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Home » 5 Awesome NYC New Year’s Eve Activities that are NOT the Times Square Ball Drop

5 Awesome NYC New Year’s Eve Activities that are NOT the Times Square Ball Drop

a light blue diamond that says NYE in NYC *not* In Times Square, in the background is the Brooklyn bridge lit up at night.

The most famous way to celebrate Year’s Eve in NYC is of course the Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball Drop. If you are like me, you will want to avoid the crazy crowds of the Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball Drop, so I got your back! Here are 5 AWESOME activities NYC New Year’s activities that are NOT the Times Square Ball Drop.

Make sure to check out the YouTube Video I made about 5 Awesome NYC New Year’s Eve Activities that are NOT the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop! (And remember to click SUBSCRIBE!)

New Year’s Eve Central Park Midnight Run

Every New Year’s Eve, the New York Road Runners host a 4 mile run in Central Park. To participate in the New York Road Runners Midnight Run on New Year’s Eve, you’ll want to register on their official website.

The race officially begins at 11:59 pm on December 31. There will be New Year’s Eve FIREWORKS at the start that can be seen throughout several locations in the park.

Hate running? You can still participate by watching the fireworks and cheering on the runners!

At the halfway point, there will be non-alcoholic sparkling apple cider.

The event is alcohol-free. Remember, it is illegal to have open alcoholic beverages outside. Save the New Year’s Eve champagne for when you return home.

New Year’s Eve NYC Harbor Cruise

I ALWAYS love NYC boat tours. And there are so many different types of NYC boat cruises to take. I even wrote an entire blog entry about the best NYC boat tours!

New Year’s Eve NYC harbor cruises are truly special because you get to see the NYC skyline, the Statue of Liberty, AND New Year’s Eve fireworks from both New York and New Jersey!

There are so many different NYC New Year’s Eve harbor cruises offered. There are fancy dinners, raging parties, educational architecture tours, family-friendly outings, and even a boat that has two hot tubs on it!

Search around and you will definitely find a New Year’s Eve NYC cruise that fits your vibe.

New York Harbor Cruise Recommendations

New Year’s Eve in Prospect Park

 If you want to celebrate New Year’s Eve the way LOCALS do, you won’t be going anywhere near Times Square. Locals tend to go to less crowded areas such as Prospect Park in the borough of Brooklyn.  You will be treated to a fifteen-minute firework show and hang out with cool New Yorkers welcoming in the New Year!  The party is at the  Grand Army Plaza entrance. Take the 2 or 3 train to the Grand Army Plaza stop.

New Year’s Eve on the Brooklyn Bridge

I asked my tour guide colleagues what their favorite non-Time Square NYE traditions were, and the number one response that I got was THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE!

Some of my colleagues even make a point to bring a group over the Brooklyn Bridge each year and celebrate together! If you want to book a midnight Brooklyn Bridge tour, visit my TOUR INQUIRIES PAGE and, if any of our guides are available, we will hook you up!

NYC Walks offers a New Year’s Eve Brooklyn Bridge Tour as well.

There is a lot of history with the Brooklyn Bridge and New Year’s eve. For example, on January 1, 1898, the five boroughs (which were all separate CITIES) came together and created NYC as we know it today. Many claim that the success of the Brooklyn Bridge is partly responsible for the great consolidation.

More importantly, you can usually see a lot of New Year’s Eve fireworks from the Brooklyn Bridge. Seeing the spectacular Manhattan skylines, the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building from the Brooklyn Bridge is a pretty awesome way to welcome the New Year.

New Year’s Eve Restaurants, Bars, and Speakeasies

 NYC is full of incredible restaurants – some of the best restaurants in the world! 

On a normal night, I opt for relatively inexpensive restaurant options, but on New Year’s Eve, I like to go all out!

Favorite “bucket list” NYC restaurants on New Year’s include:


  • Le Bernandin
  • Per Se
  • Bar Masa
  • Eleven Madison Park
  • Daniel

Steak Houses

  • Peter Luger
  • Smith & Wollensky’s
  • The Palm 
  • Keen’s

More Afforable

  • Fraunces Tavern (Lower Manhattan)
  • Marc Forgione (TriBeCa)
  • ABC Kitchen (Flatiron)
  • Oyster Bar (Grand Central Terminal)
  • Harlem Grange (Harlem)
  • Red Rooster (Harlem)
  • New Won Jo (Koreatown)
  • 99 Favor Taste (Chinatown)

NYC is full of fun bars and speakeasies. My two favorite Speakeasies are Bathtub Gin and Attaboy.

If you’re looking for a more scandalous way to ring in the New Year in NYC, check out NYC’s burlesque venues.

Duane Park has a 10 pm New Year’s Eve dinner and burlesque show. You’ll get a four-course meal, champagne toast, and an incredible burlesque show.

Company XIV is a burlesque theatre company featuring some of the best dancers, singers, and aerialists in NYC. Company XIV will have a New York City New Year’s Eve celebration in Bushwick Brooklyn. Tempt your senses with this incredible New Year’s Eve burlesque experience!

Last Minute NYC New Year’s Suggestion

If planning ahead isn’t your thing, that’s totally cool. A last-minute NYC New Year’s suggestion is to walk along Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village and find a bar or pub that fits your vibe. Duck-in. You’ll meet NYC locals and cheer in the New Year with new friends!