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[NYC - Midtown] New Year's Eve Countdown in Central Park (alternative to Times Square Ball Drop)


If you are planning on traveling to New York City for New Year's Eve and are looking for something to do for countdown, consider going to Central Park for fireworks, live music, and a New Year's Eve Run.

This event is very family-friendly and is a great alternative to Times Square ball drop.


When people think of New Year's in NYC, Times Square is the first thing that comes to mind. We considered going there, but realized quite early on that it was not for us. Basically, you have to go to Times Square in the morning, in order to find a good spot. You are basically corralled into a little rectangle of space along with people that are going to be your close friends by time midnight comes around. The police set up barricades, etc, so you are actually stuck in the rectangle the entire day. So, basically, make sure to not drink too much before you go and bring the food or whatever you will need. Unlike most other days, there are no food vendors around and (like most days) there are no public restrooms.

In light of all that, we decided to go to Central Park for fireworks. It is a lot more low-key. There are multiple stages with musical performances and DJs. At midnight, there is fireworks show and the 4-mile Midnight Run begins. There is also a costume contest and a parade. The annual bike ride also ends in Central Park with a dance party at the Belvedere Castle.

You can stick around after the fireworks and watch the run. Or, if you want to take part in the run, pre-registration is $50. On the day of, entry is $55.

There are plenty of vendors selling typical street food, hot chocolate, coffee, and more.

There is plenty for everyone to enjoy!
Location: Fifth Ave and 72nd St. (Central Park Bandshell)

*FTC Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which means, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission if you click through the links provided and make a purchase.*

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