Updated: 12/28/2021

It’s time to celebrate New Year’s in New York State! Welcome 2022 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. Remember to social distance and wear a mask as required by state guidelines. Call ahead and check websites and social media to make sure attractions are open and available. 

First Day Hikes (Various Regions)

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

Start 2022 safely 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 60 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. Be sure to dress appropriately for winter hiking, wear a mask, and practice safe social distancing. 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.

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 virtual holiday happenings, visit Unique Ways to Celebrate the Holidays in New YorkDecember 18 through December 31; Oneonta; Free admission.

Hiking at Wertheim Wildlife Refuge (Long Island)

Burn off some holiday calories and enjoy the great outdoors of Long Island by taking a New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day hike at Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge features miles of scenic trails to hike, go bird watching, take photographs, and simply relax and enjoy the outdoors. The White Oak trail has short (1.25 mile) or long (2 miles) options with river and woodland views. The Black Tupelo trail is 3.3 miles and has views from the east side of Carmans River. Free; 7 am-7 pm.

“Noon Year’s Eve 2022” at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo (Finger Lakes)

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 entertainment, a dance party, and a ball drop countdown at noon! Free with Zoo Membership; Admission prices vary; 10 am-12:15 pm.

The Times Square Ball Drop (New York City)

Times Square
Credit: @newyorkbonjour on Instagram 

A cherished annual tradition since 1972, what is now known as “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest®” is the most popular way for viewers to ring in the New Year and is a New Year’s staple, with live performances in New York City along with the iconic Times Square ball drop. This year, Times Square NYE 2022 will safely invite back visitors, with COVID safety precautions in place. Attendees are required to show proof of full vaccination with a valid photo ID, wear masks covering the nose and mouth at all times, and viewing areas will be filled with fewer people to allow for social distancing. 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; Watch the ball drop and more on ABC at 8 pm EST; New Year's Eve with Steve Harvey on Fox at 11 pm EST; New Year's Eve with Miley Cyrus and Pete Davidson on NBC at 11:30 pm EST, and New Year's Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen on CNN at 8 pm EST


First Night Buffalo at Home! (Greater Niagara)

Fireworks over downtown Buffalo for New Year's Eve

This year marks the 33rd 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. With magicians, exotic animals, jugglers, and much more, make this a New Year's Eve to remember. Purchase your Party Box (sized for a family of 4), which includes party hats, balloons and a pump, face paint, glow sticks, and more, including a voucher for a carload admission to Festival of Lights at the Erie County Fairgrounds. Purchase Party Boxes at select Tops locations or purchase online and the party box will be shipped to your house (must be purchased online by 12/17 to receive by 12/31). December 31; Buffalo; party boxes $20.