New Year's Eve Fireworks in NYC and More 2020 Family Celebrations
There are plenty of ways to ring in 2020 in New York City with kids. We've rounded up the city's best family-friendly options, from daytime celebrations for wee ones to Brooklyn fireworks and FREE bike rides, plus a few swanky (and admittedly expensive) Times Square parties.
New Year's (Day) Eve Party – Snug Harbor, Staten Island
Head to the fun-filled Staten Island Children's Museum for an afternoon New Year's Eve party. Expect arts and crafts, games, live music, and a kid-pleasing balloon drop for the big finale.
New Year's Eve Extravaganza at CMOM – Upper West Side
CMOM hosts a weekend full of New Year's fun. Saturday through Tuesday, kids can craft hats or noisemakers for New Year's celebrations. And on the holiday proper, CMOM counts down to the New Year three times, at 12pm, 2pm, and 4pm. Each countdown culminates in a celebratory parade.
New Year's Eve in Brooklyn's Prospect Park is thrilling family fun. Photo by Andrew Gardner for Prospect Park Alliance.
New Year's Eve Fireworks in Prospect Park – Prospect Heights, Brooklyn
This annual celebration is a FREE and fun way to ring in 2020! The event kicks off at 10:30pm 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 off the annual Midnight Run. Photo courtesy of NYRR
NYRR Midnight Run and Central Park Fireworks – Upper East Side
Central Park bandshell; 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 2020. Runners and their families can enjoy pre-race dancing and live entertainment at 10pm, and fireworks at midnight, which kick off the race. While you can register until 5pm the day of, it's best to do it in advance. Note: If you've gone to enjoy the pre-race festival in the past, know that it's now open only to runners and their guests. The fireworks will be visible south of 72nd Street in the park, but be prepared for security screening at park entrances.
New Year's Eve Bike Ride – Central Park to Lower East Side
Meet at the Brooklyn-side entrance to the Williamsburg Bridge at 9:45pm; Washington Square Park Arch at 10pm; or Madison Square Park on 23rd and Broadway, Flatiron side at 10:20pm.
Families can join this FREE ride, which is sponsored by grassroots environmental group Time's Up. Festive outfits, noisemakers, and party favors are encouraged. Best for children ages 10 and older on their own bikes, or for younger kids in a bike seat. The ride ends in Central Park with a killer view of the fireworks.
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 place to ring in the new year. If you're not taking time to stake out a spot, 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 these celebrations:
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. The site advertises fun for those aged 5 to 50.
AMC Empire 25 All-Ages New Year's Eve Party is perhaps the most budget-friendly fete, but doesn't include alcohol or even food. You can purchase snacks from the on-site concessions at movie theater prices, however. You can also watch screenings of PG-13 movies, and dance to DJ-spun tunes all evening long.
This story, originally posted in December 2009, is updated annually.
Places featured in this article:
Staten Island Children's Museum
Grand Army Plaza Prospect Park Entrance
Times Square Pedestrian Plaza