. Corresponding looks are required for entry (the best one wins fancy champagne and unlimited entry to the club for a year), and once inside, you’ll find casinos, fortune-tellers, star chart readings, interdimensional art installations, a zero-gravity chill-out lounge, and much more.
Elsewhere New Year’s Eve:
A storied music venue in Bushwick, Elsewhere’s New Year’s Eve bashes are legend among Brooklynites, and a good deal cheaper than most you’ll find in Manhattan. You can expect a good chunk of Brooklyn’s younger crowd to be headed here, but that’s not to say there’s not something for everyone.
NYE 2024 at Slate NYC:
In the Flatiron District, Slate hosts a lively shindig with DJs, dancing, and a 20-foot slide. You heard that right: Slate NYC is billed as a playground for adults, and on December 31st, it certainly lives up to that title. Here, you can dance your way into the New Year without worrying about what your bank account will look like once you get there.
Or, try something different entirely.
Perhaps the party scene isn’t for you, and that’s perfectly fine. The beauty of New York City is that no matter your idea of fun, you’ll find it here.
The ultimate lead-in to 2024 may just be a saxophone solo. If you want the New Year’s Eve experience minus the rowdiness, consider classing it up at a jazz club. Django Jazz Club in particular is known for hosting unforgettable, elegant fetes on December 31st.
The New Year’s Eve Run in Central Park:
So, maybe a 4-mile run isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when most people think of New Year’s revelry. There’s much to be said, though, for getting an early start to keeping your resolutions. There’s also a lot to be said for kicking off the New Year with a rush of endorphins.
The Metropolitan Opera:
Start the year off on a high note (ha, ha) by attending The Metropolitan Opera’s New Year’s Eve Gala. This black-tie event begins with a performance of Bizet’s Carmen and concludes with dinner, dancing, and fireworks with the opera’s stars up on the Grand Tier.
For an offbeat, vibrant, and decidedly family-friends New Year’s Eve, take a ferry to Coney Island. Fireworks, roller coasters, and a lively atmosphere make this one of the most entertaining parties in town, and you don’t even have to shell out for an open bar.