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New Year’s Eve in NYC [2023]: 12 ways to have the best time!

I hope you had a wonderful new year’s eve, wherever you were!

If you are planning NYE in NYC this December/January 2024, this post will be updated later in 2023 and will cover how to start your new year’s eve celebrations with a bang (or a couple of cocktails) and end with the ball drop and fireworks.

New years eve in New York City is on the bucket list of countless travellers across the world!

Below you’ll find a list of New York hotels with views of the ball drop in Times Square, so scroll on down and get in quick!

Valentine’s Day in NYC is also an amazing time to be here for all the unique free and fun events on – and in this post you can gather up your besties and head to some fun singles parties!

If you’re in New York for the holiday season, then you’ll also like this post on How to do Christmas in New York City covering unique events, pop up markets, best neighborhoods for lights and of course, skating!

New York City from Brooklyn Bridge
Gorgeous pic of New York City from Brooklyn Bridge. Pic by Colton Duke on Unsplash

NYC has all the excitement and magic one needs to see in the new year and whether you’re on a budget or money’s no object, this post is for you.

*Disclaimer: while I make every effort to ensure the content below is correct, please click on the relevant links to go directly to the attraction in question and double check hours, costs, latest weather or pandemic interruptions, etc.

New York is a constant buzz of activity throughout the year. It’s a city that really is the crossroad of the world so no wonder it is also known as “the city that never sleeps”.

Where better to have the best new year’s eve than the Big Apple?

*This post contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase from some sites I will earn a commission at no cost to you.

12 ways to celebrate the New Year in NYC

To help you make the most of your New Year’s Eve celebration, and to better experience New York on a budget, this post covers some epic ways to begin the new year.

Whether you prefer a more exclusive and elegant night out with your nearest and dearest, or to be one of a million jostling in a throng of New Yorkers, I’ve got you covered. 

If you’re looking for the best, or hidden, rooftop restaurants and bars in NYC, you’ll love the places I’ve also selected on this post the best dreamy rooftop restaurants in NYC – but make your booking soon so you don’t miss out.

And after you’ve seen in the new year in, you might like to head off on a romantic winter getaway from NYC.

New Years even in NYC
Pin this to your NYC Bucket List!

If you’re looking for NYC New Year’s Eve parties and events, New York has a long list to choose from and each event has its own details on dress code, time and cost.

The following list is guaranteed to provide an unforgettable start to the new year.

Attend a NYC New Year’s Eve cocktail party

New York City drips with elegance and attending a cocktail party is a great way to get into the vibe as the countdown begins.

Take your pick from a variety of different ticketed NYE events, or choose a more casual approach and walk into one of the city’s many festive cocktail bars and rooftop restaurants. (Links will be added closer to the time).

NYC and cocktails go hand in hand, so keep in mind that there will be plenty of people with the same idea as you. Make a booking and be sure that you head out early so that you can get a good seat at the bar and take advantage of those happy hour specials. 

New York cocktails
Start the evening as you mean to go on! Photo by Tijana Drndarski on Unsplash

Get to some cool Open Bar events for New Year’s Eve 2023

> Open Bar events on rooftops, boats and restaurants are hugely popular and there several all over the city on New Year’s eve.

> NYE Singles Party! If you’re single, grab a bestie and a ticket for this fun event over 2 floors with live DJ, open bar, complimentary appetizers, champagne toast and see the new year in with NYC’s most eligible. Ticket prices will increase the closer it gets to 31 Dec, so get in quick.

Quick link: See more events and tours all on one page to book for New Year’s Eve.

Photo by Zac Bromell on Unsplash

> Take a New Year’s Eve cruise on the Hudson River and raise a glass at midnight with the best view of the fireworks for the most spectacular show in town. Your ticket includes a 3-hour cruise, live onboard DJ, open bar, plus hors d’oeuvres. This is the IDEAL ticket to the best fireworks view with a champagne toast in NYC on NYE!

If you’re looking for 4th of July fireworks in NYC, I’ve got you in this post.

Fireworks on New York harbor

Go on bar hopping tour until midnight

Take this 6-hour walking bar tour with exclusive viewing access of the Ball Drop in Times Square at midnight.

Starting in the afternoon you’ll visit three of New York’s oldest bars for a drink and hear all about their history and then finish the night in a speakeasy with VIP access behind the barriers at Times Square for an open bar with appetizers and avoid the crowds to watch the ball drop.

New Year’s Eve in Brooklyn

> Time Out Market, a Dumbo destination (Empire Stores, 55 Water St) brought to you by the food & bev editors at Time Out, hosts exclusive, ticketed events to ring in the New Year.

Time Out Market

FREE New Years Eve events in NYC

Believe it or not, there are free things to do on NYE in NYC including the fireworks!

Watch the New Year’s ball drop

The Times Square ball drop at the stroke of midnight should probably be #1 on this list, but I put it here because you’ll need a cocktail (or two) first!

Every year a million people gather in Times Square and watch the famous ball drop when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve. In fact New York’s New Year’s Eve would be incomplete without this tradition!

Sadly last year, with the rise in Omicron variant, numbers had to be scaled back, so let’s hope this year is different.

If you want to spend some money, check out the Ball Drop pass which gets you into multiple venues around Times Square.

Jostling with the crowds for the ball drop
Jostling with the crowds for the ball drop. Photo by Luo Lei on Unsplash

Live music and entertainment starts from about 6pm, but you’ll need to get in line about 3pm to secure a good spot. People begin to gather from early afternoon, so if you’re not bothered about the crowds, join the masses to see the giant, sparkling ball drop 141-feet (43 metres) from the roof of One Times Square. 

The best view to see the crystal ball drop is in the heart of Times Square where Broadway and 7th Avenue meet, also known as the ‘Bowtie’.

However, it can still be seen from quite far and the entire scene is televised across the city too – so maybe just stay in one of these rooftop restaurants and watch the live stream including the live performances outside while you’re keeping warm! 

Keep in mind that New Year’s Eve in New York is in deepest darkest winter and the iconic ball drop is an outdoor spectacle, so dress warmly (these heated hand warmers are essential to keep in your pockets!)

Times Square New York for New Years Eve
Looking down on Times Square. Photo by Andre Benz on Unsplash

Take the family to Prospect Park

Rug up warm and head to Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza in Prospect Park which plays host to a festive New Year’s Eve celebration for the whole family.

This free one-hour event starts at 11pm with live music and hot chocolate and, at midnight, a massive display of fireworks will light up the skies over the park. The best viewing spots are at Grand Army Plaza, the Park’s West Drive, and along Prospect Park West between Grand Army Plaza and 9th Street.

Check the Prospect Park website for latest updates on the fireworks.

Photo by Alex Haney on Unsplash

Skate into the new year!

Ok, disclaimer: I can’t skate. In fact I hate the whole idea of slipping and sliding so I don’t ski either, but for those who do not share my phobia, here are three great places to ice skate in NYC.

The Rockefeller Center Ice Rink, under the famous Christmas tree, is a hot spot in the cold climate over winter. Even just wandering past to take a few photos is a must (that’s more like me!), and the experience is an affordable way to enjoy the city. 

But if the busyness of the Rockefeller Center intimidates you, then you can visit one of the many other ice rinks that pop up across the city.

Ice skating at Rockefeller Ice Rink
Ice skating At Rockefeller Center. I’d be the guy in the middle! Pic Flickr

In fact skating at Central Park on the Wollman Rink is just as iconic as the Rockefeller rink.

For a more inclusive NYC tourism experience, you can book a Central Park ice skating and walking tour where you’ll see the park’s wildlife, sculptures and ponds. 

Ice skating in Central Park New York
Ice skating in Central Park

Or head to the pop-up Winter Village in Bryant Park and don your skates there – then shop in the surrounding market stalls and grab a bite to eat.

Ice skating at Bryant Park New York
Ice skating at Bryant Park. Photo by Johnell Pannell on Unsplash

Take a cruise on New York harbor

If you prefer to get away from the throng or want the sophistication of a more calm evening for your new year’s celebrations, then head over to the New York Harbor to enjoy a cruise under the dazzling night sky.

Any day though a NYC harbor cruise to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island is beautiful.

This is the ideal location to be, champagne in hand, the sound of sultry jazz in the air, to watch the fireworks display and festivities from the water on December 31st.

New Year’s Eve fireworks cruises with champagne tasting on board promises an unforgettable night. Although slightly pricier, it pays in glamour and decadence. And imagine the selfies!

>See 5 fun new year’s eve harbor cruises in this post.

Fireworks over New York City
Fireworks over New York City! Pic Flickr/CreativeCommons

Experience the thrill of Coney Island

Looking a more unique and exciting way to celebrate New Year’s Eve? Coney Island in Brooklyn will give you a whirlwind adventure.

The famous amusement park’s celebrations kick off at 6pm and include all of the perks expected from New Year’s Eve: fireworks, live entertainment and a happening social scene.

Located right by the beach, Coney Island is particularly exposed to the city’s winter chill, so make sure that you dress warmly. And, perhaps bring an extra jacket for when the heated excitement of the rides cools you down. 

Coney Island amusement park New York
Coney Island amusement park

Top tips to have the best New Year’s Eve in NYC

  • Dress warmly! I think that’s the third time I’ve mentioned it 😉
  • Get to your destination early
  • Set out a budget beforehand to decide if you’re going to go large or not
  • Be prepared for crowds, which are huge on a normal day, and the size of revellers will only increase during the festivities
  • Don’t take a bag, wear a clever neck scarf with a pocket for your cell phone and cards!
Times Square New York
The iconic Times Square view!

To avoid getting caught up in the traffic jam to get home, book somewhere central to stay.

Best hotels in New York for New Year’s Eve

For hotels that actually offer views of the famous ball drop in Times Square

Many of these hotels offer NYE packages which include open bar, maybe dinner,
always live music and a big party!

Or read my list of great hotels across New York for under $300 a night.

The Muse lobby, Times Square
The Muse lobby, Times Square


Can I see the ball drop for free?

Yes! The only time you’ll pay is for a private event. Anyone can see the ball drop in Times Square for free – but it’s on a first-come first-in basis, so you’ll need to come early for the best view. (Remember, it’ll be cold. Wrap up warm!)

Where can I see fireworks on New Year’s Eve?

Fireworks will be shooting off all over the city: Prospect Park (party starts at 11pm), Central Park (south of 72nd Street inside the park), Liberty Island fireworks can be best seen from boats running NYE cruises till midnight, Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn Heights. Luna Park at Coney Island. And of course, One Times Square at midnight.

When should we arrive at Times Square?

At 3pm the surrounding streets are closed to traffic and people start coming in to find the best position from about 2pm.

Getting to New York

I have been using Southwest Airlines lately for my domestic flights within the US because this no-frills airline actually has LOTS of frills! You can read all about my review and tips for flying Southwest here.

Happy new year!

If you’re hanging around New York, you might like to read some of my other NYC posts:

The dangerous history of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and balloon fails over the years

How to have the perfect Christmas in New York

12 great ways to have the best New Year’s Eve in New York

Amazing ways to spend Valentine’s Day in New York City

Find my picks for the best dreamy rooftop restaurants in NYC in this post!

New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas sees the entire Strip closed to traffic and a massive four-mile block party. Read more about NYE in Vegas in my post here.

Shop in my curated Amazon Store where I have put lists together for travel and great gift ideas too!


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Monday 5th of December 2022

What do you suggest for a couple in their 30s? we are from Colombia and we've been in NYC before but never on New Years eve. We heard the ball drop ticket was 250 dollars.

Megan Singleton

Monday 5th of December 2022

Hi Daniel, watching the ball drop in Times Square is free. I've added an FAQ, thanks to your question. You'll need to get there early though for the best spot. You may have been looking at some of the private events? I would suggest a harbor dinner cruise to see the fireworks with an open bar and live music!

Karla Steele

Wednesday 19th of October 2022

What do you suggest for a family with 16 and 17 year olds for NYE? We are coming from the Midwest and Times Square is on our list.

Megan Singleton

Thursday 20th of October 2022

Hi Karla, I'm not sure apart from getting a good spot to watch the ball drop in Times Square and ice skating during the day for 16 and 17 year olds, but I'll add your comment here and maybe some other readers who travel with teens will have some good ideas too.


Sunday 9th of October 2022

Thank you for this post! Just booked flights to spend NYE in NYC and I had no idea what to do! Excited to check some of these ideas out.

Megan Singleton

Sunday 9th of October 2022

Fabulous! I will update this post with more info closer to NYE too :) - Megan

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Hi, I'm Megan Singleton and I'm the word slinger of this travel blog as well as on radio in NZ every Sunday. Former Travel Editor at Yahoo NZ and current freelance writer for a few newspapers and mags from time to time, I set off on this travel writing journey 20 years ago and I've pretty much always got a suitcase half packed (or half un-packed!) I'd love you to join me on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for my newsletters if you want loads of travel tips, advice and deals!