Things to Do on New Year's Eve in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill

New Year's Eve in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill
Getty Images/Daryl Solomon

Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill make up one of the most popular regions to visit in North Carolina. Called The Research Triangle, or more commonly known as The Triangle, this area has a strong college culture (thanks to Duke and UNC Chapel Hill) as well as a vibrant food scene—all of which make for a great time over New Year's Eve.


First Night Raleigh

First Night Raleigh is a weather-proof New Year's Eve celebration for the arts and community. It features performances in 28 indoor and outdoor venues throughout downtown Raleigh. The festival includes a Children's Celebration earlier on in the day, the People's Procession, the giant Acorn Drop, music, dance, theatre, two countdowns, and fireworks to ring in the New Year. Past appearances have included the Annuals, Crucial Fiya, Justin David, Barbara Bailey Hutchison, Bob Margolin, Lenny Marcus Trio, Red Herring Puppets, and El Gleno Grande, among others.

First Night Raleigh admission buttons will be available at local Harris Teeter and Etix, beginning December 1. Buttons are $9 in advance for adults and children ages 6 to 12. Children age five and under are admitted for free. At the event, buttons are $10 for children ages 6 to 12 and $12 for adults. The event happens in Downtown Raleigh from 2 p.m. to midnight on December 31.

Live Music Venues

New Year's Eve Celebration with the NC Symphony

This year-end celebration takes on a local flavor with a live performance by the North Carolina Symphony and the winners of the Triangle Talent Search. This special New Year's Eve event takes place at the Meymandi Concert Hall in downtown Raleigh. The concert is expected to start at 8 p.m.

Night Lights

For families looking for early kid-friendly festivities, head to Morehead Planetarium in Chapel Hill. From 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., the science center will host Night Lights, an event that includes food trucks, games, a star-viewing show, and an early New Year's Eve countdown for the kids. Tickets are available in advance for a small fee.

Noon Year's Eve at Marbles Kids Museum

This is one of the most family-friendly celebrations in the region. Ring in the "noon" year with kids at Marbles Kids Museum in the heart of Raleigh. Guests wearing a First Night badge receive free admission. There will be bubble wrap "fireworks" and a small-scale ball drop at noon, making this an ideal event for kids with earlier bedtimes before midnight.

The Tavern

In Durham, all the locals head to The Tavern for its annual New Year's Eve Bash. The pub features a dance floor, karaoke, pool tables, foosball, and mouth-watering bar food, making it a laid-back place to party with friends and family. The New Year's Eve event will include a DJ, champagne toast at midnight, and more.

Unlimited Games at Adventure Landing

At Adventure Landing in Raleigh, families and kids can enjoy unlimited go-karts, laser tag, and mini golf for only $20 per person from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on December 31. Make sure to pre-purchase your tickets online to save $5.