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New Year's Eve 2020 in NYC: Where to Celebrate

New Year's Eve NYC 2019-2020. The clock will strike midnight, the ball will drop, kisses will be exchanged, and the promise of a New Year will light up the night sky. New Year's is a time to reflect on all that's happened and set ambitious goals for the future. It's also a time let our hair down and celebrate. If there's any town that can be trusted to get New Year's right, it's New York City, where Times Square provides a focal point for the world on December 31st. What follows are some great opportunities for meals, cruises, comedy, parties, and general merrymaking on the 31st. Happy 2020!

ball times square new year's eve

Image: Anthony Quintano/Flickr

There is no minute of the year quite as exciting as 11:59pm on December 31st in Times Square. The Times Square New Year's Eve Celebration and Ball Drop is easily the most famous NYE celebration in the world. A million people join together to celebrate this event, and over a billion people will watch it on television. If you’re planning to go, dress warmly, bring something to eat, and be sure to get there early (before 5pm). The famous ball is a 12-foot geodesic sphere weighing 11,875 pounds, covered in 2,688 Waterford crystals, powered by 32,256 Philips Luxeon Rebel LED lights, and capable of creating a palette of more than 16 million vibrant colors.  Ryan Seacrest marks his 15th year hosting Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest on ABC; this year he'll cohost with actress Lucy Hale, Pose's Billy Porter will helm festivities in New Orleans, and Ciara will host the LA telecast.  

CNN’s Anderson Cooper & Andy Cohen will also be hosting their second annual NYE show from Times Square as well. 

new years eve wishing wall

Times Square Before the Ball Drop

The Times Square Alliance lets New Yorkers and visitors put their wishes out to the world with the New Year’s Eve Wishing Wall. Write your wish and it will become some of  the actual confetti released at midnight on New Year’s Eve. The Wishing Wall is on the Times Square Broadway plaza (btw. 46th & 47th Sts.) and available every day but Christmas from 11am to 8pm Dec. 3 until December 29th. Every wish becomes part of the 3,000 pounds of confetti released at midnight over the one million-plus revelers  in Times Square.

On the opposite side of wishes, come Friday, December 28th, you can shred your bad memories from 2019  at the 13th Annual Good Riddance Day in Times Square. From noon to 1pm, a Shred-it mobile truck will be on-site to destroy the worst of paper memories, giving participants a fresh start in 2019. Paper will be available; Times Square Plaza (btw. 45th & 46th Sts.). TimesSquareNYC.org/NewYearsEve

New Year's Eve in NYC: Comedy

LOL times square comedy club

Don't stay out on the cold waiting for the ball to drop. Join the party at LOL Times Square Comedy Club in the heart of it all with package options for a cash bar, well bar, or even a premium all-included bar. Party, drink and laugh at the best New Year's Eve Celebration in the world: Times Square. You can see the ball drop in simultaneous translation on the screens inside the club and hear the New Year's Eve Countdown happening live at the front of LOL Times Square. Hosts from the club will help you navigate right to the door of the 2020 LOL Times Square New Year's Eve Bash.

Celebrate New Year's Eve with the Gotham Comedy All Stars at Gotham Comedy Club. Show at 8pm. Starts at $30. 

New Year's Eve in NYC: Music

Phish

Phish bring their annual New Year's jam to Madison Square Garden (12/28-31).

Bernadette Peters

Photo: Andrew Eccles.

The New York Philharmonic hosts New Year's Eve: Celebrating Sondheim with Tony award winner Bernadette Peters at Lincoln Center. “Considered by many to be the premier interpreter of [Sondheim’s] work” (The New York Times), Peters starred in the original productions of the Pulitzer, Tony, Oscar, and Grammy winner’s Sunday in the Park with George and Into the Woods as well as the revivals of his Follies, A Little Night Music, and Gypsy. The performance will be telecast nationally on Live From Lincoln Center on PBS stations at 8pm (check local listings).

Dec. 26-New Year's Eve, Sandra Bernhard presents Sandy's Holiday Extravaganza: A Decade of Madness and Mayhem at Joe's Pub. She’s back for the 10th year in a row, where she’ll weave her year-end tapestry, kick out the old, ring in the new and prepare you for 2020. Along with the Sandyland Squad Band, she’ll lift you up and soothe your frazzled holiday nerves.

Annaleigh Ashford

On New Year's Eve, Annaleigh Ashford returns to 54 Below for Annaleigh Ashford on New Year's Eve  Join Annaleigh Ashford, Tony Award®-winning star of the most recent revival of Sunday in the Park with George, Kinky Boots, and You Can’t Take it With You, along with Will Van Dyke and the Whiskey 5 to welcome New York to its 2020s. A little glam rock, glitter, gay magic, and some singalongs will help you ring in this fabulous new year. Bring your dancing pumps and some sequins because we know how to get your heart ready for the next decade! Prices starting at $300. 

New Year's Eve in NYC: Alternatives

lady gaga kisses new year's ball

Ripley's Believe It or Not! Times Square. Believe it or not, you can see the official Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball every day of the year at Ripley's. The ball on display here, lighting up in millions of color combinations and just waiting for your best selfie, is made of Waterford Crystal and was the real 2007 Centennial Countdown Ball. ripleysnewyork.com

Madame Tussauds in the heart of Times Square will be hosting a night of fun, food, and cocktails. Madame Tussauds is home to 200+ lifesized wax figures, plus several themed experiences including the Marvel Superhero Experience, A-List Party Room, and Music Zone, plus its brand new interactive Fashion Experience, starring VS model Alessandra Ambrosio. Festivities begin at 7pm and family and VIP packages are available. madametussauds.com

McKittrick Hotel New Year's Eve World's Fair

This year's New Year's Eve theme at the McKittrick Hotel is The World's Fair.  There's an open all night bar, musicians, one-night only dazzling performances and much more. Guests are to arrive dressed in their finest, most decadent and dazzling celebratory attire for new beginnings, new findings, and a new year. Guests seeking a most special, complete evening will start with a sumptuous three-course supper filled with live entertainment, a performance of Sleep No More, all followed by the epic party and transformative takeover of the entire hotel.

Finish out 2019 on a peaceful note at the New Year's Eve Concert for Peace, an annual concert at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine that was started by Leonard Bernstein in 1984.

fireworks hudson skyline

Image: mamojo/Flickr

NYRR Midnight Run. Kick off the New Year at Central Park's favorite Midnight Run! Join the fun and celebrate with music and dancing (starting at 10pm) as 2019 comes to a close. With a countdown to midnight beginning at 11:59pm, the four-mile run will begin on the stroke of midnight, as will a spectacular fireworks display to light up the night and the start of 2020. nyrr.org

If you feel like stepping out just beyond the city, take a trip across the river to Brooklyn's Water Tower at The Williamsburg Hotel. From 9pm-1am, sip on speciality cocktails, enjoy delicious food stations, and get a front row seat to fireworks while dancing to live jaz and a special DJ set. Tickets start at $250 and include premium open bar; specialty cocktails upon arrival; food stations such as a raw bar, crudite, selection of cheese and dips; hors d'oeuvres, champagne toast at midnight; live jazz and dj; masks and party swag for photos and dancing. 

New Year's Eve in NYC: Cruises 

Bateaux NYC New Years Eve

Spirit Cruises will stop the boat in front of the Statue of Liberty for a dazzling fireworks show at midnight. Spirit is offering dinner cruises departing from both Chelsea Piers and from New Jersey on one of their Spirit of New Jersey vessels. Both cruises provide dinner, dancing, an open bar, access to the outdoor rooftop lounge. Spirit of New York starts at $399.90, and Spirit of New Jersey starts at $269.90. Spirit of New York: Chelsea Piers, 212-727-2789; Spirit of New Jersey: Lincoln Harbor, 201-333-8600; spiritcruises.com Sister company Bateaux New York offers, in addition to a New Year's Eve Fireworks Cruise, a New Year's Day Bottomless Mimosa Cruise, as well as a New Year's Day Dinner Cruise. 

This year, Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises promises a front-row seat to the fireworks. Departing from Pier 83 in midtown, this special cruise will be the party boat you don’t want to miss, with dinner, drinks, and a DJ. There will be a bar and buffet dinner, plus hors d’oeuvres and a complimentary glass of champagne for your midnight toast to the new year. Plus, the ship is climate-controlled for frosty weather, so no worries about freezing in Times Square! Boarding begins at 9:15pm, and the boat will return at 1am. Tickets are from $229, and guests must be at least 21 years old. Pier 83 at West 43rd St.,  circleline.com

Hornblower Cruises

On Hornblower’s luxury yachts, you can enjoy a wide range of nautical New Year’s festivities. The Hornblower Hybrid will take guests to see fireworks from the comfort of this luxury yacht. You’ll also enjoy a four-course dinner with dessert, open bar, and a DJ. The Hornblower Sensation will take guests on for New Year’s as well for the Manhattan Fireworks Cruise. This option includes a dinner buffet, open bar, and DJ, starting at $300. If you’re keeping the party going on New Year’s Day, book a seat on the Jazzy Champagne Brunch Cruise January 1. You’ll receive unlimited mimosas and live jazz, plus a brunch buffet with all the eggs and french toast you can handle. Tickets start at $82. Cruises leave from Pier 15 at South Street Seaport & Pier 40 in the West Village,  hornblowernewyork.com


New Year's Eve in NYC: Dining

american cut steak

Sink your teeth into something delicious this New Year's. At American Cut, enjoy a signature a la carte menu and champagne toasts at midnight. At the midtown location, dining is from 5:30-9:30pm and at Tribeca 5:30-11pm. Click on links for additional location promotions.

David Burke Tavern

The all-new David Burke Tavern is a modern American restaurant by award-winning celebrity chef David Burke. A stately townhouse setting showcases Burke’s creative, contemporary approach to classic fare—often with show-stopping presentations. On New Year's Day, take advantage of their Champagne & Brunch Happy Hour, $42 served from 11am-4pm, plus 50% off wine bottles. 135 E. 62nd St. (btw. Park & Lexington Aves.), 212-988-9021, davidburketavern.com

fogo de chao gaucho way

Fogo de Chão's first churrascaria (Brazilian steakhouse) in New York City is a three-level sophisticated stunner. New and seasonal menu items are included as a part of the regular full churrasco price on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Look for fire-roasted meats carved tableside, indulgent bone-in cuts of cowboy rib-eye, lamb chops, and beef ribs among other favorites, plus a Vegas-cut New York strip, sweet potato casserole, butternut squash soup, and a winter citrus salad. The Fogo Churrasco Experience for children 6 and under is complimentary; children 7 to 12 are half price. Dinner pricing will apply all day. 40 W. 53rd St., 212-969-9980, fogodechao.comHavana Central Havana Central is offering a five course Cuban Feast for its guests on New Year's Eve, with adult & kid pricing, featuring an exclusive 5-Course Cuban Feast, open bar, champagne toast & party props. Tickets are REQUIRED for entry and can be purchased here. The 9pm seating, featuring Live Latin Music by Conjunto Guantanamo, is limited so act fast! We will also be open for regular lunch until 230pm but reservations are highly recommended as police enforce strict rules this day and access to our block may not be granted without proof of reservation. Call 212-398-7440 to reserve or click here.

new year's eve planet hollywood

Dine among the stars and immerse yourself in Hollywood history at Times Square’s Planet Hollywood. Now through Jan. 2, the restaurant gets in the spirit of the season with “Holidays in Hollywood,” featuring festive decorations (among the memorabilia you’ll find The Ghost of Christmas Past’s Taxicab Operator’s License from Scrooged,  Santa Hat from Jingle All the Way; Santa Claus’ costume from The Santa Clause, and more! There’s also classic holiday film clips, the songs everyone loves, and featured “Naughty or Nice” holiday beverages. The menu boasts an eclectic mix of favorites, including pastas, salads, sandwiches, and award-winning burgers. Enjoy it on New Year's Eve! 1540 Broadway (btw. 45th & 46th Sts.), 212-333-7827, planethollywoodintl.com

ribbon times square interior

(12/31) Celebrate New Year's Eve at Times Square favorite The Ribbon! The night includes an open bar, a four-course dinner, dancing with DJ Nick Russo, and an escort to nearby Times Square to watch the ball drop. The perfect spot to ring in 2020!

woodpecker by david burke

Famed chef, artist, and innovator David Burke will be serving up a full New Year's Eve and New Year's Day menu at Woodpecker by David Burke. Dishes feature creative takes on roasted meats, fish, pastas, and wood-fired pizzas. You'll find it open on New Year's Eve from noon to 1am and back again with brunch all day on New Year's Day, running from 11:30am to 8pm. 30 W. 30th St. (btw. Broadway & Fifth Ave.), 646-398-7664, woodpeckerbydb.com


New Year's Day

polar bear club coney island new year's day swim

Image: Richard Feliciano/Flickr

Brave souls will dive into the new year at the beloved Coney Island's Polar Bear Club New Year's Day Swim. Swim time is 1pm sharp, on the boardwalk at Stillwell Avenue. Camp Sunshine, a charity for children with life-threatening illnesses, will be accepting donations (the event is free, but pre-registration is required to swim). polarbearclub.org

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