New Year’s Eve in Times Square
Times Square, New York City is one of the most iconic places to spend New Years’ Eve in the world. Since 1904, people have been ringing in the New Year in the biggest city in America, and nowadays, nearly a million people gather in Times Square on the night of December 31st. Let’s see what a New Year’s celebration in Times Square might look like.
Spending New Year’s in Times Square requires some planning. Although you do not need to purchase tickets to celebrate here, it is notoriously crowded. Some people arrive as early as noon on December 31st to secure a place with the best views. Be prepared to stand in this spot until the end of the night—they say if you leave your spot for any reason, it won’t be there when you get back!

New York City is known for having very cold winters, which can make spending the holiday in Times Square miserable if you don’t dress for the weather. 2018 broke a record as being the coldest New Year’s in 100 years—temperatures dropped to minus 12 degrees Celsius! You have to dress in layers: wear your heaviest coat over a big sweater, a warm hat, boots, and don’t forget gloves! Even though you’ll be in the crowd surrounded by people, a few hours spent in the cold underdressed can ruin the whole night.

Thinking of New Year’s in Times Square, you might imagine vendors or trucks selling pizza and hot dogs throughout the day and night, but unfortunately this is not the case. It is so crowded that vendors have no space, so you must bring your own food. Dipping into a nearby restaurant for a quick bite is possible, but make sure you don’t lose your spot! In addition, there are no public bathrooms anywhere around Times Square to use, and some people even wear diapers, so make sure you go before you get there!

If you’re spending New Year’s in Times Square, you’ll probably be waiting for quite a long time before any of the real action starts, so be sure to come ready for the cold, and bring some friends to keep you company.

Crowds at Times Square
The Big Celebration
Now that you got ready and arrived in Times Square, it’s time to celebrate! The action begins around 6 pm, when the iconic ball rises into position, preparing to drop at midnight. Now, the festivities really begin. Many TV stations broadcast their New Year’s programming right from Times Square, so you might get to see some of your favorite celebrities hosting their specials, or your favorite singers for free. Past guests include Christina Aguilera, Gwen Stefani, and Mariah Carey.

The long day in spent in Times Square all leads up to the iconic ball drop at midnight. It sits atop One Times Square, and slowly drops down until it reaches the bottom, marking the arrival of the New Year. Confetti fills the air, everyone cheers, fireworks shoot off, and many share a New Year’s kiss with their loved ones. Imagine celebrating with nearly a million people! Although the festivities after midnight last for just an instant, it’s definitely a unique experience to ring in the New Year at the center of all the action.

A close-up of the ball, which drops at midnight. The focal point of New Year’s Eve in Times Square.
Heading Home
Due to the large crowds, leaving Times Square after the ball drops can be a nightmare. Taxis are expensive, buses and trains are crowded, and the sidewalks are packed with people. If you can, making reservations at a nearby hotel might be the easiest way to beat the crowds. Although, you’ll have to do this far in advance, and it usually comes at a very steep price! If you have a long way to get home that night, you may as well embrace the journey as part of your New Year’s celebration. Everyone is cold and tired after the long day, so take comfort in knowing that you’re not alone!
Times Square lit up on New Year’s Eve.
Some make a tradition out of spending New Year’s in Times Square, some do it just once to cross it off their bucket list, and others insist it’s too crowded, too cold, and not worth the hassle at all. If you want to spend the holiday in New York City without the huge crowds, you can watch the action from the comfort of your hotel room. However you feel about it, you can’t deny that it’s one of the most famous ways to ring in the New Year in the United States, maybe even the world.
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