5 New Year's Eve Fireworks Displays Near Washington, DC

Baltimore New Year fireworks show
Greg Pease / Getty Images

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, the perfect celebration is awaiting you.

Many New Year's celebrations are canceled or scaled back for 2020-2021. Confirm the most up-to-date details with event organizers before finalizing your plans.

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First Night Alexandria

The family-friendly music festival in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, features live performances, usually at dozens of indoor venues across the city, including retail stores, churches, and museums. However, First Night Alexandria for December 31, 2020, is different from previous years. The in-person event takes place at the Alexandria Drive-In Theater as a type of tailgating event, where guests have their own assigned space to stay. The event will also be streamed live to be enjoyed from anywhere in the country.

At midnight, the big finale includes a beautiful display of fireworks over the Potomac River. Enjoy it from your car if you purchased tickets for the in-person event or watch it comfortably from your own living room.

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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, First Night Winchester typically features everything from live music to magic shows, face painting, and a pinball tournament, while local restaurants offer discounts in First Taste of Winchester.

As with most events, First Night Winchester has had to make changes for the 2021 New Year celebration. On December 31, 2020, there will be no special events or performances to encourage people to stay home. The traditional midnight "Apple Drop" won't take place, and the fireworks show will be at 9 p.m. instead of midnight. Those who want to see them are encouraged to do so from their own yard or a space where social distancing is possible.

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Baltimore New Year's Eve Spectacular

The Baltimore New Year's Eve Spectacular is canceled in 2020.

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.

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Annapolis New Year's Eve Celebration

The Annapolis New Year's Eve Celebration is canceled in 2020.

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 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. Prefer to party until the early hours? Make your way to Susan Campbell Park at night. There, you'll find live music and a whole lot of dancing; the second display of fireworks begins 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.

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Big Night D.C.

Big Night D.C. is canceled in 2020.

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.