First Night in Boston is one of the nation’s oldest and largest New Year’s Eve celebrations, a day-long festival celebrating art and community in Boston.
Each year locals and tourists travel to Boston to partake in the revelries that fill the city on New Year’s Eve. There are a variety of family-friendly (and indoor) events, beautiful ice sculptures in city parks, a ‘Grand Procession’ down Boylston Street to Boston Common, and a fireworks display over Boston Harbor to ring in the New Year!
BASICS OF FIRST NIGHT:
When: New Year’s Eve, December 31st from noon thru midnight
Where: Primarily in central Boston neighborhoods (South Boston Waterfront, Downtown, Back Bay, Fenway, West End)
How: Buy a First Night Button for $18 per person ($15 if you order here) to enter indoor activities. Kids under 4 are free. Money funds First Night, which is a private non-profit organization.
NOT TO BE MISSED:
There are a large variety of family-friendly activities during the afternoon hours including musical performances, acrobats, dare devil stunt artists, jugglers, puppets and story tellers, crafts, and much more.
Performing arts, including dance, poetry slams, musical performances, film screenings, improv comedy, and other events geared towards adults, too!
Ice sculptures will be scattered through various Boston outdoor spaces, including Copley Square and Boston Common. Bring your cameras and prepare to be in awe!
The Grand Procession begins at the Hynes Convention Center at 5:30pm and proceeds down Boylston Street. It has been a part of First Night since it began in 1976 and is a mini-Mardi Gras parade, featuring brass bands, huge moving sculptures, puppets, and costumed participants.
Countdown to Midnight is held just before 12am at Copley Square and Boston Common.
There are two different Fireworks Display! Boston’s Family Fireworks Celebration takes place in Boston Common and begin at 7pm. The second show begins at midnight over Boston Harbor to ring in the new year!
|First Night Ice Sculpture by Donald Chapelle; (photo source: Boston.com)
1. Plan ahead. Especially if you have small children. Take the time to read about the various activities offered on the First Night website’s schedule and choose the activities you and our family wan to enjoy. Some venues have limited capacity and are first-come, first-serve. Make sure you arrive early for the events you are most interested in.
2. Take public transportation. Don’t struggle to find parking on one of the busiest nights of the year! The street swill be flooded with pedestrians as well. The trains are free to ride on First Night- take advantage! Park at a train station and take the T into the city.
3. Bundle up! It’s usually VERY COLD! Make sure you wear lots of layers and have gloves, a hat, a scarf, etc. You want to be able to enjoy the ice sculptures and other outdoors activities, and you won’t be able to if you’re too cold! First Night activities go on as planned no matter what the weather is like.
4. Don’t drink too much. This isn’t only in reference to adult beverages, but also just a general warning. Expect bathroom lines to be long, and local small businesses to only allow paying customers to use their restrooms.
5. Public restrooms will be available at Boston Common, City Hall Plaza, Copley Square, and the Shops at Prudential Center.
6. The purchase of the First Night Button gains you entry into many of the events and performances throughout the festivities. Many local business offer discounts on products and services from the time the Buttons go on sale, through the end of January (aka First Month).
7. Missing children and medical emergencies are handled by the Boston EMS. There will be EMS stations at the Hynes Convention Center and Boston Common.
8. All of the ‘official’ First Night sites are wheelchair accessible, except the Boston Park Plaza Terrace Room. Several of the performances are interpreted in American Sign Language as well.
9. Events and times are always subject to change, so make sure you check the First Night website for the latest schedule. You can also stay up to date by following First Night on Twitter at twitter.com/firstnight.
While you’re at it- don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, too at twitter.com/jackconway1956!
10. If you decide to drive in and park, here is a list of suggested parking garages:
The Garage @ 100 Clarendon
100 Clarendon St., Boston, MA
Christian Science Plaza Parking Garage
250 Massachusetts Ave., Boston, MA
Prudential Center Parking Garage
Boylston St. & Huntington Ave. and Belvidere St. & Exeter St., Boston, MA
Radisson Hotel Garage
200 Stuart St., Boston, MA
Boston Common Parking Garage
0 Charles St., Boston, MA
Center Plaza Garage
One Center Plaza, Boston, MA
Garage at Post Office Square
0 Post Office Square, Boston, MA
Fan Pier Parking
28 Northern Ave., Boston, MA
If you lived in Boston, you might be able to enjoy the fireworks from the comfort of your own home, or be lucky enough to enjoy the convenience of a short walk or affordable cab ride home after the festivities end.