Times Square is one of the biggest New Year’s Eve parties in the entire world. During the celebration, close to a million people flock to Times Square to watch the ball drop and ring in a brand new year. However, it is packed and uncomfortable and chances are you won't have a good view.
In this post, we will talk about a few tips that will give you a leg up if you decide to spend New Year's Eve in Times Square. We will also talk about some good alternative festivities if Times Square does not sound appealing.
As you can imagine the best viewing spots fill up quickly and the entire event runs on a first come first serve basis. This means if you want a good spot to watch the ball drop, you have to arrive at Times Square no later than early afternoon.
The most popular viewpoint is referred to as the bowtie. This is where Broadway and 7th Avenue intersect. It goes without saying that this is the spot that fills up first, so be sure to get there extra early.
There are no restrooms in Times Square. Make sure to use the restroom early or you will lose your spot trying to find a last minute bathroom. I would never recommend dehydration, but liquid management if definitely key if you want to keep that amazing spot to watch the ball drop.
A million people gathered in one place is hectic enough, add alcohol to that, and it would be chaos. Drinking in Times Square is prohibited and strictly enforced. If you want to ring in the New Year with a glass of champagne, Times Square is not the place to celebrate.
There are checkpoints and all bags are searched when entering the area. Little bags are ok, but leave the big bags and backpacks at home. They are not allowed past security.
If you are spending New Year’s in New York and want to stay away from the madness of Times Square, there are some other great options.
For those celebrating with families, Ripley's Believe It or Not is a good option. The party caters to both parents and children. The kids will love exploring the exhibits from all over the world, participating in the laser race, and getting their faces painted.
Adults have an open bar, a champagne toast at midnight, and even a DJ. Tickets for this event aren't the cheapest, but it is one of the most family-friendly New Year's Eve celebrations in New York.
A couple other notable parties in the city are the McKittrick Hotel Moulin Rouge Party, EVR, and Goldbar.
Prospect Park is another great alternative to Times Square. There is a beautiful display of fireworks and a relaxed atmosphere. Prospect Park does not have large crowds and a small amount of drinking is allowed. It is a low key celebration if you want to steer clear of large crowds or loud parties.
Coney Island is the perfect option if you want to escape the havoc of Times Square, but still see a ball drop. On the boardwalk, there are over 8,000 lights, fireworks, and their own ball drop. Coney Island is a good option if you are with your family or just hanging out with friends.
One event that makes Coney Island unique is the Polar Bear Plunge the next morning. This insane event is where people dressed in nothing but their underwear, dunk themselves in the freezing waters as a way to ring in the New Year.
Spending New Years in NYC is a fun and exciting way to start to the year. Times Square is one of the biggest celebrations in the world and worth it if you can handle the crowds. However, New York has great choices that let you experience the vibrant atmosphere in crowds large or small.
Note: Available plans and coverages may have changed since this blog was published.
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Stephen Schreck is a world traveler, nomad, and adventure backpacker. Knowing a life of aimlessly wandering the globe in search of adventures was the only life for him he set out to make his dream his reality. Currently he is trying to conquer his fears and tackle his bucket list. Follow Stephen's adventures at A Backpacker's Tale or on social media on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.
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