Even though the biggest Boston New Year's Eve event for 2020 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:
An Irish Christmas Carol Cruise - Get into the holiday spirit with Slainte, the Northern Lights' house Irish band. Raise your glass as you join in singing some merry Irish holiday ballads on this 90 minute Harbor cruise - Find out more
Cocoa & Carols Holiday Cruise - Join in singing your favorite Christmas holiday songs led by the Blue Motion Jazz Quartet on this cozy 90 minute Harbor Cruise on the Northern Lights with drinks and snacks available for purchase at the yacht's Main Deck Bar. - Find out more
Holiday Sunset Cruise - As the ship's captain points out highlights of passing landmarks and soft music plays in the background, watch the ever-changing sunset colors as the sun sets behind Boston's city skyline on this relaxing 90 minute cruise around the Harbor. Find out more
Holiday Jazz Cruise - Relax to the sounds of jazzy Christmas tunes performed live by Blue Motion Jazz Quartet, and enjoy an adult beverage on this 90 minute romantic evening cruise past iconic attractions along the Boston waterfront - Find out more
Holiday Brunch Cruise - See historic sights and panoramic views around Boston Harbor as you enjoy this 2 hour narrated cruise including hot chocolate and brunch (Mimosas, Bloody Marys, and spiked hot chocolate available at the bar) - Find out more
Cocoa & Blues Holiday Cruise - Enjoy Boston's sparkling skyline at night along with spiked hot chocolate or a glass of champagne as City of Four, Northern Lights' house R&B/funk band, plays contemporary versions of holiday classics inspired by Stevie Wonder, James Brown, and the Temptations - Find out more
First Night Boston
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!
Check out all our tips on how to find discounts, deals, and promo codes for Boston hotels. Whether you're looking for bargain accommodations or want to pay less for luxury, we'll show you How to Save on Hotels in Boston.