Our Long Weekend Traveling Mom shares five ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve as a family and more than 25 different places you can go. From Noon Year Eve parties to First Night celebrations, read on for ideas of places you can go near or far for a family New Year’s Eve party.
Family New Year’s Eve Party might seem like an oxymoron but it really can be done! It’s certainly going to be a different experience from how I spent New Year’s Eve in past years. Since my children are getting older (5 & 9), I’m looking for ways to share a family-friendly New Year’s Eve ideas.
A key factor for me as we celebrate New Year’s Eve as family: I’m looking for activities and places that we can all enjoy. Safety is extremely important because it can get a little wild out there. Because New Year’s Eve falls on a weekend this year, I’ve added in places that we can spend a long weekend. There are lots of different and special things you can find within a short flight or drive of your home for a memorable weekend. Here is a totally varied list from the casual to the formal.
Noon Year’s Eve Events
Even though my kids can stay up, a Noon Year’s Eve event followed by a nap can be a lot of fun. Not to mention, good practice for the main event. Lots of our favorite museums and science centers are hosting Noon Year’s Eve events.
The Fort Wayne, Indiana science museum, Science Central, is hosting the Countdown to Noon. It’s a short drive from Chicago so we could fly in there and add a few days more. Families can enjoy hands-on experiments, a 1,000 balloon release at noon and all the exhibits. We’ve been there! Our Retro Traveling Mom spent a few days there and this was one of the 8 Reasons to Take Your Kids to Fort Wayne.
How to celebrate New Year’s Eve as a Family? First Night Celebrations!
First Night started in 1976 as a gathering of artists in Boston to celebrate a spirit of community. The events are generally alcohol-free and have free admission. There are more than 75 different cities expected to participate in 2017. A few worth checking out:
Boston First Night – Where First Night was founded, the party kicks off at 10:00 am and hosts two fireworks celebrations, a family-friendly 7:00 pm showing followed by a midnight display. Staying the weekend? More other cool things to do in Boston with kids.
Portsmouth, NH First Night – Make a day of it with a Children’s Museum of NH balloon drop & ginger ale toast at noon before fireworks at 7:30 pm.
First Night Dahlonega, GA – To celebrate their history in the Gold Rush, Dahlonega will host a Nugget Drop at 9:30 pm and midnight.
First Night Charlottesville, Virginia – This is the 2nd oldest First Night and it takes place on the Downtown Mall. The ball drop here is accompanied by a laser light show for the maximum amount of fun.
First Night Tacoma, WA – It’s the Puget Sound so they’ll have a version of The Iditarace, Teams of human-powered dogsleds racing 400 yards, all to ring in 2018 as the Year of the Dog! If you stay a little longer, be sure to check out our list of FREE fun things to do in Tacoma.
First Night Pittsburgh – The party kicks off at 6:00 with fireworks before a parade at 8:00 and midnight drop of the Future of Pittsburgh ball, made entirely of recycled materials, symbolizing Pittsburgh’s continuous efforts to be a green city.
Find A Unique Family New Year’s Eve Party
Everyone loves their midnight kiss but what about a true chocolate kiss? Hershey, PA hosts a FREE Hershey’s Kiss event in ChocolateTown Square. There are tours at The Hershey Story, The Museum on Chocolate Avenue before an evening of music. At 11:55 pm, the Hershey Kiss is raised for a midnight countdown and fireworks display.
If your family are all about summer fun at the Beach, Wilmington, NC will host a midnight Family New Year’s Eve Party and Beach Ball drop at Carolina Beach’s Boardwalk. The free event will kick off at 9:00 pm. Need more things to do? Check out other Traveling Mom suggestions for Family Fun at Beaches Near Wilmington.
These are just two of the unique midnight drops but we have 16 other fun drops around the nation that you should check out. Pickles, PEEPS, crabs, bologna and chili’s are just a few of the fun things that are dropped.
Sleep In Late After the New Year’s Party
Staying onsite at a hotel is always a fabulous option for New Year’s Eve. You don’t have to worry about getting there on-time or looking for parking. Bonus for the family cooks: your family can all sleep in the next morning and have a room service breakfast.
The Greenbrier Resort will host events for families over the New Year’s Eve holiday. For families that want a formal celebration, Soirée ’18 is a black tie affair for both children and adults. It will feature dinner, wine pairing and a live orchestra. Our World Traveling Mom says that this is a place to be treated like a Royal, so it’s on the list of bucket-list places for my family.
Radisson Blu Mall of America is hosting live music and indoor swimming for families. But a special bonus is the easy access to the Mall of America and its indoor amusement park, Nickelodeon Universe via a SkyWay. For New Year’s Eve, Nickelodeon Universe will host unlimited rides, circus performances, and a countdown with ball drop. Be sure to check out my favorite things to do in Minneapolis while you’re there!
Create Family Traditions at Home
While travel can be amazing, consider creating your own family-friendly New Year’s Eve traditions at home. Maybe it is lighting sparklers at midnight and walking outside or letting the kids bang pots and pans with friends. (The noise is said to scare away evil spirits.) Share any of your traditions in the comments below. And whatever you choose to do, we want to be the first to wish you a Happy New Year!