New York City is a classic destination for New Year's Eve, with festive parties, dinners, and the opportunity to attend one of the biggest New Year's Eve parties to end all parties: the ball drop in Times Square. Whether you're looking for a big party, an intimate dinner, or a change of scenery, check out a variety of ideas for your New Year's Eve celebration in New York City.
Many New Year's Eve celebrations across the city have been canceled or scaled back for 2020–2021. Confirm the most up-to-date details with event organizers before finalizing your plans.
The ball drop in New York City is one of the most famous New Year's Eve events in the world, but when the countdown begins to welcome 2021, it will be the first time in 114 years that Times Square is empty. There are usually a million revelers that fill Times Square to watch live performances and count down to the New Year, but the New Year's event for 2020–2021 is completely virtual. The ball still drops at midnight, as always, but spectators must tune in from home via television or live stream. While it may not be quite the same as attending in person, at least you won't have to wait for hours in the cold waiting for midnight to strike.
One of the best ways to celebrate the New Year is through your stomach. Many restaurants across New York City host special New Year's Eve dinners, often with holiday menus and some type of special toast. New Year's Eve dining won't be the same for 2020–2021, since restaurants must close by 10 p.m. and indoor dining is not allowed. But if you're ok with an early seating and sitting outdoors—with space heaters—then reserve a table at your favorite spot. For a Michelin-star meal, try Tuome in the East Village. If you want to pretend your traveling around Spain, have the New Year's Eve tapas menu with unlimited drinks at Boqueria.
Hit the Year Running
For a non-traditional way to celebrate the New Year, run the midnight 5K with the New York Road Runners. The race usually kicks off at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Day, but the 2021 race is a virtual event that participants can run at any time throughout the month of January. If one of your New Year's resolutions is to exercise more, then this is the best way to get a jumpstart on your goal.
As of December 2020, all large group gathering across New York City are canceled until further notice.
New York City venues pull out all the stops on New Year's Eve. It's a great night to catch a top live act performing at one of New York City's great performance venues. From Lincoln Center to Madison Square Garden to the indie music halls in the Lower East Side, there are usually great concerts and shows happening on New Year's Eve all over the city.
As of December 2020, bars and clubs in New York City are not open.
From all-inclusive to very exclusive, New York City clubs and bars are experts at hosting New Year's Eve parties. Details vary from place to place. Make sure to ask what's included—for instance, some tickets may include an unlimited open bar, others may offer food, while others may give you free drink tickets or only a free champagne toast. You usually get what you pay for, so if you hear of a very good bargain, scrutinize the offer closely. You may just luck out and get a great deal.
As of December 2020, most harbor cruises in New York City are suspended until further notice.
Celebrate the New Year aboard one of New York City's many New Year's Eve cruises. You have different options to choose from. You can experience an elegant evening aboard a yacht in formal attire or join others on a New Year's Eve booze cruise or a family-friendly sailing around New York Harbor.