It’s time to celebrate New Year’s in New York State! Welcome 2023 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 2023 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 90 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; 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; Miley Cyrus’ Miley’s New Year’s Eve Party on NBC at 11:30 pm 10:30 pm EST; and New Year's Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen on CNN at 8 pm EST

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 YorkDecember 18 through January 1; Oneonta; Free admission.

Saratoga New Year’s Fest (Capitol-Saratoga)

Downtown Saratoga Springs will welcome in 2023 with this First Night celebration. With the purchase of an admission badge, hop between listening to the evening’s 30 acts across 11 venues including headliners Cowboy Junkies, and their guests, The Samples and Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio, amid a repertoire of comedy, jazz, classic rock, blues, and Celtic music. Your purchase also includes admission to a nighttime Reggae Pre-Fest Show & Party on December 30 at Putnam Place. December 31; pricing starts at $20 for an early bird discount and runs up through $75 for their VIP Super Package.

Hiking at Wertheim National 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; Daytime hours only.

“Noon Year’s Eve 2023” 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 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.


First Night Buffalo at Home! (Greater Niagara)

Fireworks over downtown Buffalo for New Year's Eve

This year marks the 34th 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 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 a family four pack for Zoo Lights at the Buffalo Zoo. Purchase Party Packs at select Tops Markets locations. December 31; Buffalo; party boxes $20.

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