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Ring in the new year right! New Year’s Eve in Boston is the perfect place for festive fun, fireworks, romantic escapes, delicious meals, and so much more. While First Night is the biggest and most popular celebration in the city, there is plenty to do whatever your budget and style.
Planning a longer trip? Enjoy these winter getaways from Boston before or after NYE.
First Night in Boston
The First Night Boston celebration is one of the biggest and best New Year’s Eve events in Boston.
The tradition started in 1975, and it is still a hugely popular way to ring in the new year!
There are plenty of performances, fireworks, and Boston First Night activities that all ages can enjoy.
The live performances start mid-day and last past midnight, with a variety of live music, dancing, kid’s shows, fireworks, and more.
The majority of the events happen in Copley Square, but there are also First Night events at Boston Common, the Boston Public Library, and Copley Place Mall, in addition to smaller events at various hotels and churches around Back Bay.
First Night also includes a New Year’s Eve Parade at a family-friendly hour for everyone to enjoy!
Note that there are no designated parking garages for the event, but check out our guide to parking in Boston for plenty of options.
Obviously, there are road closures due to the parade and there are huge crowds walking around this part of the city all evening long.
If you have to drive in, get there early to avoid the chaos; better yet, take advantage of the free transportation offered by the MBTA!
First Night Ice Sculptures Boston
One of the highlights of First Night is the ice sculptures that are on display.
The sculptures are in Copley Square and by the Boston Public Library, with local businesses also hosting other displays in the area if you want to go on a scavenger hunt!
Depending on the weather, you can expect the ice sculptures to be placed in the afternoon at some point and then they’ll be illuminated at night for extra ambiance.
I loved the Boston-specific sculptures especially; last year there were replicas of the Citgo sign and the State House that were stellar!
Boston First Night Fireworks
There are a few Boston New Year’s Eve fireworks displays that you can see during the First Night celebration.
The first one is at a family-friendly time soon after sunset, so the kiddos can enjoy the fireworks without having to wait until midnight.
This is perfect for families but it’s also a great way to enjoy fireworks before going elsewhere for the rest of your evening!
Head to Frog Pond to watch the ice skaters and get a good spot on the slight incline at the back of the rink; the fireworks will be in full view so you can enjoy the whole atmosphere.
If you do want to see the midnight fireworks, they go off over Boston Harbor and there’s another fireworks display right at Copley Square over the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel.
Where to Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Boston
Beyond the popular First Night celebrations, there are plenty of other places to ring in the new year.
These are some of our favorite spots around the city.
You might also like our guide for staying in Boston for first-timers if you haven’t visited before!
Royale Boston New Year’s Eve
Royale Boston (279 Tremont St) hosts a New Year’s Eve event in Boston every year, and it is the place to be if you love classy events that make you feel like a royal.
Dance and party the night away, ringing in the new year in style.
There is a DJ, a huge dance floor, champagne, multiple bars, and flat-screen TVs that show the ball drop in Times Square.
Copley Square on New Year’s Eve
Copley Square is one of the best places for New Year’s Eve in Boston.
As previously mentioned, First Night takes place in the square, so that is already a huge event in the area.
Then, The Westin Copley Place (10 Huntington Avenue) hosts a New Year’s Eve event every year, too.
The event is called Back Bay New Year’s Eve Boston and is for people 30+ who want to celebrate the new year at an upscale event.
Throughout the evening at Back Bay, you will enjoy a three-course dinner, live music, a DJ, and a silent auction.
There is also a cash bar, and hors-d’oeuvres are served after dinner ends.
Not in that age group yet? Check out the Westin’s Resolution Ball instead!
The event is 21+ and is regularly one of the largest events for NYE in Boston.
Boston’s Waterfront Celebrations
New Year’s Eve on the Waterfront is another great place to check out.
Enjoy the Waterfront Ice Sculpture Stroll from early afternoon until dusk, with a variety of sculptures to admire.
It’s the perfect family-friendly NYE event in Boston!
Bundle up and enjoy a stroll while the kids burn off extra energy; Columbus Park is an ideal destination where you can see some ice sculptures along the water, let the kids run free (safely), and enjoy the Christmas lights, too.
Grab dinner around Faneuil Hall if you dare — it’ll be super busy, but a fun atmosphere!
The North End on New Year’s Eve in Boston
If you want to spend your New Year in the North End, consider taking a food tour to really maximize the experience!
There is a North End Pizza Tour that takes you to three of Boston’s best pizza places.
Pizza is always a good idea if you want to finish the year on a high note!
You will also see five Freedom Trail sites along the way and end the tour with a cannoli from one of the city’s most famous bakeries.
If you aren’t a pizza person or want to try a variety of foods, consider a Secret Food Tour instead.
The three-hour experience lets you try dishes like Italian sandwiches, pizza, cannolis, roasted nuts…and a secret dish.
You will also learn about the city’s history as you walk between restaurants.
The tours take place during the day, so get your fill before going to a party, bar, restaurant, or wherever else you are spending your night.
Prefer a quiet celebration? Choose a North End restaurant and find a cozy corner to enjoy a delectable meal instead!
Villa Francesca fit the bill for me on New Year’s Day — I certainly had my fill of fresh pasta and I loved the old-school atmosphere and history.
New Year’s Eve Restaurants in Boston
Spending New Year’s Eve at a Boston restaurant is a simple but satisfying way to end one year and start another.
Boston has no shortage of amazing eateries where you can grab dinner on New Year’s, but here are some of the best for the special occasion…
This Japanese restaurant is a lovely place to spend New Year’s Eve in Boston’s Back Bay.
For a fabulous atmosphere alongside delicious food and creative drinks, head to Yvonne’s (2 Winter Pl).
I’ve been to this speakeasy a few times and it never disappoints!
On New Year’s Eve, I ducked inside for an appetizer and a drink to warm up before heading back out for more festivities.
The service is always wonderful and I can never choose from the many amazing options on the menu!
Over at the Seaport, Wood Hills Pier 4 (300 Pier 4 Boulevard) brings farm-fresh food to the city that is always a winner.
Celebrate local fare to start the new year off on the right foot!
Boston Chops (1375 Washington St) is one of the best places to have a New Year’s Eve dinner in Boston if you want a delicious meal without the whole NYE show.
They offer classic steakhouse dishes as well as some chef’s specialties, and you never know what they will come up with for a New Year’s Eve special!
I not only had an amazing meal here on NYE, I cannot say enough about the service; these folks were there to help, to have a good time, and to ensure everything ran like clockwork.
Consider Boston Chops for your next NYE dinner!
New Year’s Eve Boston Bars
If you are less focused on food and instead looking for a party, there are a lot of bars where you can have a fun NYE in Boston.
Howl at the Moon (184 High St) is a Boston staple and offers an NYE event with live music at their piano bar.
There is a champagne toast at midnight and a build-your-own slider bar.
If you are looking for more of a nightclub, party the night away at Down Nightclub (184 High Street).
There are general admission packages where you have access to a cash bar, or you can buy a table for the night that comes with a few bottles of alcohol for your table and a champagne toast.
Another place for a guaranteed night of fun is Wild Rover (61-63 Chatham St).
The bar and nightclub have three floors and multiple bars to party at all night long.
They have great entertainment and simple and not overly-priced drinks, and you will never get bored with three different levels of fun to choose from.
Take a New Year’s Eve Cruise in Boston
How about something a little different this NYE?
There are multiple cruises you can take on New Year’s Eve in Boston, although they are not necessarily at night, which means you can take the cruise and then enjoy the other activities on this list.
One option is the Boston: 1.5-Hour Dog-Friendly Harbor Cruise which is great for people — and pets — of all ages!
Enjoy pretty views of the city and some of Boston’s most iconic landmarks along the way.
Another cruise you can take on NYE is the Boston Harbor: Winter Holiday Weekend Brunch Cruise.
This cruise is a great way to start out your NYE celebrations as you get a three-course brunch and enjoy views of Boston from the water.
Romantic New Year’s Eve in Boston
Looking for a romantic NYE night in Boston?
From romantic restaurants to hotels to activities, we have you covered.
You can also check out all our best Boston date ideas to plan a dreamy getaway.
Some of the holiday markets in Boston are actually still going strong after Christmas, so check out the schedules and stop by before heading out for the night.
Romantic NYE Dining
Many of the restaurants and bars above are great options, but there are also some places you can go if you want something geared toward romance.
Davio’s Italian Steakhouse (26 Fan Pier Boulevard) is a nice place to go in the Seaport for New Year’s Eve.
There are a few locations in the city, but the Seaport one is lovely!
Check out their New Year’s Eve package for food stations, a DJ, a dance floor, a bar, and a great view of the fireworks over the water.
Romantic NYE Hotels in Boston
Another romantic New Year’s Eve idea for Boston is to spend a night at the Boston Harbor Hotel (70 Rowes Wharf).
The hotel hosts a New Year’s Eve dinner at the Rowe Wharf Sea Grille, where you can grab a meal together before sipping champagne as the clock strikes midnight.
Stay overnight in one of the hotel’s suites and welcome the first morning of the New Year in a comfortable, romantic room.
Alternatively, consider the Encore Boston Harbor (1 Broadway, Everett).
Their Rare Steakhouse offers a fantastic meal option, which you can follow up with champagne or wine before staying the night in a quiet spot in the city.
Other Things to Do on New Year’s Eve in Boston
There are always New Year’s Eve Boston concerts that vary by year, but you’ll find them during the day or evening at some of the city’s best venues.
Check out the Boch Center, The Wilbur, or the Chevalier Theatre for more upscale events.
Looking for a laugh instead?
Check out the variety of NYE comedy shows.
Comedy shows and concerts are a great way to start your evening before you head to the bars and clubs or a fun way to end the night if you’re not up for late-night adventures.
Whatever your style, Boston loves to celebrate NYE and you’ll be sure to find the perfect spot to ring in the new year.
Have you done any of these Boston New Year’s Eve events or activities? Did we miss your favorites?
Let us know in the comments below!
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