Even though the biggest Boston New Year's Eve event for 2021 is the famous First Night celebration, there are plenty of other New Year's Eve parties and special events for you to consider - plus a spectacular fireworks show over Boston Harbor and Countdown at Copley Square at midnight.
Whether you're looking for a romantic night of dancing and champagne, a fireworks cruise, entertainment at a concert or comedy club, or a festive but family-friendly way to welcome the New Year, you'll find plenty of exciting choices.
Our guide to the best New Year's Eve events and celebrations in Boston gives you the whole spectrum of things to do on this special night.
Credit: Top photo of fireworks over Boston courtesy of Bill Damon
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 at midnight launched from a barge between Long Wharf and Fan Pier.
The best place to watch? Any spot along the waterfront overlooking Boston Harbor, such as the North End's Christopher Columbus Park, the Downtown Waterfront, Fan Pier in the Seaport District, the East Boston Harborwalk, Charlestown Waterfront, and Castle Island.
The fireworks display is co-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, and other Boston Harbor Now members (numerous waterfront-related businesses, institutions, organizations, including the US Coast Guard), the Wharf District Council, and City of Boston.
New Year's Eve Cruises
Welcome the New Year aboard the elegant yacht Northern Lights on these special New Year's Eve and New Year's Day cruises around Boston Harbor. These cruises always sell out early - so don't wait to make your reservations!
Celebrate the holidays while relaxing and sightseeing on the festively decorated Yacht Northern Lights on these special cruises around Boston Harbor:
Northern Lights Sunset Cruise - Unwind on this popular after-work cruise as the sky changes brilliant colors and light music plays in the background. Stop by the bar for a drink, watch the sights go by, and hear the USS Constitution's traditional sunset salute - Through Dec 4
Holiday Brunch Cruise - See historic sights and panoramic views around Boston Harbor with friends and family as you enjoy this relaxing cruise with brunch, hot chocolate, and holiday cheer - Book now
An Irish Christmas Carol Cruise - Get into the holiday spirit on the Northern Lights as you raise your glass and toast the holidays with festive holiday music playing in the background on this popular Harbor cruise - Book now
Ice sculptures, a huge parade down Boylston Street, non-stop entertainment, music and dancing, Countdown to Midnight in Copley Square - Boston's annual First Night celebration offers something fun for everyone.
With events starting at noon, the alcohol-free, family-friendly First Night Boston is the city's largest New Year's Eve celebration.
Best of all: All official First Night/First Day events are free.
TD Garden is usually a good bet for New Year's Eve entertainment - but not this year! If you want to catch a Celtics, Bruins, or Harlem Globetrotters game there this year, head over on Christmas Day or Wednesday or Thursday.
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In addition to the Midnight Harbor Fireworks, lots more mostly free fun activities take place along the Waterfront throughout New Year's Eve and New Year's Day:
Ice Sculpture Stroll
The annual Ice Sculpture Stroll along Boston Harbor is bigger and better than ever this year, with imaginative ice sculptures and activities for you to enjoy in these (mostly) waterfront locations:
North End Ice Sculpture Locations
Battery Wharf Hotel
Christopher Columbus Park
Charlestown End Ice Sculpture Locations
Charlestown Navy Yard
Downtown Waterfront Ice Sculpture Locations
Marriott Long Wharf
New England Aquarium
Boston Harbor Islands Welcome Center (Greenway)
Boston Harbor Hotel
Seaport/South Boston Waterfront Ice Sculpture Locations
Fan Pier/Fallon CBRE
Kings Dining & Entertainment
WS Development Seaport
More New Year's Eve Along the Waterfront Activities - December 31
Wharf District Harborwalk Tour
1pm-4pm - First Responder Touch-a-Truck/Boat at the Envoy Hotel in Seaport
Harbor Map Tour at the Boston Harbor Hotel
New Year's Day Activities - January 1
12 noon-about 1pm - First Day Hike from Old North Church (meet there at noon) to the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown (to be confirmed)
12 noon-4pm - Seafarer's Island Holiday - New Year's Cruise to Thompson Island from Rowes Wharf on the Downtown Waterfront - Tickets $30 adults and $20 children 3-12 - buy tickets online in advance or on the day of the trip; more details here: www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3620789 (to be confirmed)
Cheap Flights & Cozy Hotels for New Year's Eve in Boston
Need a cheap flight to Boston for your New Year's Eve celebration? Check out our tips for finding flight bargains, including last-minute deals.
Now that you've saved on your flight, treat yourself to a cozy Boston hotel with fireplace. Rates are at their lowest
Public Transportation on New Year's Eve
MBTA provides extended subway and commuter rail service on New Year's Eve with until approximately 2am.
Additional subway cars will operate and provide rush-hour level service throughout the evening.
And as a bonus, the T (subway) will be free between 8pm and approximately 2am.
The Commuter Rail does its part by providing additional trains, making all stops on the way to destinations, and following a weekday schedule.
Buses, the Silver Line, and trackless trollies also operate on a weekday schedule.
So don't even thing about driving into, around, or out of Boston on New Year's Eve!