If you're traveling to the Capital Region with your children to celebrate the New Year, there are plenty of family-friendly events happening in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.
Whether you're looking for a great place to view fireworks or want to enjoy kid-appropriate games, music, and activities with your family, these events provide something for all ages. From First Night festivals in the Maryland and Virginia suburbs to a daytime brunch cruise along the Potomac River, there are plenty of ways to celebrate New Year's Eve in the Capital Region.
Many New Year events are canceled for 2020–2021. Be sure to confirm the most up-to-date details with event organizers.
First Night Alexandria is one of the largest family-friendly New Year's Eve events in the Capital Region, featuring over 100 live performances and plenty of local cuisines, culture, and art to sample and see during a full day of fun. Taking place at various venues in Alexandria, Virginia, from noon to midnight on December 31, First Night Alexandria has something for the entire family.
As with most New Year's event in 2020–2021, First Night Alexandria is making changes to the usual festivities. Partygoers have two ways to enjoy First Night Alexandria on December 31, 2020, either from their vehicle at a drive-in experience or via live stream from home. The drive-in experience is separated into an early evening shift and a late-night shift, and both of them include live music and an on-screen fireworks display. The admission price is per vehicle.
If you want to enjoy the party from your living room, tickets are available for an at-home live stream experience. Enjoy the same music and fireworks at midnight and, when the party is over, you can head straight to bed.
Midnight on the Hour in Columbia, Maryland
The Symphony of Lights is a holiday light show that is open throughout the entire Christmas season in Columbia, Maryland. On New Year's Eve, the Midnight at 7 celebration welcomes guests to walk through the grounds of the Merriweather Post Pavilion for a day of family fun, culminating in the "midnight at 7" fireworks show at 7 p.m.
For New Year 2020–2021, things are a bit different. Instead of Midnight at 7 you can celebrate "Midnight on the Hour," with four separate firework shows every hour between 6–9 p.m. This is a ticketed event and guests must purchase their admission with a specific time slot and enter at that time. In addition to the fireworks, guests are able to enjoy the final nights of the holiday lights before they're taken down for the year. All of the additional festivities, such as entertainment, games, and food trucks, are not available in 2020–2021.
First Night Winchester
First Night Winchester is taking place virtually on December 31, 2020, beginning at 2 p.m.
Like many First Night events across the country, First Night Winchester brings the community together for an evening of entertainment, art, and culture.
With multiple stages around the city featuring live entertainment including performances of folk, jazz, bluegrass, oldies, puppet shows, and kids' programs, First Night Winchester offers something for the whole family on New Year's Eve. Past performances include the 92.5 WINC FM Dance Party, Acoustic Soul, the Battle of the Buskers at the Old Town Walking Mall, and Louie Foxx at the First Presbyterian Church.
Additionally, local restaurants are typically open and offering discounts as part of the First Taste of Winchester event. In the moments leading up to midnight, a large apple made of LED lights slowly descends, just like the more famous New Year ball does in Times Square (Winchester is known for and proud of their apple production). Once the apple falls, fireworks thunder overhead to celebrate the beginning of the first night of the year.
Adventure Park USA Family New Year's Eve Party
Adventure Park USA is open in December 2020, but the Family New Year's Eve Party is canceled.
Although the outdoor rides at Adventure Park USA in Monrovia, Maryland, shut down every year during the winter months, visitors can still enjoy all of the indoor attractions on the last day of the year followed by a Family New Year's Eve Party. This family-friendly event features finger foods and drinks (non-alcoholic), kids' games, live music and dancing, and access to all of the indoor attractions at Adventure Park USA.
Bull Run Festival of Lights
The Bull Run Festival of Lights is open for visitors to drive through, but the New Year's festivities—including the Holiday Village—are canceled for 2020–2021.
On New Year's Eve, the Bull Run Festival of Lights and Holiday Village are open for a special event to celebrate the coming year. Featuring rides, refreshments, and camel rides, the New Year's celebration is also the last chance of the year to enjoy the carnival inside the Holiday Village.
The Bull Run Festival of Lights is a popular drive-through Christmas lights attraction in Centreville, Virginia. With over two and a half miles of lights strung up in Bull Run Regional Park, the Festival of Lights is great for kids any time of the holiday season, but the Holiday Village is usually only open on select nights, including New Year's Eve. The Festival of Lights drive-through attraction, the Holiday Village, and the Carnival all require separate admission.
Fairfax Four Miler
The Fairfax Four Miler is canceled for New Year's 2020–2021.
The Fairfax Four Miler is a New Year's Eve race that runs through the rolling hills of Old Town Fairfax and George Mason University, and is usually followed by a post-race pizza party.
The post-race pizza and New Year's Eve party takes place in the Old Town Hall. Advanced registration is required to secure a spot at the pizza party (and your own branded sweatshirt from the event), and prices for registration increase the longer you wait. Proceeds from the event support the Fairfax Police Youth Club.
New Year's Eve festivities in Annapolis are canceled for 2020–2021.
Based on the "First Night" concept of celebrating the past year of a community, the City of Annapolis, Maryland, brings the entire city together for a New Year's Eve celebration on the last day of December.
Festivities start with a family-friendly day of activities at Weems Whelan fields, hosted by the City of Annapolis, including face painting, an obstacle course, moon bounces, and an on-site fireworks display to end the event. Families can then go to nearby restaurants for New Year's dinner, put the kids to bed, and return to Susan Campbell Park at City Dock for dancing and live music starting in the evening. At midnight, a huge firework spectacular takes place over Annapolis Harbor to ring in the new year.
Falls Church Watch Night
Watch Night in Falls Church is canceled for 2020–2021.
Free and fun for the whole family, Watch Night in the City of Falls Church, Virginia, is the biggest event of the year for this small community. Taking place on four blocks of West Broad Street, Watch Night features live performances by various musicians, a scavenger hunt, historical reenactments by the Victorian Society of Falls Church, special menus at area restaurants, obstacle courses, firepits, and free noisemakers for the countdown. The evening concludes with a New Year’s countdown and lowering of the historic star that first lit the Falls Church sky in 1948—the year Falls Church became an independent city.
Odyssey New Year's Day Brunch Cruise
New Year's Eve and New Year's Day cruises are suspended for 2020–2021 in the Capital Region.
After the fireworks take over the night sky in Alexandria, Virginia, return to Washington, D.C., and embark on a daytime cruise aboard the Odyssey Cruiseline's New Year's Day Bottomless Mimosa Brunch cruise.
Featuring live bands performing festive holiday hits and jazz standards, this two-hour cruise gives the whole family access to unparalleled views of historic sites around the Capital, including the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and Capitol Building. The brunch buffet menu includes seasonal fruits, breakfast pastries, meats, and potatoes, smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, a build-your-own Belgian waffle station, and a variety of lunchtime selections and desserts.