Things to do in New York

Times Square Ball Drop | The Ultimate Guide to Celebrating New Year’s Eve in New York!

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New York, New York, it really is one helluva town! This year, choose to spend your New Year’s Eve at Times Square and watch the renowned crystal ball drop 140ft from the top of Times Square. What started as a tradition in 1904 has now transformed into an international phenomenon with New Year’s Eve performances from consummate artists like Frank Sinatra, Queen and more recently, Lady Gaga and Charlie Puth, to an electric fireworks display that lights up the Manhattan skyline. The New Year’s Eve Times at Square Ball Drop creates memories for a lifetime.

The adrenaline-charged excitement of the Ball Drop garners attention from thousands across the world. It marked the inauguration of the New York Times’ new headquarters back in the day which continued to snowball into an unparalleled celebration of days old and new. The New Year’s Eve celebrations have rallied through the two world wars and intense security checks following multiple bomb scares. But, as the clock strikes 12, the ball whooshes down to ring in the new year in a flourish that is forever imprinted in your mind like an old photograph.

Why is Times Square worth the hype?

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If it is in New York, it is worth your attention. Times Square is the perfect place to spend your New Year’s Eve as it is the melting pot of the world where people from all walks of life gather uninhibited and unencumbered. Many dance and sing along to the familiar tunes and the atmosphere is simply electric. The fireworks light up the sky at midnight as the music blasts from the speakers. Spend time getting to know the people in your vicinity, with whom you will be spending hours waiting for the ball to drop.

It is recommended to head to the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebrations early in the day and pick the best viewing spots. The top of the Empire State Building is a highly-recommended spot for a bird’s eye-view. The ‘Bowtie’ is another highly-coveted viewing point at the intersection of Broadway and 7th Avenue to watch the ball drop at midnight. A great way to circumvent the crowds and find a comfortable vantage point is to get the NYC Explorer Pass or the New York Unlimited Attraction Pass to gain express entry into places such as the Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center for skyline views and front-row seats to the ball drop with a cocktail in hand.

Parties and Events around Town

New Year Parties and Events In New York Times Square
1. Christmas Spectacular Show with the Radio City Rockettes

The most iconic Christmas Show in New York City features the Radio City Rockettes who put on a memorable performance suitable for all ages. With a heartwarming Christmas story, the Christmas Spectacular Show is a glitzy dance ensemble held annually at Radio City Music Hall until early-January. Elevate this experience with dinner at either Dave and Busters, Applebees or Hard Rock Café with the exclusive Christmas Spectacular Show & Times Square Dinner.

Christmas Spectacular Starring The Radio City Rock...
Christmas Spectacular Show & Holiday Lights Walkin...
Christmas Spectacular Show & Times Square Dinner
New Year Parties and Events In New York Times Square
2. New Year’s Eve Fireworks Cruise

A New Year’s Eve Cruise on the Hudson River sounds almost magical and it truly is. As the Manhattan skyline is illuminated by an iridescent array of bright lights, enjoy a boat cruise across the Hudson with the New Year’s Eve Circle Line Cruise or a Dinner Cruise with pop music and an eclectic crowd.

New Year Parties and Events In New York Times Square
3. Top of The Rock Cocktails and Skyline Vistas from Bar SixtyFive

Bar SixtyFive is on the 65th floor of 30 Rock, the iconic building made famous as the workplace of Liz Lemon in the eponymous American sitcom. The bar offers an unmatched view of the New York Skyline and serves as an excellent vantage point for viewing the New Year’s Eve fireworks while sipping on free-flowing Manhattans.

New Year Parties and Events In New York Times Square
4. Retroclubnyc New Year’s Eve Dance Party 202q

Dance, dance, dance to the tunes from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s and boogie your way to the new year. Channel your inner John Travolta and enjoy the ‘throwback cocktails’ at the Retroclubnyc in Times Square, New York for their New Year’s Eve Dance Party 2021. Top DJs spin blasts from the past for an enthralling time.

New Year Parties and Events In New York Times Square
5. New Year’s Eve 2021 Copacabana

One of the most sought-after New Year’s Eve Parties in New York is at the popular dance club Copacabana with dance tunes courtesy of international DJs. Enjoy the drinks, food and good vibes with everyone basking in the festive glow and have a memorable time with friends and loved ones.

How to Get to Times Square

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The public viewing places to watch the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop in Times Square, such as 44th Street & Broadway, fill up as early as 3:00 PM in the afternoon and it is recommended that visitors find a suitable spot early in the day. There are multiple ways to get to Times Square and the best is via public transportation.

Shuttle Trains and buses are the most convenient methods but make note that certain exits such as the 42nd Street Subway Station are overcrowded so it is better to disembark at an earlier stop to avoid diversion.

Entry points for the viewing include access from south of 41st street and north of 43rd street, among others. Check the official Times Square website for a detailed map of where and how to enter Times Square on New Year’s Eve.

There are multiple events taking place in New York on New Year’s Eve and you can avail taxi services from sources such as Taxi Leader, NYC Limousine and the iconic yellow cabs to get around town. This is the time to use an NYC Explorer Pass to skip the long lines and enjoy the benefit of swift entry to many of New York’s major attractions.

Get yourself a New York Subway Pass to navigate the metro system or sign-up for a Hop On Hop Off sightseeing tour for an NYC tour. There are many guided tours offered to travelers including walking, cycling and bus tours by Free Tours by Foot for an immersive introduction to the city.

FreeStyle Attraction Pass with Hop-On Hop-Off Bus ...
FreeStyle Attraction Pass with Hop-On Hop-Off Cruise
New York Explorer Pass - 3 Attractions
NYC Road Bike Rental

Where to Stay in New York during New Year’s Eve

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New Year’s Eve is one of the busiest times in New York City and travelers can find suitable accommodation that is centrally-located and may even offer a view of the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop, if you wish to avoid the crowds. Here are a few hotels and accommodations we recommend staying at in New York during New Year’s Eve:

Millennium Premier New York Times Square

Accessible from the subway and only a two-minute walk to Times Square, Premier New York Times Square by Millennium Group is a coveted hotel for its location and modern comforts. The lounge is free for use and you can watch the New Year’s Ball Drop straight from this boutique hotel.

Hyatt Centric

A high-rise hotel at a five-minutes’ walk from Times Square-42nd Street subway station, Hyatt Centric offers stunning views of the New York City skyline from its terrace. You can gaze at the fireworks illuminating the sky at midnight right from your bedroom!

Casablanca Hotel

A tribute to tradition and the yesteryears, Casablanca Hotel is designed with warm, wooden interiors. The hotel is located within walking distance from Times Square in the Theater District.

New York Marriott Marquis

It does not get better than the view from the New York Marriott Marquis found right across from Times Square, home to the NYE Ball Drop. The subway stops and Empire State Building are only minutes away and the revolving restaurant offers the perfect amount of whimsy in the concrete jungle.

Radio City Apartments

Radio City Apartments are only a four-minute walk to Rockefeller Center and Times Square so guests have the option to either visit Bar SixtyFive for drinks and views or head straight to Times Square for the Ball Drop. The services are impeccable and the location is ideal as it is close to many other places of interest like the Museum of Modern Art.

Hilton Times Square

Hilton Times Square is conveniently located on 42nd Street making it even easier for you to navigate the New Year’s Eve crowds. It is a 44-story hotel with breath-taking views of the Manhattan skyline.

Know Before You Go

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  • If the NYPD starts cordoning off the Bowtie area from 3:00 PM in the afternoon, you know it is serious business. The Ball Drop takes place on the roof of One Times Square. Plan to get there early in the afternoon to reserve the best seats in the house to view the flagpole which hosts the hypnotizing crystal ball.
  • The closest viewing points are at Broadway and 43rd Street that fill up quickly as revelers flood the space. At 6:00 PM, the ball begins ascending to the top of the flagpole and 60 seconds prior to midnight, it starts its descent to mark the end of the current year and welcome in the new year.
  • Entry to the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop at Times Square is free for all and spaces are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Note that it takes at least nine hours from the moment you arrive to the ball drop that you are circumscribed in your position so bring kids at your discretion.
  • There are no public bathrooms once you get here so go beforehand and limit any liquid intake, for good measure.
  • Large bags are a strict no-no since the security check will turn you away at the entrance checkpoints. Be sure to carry a cross-body or fanny-pack with your essentials only and prepare to be here for a good chunk of the day and enjoy the music that plays on the sound system.
  • New York weather is unpredictable, so carry your mackintosh and rain boots but be sure to leave your umbrellas at home since they are shunned in the gathering!

Insider Tips for your Trip

  • Be aware of the security checks and avoid things that are prohibited such as large backpacks, umbrellas and alcohol. Instead, carry a cross-body bag to protect yourself from pickpocketing and have your essentials handy.
  • You are more or less stuck in one place for the rest of the day so it will do well to carry some light snacks along with activities to keep you entertained.
  • It is advised to reach the viewing points early in the afternoon to avoid any inconvenience later on as the crowd streams in hordes until the area is closed-off to traffic by the NYPD.
  • The weather is unpredictable and since you cannot carry an umbrella, make sure to at least pack a raincoat and extra socks for a quick change to get warmer.
  • Don’t drink too much liquid, just enough to keep you hydrated, because there are absolutely no portable restrooms in the public standing areas and you will not be able to step out of the crowd to access a bathroom.
  • You can always opt to avoid the crowd and head to a hotel bar or restaurant like Renaissance New York, Olive Garden or The Knickerbocker to watch the ball drop, but it may not be the same as watching it live.
  • Celebrate with the rest of the world as the clock strikes every hour signaling the New Year in different parts of the world as you wait for it to be your turn in New York City’s Times Square.


Is entry free or are there tickets for the NYE Ball Drop, Times Square? 

What are the security measures in place for visitors? 

Is the public viewing area in Times Square accessible for the disabled?

How many people attend the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop at Times Square?

What is the most convenient way to enter Times Square for the Ball Drop Event?

Is there a covered viewing area to avoid the rain, if any?

Is it possible to watch the Ball Drop from a nearby hotel, restaurant or bar?

What about the pre-drop show at Times Square? 

New Year's Eve in Times Square