There are plenty of family-friendly ways to usher in the New Year. Below, are our top ten options. Whether you plan to stay up late or retire early, and whether you plan to plunk down some cash or participate in a free event, enjoy our picks for how to ring in 2014!
New Year’s Eve Fireworks in Prospect Park
Prospect Park is one of the best places to celebrate the New Year. The festivities kick off around 11pm with hot chocolate and live entertainment. The ideal viewing spots are anywhere in Grand Army Plaza, inside the Park on the West Drive, and along Prospect Park West between Grand Army Plaza and 9th Street. All ages.
New Year’s Eve at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan
CMOM is offering a day filled with Dr. Seuss-inspired crafting. Children can meet-and-greet the Grinch himself, while making noisemakers for the holiday. Don’t forget to add your wishes for 2014 to a community mural. All ages. 10am-4pm.
For those willing to brave the mayhem that is Times Square on New Year’s Eve, there are several venues within the vicinity of the famous live ball drop that are worth checking out for their family-friendly happenings. Dave & Buster’s is throwing a party for the teen set and beyond (ages 14+). Madame Tussauds has booked a live DJ. A lineup of PG-13 movies is playing at the AMC Theater Times Square, while Ripley’s Times Square has everything from stilt walkers to fire breathers on hand.
New Year’s Eve Party Ride
Grassroots environmental group Time’s Up is sponsoring a free bike ride from Greenwich Village’s Washington Square Park to Belvedere Castle in Central Park. At the ride’s end, enjoy an outdoor party complete with music, dancing, and fireworks. Meet under the Arch at Washington Square Park, Fifth Avenue and Washington Square North, 10pm. Ages 10+ for children on their own bike; all ages if on a parent’s bike.
New Year’s Eve at the Big Apple Circus
Take in this troupe’s ongoing act–think acrobats, trapeze artists, jugglers, and clowns–but prepare for a special treat at show’s end. There will be a countdown to midnight. Kids will sip sparkling cider, while their parents imbibe champagne. Ages 1+. Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center, West 62nd Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues.
New Year’s Eve Family Fireworks Gala Aboard the Cornucopia Destiny
If you’re looking for an alternative to the Times Square scene, head to the water. A live DJ will spin family-friendly tunes, while a multi-course buffet tempts an all-ages crowd. Expect to dance the night away and gaze at unobstructed views of the fireworks. Board 8pm, depart 9pm, return 1am. Pier 81, West 41st Street and West Side Highway.
Patrick and the Rock-a-Silly Band at the Staten Island Children’s Museum
Want to rock out with some daytime fun? Check out the Staten Island Children’s Museum where children’s musician Patrick Rafferty and his Rock-a-Silly Band will entertain the young masses. 1pm to 3pm. Free with admission.
New Year’s Eve Concert for Peace at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine
Join the legendary singer Judy Collins for this annual performance of spirituals and classical works by the likes of Handel and Mozart. Ages 6+. 7pm. Limited number of free tickets. Reserved seats $30 each.
Emerald Nuts Midnight Run
Runners complete a four-mile run at midnight starting at the Central Park Bandshell where fireworks, music, and dancing can also be enjoyed by family members of any age starting at 10pm. Naumburg Bandshell, Central Park, 72nd Street at Fifth Avenue.
New Year’s Eve Family Cruise–South Street Seaport
This cruise has everyone covered. For the kids, there are Wii games, party favors, and noisemakers. For the adults, there are stunning city views of famous sights, from the Brooklyn Bridge to the Chrysler Building. Watch the ball drop at Times Square from a plasma TV. Boards 9:05pm.