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

Are you planning NYE in NYC this December/January 2023?

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

This post covers how to start your new year’s eve celebrations with a bang (or a couple of cocktails). But I am also still adding NYE 2023 plans and will keep this post updated when events are released.

I’ve added a list of New York hotels with views of the ball drop in Times Square, so scroll on down and get in quick! (Or maybe book a room for next year already 😉

If you’re here 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

The city 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 have made 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 is really the crossroads 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 2022/23 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. 

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 are hugely popular and there several all over the city on New Year’s eve. Details will come closer to the time about open bar events in NYC.

Photo by Zac Bromell on Unsplash

> For something truly special, grab tickets to New Year’s Eve at the Empire Rooftop. Not to be mistaken for the Empire State Building, but the 12th floor of the Empire Hotel for NYE from 9pm to 1am with an open bar, hors d’Oeuvres, dessert and champagne toast. Plus live music and party favours. (Tickets $150-$250)

> 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! (Tickets from $250)

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.

Tickets about $299.

New Year’s Eve in Brooklyn 2023

> 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. More info coming on 2023 events.

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

The plan is for live music and entertainment starting 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. In 2021/22 they cancelled them due to Covid protocols. Bad weather may also cancel them on the day, so the link above will help you.

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 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. (Links coming nearer the time).

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 is one such cruise that promises an unforgettable night. Although slightly pricier, it pays in glamour and decadence. And imagine the selfies!

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 2023? 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
  • Get to your destination early
  • Set out a budget beforehand
  • Beware of 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!

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

Times Square New York
The iconic Times Square view!

Best hotels in New York for New Year’s Eve

For hotels that actually offer views of the famous ball drop in Times Square (if you’re too late for this year, book a room now for 2024!)

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

The Knickerbocker – best views from the rooftop terrace and bar

Casablanca Hotel Times Square – see views from the rooftop

M Social, Times Square, New York – views from some rooms and Perch and Terrace

New York Marriott Marquis – head to the 48th floor restaurant for music and views

Hyatt Centric Times Square – best views from Bar 54

Hilton Garden Inn – views from top floor rooms

Margaritaville Resort Times Square – views from 7th floor pool deck, and the rooftop

The Pearl Hotel – not all rooms have Times Square views

Renaissance New York Times Square – get a balcony room for great views, or head to the bar/lounge

DoubleTree Suites by Hilton – 40 suites offer ball drop views

Crowne Plaza Times Square – some rooms see the ball drop, or head to the restaurant

Millennium Hotel Broadway, Times Square – book a room with floor to ceiling windows facing the view

Residence Inn, Central Park – rooms above the 65th floor looking over the intersection have the view

Hotels nearby such as The Time New York or The Kimpton Muse Hotel, where I stayed last time I was in town, both in the Times Square area, are a sure bet that you’ll be in the thick of the action without worrying about the headache of transportation. 

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

FAQs

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.

This post has been my one of my most popular posts of 2021. See the rest of them, if you want to read only my best content!

Happy new year!

Read more: How to do Christmas in New York City covering unique events, pop up markets, best neighborhoods for lights and of course, skating!

Read more: Awesome flea markets in New York City will keep lovers of vintage and hand crafts amused all day.

Read more: Any time of year New York City is a great shopping destination. This post covers 12 cool shopping neighborhoods to shop till you drop in NYC.

Read more: Dreamy rooftop restaurants in New York City with stunning views, some with igloos and some under retractable roofs.

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

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Daniel

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.

Valerie

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!