There are plenty of ways to ring in 2018 in New York City. We've rounded up the city's best family-friendly options from Brooklyn fireworks and FREE bike rides to swanky (and admittedly expensive) Times Square parties.
However you welcome the New Year, we hope it's a blast. You can find even more seasonal fun in our Holiday Guide, and more fun activities to do on school break.
New Year's Eve in Coney Island – Coney Island, Brooklyn
Steeplechase Pavilion, West 19th Street and the Boardwalk
Coney Island's beachfront fete returns to ring in 2018. Head to the Steeplechase Pavilion to enjoy a DJ, giveaways, and sideshow performances beginning at 9pm. Enjoy some of the most popular amusements on the boardwalk are gratis, too. Luna Park's B&B Carousell and Thunderbolt offer FREE rides, and you can catch a spin on Deno's Wonderwheel or adventure at its Stop the Zombies 7D attraction for FREE, too. All attractions are weather permitting. Fireworks explode in the sky at midnight.
New Year's Eve Fireworks in Prospect Park – Prospect Heights, Brooklyn
This annual celebration is a FREE and fun way to ring in 2018 and celebrate the beginning of the park's 151st year! The event kicks off at 11pm with live entertainment and hot refreshments, followed by a dazzling fireworks show at midnight. Best viewing spots include Grand Army Plaza, inside the green space on the West Drive in the park, and along Prospect Park West between Grand Army Plaza and Ninth Street. Or try to find a friend with a nearby rooftop. Organizers ask that you RSVP if you plan to attend.
RELATED: NYC Visitor's Guide for Families
Central Park fireworks kick of the annual Midnight Run. Photo courtesy of NYRR.
NYRR Midnight Run and Central Park Fireworks – Upper East Side
Starts at the Central Park band shell; enter the park at Fifth Avenue and 72nd Street
Looking for a way to work off those extra holiday pounds? This noncompetitive, 4-mile Central Park run for ages 5 and older is an offbeat, only-in-NYC way to welcome 2017. There's dancing and live entertainment at 10pm, and fireworks at midnight, which kick off the race. If you're not the sneakers type, come for the FREE pre-run fun and head back home. The event takes place rain or shine. While you can register the day of until 5pm, it's best to do it in advance as the event is already nearing capacity. Note: If you've gone to enjoy the pre-race festival in the past, this year's edition is open only to runners and their guests. Nonetheless, the sparklers will be visible south of 72nd Street in the park, but be prepared for security screening at any of the entrances.
New Year's Eve Bike Ride – Central Park to the Lower East Side
Meet at the Plaza Hotel, Fifth Avenue and 59th Street at 9:30pm; Brooklyn-side entrance to the Williamsburg Bridge at 9:30pm; or Madison Square Park on 23rd and Broadway, Flatiron side at 10pm.
Families can join this FREE ride, which is reversing course this year, starting uptown before heading south to the LES for a festive, post-race party at the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space. The fun is sponsored by grass-roots environmental group Time's Up. Festive outfits, noisemakers, and party favors are encouraged. Please bring drinks and food to share, too. Best for children ages 10 and older on their own bikes, or all ages if in a bike seat.
New Year's Eve Family Cruise – South Street Seaport
Pier 81 at 41st Street and 12th Avenue
Splurge on a boat ride for striking views of the NYC skyline and the fireworks bursting above. Many New Year's Eve cruises seem to be 21 and older. However, New York Water Taxi welcomes all ages. There are passed hors d'oeuvres, a buffet, beer, and wine.
RELATED: 21 NYC Holiday Activities Every Kid Should Try Once
Brave the crowds and confetti at Times Square...if you dare. Photo by Kohei Kanno via Flickr.
Crowded doesn't begin to describe Times Square on New Year's Eve, but it's an iconic way to ring in the new year. If you're not taking time to stake out a spot in the square, there are a number of neighborhood destinations offering celebrations that accommodate the under-21 crowd. Many of them are right on 42nd Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues. Note: The live ball drop is not visible from most of these shindigs.
Dave & Buster's New Year's Eve Party includes a five-hour open bar (alcohol for parents, nonalcoholic beverages for kids), and live DJ performances. We've heard 14 is the suggested minimum age.
At Ripley's Believe It or Not! Times Square, you can check out wild and weird artifacts, tackle a laser race, dance to ubiquitous DJ tunes and chow down on hors d'œuvres. Adults enjoy a midnight champagne toast.
Even Mexican chain Chevy's has a party, as do a slew of other area venues. Note: Some celebrations don't allow revelers younger than 21.
Admission prices vary significantly. Visit the respective websites for complete info.
For other seasonal activities, check out our Event Calendar and Holiday Fun Guide.
Top photo: New Year's Eve in Brooklyn is thrilling family fun, especially in the haven of Park Slope-Prospect Heights. Photo by Andrew Gardner/courtesy of the Prospect Park Alliance.
This story, originally posted in December 2009, is updated annually.