First Night Boston welcomes 2018 with a huge New Year's Eve celebration that marks the beginning of the New Year in Boston.
On January 1st, the fun continues with First Day festivities to kick off 2018.
First Night festivities include bedtime-friendly (if you have young children) fireworks over Boston Common at 7pm, fireworks over Boston Harbor across from Christopher Columbus Park, a dramatic fireworks show at midnight Copley Square, a huge People's Procession parade down Boylston Street, family-friendly activities, live musical performances, and spectacular ice sculptures by renowned artists.
Then, kick off 2018 with a First Day Fun Run/Walk on Boston Common.
Look for special museum discounts, more arts performances around the city, and plenty of First Day brunches at Boston restaurants.
Over 1 million revelers typically turn out for Boston's signature New Year's Eve event.
Plan to be among them for Boston's First Night/First Day 2018!
Official First Night 2018 entertainment, ice sculptures, and other special attractions will take place in two main areas in the heart of the city: Copley Square and Boston Common.
All official First Night entertainment and attractions will be free this year.
- Ice sculptures and light shows in Copley Square and Boston Common
- Family-friendly activities and arts performances in Copley Square from 12 noon - 4pm
- Additional arts and musical performances in indoor and outdoor venues around Copley Square from noon to midnight
- A spectacular People's Procession down Boylston Street to the Common starting at 6pm
- Family Fireworks at Boston Common at 7pm
- Ice Skating on Frog Pond in Boston Common (regular fees apply)
- Music and Dancing
- Countdown to Midnight in Copley Square
- Midnight Fireworks Show over Boston Harbor across from the North End and Seaport
First Night Boston is the oldest New Year's Eve event of this type in the U.S., and is celebrating its 41st anniversary this year. 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 continues to be the top Boston New Year's Eve celebration.
Essentials: First Night Boston
- When: New Year's Eve, December 31st, from 12 noon to just past midnight
- Where: Copley Square (and indoor locations such as Boston Public Library near Copley), Boston Common
- Cost: All official First Night entertainment and special attractions are free this year
- Boston hotels for New Year's Eve
- More about Boston New Year's Eve hotel discounts, special packages, and deals
- Public Transportation for First Night: MBTA provides an extended subway and commuter rail schedule for First Night until 2am. 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, park in the underground Boston Common Garage and walk to Copley Square (about 3 blocks); if you come back to the Common for the fireworks at 7pm, you'll be close to your car
Beyond First Night . . . Other New Year's Eve Events in Boston
- New Year's Celebration with Boston Baroque @ Sanders Theatre on Dec 31 and Jan 1 - Goldstar $30, Full price $60
- Donkey Show (NYE Special) @ The Oberon in Cambridge - Goldstar $41, full price $55
- Boston's Best New Year's Eve Party @ The Castle at Park Plaza - Goldstar $69, Full price $120
- Saved by the '90s @ Brighton Music Hall in Allston - Goldstar $25, Full price $15
- Standup Comics - Nick's Comedy Stop in Boston's Theatre District- Full price $20; Goldstar $0 - $10
- Radio City Rockettes in Christmas Spectacular - Radio City Music Hall, NYC - Full price $49-$110; Goldstar $40-$70
- The Best of ImprovAsylum @ ImprovAsylum - Goldstar $10; Full price $20
- Disney on Ice @ Agganis Arena - Goldstar $20; Full price $28
First Night Ice Sculptures
Giant ice sculptures by renowned ice artists are a signature event of First Night and draw huge crowds of spectators.
Look for the huge sculptures at Copley Square and Frog Pond in Boston Common.
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.
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, December 31st. The artists start as early as 9am - sometimes even earlier if the temperature is abnormally warm. Sculptures usually are finished by 2pm.
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 Family Events and Fireworks
First Night Boston offers numerous family oriented events from 12 noon to 4pm in the Copley Square areas, as well as early-evening fireworks at 7pm on Boston Common.
You'll find plenty of children's events throughout the afternoon hours. Puppets, acrobats, face painting, arts and crafts, music, jugglers, story tellers, crafts, and performers provide family-friendly entertainment.
At 1:30pm, head over to Boston Public Library where the Museum of African American History and Handel and Haydn Society will ring in the New Year with "Celebrate Freedom," the First Night Jubilee Concert. You'll discover the role of Boston's black and white abolitionists in the fight against slavery, hear stories about Boston's 19th century African American community, and enjoy H and H's Jubilee music.
At 6pm, the People's Procession Parade begins at the Hynes Convention Center and marches down Boylston Street to Boston Common. Look for huge puppets, a fabulous dragon, marching banks, and plenty of lanterns and lightsticks.
At 7pm, 12 minutes of glorious Boston Family Fireworks 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.
If you have young children, the early hour lets you celebrate the New Year with them - - and get everyone to bed at a reasonable hour.
If you have older kids or teens, head back to Copley Square after the fireworks and enjoy the live music and other activities from 6pm - midnight.
New Year's Eve Fireworks on Boston Harbor
Head over to Christopher Columbus Park to ring in the New Year by watching fireworks over Boston Harbor. The exact time will be announced later - so check back closer to New Year's eve.
The best place to watch? Any spot along the waterfront overlooking Boston Harbor, such as the North End (including Christopher Columbus Park), the Downtown Waterfront, South Boston Waterfront, East Boston, Charlestown, Castle Island.
The fireworks display is sponsored by Friends of Christopher Columbus Park, the organization that is also responsible for the gorgeous lighted trellis and all the many activities that take place in this gorgeous waterfront park - the gateway to Boston's North End!
Boston's Midnight Fireworks on New Year's Eve - Where to Watch
At just before 12am, Countdown to Midnight begins at Copley Square. When the clock strikes 12, a fabulous firework display over Copley Square welcomes the first day of the New Year.
The best place to watch will be in Copley Square - or, if you want to stay warm, from your room at a hotel room overlooking the Square.
The two hotels with the best direct views are the luxurious Fairmont Copley Plaza and the affordable Charlesmark Hotel. If you want a room overlooking Copley Square, be sure to confirm availability directly with the hotel.
In previous years, the midnight fireworks have taken place over the Harbor, and Harbor dinner cruises have provided a gala setting, dinner and dancing, and perfect views of the fireworks to welcome the new year.
Even the fireworks will not take place over the Harbor this year, you can still celebrate the New Year with a wonderful dinner cruise including a gourmet meal and dancing during the holidays on the Odyssey and Spirit of Boston. Cruises depart from the conveniently located Rowes Wharf and Seaport.
First Day Activities
First Day activities devoted to families and children's entertainment will take place in Copley Square from 12 noon - 4pm.
For adult activities for New Year's Day such as the L Street Brownies' annual Polar Bear Plunge and hangover brunches, check our January events calendar.
Q & A about First Night . . . You ask, we'll answer
Folks I know are going to Chinatown for dinner and then to First Night fireworks on Boston Common at 7 pm.
I'm vegetarian and they're not.
Where would you recommend . . . more