How to Attend the New Year's Celebrations in Times Square

Arguably the most famous New Year's event known worldwide is the annual dropping of the spectacular crystal ball in Times Square, New York City, on December 31st. The celebration is broadcast on many television channels around the world and marks the height of New Year's celebrations. And if you're a reveler keen to experience the spectacular event live in person, the following is a guide to help you enjoy the celebration in Times Square.


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    Wear warm clothing. Wear a warm jacket, scarf, mittens, etc. if you're going to wait to see the ball drop. Winter temperatures in New York City can get downright chilly and brisk, especially during New Year's Eve, so make sure to bundle up unless you want to stand outside for many long hours in the freezing air.
    • Be sure to wear adequate footwear and socks too. Cold feet can make the occasion miserable.
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    Arrive early. Early can mean anytime between 1pm-5pm of the afternoon leading into New Year's Eve. While this sounds very early, it's essential if you want to guarantee yourself a nice view of the ball and the entertainment stages. If you arrive later, you risk receiving a crummy, crowded spot with no view, or, in the worst case, you won't be permitted into Times Square at all.
    • Take along things to do while you wait, like crossword puzzles, phone games, some reading you'd like to catch up on.
    • Go with someone. It might be a good idea to bring along an equally stalwart family member or close friend to Times Square. Although you may be able to chat with the revelers around you, you might want to pass the time talking to someone you know well instead.
    • It is possible to purchase guided tours at steep prices and have people shepherd you through the crowd (some tours also provide a dinner, etc.) This might prove easier for you if you have the cash and less desire to be standing about for hours. Search online for details.
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    Make this clear to yourself - there are no portable bathrooms in Times Square. Unless you want to hold it in for eight hours, try not to drink excessive amounts of liquids before or while you wait in Times Square.
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    If you're looking for a view of the entertainers who will be performing in Times Square, make sure you find a spot near any of the stages assembled throughout the Square. If you're lucky enough to grab a spot right beside the stage, chances are you'll be able to shake hands or even talk with the entertainers after their performances.
    • Don't be upset if you have a crummy view of the ball drop or entertainers in Times Square. Huge video screens are set up throughout the area that display live coverage of the event, as well as the sixty-second countdown, for revelers who haven't made it to the center of the action.
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    When the countdown reaches the final ten seconds, chant the numbers with the hundreds of thousands of fellow revelers in Times Square. And at midnight, cheer as loud as you can, kiss your spouse or date, and enjoy the post-ball drop music.
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    Leave as soon as you can after the ball drops. Otherwise you risk facing a very difficult and frustrating time getting out of Times Square in any hurry. Millions of people will be either returning home or to their hotels, and you can expect long lines and wait times.


  • Leave all unnecessary valuables at home and keep those that you must bring very close to your person. Crowded areas such as this are a pick-pocket's paradise.
  • Enjoy yourself! As stated above, for many attendees the New Year's celebrations in Times Square are a once-in-a-lifetime event, so make the most of your night. Take photos to remember the occasion.
  • This event is very popular with the young adult age group, but you may see families with young children or elderly people in Times Square too. But beware that young children may become fidgety and impatient waiting in the cold with nothing for them to do (unless you have brought a favorite book, magazine, toy, etc. of theirs) and they will very probably need the non-existent bathroom. You may also want to keep an eye on your fellow elderly people joining you, because they could become ill or faint just standing outside in the brisk air for several hours.
  • This event is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you may feel you want to try one time, but some revelers who "survived" the cold, crowded, noisy event have vowed not to return and instead choose to watch it on television from the comfort of their living room.


  • No alcohol is permitted in Times Square during the New Year's celebration. If you are caught drinking alcohol, the police will confiscate the drink.
  • Since the December 2012 celebration, there has been a policy that, "once you walk out of the barrier area, you will not be allowed to re-enter". Once you leave your spot to go to the bathroom, eat at a restaurant, or return to your hotel room, you will not be permitted back to your spot. Be sure to use any restrooms and prepare before entering for the night.
  • When leaving the area, do this at your own risk.
  • If your bringing little kids with you, be sure to hold their hands tight, and be sure they are not near any smoker who is smoking cigarettes.

Things You'll Need

  • Garments to keep warm in
  • Party favors (they are usually distributed for free by the event coordinators)
  • A family member or close friend
  • A good spirit and good mood

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