27 Fun Things to Do in Philly on New Year’s Eve

Skating soirees along the waterfront, a cruise under the fireworks, something from Dîner en Blanc, dance parties and other ways to ring in 2016 in Philadelphia.
View of New Year's Eve fireworks from Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest | Photo by Matt Stanley

View of New Year’s Eve fireworks from Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest | Photo by Matt Stanley

Whether you want to party all night, spend a quiet evening enjoying the arts, or have the kiddos in tow, every single base is covered in Philly on New Year’s Eve. No judgement, but why stay in to watch the ball drop when you can celebrate with the rest of the town? We’ve rounded up some of the most promising options — from a fireworks cruise and tons of dance parties to a bash hosted by Dîner en Blanc. Scroll down to find all our picks, or skip right to the section that interests you most:

Fireworks | Dance Parties | ConcertsKids | Hotels | Comedy | Unique

Where to Watch the Fireworks

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest

Winterfest is hosting two ice skating parties on New Year’s Eve. For each, enjoy three hours of skating, refreshments, music and entertainment, complete with a great spot to watch the SugarHouse New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront — both the 6 pm and midnight shows. Admission includes all Winterfest food offerings — including warm bites from Garces — those oh-so-toasty cottages, and a kid’s lodge with arcade games. 5 pm and 10 pm, $30 (spectator) and $40 (skater), Blue Cross RiverRink.

New Year’s Eve Fireworks Cruise

Glide along the Delaware on a dinner cruise until midnight when you can see the fireworks up close and personal. Want to bring the kids along? There’s also an early cruise in the evening open to guests under 21. Remember, there’s a fireworks show at 6 pm, too. 4 pm and 8:30 pm, various prices, Spirit of Philadelphia, 401 South Columbus Boulevard.


Dance Parties

Crawl ‘Til the Ball Falls Bar Crawl

Get a wristband and fly from bar to bar throughout New Year’s Eve with a complimentary cup and map in tow. Your ticket includes admission to over five bars (aka, no covers!). 5 pm, $10, various locations.

Making Time NYE 2016

Making Time returns to Union Transfer for its NYE celebrations, complete with an open champagne bar and all kinds of DJ talent — and an after-party. We’re going out on a limp to say it’ll be the best place to dance 2015 away. 9 pm, $40-$50, Union Transfer.

New Year’s Eve in Hollywood by Dîner en Blanc

The creators of Dîner en Blanc are channeling Tinseltown for their second-annual New Year’s Eve bash along Kelly Drive (which gets its name from Grace’s family, of course). Taking place at Water Works, each room will have a different Hollywood theme. There will be live entertainment and hors d’ouevres and a swanky dinner served by Cescaphe. 9 pm, $192, Water Works.

Eyes Wide Shut Masquerade at U-Bahn

Midtown Village’s cool underground watering hole celebrates New Year’s Eve like they did in 15th-century France — but with fewer powdered wigs and beheadings. Slip on your mask for a sexy evening of open bars, live bands, DJs and hors d’oeuvres till 2 am. 9 pm, $85 (general admission), $129 (VIP), U-Bahn. 

New Year’s Eve 2015 at XFINITY Live!

With five different bars and clubs all in one indoor super-venue, it’s like XFINITY Live! was made for a rowdy NYE throwdown. With the all-inclusive bar package that comes with general admission, you’ll go all night. Contact paula@nbcsportsarena.com for VIP upgrades. We know you’re rolling like that. 9 pm, $95, XFINITY Live!

NYE-a-Go Go at Trestle Inn

Cut loose at Philly’s retro dance spot with a night of disco and go-go dancing, with a welcoming Old Forrester cocktail and a champagne toast to ring in the New Year right. Add a cocktail package to get a choice of three drinks from Trestle’s list of 18 craft concoctions. 9 pm, $30-$60, Trestle Inn.

Ultimate Countdown Party at Yakitori Boy

Bring in the New Year with a good meal at Yakitori Boy, and a variety of packages to serve your celebration needs. Enjoy DJing, karaoke, and a champagne toast and balloon drop at midnight, with general admission starting at $20. Groups can reserve VIP lounge tables, and guests who book an open-bar private karaoke room before Christmas will get a complimentary bottle of champagne. You’ll need it for your rousing edition of “Auld Lang Syne.” 9 pm, various prices, Yakitori Boy.

Aquarium After Dark

If you can get the babysitter to come through, stick around at the Adventure Aquarium for a special adult New Year’s Eve party. Enjoy hors d’oeuvres, a beer garden, martini and wine bars, music and dancing. VIP Lounge tickets are also available. 9 pm, $129-$189, Adventure Aquarium.

New Year’s Eve at Tattooed Mom

West South Street’s coolest bar celebrates the dawning of 2016 with a free (!) evening of drinking, eating and general shenanigans. The NYE festivities kick off at 10 pm, though we’d suggest getting there earlier to avoid the crowds. (It is free, after all.) There will be a free buffet, half-priced drafts and champagne cocktails flowing till close. 10 pm, free, Tattooed Mom.


Concerts

Jazmine Sullivan performs New Year's Eve at TLA.

Jazmine Sullivan performs New Year’s Eve at TLA.

Philadelphia Orchestra New Year’s Eve

Yannick Nézet-Séguin returns to the podium to celebrate a new year with the Fabulous Philadelphians and get you home before midnight. 7:30 pm, $60-$135, Kimmel Center.

Jazmine Sullivan at TLA

Fresh off her stint singing at the City Hall tree lighting ceremony, Philly-bred “Princess of R&B” Jazmine Sullivan will hit up TLA on South Street for one of the most soulful ways to ring in 2016 in town. 8 pm (doors), 9 pm (show), $42.50, TLA. 

Third Eye Blind at Valley Forge Music Fair

Nineties rock band Third Eye Blind caps off Valley Forge Casino’s ongoing music fair with a performance at the venue’s Event Center. The pre-party begins at 7 pm, with drinks, nibbles and music by Dee Jay 007. Third Eye Blind goes on at 10 pm. 7 pm, $66-86, Valley Forge Casino Event Center.

Johnny Showcase and More at Underground Arts

Enjoy a sure-to-be-rollicking evening and an optional Balkan Feast with some of Philly’s most exciting musical talents: West Philadelphia Orchestra, Johnny Showcase and the Mystic Ticket and hip-hoppers ILL DOOTS. 9 pm, $30-$40, Underground Arts.

New Year’s Funkin’ Eve at FringeArts

Dance to the funky tunes of DJ Sideswipe and Red 40 & The Last Groovement, with balloons, beer garden fire pits and a cash bar at restaurant La Peg. Plus, you’ll be able to get a great view of the fireworks from Race Street Pier. Thursday December 31st, 11 pm, $15-$29, FringeArts.


For the Kids

new-years-eve-philly-kidsCountdown2Noon at Please Touch Museum

Even if they’ll be in bed by midnight, children can still take part in New Year’s Eve festivities. There will be a countdown at noon to ring in the New Year, with another celebration at 1 pm. Tickets will be $20 through December 18th, when they’ll increase a bit more. 9 am, $20-$25, Please Touch Museum.

NYE Splash at the Aquarium

Bring the little ones to visit with their favorite marine animals, take a walk through the formidable Shark Tunnel, and finish up the night with a great view of the fireworks — that is if you can see past those hippos’ rumps. 10 am, $ 0-$25.95 general admission, Adventure Aquarium.

Countdown at Franklin Square

Let the kids roam free at an indoor dance party, a craft station, a stellar fireworks display, and a light show with the most-delicious ball drop around: the SquareBurger Square Drop. Mmm. Thursday, December 31st, 3 pm, free, Franklin Square.

Family’s New Year’s Eve Fireworks

Festive hats, a cider “toast,” and fireworks along Penn’s Landing for the kids to enjoy. The Seaport Museum stays open late especially for the festivities. 5 pm, $10-$15 museum admission, Independence Seaport Museum.


Hotel Packages and Galas

The swanky Stratus Rooftop Lounge at Hotel Monaco.

The swanky Stratus Rooftop Lounge at Hotel Monaco.

Crystal Tea Room Grand Ballroom Gala

A 5-hour open bar, live DJs, and hot food at a dress-to-impress gala. There are plenty of VIP packages available, and if you’ve got other plans to ring in the New Year, you can still swing by after midnight for access to the bar. Honestly, what could be better (or chic-er)? 9 pm, $29-229, Crystal Tea Room.

Midwinter Night’s Dream

Party on the roof of the Hotel Monaco at Stratus Rooftop Lounge with DJing, food and an open bar. Use the rate code “DREAM” to book your stay. 9 pm, $698+, The Hotel Monaco.

Continental Atlantic City NYE Party

Wanna skip town? Enjoy a warm dinner, DJing through the night, champagne and a perfect view of the fireworks over the Atlantic City Ocean in AC. Call 609-674-8300 for reservation pricing. 5 pm, The Continental Atlantic City.


Comedy

Comedian Dan Naturman performs at Helium Night Club on New Year's Eve.

Comedian Dan Naturman performs at Helium Night Club on New Year’s Eve.

ComedySportz New Years’ Improvin’ Eve

Enjoy pizza, improv and a cider toast for New Year’s at this BYO comedy event, with special, rarely played improv games and a visit from Baby New Year. 7:30 pm and 10:30 pm, $30-$35, Adrienne Theater.

New Year’s Eve with Dan Naturman

Standup comedian and UPenn alum Dan Naturman performs two hilarious NYE shows. 8 pm and 10:30 pm, $35-49 general admission, Helium Comedy Club.


Unique Offerings

General Meade Birthday Celebration at Laurel Hill

For the holiday, celebrate a bit of Pennsylvania history on the 200th anniversary of the birth of General George G. Meade, commander of the Union Army at the Battle of Gettysburg. A 21-gun salute and champagne toast will conclude the memorialization of his service, followed by a reception and tour of the cemetery. 12 pm, $5 suggested donation, Laurel Hill Cemetery Gatehouse.

NYE Ghost Tour of Philadelphia

If you’re looking for a more adventurous way to kick off 2016, the Powel House has got you covered with its sixth annual New Year’s Eve Ghost Tour. You’ll take a candlelight tour of the haunted colonial mansion, rumored to be frequented by the ghosts of the rich and famous. A portion of the proceeds goes to the non-profit PhilaLandmarks for the site’s maintenance. 7 pm, $22, Powel House in Society Hill.

Keep up to date with our local arts and events coverage. Here’s how: