10 things to do in Boston this New Year’s Eve weekend

BosTen is your weekly guide to events and cool happenings in and around Boston.

Sculptors prepare an ice sculpture for Boston's First Night celebration. Erin Clark for The Boston Globe

While Massachusetts businesses and cultural institutions remain partially open amid reopening rollbacks, many residents are continuing to stay home due to the coronavirus pandemic amid new orders and advisories from Gov. Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. With that in mind, this week’s BosTen offers a mix of in-person and virtual things to do this weekend. Have an idea about what we should cover? Leave us a comment on this article or in the BosTen Facebook group, or email us at [email protected].

Take in the beauty of the Boston Waterfront Ice Sculpture Stroll
While First Night is fully virtual this year, you can still visit ice sculptures in downtown Boston on New Years Eve, presented for the seventh-straight year by Boston Harbor Now. The organization’s free Ice Sculpture Stroll will consist of more than 12 outdoor locations spread widely across four of Boston’s waterfront neighborhoods to better prevent crowding. Visitors to East Boston, North End, Downtown, and Seaport waterfront locations will be able to see the sculptures from 1 p.m. on New Years Eve until dusk. For more info on the ice sculptures and additional downtown activities to check out on New Years Eve, visit the Boston Harbor Now website.


Ring in 2021 from home with First Night 2021
While the ice sculptures will still be available to visit, First Night Boston 2021 will be a broadcast-only event this year, with no in-person fireworks happening downtown. Instead, First Night coverage will be provided on NBC10 Boston, NECN, Telemundo Boston, and a livestream on on New Year’s Eve. The station has dozens of performers lined up starting at 6 p.m., with a pre-taped celebration starting at 11 p.m. For a full schedule of entertainment, visit the First Night website.

Ring in the new year with Jackson Cannon and the cocktail club is teaming up with one of the most celebrated mixologists in Boston for a regular virtual cocktail club debuting on New Years Eve. Host Jackson Cannon (The Hawthorne, Eastern Standard) will bring in a rotating cast of guest bartenders to teach you how to make their favorite cocktails at home. For the inaugural event, Cannon and Boston-based bartender and writer Haley Hamilton will be mixing champagne cocktails, a perfect New Years Eve treat. Attending the Zoom is free, and you can purchase all the cocktail ingredients you’ll need here.

Say sayonara to 2020 with Good Riddance 2020
Global Arts Live is giving 2020 the sendoff it deserves with Good Riddance 2020, a virtual concert from the Pink Martini Band filmed in front of a 35-foot Christmas tree. The concert, which blends styles like Latin, jazz, and cabaret, airs at 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. on New Years Eve, and will be available for 48 hours afterward. To purchase tickets and find out more info, visit the Globe Arts Live website.


Head downtown for “A Christmas Carol”
It’s not quite the ideal season for outdoor theater, but with stages closed due to coronavirus, the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company is getting creative. You can see the company’s rendition of Charles Dickens’ yuletide classic “A Christmas Carol” projected on repurposed storefronts at Downtown Crossing. The 40-minute show runs on a continuous loop every night from 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. through Jan. 31.

Order takeout cocktails from a local restaurant for New Years Eve
While you won’t be able to host a traditional New Years Eve party, you can still ring in 2021 with some festive spirits thanks to local restaurants. Enjoy a 21 Gun Salute — an homage to the French 75 cocktail — from Alcove; try something sweet by ordering a sorbet mimosa from Gracie’s Ice Cream/Earnest Drinks; or stick to the traditional bubbly with a champagne box from Committee. If you want even more options, here’s a full list of must-try cocktails from local restaurants.

Enjoy a holiday light show and Christmas movie at the drive-in theater
The Mendon Twin Drive-In is now the Mendon Christmas Drive-In, offering holiday entertainment each weekend through the beginning of January. Audiences can buy tickets for individual shows or a double feature of a Christmas Carol Singalong Laser Light Show, a holiday movie like “Frozen” or “Elf,” and a Trans-Siberian Orchestra Christmas Show. To buy tickets and see a full weekend schedule, visit the theater’s website.


Share some laughs with Jimmy Tingle
Looking for some laughs to end 2020? We don’t blame you. Comedian Jimmy Tingle will do his best to help with a series of pay-what-you-can shows that combine footage from a pre-pandemic show filmed at Sanders Theatre, scenes from his 2018 comedy special/documentary, and a Q&A/performance from the basement of his Cambridge home. Tickets for the show, which begins at 7 p.m. each night from Dec. 30 through Jan 2., is available on Tingle’s website.

Rise and dine with the animals of Zoo New England
Stone Zoo’s popular Zoo Lights attraction is sold out through the end of 2020, but you can still visit the animals of Zoo New England virtually over the next few days. Each morning at 9 a.m., families are invited to enjoy some breakfast as some of the zoo’s animals receive their first meals of the day. Tickets to the virtual shows cost $20, and are limited to 100 participants. Each day brings a new adorable featured animal, with Dec. 30 and Jan. 2 focusing on a sloth, Dec. 31 introducing visitors to a fennec fox, and Jan. 3 starring a red panda. Tickets and more info are available on the Zoo New England website.

Ring in 2021 with a piano party
Southie dueling piano bar D’s Keys has remained closed during the pandemic, but the establishment’s jubilant ivory ticklers will be ringing in the New Year with a virtual musical show from 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. You can join the free fun on the bar’s Facebook page.


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