If your first goal of 2019 is to celebrate the new year in a big way, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to do so across New England on Monday night. Discover where some of the biggest New Year’s Eve parties are taking place across the region.
Copley Square and the Back Bay will once again come alive with ice sculptures, light displays, live music, and more during First Night Boston. The Boston Public Library will host performances by Puppet Showplace Theatre and ImprovBoston during the day. At 5:30 p.m., catch a figure skating show at the Boston Common Frog Pond starring Olympic figure skater Ashley Wagner. Artists performing live in Copley Square throughout the night include Flight of Fire, Single by Sunday, and Chadwick Stokes and the Pintos. At 7 p.m., a family fireworks show over Boston Common will light up the night sky. Seeking more fireworks? At midnight, look up again, this time over Boston Harbor. The Copley Square countdown will include a midnight pyrotechnics and light show. (Monday, Dec. 31 at noon; various locations; Boston)
During Bangor’s Downtown Countdown, a special kind of ball will be dropped at West Market Square at midnight: a beach ball. Throughout the day, events leading up to the countdown will include an animal show and parade at the Maine Discovery Museum; a story slam at West Market Square Coffee House; live musical performances, karaoke, mini-golf, and planetarium shows at the Bangor Public Library; and performances by the Tough End String Band at The Rock & Art Shop. (Monday, Dec. 31 at 11 a.m.; various locations; Bangor, Maine)
Watch children carry handmade lanterns symbolizing community and acceptance during the Highlight Parade on Church Street, beginning at 5:30 p.m. The parade is part of a new tradition called Highlight, which has replaced First Night Burlington after 35 years. You’ll discover live music, theater, an instrument petting zoo, art installations, storytelling sessions, and more at various locations across Burlington. And you won’t want to miss the fireworks at Waterfront Park at 8 p.m., or the fire dancing performances directly before and after by Vermont fire performance troupe Cirque De Fuego. (Monday, Dec. 31 at noon; various locations, Burlington, Vt.)
You can hop on a train, carousel, or horse-drawn wagon during First Night Hartford. Or go ice skating at Bushnell Park, join a dance party on Trinity Street, or head over to the Connecticut Science Center or Wadsworth Athenaeum for special activities throughout the day. A Kids Fest at Connecticut’s Old State House on Main Street is where families will gather to tour the building, make crafts, and meet costumed interpreters. The night will conclude with two fireworks shows in Bushnell Park, one at 6 p.m. and one at midnight. (Monday, Dec. 31 at 2 p.m.; various locations, Hartford, Conn.)
Spend the final night of 2018 gazing at the stars with the New Hampshire Astronomical Society during First Night Portsmouth, taking place at various locations around the city. If you’d rather move around, join Portsmouth Public Radio for a dance party in Market Square from 5 p.m. to midnight. That’s not the only place where you’ll find music: Musicians will perform classical, gospel, blues, and children’s music at various venues throughout the day. Hungry revelers can warm up at a chili dinner to benefit the Youth Services Fund at South Church/Unitarian Universalist Church. Don’t forget to catch the fireworks at 7:30 p.m. at South Mill Pond. (Monday, Dec. 31 at 5 p.m.; various locations, Portsmouth, N.H.)
You can be a part of Providence’s first-ever ball drop at the One Providence NYE Celebration at Waterplace Park. The party will start at 7 p.m., when guests will be able to take in a laser light show and food and beverages from area food trucks. The ball drop and countdown will begin at 11:55 p.m., followed by a fireworks display at midnight. For those who want to spend the evening inside, Skyline at Waterpark will host a black tie gala and rooftop celebration, featuring food, champagne, and a performance by Aerosmith tribute band Aeromyth. Tickets can be purchased here. (Monday, Dec. 31 at 7 p.m., Waterplace Park, Providence)