The Smart Person’s Guide to New Year’s Eve in Philly

Forget the frat-boy-filled party buses and five-hour open bars. Here, four actually worthwhile ways to bring 2017 to a close.

Winterfest | Photograph courtesy of Matt Stanley/DRWC

With the Kids

Assuming the weather’s not lousy, the 6 p.m. fireworks display at Penn’s Landing is where you want to be. You can ice-skate and drink hot cocoa at Winterfest beforehand and then get the hell out of Dodge before all the lunatics come out to play.

Cost factor: The fireworks are free, the ice-skating is not, and the adjacent parking lot — which is a veritable zoo — will rob you of $25. There’s street parking to snag that’s not too far away.

If You Wanna Dance

Dance clubs turn into amateur hours on New Year’s Eve. Instead, head to Underground Arts for a triple bill of high-energy local bands (Johnny Showcase, Red 40 and the West Philadelphia Orchestra) that will keep you bumping and grinding well into the wee hours. Prepare to sweat.

Cost factor: Advance tickets are $35 and well worth it for this lineup. Cash bar, but Underground Arts doesn’t gouge you quite as badly as other venues.

On the Cheap

A fun NYE party doesn’t have to break the bank. Every year, legendary Philly dive bar Bob and Barbara’s hosts a New Year’s Eve shindig with live music (the lovely, loungey Dena Miranda & the Mellowtones), no cover whatsoever, a diverse, friendly crowd, and the best jukebox in the entire city. Plus, it’s one of the cheapest places to drink at that you’d actually want to drink at.

Cost factor: Given that the bar’s famous beer-and-shot combo costs $4, you can get pretty happy with $25 in your pocket and still leave a respectable tip.

The Big Splurge

We can’t think of any better way to drop $5,000-plus on New Year’s Eve than by scoring sideline seats for the massive confrontation that will be Eagles vs. Dallas at the Linc. Plus, the game is at 1 p.m., leaving the remaining hours full of possibilities, although after this epic battle, you’ll probably be in for the night.

Cost factor: Sideline seats are going for as much as $2,500 each on StubHub, but you can find nosebleeds and standing-room-only tix for around $150 each.

Published as “Advance Planning: The Smart Person’s Guide to New Year’s Eve” in the December 2017 issue of Philadelphia magazine.