A First Timer's Guide to New Year in New York
December 20 2021
Of all the places in the world to spend the New Year, New York is perhaps the most famous. Made popular with numerous films, television series and music videos, the ball drop at Time Square is attended by over a million people every single year.
As you can imagine, with so many attendees, even with tickets, getting close to the ball drop can be nearly impossible. In fact, it’s recommended to show up by 3pm to secure a spot and many people choose to turn up much earlier.
For some people seeing the ball drop in person is 100% worth it, but for most there are plenty of other great things to see in the City at New Year, that don’t involve large crowds and hours in the cold.
The Ball Drop
You will need to book tickets in advance in order to see the ball drop, and you should start heading towards your chosen spot after lunch to secure it. Wrap up warm and bring plenty of snacks! Waiting for the ball to drop can become tedious, but with a good group of friends and an “adult” flask, it’s a great way to end the year.
The best place to watch the ball drop is at Broadway and 7th street – however, as the best place it’s the area that fills up first and becomes most crowded. Otherwise between 42nd and 48th street you can get a good view of the drop and the screens.
The Ball Drop from Bars and Restaurants
If you want to skip the crowds, but aren’t willing to miss the ball drop, you can make reservations in a bar or restaurant. This list of locations offering private viewing of the ball drop can help you find the best place for you and there is no need to wait for hours in the cold (and you’ll have access to a restroom!).
New Year Boat Cruises
River cruises are a great way to see the city whenever you visit New York, but there’s no night quite like NYE. Whether you’re looking for a formal, luxury cruise with a three-course meal and unlimited champagne, a family-friendly boat trip or a non-stop booze cruise – there are trips for everyone to enjoy! This list shows you some of the most popular river cruises where you can find the best option for the night you’re hoping to have.
Lower Manhattan Rooftops
The city rooftops have always been a popular way to view the Big Apple and NYE is no different. In fact, many will argue it's one of the best ways to spend the evening. Any lower Manhattan rooftop will give you a good view of the displays around the city – and almost every rooftop bar will be open and hosting a NYE special, including a full bar, some form of heating (blankets and fireplaces) and snacks.
NYE is the second biggest night of the year for fireworks and there are displays all over the city. Most are free and offer extras such as live music, food and drink and other entertainment. Some of the best places to catch a display are:
- Prospect Park
- Central Park
- Coney Island
Central Park New Year’s Eve Run
Hoping for a healthier 2022? The Central Park run is a unique tradition, taking place at midnight on NYE. The four-mile run takes you around the park and you will be able to enjoy many of the fireworks displays along the route, with up to 4000 other runners.
Brooklyn Bridge is an iconic New York landmark that connects Manhattan to Brooklyn – and for many visitors to the city, there is no better place to see in the New Year. With views of Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Statue of liberty, spectators on Brooklyn Bridge can see many of the firework displays simultaneously – an unforgettable way to see in the New Year. Please note, the bridge is a lot more exposed to the wind than the city will be so wrap up warm!
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