Each year, it seems like the sound of jingle bells has barely faded before Christmas magic gives way to New Year excitement. Leave 2016 in the dust with these enchanting events, ranging from city-wide parties to family-friendly festivals. Here are 10 Massachusetts towns that put on absolutely incredible New Year celebrations.
Please note that these celebrations are not ranked in order of awesomeness.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Sandwich - First Night Sandwich
This magical New Year celebration lights up the night with a shimmering array of glowing displays and parades. The party goes from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., so it's a great option for families with kids, or those of us who start yawning early. Check out the ice sculptures, lighted giants, an enchanting fairy garden, multicultural activities, musical presentations and live performances. There will also be cannon fire, giant sparklers, and fireworks. This event is free to the public.
2. Boston - First Night Boston
If you've never spent New Year's Eve in Boston, you're missing out on one of the most spectacular parties of the year. For more than 40 years, this free celebration has been transforming the capital city into a wonderland of ice sculptures, parades, light displays, musical and dance performances and general merriment. Again, this massive celebration is free and open to the public, so there's no reason not to join the fun. Festivities kick off at noon and continue until midnight.
3. Beverly- Beverly's New Year
This celebration actually takes place on December 30, so it won't interfere with any of your NYE plans. The party kicks off at 3 p.m., and includes holiday train rides, face-painting, live DJ entertainment, street games, stilt walkers, jugglers, and free hot chocolate and cookies as well! Admission buttons are $5 before 12/20, and $8 after that date.
4. Northampton - First Night Northampton
First Night Northampton has been going strong since 1985, and this year will be no different. Gather with friends and neighbors for a 12-hour, family-friendly arts and performance festival spread across 20 amazing downtown venues. When the big moment arrives, head to the Hotel Northampton for a traditional ball-raising and countdown. There will be plenty of fireworks, music and dancing in the streets. On-street parking will be free and Northampton's municipal lots are also all free (except the downtown parking garage).
5. Worcester - First Night Worcester
There’s so much to do at this massive celebration. Watch Chinese acrobats twirl, take photos with Orson the polar bear, take in a dizzying array of live musical performances, explore museums, admire ice sculptures and feast on oodles of street snacks. Many of the activities are free, but some do require tickets. If you want to get the full experience, pick up a First Night button for $10-$12, which will allow you to access most activities and performances for free. Celebrants can get around on the city’s trolleys, which will be free to those with a First Night button. Fireworks will illuminate the night at 11:15, so be sure to find a great viewing location. Festivities begin at 4 p.m.
6. Chatham - First Night Chatham
For 25 years and counting, Chatham has been welcoming the new year with a bevy performances and festive activities. This is a family-friendly (read: alcohol-free), town-wide celebration with over 70 events scheduled. Get there at noon to jump into the official "Town Photo" at Chatham Lighthouse, and continue the fun until fireworks burst over Oyster Pond at midnight. Don't forget to say hello to the Countdown Cod.
7. New Bedford - New Year's Eve Bash
Whaling may be in New Bedford's past, but this fantastical New Year's Eve ball at the city's whaling museum is all about celebrating what's to come. Tickets are $50 for adults and $15 for children under 12. For that price you'll get ample hors d’oeuvres, a complimentary champagne toast for adults, and plenty of crafts for the kids. Don your finest and head to the New Bedford Whaling Museum between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. to bid goodbye to 2016 in style.
8. Lynnfield - MarketStreet New Year’s Eve Family Block Party
The third annual MarketStreet New Year’s Eve Family Block Party kicks off on December 31 at 5 p.m. Enjoy live DJ entertainment, street performers and discounted skating at the MarketStreet Rink. At 7 p.m., over 1,000 colorful beach balls will drop on the crowds to celebrate the approaching new year. This event is free and open to the public.
9. Hancock - Jiminy Peak Torchlight Parade
This mesmerizing celebration involves a flood of skiers bearing torches winding their way down the snowy slopes of Jiminy Peak. When the torches go out, the night sky will begin to blaze with a spectacular firework show. The event runs from 10:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
10. Stockbridge - Red Lion New Year’s Eve Gala
After a delectable five-course meal, dance the night away in this extravagantly decorated historic inn. The main hall is transformed into a festive wonderland for the evening, and your evening will be capped off by a champagne toast at midnight. Visit the Red Lion Inn website for current pricing and tickets.