First Night Boston 2015

Boston's Biggest New Year's Eve Celebration

First Night Boston ice sculpture of frogs - photo courtesy of Tim Sackton
First Night ice sculpture in Boston Common depicting Tadpole Playground

First Night Boston welcomes 2015 with the New Year's Eve celebration that marks the beginning of each new year in Boston! 

Festivities during the 11-hour event include two fireworks shows, a huge Grand Procession parade down Boylston Street, family-friendly activities, live musical performances, spectacular ice sculptures by renowned artists, and new this year: a stunning animation and video presentation and countdown to midnight.

Over 1 million revelers turn out for Boston's signature New Year's Eve event. 

Plan to be among them for First Night 2015!

Ice sculptures at First Night Boston - photo courtesy of Kris Who- www.boston-discovery-guide.com
First Night Boston ice sculpture in Copley Square
Photo courtesy of Kriswho

 

First Night Boston Activities & Events

First Night 2015 will see the return of favorite events from previous years:

  • 2 fireworks shows - Boston Family Fireworks at 7pm on Boston Common, and Midnight Harbor Fireworks
  • The Grand Procession with marching bands, participation from the Gay Pride Parade, art cars, costumes
  • An all-day Puppet Festival and other family events at the Hynes Convention Center
  • Ice sculptures along the Grand Procession route, around Copley Square, and elsewhere in the city
  • Lots of live music by great performers:  Patti Smith and Her Band (a limited number of premium seats will be available for this event), The Blind Boys of Alabama, Anais Mitchell, Dean Wareham, the Donald Harrison Quintet at the Berklee Performance Center, and Dane Zanes and Elizabeth Mitchell
  • New this year - a spectacular projected animation and video installation on the facade of the Boston Public Library starting at dusk and finishing with a 10-minute countdown to midnight, created by Peter Berdovsky-Zebbler Studios

First Night Boston is the oldest, largest, and most elaborate New Year's Eve event of this type in the U.S.  It's fun, alcohol-free, and designed to entertain the whole family.  It has inspired dozens of similar events across the country.

First Night has been part of what makes our city special since 1976, and we're sure it will continue to be the best Boston New Year's Eve celebration.

First Night Boston ice sculpture of frogs - photo courtesy of Tim Sackton
One of the fabulous First Night Boston ice sculptures in Copley Square
Photo courtesy of Alex1961

 

Essentials: First Night Boston
  • When:  New Year's Eve, December 31st, from 1pm to just past midnight
  • Where:  Copley Square, Back Bay, and other Central Boston neighborhoods 
  • Cost:  $10 (children under 4 admitted free); buy at Boston CVS stores and Bank of America branches starting in early December; before then, buy at www.mayorsholiday.com
  • How it works:  You buy a button for $10, wear it, and get general admission to all indoor events (you can go to all outdoor events for free without a button).
  • Bonuses:  Some Boston businesses and museums give button holders discounts earlier in December and/or in January.
  • Boston hotels for New Year's Eve - 2015 discounts and special packages:    
    Fifteen Beacon Hotel New Year's Eve Special "NYE on the Wharf" special at Boston Harbor Hotel:  Bottle of Moët champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries, and more!

    - Boston New Year's Eve hotel discounts, special packages, and deals
  • Public Transportation for First Night:  Although Boston's subway normally stops service between 12:30am and 1am, the MBTA provides an extended subway and commuter rail schedule for First Night until 2am (YES!).  The T (subway) will be free between 8pm and 2am.  More about Boston's subway service
  • Parking:  Taking the T, Boston's subway, is best - but if you do drive, try parking garages in Fenway/Back Bay; to be closer to downtown, try garages near TD Garden and also in the Theatre District
  • Premium Seating for Performances and other Special Packages:  Available (limited number) for Patti Smith and Dean Wareham, Blind Boys of Alabama and Anais Mitchell, Donald Harrison Quintet, Sierra Hull, and Dane Zanes and Elizabeth Mitchell for $35; purchase in advance as premium seating usually sells out

First Night Boston ice sculpture of frogs - photo courtesy of Tim Sackton
First Night Boston ice sculpture in Copley Square
Photo courtesy of Tim Sackton

 

First Night Ice Sculptures

Giant ice sculptures by renowned ice sculptors are a signature event of First Night and draw huge crowds of spectators. 

Look for the huge sculptures along the Grand Procession route, at Copley Square, and at other locations throughout the city.

If you've never see ice sculptures taking shape before, you owe it to yourself to head over to Copley Square or Boylston Plaza (right in front of Prudential Center at 800 Boylston St) and watch these magicians at work. 

Ice sculptures at First Night Boston - photo courtesy of Jack Vinson- www.boston-discovery-guide.com
Elaborate ice sculpture carved for First Night Boston
Photo courtesy of Eric McCarthy

Each finished sculpture weighs 30-45 tons, so you can imagine the massive blocks of ice required for making them.  Sculpturing chunks of ice this huge is not a dainty process - ice artists use chain saws to carve their elaborate works of art.

The best time to watch the ice artists carve the sculptures is normally in the morning of New Year's Eve, January 31st.   The artists start as early as 9am on December 31st - sometimes earlier if the temperature is abnormally warm. 

First Night Boston ice sculpture of frogs - photo courtesy of Tim Sackton
First Night Boston ice sculpture in Copley Square
Photo courtesy of Tim Sackton

This First Night ice sculpture by Donald Chapelle shows the artist David sculpting Michelangelo.

The huge ice sculptures look spectacular after dark on New Year's Eve when they're lit by brilliant colored lights, but watching them being created is almost more fascinating.

First Night Boston ice sculpture of frogs - photo courtesy of Tim Sackton First Night Boston ice sculpture in Copley Square
Photo courtesy of Eric McCarthy

 

First Night Family Events and Fireworks

First Night Boston offers numerous family oriented events throughout the day, as well as early-evening fireworks on Boston Common. 

The Boston Children's Museum, Old State House, and Old South Meeting House - terrific places to bring kids - offer free admission between 10am and noon (these details are from last year - we'll report any changes once more info is available in later this month).  

Starting at 1pm, you'll find plenty of children's events throughout the afternoon hours.  Puppets, acrobats, music, jugglers, story tellers, crafts, and performers provide plenty of family-friendly entertainment. 

Most First Night kids' activities take place in Hynes Convention Center and Prudential Center.  If you're the parent of young children, you'll appreciate the easy access to plenty of bathrooms.  Plus, you can easily get here by T or park under the Pru - no need to be outside with the little ones if we get hit, as sometimes happens, with frigid temperatures.

First Night Boston ice sculpture of frogs - photo courtesy of Tim Sackton
First Night Boston ice sculpture in Boston Common
Photo courtesy of Dykstranet

At 5:30pm, the Grand Procession Parade began at the Hynes Convention Center and marched down Boylston Street.  Featuring a different theme each year, the hour-long procession included brass bands, huge moving sculptures, elaborate floats, puppeteers from the Back Alley Puppet Theatre and Puppeteers Cooperative, and costumed participants. 

At 7pm, 12 minutes of glorious Boston Family Fireworks presented by Mayor Menino and the Mugar Foundation launch from the Common's ballfield.  The best place to watch the fireworks is from the sloping hill across from the field, but you'll also get a good view from most other parts of the Common.  The early hour lets families with young children celebrate the New Year - and get to bed at a reasonable hour.

 

New Year's Boston Evening Events and Midnight Fireworks

At just before 12am, Countdown to Midnight begins at Copley Square and Boston Common.  When the clock strikes 12, another fabulous firework display over Boston Harbor welcomes the first day of the New Year. 

The best place to watch the First Night Boston midnight fireworks show is anywhere along the waterfront - Downtown, South Boston Waterfront, the North End, Charlestown, even East Boston (take the T's Blue Line from the New England Aquarium).  Castle Island also offers great views.

You'll also have great views of the fireworks views from the small plaza overlooking Faneuil Hall at Government Center, although this area can get crowded.  In general, the biggest crowds of spectators generally cluster along the South Boston Waterfront and the Downtown Waterfront around the Boston Harbor Hotel (which offers some awesome New Year's Eve special packages).

Watch this short video to get a preview of what you'll see!

 


 

First Night Sponsors & Supports

Special thanks for bringing First Night Boston to all of us this year go to the supporters and sponsors who are making it possible:

  • The Highland Street Foundation, huge supporter of free and affordable access to the arts in Boston for the past 25+ years 
  • The Mugar Foundation and Boston 4 Productions for the Boston Family Fireworks
  • State Street Bank, for the Midnight Harbor Fireworks
  • Bank of America for their support of the Grand Procession
  • WGBH for providing live broadcase on "Toast of the Nation"
  • Liberty Mutual, Gillette, WBZ, ArtsBoston, Boston 4 Productions, Fed Ex, Boston USA, Sheraton Boston Hotel, Sparkline Digital, the Riley Foundation, Berklee College of Music, the Boston Globe, the Massachusetts Conference Center Authority for sponsoring other major events

 

Any Questions about First Night in Boston?

Have a question about First Night Boston? Ask, and I'll do my best to answer.

First, though, check out what others have asked - I might have already answered the same question for someone else.

When asking your question, please fill out the whole form, including lines for name and location that say "optional."

After you send your question, you'll see a page that thanks you and asks you to set notification options. I highly recommend that you check the first 2 boxes so you'll be notified when I reply - otherwise, you'll have no way of knowing other than checking the website periodically. When you see my reply, please let me know if it was helpful!

Thanks for getting in touch, and enjoy your visit to Boston!

Susan

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Questions from Others about First Night in Boston

Here's what others have asked:

First Night Concerts on Boston Common  
For many years, you had great concerts on Boston Common during early afternoon and evening such as Jonas Brothers/Kiki Palmer/Drew Seeley. Any any …

First Night Boston Questions about Fireworks and Ice Sculptures 
Does everyone have to pay general admission even if they come just for fireworks or the ice sculptures? Where is the nearest metro stop? Is this in …

First Night Boston "Button" limitations for some events? 
This "button" that we buy, does it really gain entrance to all of the events on the Event Calender? There are some events that say only the first 50 …

Ice Sculptures 
Hi and Happy New Year! How long will the ice sculpture be around for viewing after New Year's Eve? Or do they get removed right away? Thank you!!! …

First Night Boston Fireworks Not rated yet
Hello, Can the fireworks be seen from Boston Common? What else is at the Common besides ice sculptures? Thank you. Tanya There are actually …

Hotel for First Night Boston with Children??? Not rated yet
Hello! We are traveling from Connecticut and have never been to the First Night Boston event. Our children are 6 and 4. What hotel would you recommend …

Ice Sculptures  Not rated yet
Question: How many ice sculptures will be created at First Night this year? Boston Discovery Guide's Answer: There will be at least 3 ice …

First Night Parade in Boston - New Year's Eve Not rated yet
Would you please send info about the parade - when, where, what? Thanks! Reply from Susan at Boston Discovery Guide: The First Night parade …

Fireworks Viewing Location/Reason for Buying First Night ticket Not rated yet
Where is the best place to view the fireworks for a great view? What additional events would buying a ticket entitle me to? Is some stuff free (like …

Weather Not rated yet
Hi, it will be my 1st time in Boston with family. Is there a warm place for viewing the First Night parade for older persons & children? Reply

First Night Boston Fireworks Viewing Not rated yet
Is it possible to see the fireworks from Copley or Boston Common? Or will we need to be down at the Harbor to see the fireworks? Thanks!! Martha …

What time do the artists start sculpturing the ice outside? Not rated yet
Question: Hello, I am planning to come to Boston's Copley Square to see the First Night ice carver artists do their magic, but I need to know …

Traffic Not rated yet
What roads close to the waterfront and the fireworks will be closed to vehicular traffic? Reply from Susan at Boston Discovery Guide: Hi …

First Night Boston - Tour of Massachusetts State House? Not rated yet
Question: Will the Massachusetts State House be open for tours on First Night? If so, do you need a button to tour it? Thanks, Judy Susan's

Family Fireworks on New Year's Eve in Boston Not rated yet
Are the Family Fireworks definitely scheduled? They are not on the official First Night schedule. If they are occurring, what time are they scheduled? …

First Night Boston Buttons - Where Are They Needed? Not rated yet
Question: Do I need to the button to join the activities held in Hynes Convention Center? Susan's response: Yes, the First Night Boston Buttons …

Schedule for NYE Family Fireworks on Boston Common  Not rated yet
I read Boston's New Year's Eve Family Fireworks were at 6:45, then I read 7:30. Which time is correct, and is the Boston Common the best place to view …

Frog Pond Ice Skating Show and Fireworks Not rated yet
Do you need to purchase a First Night button to attend the outdoor events that are on the Commons, specifically the ice skating show, Boston Pops performance, …

Kids Events at First Night in Boston Not rated yet
Question: Are the kids events at First Night free? Thanks, Lisa Susan's reply: Hi Lisa, All of the outdoor events at Boston's First Night …

Can you watch the First Night fireworks at Castle Island?  Not rated yet
Questions: 1) What is the First Night Premium Package? 2) Is it possible to see fireworks at Castle Island? Is it a great view or not? 3) First time …

Purchase of First Night Premium Package Not rated yet
Question: Where do I purchase the $35 premium package? Susan's reply The event website (www.firstnight.org) had prominent links to the premium …

Boston First Night - Where to Buy Tickets Not rated yet
Hi, We are from Canada and we'll be staying in Boston for New Year. Where can we buy tickets in advance for the New Year's celebration (the general admission)? …

Boston Trains on New Year's Eve Not rated yet
How late will Boston's trains be running on New Year's Eve? We are planning to come down from Maine for the evening, spend the night then head to the …

Boston Harbor Fireworks on New Year's Eve Not rated yet
Will I be able to view the midnight Boston Harbor Fireworks if I'm at the Boston Common? Thanks, Ruby Susan's reply: Hi Ruby - Although the …

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Exact Location of Midnight Fireworks for Boston First Night Celebration Not rated yet
Hi Susan- I know the midnight fireworks for First Night are on the Harbor, but where exactly? I will be using public transporation and would like …

Where to View Boston Harbor Fireworks on New Year's Eve Not rated yet
What is a good place to watch the New Year's fireworks on the Boston Harbor? Preferably a short walking distance from restaurants. - Thanks, John …

First Night Boston Fireworks - What Time? Not rated yet
I am curious to know if First Night Boston will do fireworks like last year at 7:00pm on the Commons? We hadn't known about it ahead of time, but worked …

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Fireworks at First Night Boston - photo courtesy of Kris Who- www.boston-discovery-guide.com
Another great photo courtesy courtesy of Kriswho

 

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