It’s time to celebrate New Year’s in New York State! Welcome 2024 with a First Day hike at a state park or trail, explore a wildlife refuge, or drive through an amazing light display. Want to stay home while you toast to the new year? Enjoy virtual ball drops, and home-based family-friendly activities courtesy of New York attractions.  

Masks are encouraged, but optional in most settings per New York State guidelines. Individual businesses or attractions may require mask wearing. Call ahead and check websites and social media to make sure attractions and amenities are open and available.

Originally published 12/8/2020

First Day Hikes (Various Regions)

Wintry scene of a stream and trees in Allegany State Park
Credit: @mischief_ue on Instagram

Start 2024 outdoors on January 1 at a state park or trail near you by taking advantage of First Day Hikes hosted by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). This annual event features more than 80 hikes at state parks, historic sites, and other locations throughout New York State. Some of the locations include: First Day Hike at Fort Ontario State Historic Site, First Day Hike at Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park, First Day Hike at Herkimer Home State Historic Site, and First Day Hike at Olana State Historic Site. The hikes vary from one to five miles and are led by staff from State Parks and the DEC, as well as volunteers. More information is available on the State Parks page. January 1; various locations throughout New York State; free, but advance registration is required for several of the First Day hikes.

The Times Square Ball Drop (New York City)

Times Square
Credit: @newyorkbonjour on Instagram 

Times Square is ready to mark the beginning of the new year as it has ever since the first ever "ball drop" was held in 1907. Over the years, this cherished annual tradition has grown into a massive celebration, with live performances throughout the evening and coverage on multiple networks, including the popular “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest.” Revelers are invited to celebrate live from Times Square, or to watch from afar. The event is free and open to the public if you want to cross it off your bucket list, but entry is on a first-come first-serve basis so make sure you get in line early!  For those wishing to enjoy the Ball Drop at midnight from home, along with behind-the-scenes stories, interviews, and more, Times Square will be providing commercial-free, website coverage of the event from 6 pm. For more information on this year's event, you can follow the latest updates at the Times Square Official website here. December 31; Manhattan. 

Festival of Lights Oneonta (Central New York)

For a relaxing New Year’s Eve, take a beautiful drive through the colorful light displays at the Festival of Lights in Oneonta’s Neahwa Park. Drive past decorated trees, floating luminaries in the pond, and light displays created by community groups to keep you in the holiday spirit into the new year. For more drive-through light displays and other holiday happenings, visit Unique Ways to Celebrate the Holidays in New York. December 18 through January 1; Oneonta; Free admission.

Saratoga New Year’s Fest (Capitol-Saratoga)

Downtown Saratoga Springs will welcome in 2024 with the biggest New Year’s Party North of Times Square!. With the purchase of an admission badge, hop between listening to the evening’s 30 acts across 11 venues including seven-time Grammy nominee and headliner Joan Osborne, Robert Randolph Band, and The Gibson Brothers, amid a repertoire of comedy, jazz, classic rock, blues, and Celtic music. Your purchase also includes admission to a nighttime set from DJ Logic on December 29 at Putnam Place. The exciting weekend ends with a free family-friendly concert and firework show open to the public at the Saratoga Springs City Center. December 29-31; pricing for ticketed events starts at $25 for an advance purchase and runs up through $75 for their VIP Super Package.

“Noon Year’s Eve 2024” at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo (Finger Lakes)

credit Rosamond Gifford ZooCredit: Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Take the whole family to the zoo, ring in the New Year, and get the kids to bed on time with “Noon” Year’s Eve, complete with noisemakers, a dance party, and a ball drop countdown at noon and a sparkling juice toast! December 31, Free with Zoo Membership; $9 adults and $5 for children ages 3 and up; 10 am-noon; Syracuse.

Fishes & Wishes - New Year's Eve Family-Style Party (Long Island)

A seal holds a New Year's Eve noise maker at the Long Island AquariumPhoto Courtesy of Long Island Aquarium

Ring in the New Year with the whole family from under the sea at the Long Island Aquarium! Spend the night celebrating the year among aquatic friends with a dessert and ice cream bar, crafts, animal meet and greets, buffet dinner, a live DJ and dancing, and crafts. The event runs from 6:30pm-11pm, includes a cocktail bar for parents, and a mock midnight toast. $145 adults (Members: $130.50), $90 Children 3-12 (Members: $81), $10 children 2 and under; Riverhead.

Holiday Valley's New Years Eve Celebration and Torchlight Parade (Chautauqua-Allegheny)

Holiday Valley - Ellicottville

Holiday Valley is welcoming 2024 with a vibrant night of skiing, celebration, and two parades. The night kicks off with a Groomer parade at 11:15pm and then the Torchlight Parade at 11:30pm, where skiers travel down the trail while holding torches. After, dance the night away in the main lodge at the family-friendly party complete with a live DJ. The evening ends in spectacular fashion with a grand firework show that runs until 12am. December 31, more details to be announced; Ellicottville.

New Year’s Eve at the 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel (Thousand Islands-Seaway)

A purple, orange and red sunset on the St. Lawrence SeawayCredit: @1000islandsharborhotel on Instagram

Start the new year with a spectacular view of the St. Lawrence River (pictured) and a night full of festivities. Put on your best 70s attire and get ready to get down and funky with this year’s theme of “Saturday Night Fever.” The celebration includes overnight accommodations, a cocktail hour, delicious dinner stations, an open bar, a live DJ, midnight champagne toast, and buffet breakfast the next morning. December 31, one night packages start at $430/couple, two night packages start at $543/couple; Clayton.

New Year’s Eve at the Bearsville Theater (Catskills)

A neon bear sign hangs over the stage at the historic Bearsville Theater in WoodstockCredit: Grant Taylor Courtesy of Ulster County Tourism

Make your way to Woodstock’s Bearsville Theater for an unforgettable evening of excitement. The night begins at 8pm with a live music extravaganza from Sean Matthew Whiteford & The House Party Band as they take you on a musical journey through the decades from the 60s to today. Countdown the last moments of 2023 and welcome 2024 with a dazzling balloon drop. The party doesn’t stop there. Dance your way into the new year with DJs Dave Leonard and Majic Juan until 3am. December 31, 8pm-3am. General admission starts at $30. VIP tables start at $150; Woodstock.

New Year’s Eve Celebration at Mohonk Mountain House (Hudson Valley)

Mohonk Mountain House - Photo Courtesy of Mohonk Mountain HousePhoto courtesy of Mohonk Mountain House

Say hello to 2024 in style from the mountaintop at Mohonk Mountain House. The historic castle resort will be decked out in holiday cheer with festive wreaths, trees, and decorations. On the big night, enjoy live music and special performances, cozy up around evening campfires, gaze in awe at the grand firework finale, and grab a bite at the midnight breakfast buffet. Your New Year’s rate (minimum three-night stay) also includes three meals a day, afternoon tea service, yoga and fitness classes, winter outdoor activities, and more. December 30, 2023-January 1, 2024; New Paltz.

North Country New Year (Adirondacks)

What better way to kick off the new year than with live performances, family-friendly activities, local food, comedy shows, and fireworks? Head to Saranac Lake for a family-friendly night to remember at North Country New Year. December 31, 6pm-10pm; Saranac Lake.


First Night Buffalo at Home! (Greater Niagara)

Fireworks over downtown Buffalo for New Year's Eve

This year marks the 35th anniversary of First Night Buffalo, and you’re invited to celebrate! Stay warm inside your home and experience an affordable night of fun for the whole family. On the big night, head to the website and watch magicians, exotic animals, jugglers, and much more, make this a New Year's Eve to remember. Purchase your Party Pack box (sized for a family of 4), which includes party hats, balloons and a pump, face paint, glow in the dark hats, and more, including two Explore and More activity books. Purchase Party Packs at select Tops Markets locations or online. December 31; Buffalo; party boxes $20.

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