There are plenty of lively ways to celebrate in the Washington, D.C. area—but if you have your heart set on ringing in the new year with a brilliant display of fireworks, consider heading out to the city's suburbs in Maryland or Northern Virginia. These places host some of the most spectacular parties in the region, beginning with live entertainment and culminating in a colorful display of pyrotechnics at midnight. Whether you are looking for a family-friendly event to enjoy with the kids, or you're in the mood to party well into the first few hours of the new year, we've found the perfect celebration for you.
First Night Alexandria
The family-friendly music festival in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia features live performances at dozens of indoor venues across the city, including retail stores, churches, and museums. At midnight, the big finale includes a beautiful display of fireworks over the Potomac River. You can stand anywhere along the waterfront and you will be met with an incredible view. If you would like to attend indoor performances, tickets will be required.
Annapolis New Year's Eve Celebration
In Annapolis, Maryland, the City Dock comes to life with a wide range of musical entertainment. The celebration includes essentially two festivities, each with its own fireworks display.
If you have kids, head to Weems Whelan fields between 3 p.m. and 5:15 p.m. for a whole host of family-friendly activities, including face painting, an obstacle course, and moon bounces. Round it all out with the first fireworks show, which will take place at about 5:30 p.m.
Prefer to party until the early hours? Make your way to Susan Campbell Park at 8 p.m. There, you'll find live music and a whole lot of dancing; the second display of fireworks will begin at midnight.
The best areas to view the fireworks are Susan Campbell Park, along Main Street, or aboard a boat in the city harbor. Other suggested areas include public spaces northeast of the Severn River and any of the street-end parks facing Spa Creek.
Baltimore New Year's Eve Spectacular
Ring in the new year with a bang in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. You'll find that many restaurants offer spectacular views and host special events on New Year's Eve—but the best views are aboard a cruise or anywhere within a close range of the harbor. There is also live music and entertainment at the Inner Harbor Amphitheater, and ice skating at the Inner Harbor Ice Rink. Festivities start at 9 p.m. and run until 12:30 a.m.
First Night Winchester
The largest family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration in Shenandoah Valley comes with a wide range of entertainment throughout the evening. Taking place in Old Town Winchester, Virginia, this fun event features everything from live music to magic shows, face painting, and a pinball tournament. Local restaurants offer discounts in First Taste of Winchester. At midnight, the community welcomes in the new year with the official “Apple Drop” and midnight fireworks display. You will find the best views from the Loudon Street Mall.
Big Night D.C.
Watch the New Year's Eve fireworks display over the Potomac at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Fort Washington, Maryland. Every year, more than 9,000 people attend Big Night D.C. for its open bar (midnight champagne toast included), food, and entertainment. This gala includes five dance floors, 15 themed party areas, and a lineup packed with bands and DJs. Plus, the National Harbor offers the perfect viewpoint for fireworks. The party starts at 9 p.m. on Dec. 31 and runs until 3 a.m. on Jan. 1st.