Counting down to 2013 with kids in tow? Don’t let that stop you from ringing in the New Year with style. The city provides NYE entertainment for all ages—so check out these family-friendly soirees, and hold that (sparkling cider) bubbly high!
All events are on December 31, 2012.
Bedtime before the ball drops doesn’t have to stop your kids from celebrating 2012. Lots of family-friendly restaurants, like BR Guest’s establishments, are hosting New Year’s Eve family parties from 2-6 p.m. with balloons, face painting and other festive activities! Reservations are recommended.
Big Apple Circus
Celebrate New Year’s in a BIG way—under the Big Top at the Big Apple Circus’ LEGENDARIUM show at 9 p.m.! Top off the night with a champagne or sparkling cider midnight toast, complete with streamers and noisemakers.
300 New York NYE Matinee At Chelsea Piers
Strike out at 300 New York with a NYE family bowling party from 4-7pm. Pricing starts at $30/person and includes bowling and shoe rental, plus a sparkling cider toast! Reservations recommended.
Dave & Buster’s
If you want to be near the magic of Times Square on New Year’s, Dave & Buster’s hosts a giant party starting at 7 p.m. with fun and games for the whole family (plus drinks for the adults!). Purchase of a ticket, which ranges from $35-$195 depending mostly on age and drink preference, gives you access to the arcade machines, amusement park games, virtual simulators, a gourmet buffet, party favors and dancing, as well as a spot in Times Square for the countdown. Or opt to skip the craziness and watch the ball drop on D & B’s big screen TVs.
18th Annual Brooklyn Bridge Walk
Walk into the New Year with a tour of City Hall and the Brooklyn Bridge, led by some of NYC’s most knowledgeable tour guides. Tours start between 10:15 and 11:15pm. If tradition continues, you’ll be able to see the Empire State Building’s light show as well as fireworks from Central Park, Brooklyn, Staten Island and New Jersey. Tickets for adults are $40 online or $50 cash at the door and $20-$30 for kids.
Fireworks At Grand Army Plaza
Brooklyn’s biggest party kicks off the New Year at 11pm with free entertainment and hot refreshments at Grand Army Plaza. The dazzling fireworks show—which can best be seen from anywhere in the Plaza, inside the Park on the West Drive or along Prospect Park West between the Plaza and 9th Street—will send you into 2013 with a sparkle.
New Year’s Eve At Madame Tussaud’s
Celebrate with the “stars” at the famous wax museum in Times Square. Dance with the live DJ who will spin tunes throughout the night, pose with Miley or Madonna or enjoy the themed Super Hero, Pop Star Celebrity and Historical rooms. Kids can drink at the juice bar while adults get drinks at the real one. General admission begins at 8pm, and remaining tickets start at $155.
15th Annual New Year’s Eve Bike Ride
Meet at 10 p.m. at Washington Square Park for a great outdoors-style NYE celebration. Pedal or skate up to Belvedere Castle in Central Park, where the real party begins. Dance the night away and see the fireworks show. Don’t forget to dress festively and bring your noisemakers!
Children’s Museum Of Manhattan Holiday Workshops
Construct a colorful confetti collage at CMOM, or think about what you’d love to see in the coming year as you make a Grinch-inspired Wish Wand. Check their calendar for specific times!
Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!
Not one for traditional celebrations? Take the family to Ripley’s Times Square to see shrunken heads and other oddities while being close to all the NYE action. You can even view the ball drop if you want! Tickets range from $25-32 but are cheaper if you buy online.
The Empire State Building
View the bright NYE lights from the best site in the city—atop the Empire State Building. Until 10 pm, you can ride up to the 86th or 102nd Floor observatories and stand in awe at your 360-degree panorama of NYC.
Jewel Yachts’s NYE Family Fireworks Gala
Prefer a little peace and quiet on New Year’s Eve? An elegant Jewel Yacht New York cruise will take you to glittering views of the city’s greatest landmarks, like the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge, without having to deal with the crowds. The gala includes a yummy buffet of favorites like oven roasted meatballs, pasta primavera, and dessert. Prices start at $165.
And click here for a full list of can’t-miss holiday family fun like trees, department store windows, gingerbread workshops, pop-up markets, “Nutcrackers,” and festive celebrations this winter.