New Years Eve & First Night Parades near Boston, Massachusetts: 12/28/08
The big event of the week is New Years Eve and I’ll be so disappointed if you go to a bar where the “New Years Celebration” is just like everyday business and your idea of a creative celebration of life is getting drunk and forgetting what happened. You can do better! I now present the biggest list of arty New Years Eve events in New England. I know it’s the biggest because I Googled every single town in the state, so much that Google briefly shut me out for too much searching. So here are some great ideas.
Oh, and the radio show that I have a spot on now has podcast, so you can listen to Johnny’s List anytime. Just go to Out with Joe and you can listen to the whole program, or just click on my segment.
First Night Celebrations
|First Night Boston||Dec 31||Boston Metro|
|Let’s start with the big one in Boston, First Night. You buy one ticket and get admission to dozens of dance, music, & participatory events, all within walking distance of each other downtown. It’s really fantastic and you must give it a shot. It’s the largest New Years celebration in the country. The trick is to stand in the back and don’t be afraid to leave & go next door midway through a performance. Starts in the early afternoon and goes through midnight.
Various Locations, Boston, MA. more
|First Night Grand Procession & Fireworks||Dec 31||Boston Metro|
|Don’t want to pay for a ticket? The parade is free and ends with a big bang in Boston Common, where there are usually ice sculptures. (Except last year it wasn’t cold enough and they had some kind of snow-plastic instead.) Starts at 5:30pm and ends with fireworks at Boston Common at 7pm, and then over Boston Harbor at midnight.
From Hynes Convention Center to Boston Common, Boston, MA. more
|First Night Workshop @ New England Aquarium||Dec 30||Boston Metro|
|Want to join in the parade? Head to the New England Aquarium a day early and make your own giant puppet on a stick to carry. 10am-3pm. Parade down Boylston Street on New Year’s Eve.
New England Aquarium, Boston, MA. more
|Radio Drama for First Night||Dec 31||Boston Metro|
|One of the First Night events I’ll single out is this 1940s radio drama. They have actors at microphones pretending to be in a sound studio doing a radio show. I’ve seen it and it’s interesting and fun. 7:30pm.
Orpheum Theatre, 1 Hamilton Place, Boston, MA. more
|First Night Tours @ Otis House||Dec 31||Boston Metro|
|While you’re at First Night, make sure to visit this historic 1796 mansion right in downtown Boston. 11am-9pm.
141 Cambridge Street, Boston, MA.617-227-3956. more
|Bright Night Providence||Dec 31||Rhode Island|
|Tired of First Night Boston? Why not get a hotel room and visit another city? Everyone wants a stake in this game. Providence has a First Night experience, too, with two sets of fireworks, and world-famous acrobats as the headliners!
Providence, RI. more
|First Night Worcester, MA||Dec 31||Worcester|
|But wait! Worcester is getting in on the act, too! And they’ll have shuttles so you don’t have to drive.
Worcester, MA. more
|First Night Northampton, MA||Dec 31||Western Mass|
|Further away but trying harder than Worcester is First Night Northampton.
Northampton, MA. more
|New Year’s Needham, MA||Dec 31||Metro West|
|They’ll have a respectable First Night in Metro West as well.
Needham, MA. more
|City Celebrates! New Yearâ€™s Eve, New Bedford, MA||Dec 31||Southern Mass|
|There was a First Night New Bedford, but the city yanked it and replaced it with “City Celebrates”, which is similar. Here’s the website.
New Bedford, MA. more
|New Years Rockport Eve||Dec 31||South Shore|
|There will also be short 45-minute performances at 15 venues in the downtown area of Rockport.
Rockport Downtown area, Rockport, MA. more
|Beverlyâ€™s New Year||Dec 31||North Shore|
|There’s a parade at 6pm and the celebrations end early, at 8pm. And there don’t seem to be fireworks.
Cabot Street, Beverly, MA.978-922-8558. more
|First Night Chatham, MA||Dec 31||Cape Cod|
|This is the only one on Cape Cod.
Chatham, MA. more
|Billerica Family First Night||Dec 31||Northern Mass|
|In Billerica they’ll have ice sculptures and a parade in front of city hall, but no town-wide performances, and it ends at 8pm.
Billerica, MA. more
|Brockton’s Blast into 2009||Dec 31||South Shore|
|Similarly, in Brockton there’s a celebration outside city hall until 8pm that goes no further or later.
Brockton, MA. more
|First Night Newport, RI||Dec 31||Rhode Island|
|They’re also having a smaller one in Newport.
Newport, RI. more
|First Night Westerly, RI||Dec 31||Rhode Island|
|Still smaller, but respectable — an ice skating rink and fireworks — is in Westerly.
Downtown Westerly, Westerly, RI.401-596-7761. more
|First Night Portsmouth, NH||Dec 31||New Hampshire|
|I couldn’t find anything in Concord, the capitol of New Hampshire, but they’re having a First Night celebration in Portsmouth.
Portsmouth, NH. more
|First Night Wolfeboro, NH||Dec 31||New Hampshire|
|This is the only other one in NH that I found.
Wolfeboro, NH. more
|First Night Hartford, CT||Dec 31||Connecticut|
|Fireworks at 6pm and midnight.
Hartford, CT. more
|First Night Danbury, CT||Dec 31||Connecticut|
|And in Danbury.
Danbury, CT. more
|First Night Wesport, CT||Dec 31||Connecticut|
|And more, in Westport CT and Weston, CT.
Westport, CT. more
|First Night Burlington, VT||Dec 31||Vermont|
|And it’s the Quadricentennial celebration in Vermont. Quadricentennial means it’s really old, except as compared to anything in Europe, Africa, and Asia.
Burlington, VT. more
|First Night Montpelier, VT||Dec 31||Vermont|
|Burlington is not actually the capitol of Vermont. It’s Montpelier, the “smallest capitol in the nation”, which is doing it too.
Montpelier, VT. more
|First Night St. Johnsbury, VT||Dec 31||Vermont|
|St. Johnsbury, VT is about as far north as Montpelier. Maybe you could visit and go skiing, too.
St. Johnsbury, VT. more
|First Night Quincy, MA||Dec 31||South Shore|
|Quincy appears to have cancelled their First Night celebration, according to the Patriot Ledger. But it’s unclear so I’ll list it anyway. Call them.
Quincy, MA. more
First Night Parties
|New Years’ Eve Contra Dances||Dec 31||Metro West|
|OK, let’s say you’re afraid of walking in the cold and just want to stay in a single place for New Years. Pick up any paper and you’ll see that restaurants and bars are having their usual non-special special celebrations. Here are some parties that are out of the ordinary. The first one is a fantastic folk dance in Concord. 8pm-1am.
Scout House., 74 Walden St., Concord, MA. more
|New Year’s Eve Dance Party at Folk Arts Center of New England||Dec 31||Boston Metro|
|Or, try this folk dance, which is more easily subway accessible.
Church, 11 Homer Street, Newton, MA. more
|Nudist resort New Years’||Dec 31||Connecticut|
|Or, perhaps you’d like to try a party at a nudist resort.
Woodstock, CT. more
|New Year’s Eve @ Wachusett Mountain||Dec 31||Worcester|
|Most ski resorts are having a New Years celebration. I’ll list only a couple for you. The best one like Wachusett Mountain have firworks and let you ski at night until midnight! And they have snow tubing, too. There’s a shuttle from the Commuter Rail you can take. See their website.
Princeton, MA. more
|Nashoba Ski Area New Year’s Eve Celebration||Dec 31||Northern Mass|
|Skiing, riding, tubing until 11:30pm and then a parade and fireworks! Let’s hope the fireworks don’t start an avalanche.
Westford, MA.978-692-3033. more
|Roaring 20s New Years Eve @ Beechwood Mansion||Dec 31||Rhode Island|
|Doing the New Year 1920s style in an old Newport mansion sounds like so much fun!! Call immediately; they may already be sold out.
Astors’ Beechwood Mansion, 580 Bellevue Avenue, Newport, RI. more
|Framingham History Center New Year’s Eve||Dec 31||Metro West|
|And here’s another historical society closer to Boston. But it’s unclear from their website if they’re doing it “old timey”.
Framingham, MA. more
|New Year’s Eve Sober Dance (Wareham)||Dec 31||South Shore|
|They’ll have folk dancing in Wareham, also.
Wareham, MA. more
|New Year’s Eve at the Irish Cultural Center of New England||Dec 31||South Shore|
|OK, if none of the above appeals, I give up. I have failed to separate you from the desire to just get smashed and dance. Here are a few of the more exceptional of the normal parties.
200 New Boston Dr, Canton, MA. more
|Spirit of Boston New Year’s Cruise||Dec 31||Boston Metro|
|Here’s a creative idea: seeing the fireworks from a ship. Call for reservations.
Commonwealth Pier, Boston, MA.617-748-1450. more
|The Resolution Ball||Dec 31||Boston Metro|
|A young professional event, i.e. a singles thing, black tie optional, Boston’s longest-running New Years’ Eve gala, dinner included, cocktails, dancing.
Westin Boston Waterfront, 425 Summer Street, Boston, MA.781-444-7771. more
|New Year’s Dancin’ Eve||Dec 31 – Jan 4||Metro West|
|This one’s not just a party, it’s an entire weekend for dance lovers! So I decided to include it.
Marriott Hotel, Burlington, MA. more
New Years Day
|New Years Day Kite Fly||Jan 1||North Shore|
|You can learn to fly a kite in Nahant alongside some pros.
Call for location, Nahant MA.978-937-8290. more
|Free Day at Roger Williams Park Zoo||Jan 1||Rhode Island|
|Admission is free. It’s a great excuse to check out the best zoo in Rhode Island.
1000 Elmwood Avenue, Providence, RI.401-785-3510. more
|First Day Free @ Gardner Museum||Jan 1||Boston Metro|
|It’s also free at the Gardner Museum, the museum that never changes (except the garden, and the performances, and they’re building an addition.).
280 The Fenway, Boston, MA.(617)566-1401. more
|Free Admission to the Old State House Museum||Jan 1 – Jan 31||Boston Metro|
|Going a step further, the entire month of January is free for Massachusetts residents (bring an ID) at the Old State House Museum.
206 Washington St , Boston, MA, Boston, MA. more
|L Street Brownies New Year’s Day Swim||Jan 1||Boston Metro|
|Every year, crazy people go for a swim on New Years. Why not show up and cheer them on? What a way to eliminate a hangover. 2009: 10am registration, 11am swim.
Curley Community Center, 1663 Columbia Road, Boston, MA.617.635.5104. more
|Penguin Plunge||Jan 1||Rhode Island|
|Or they tell special needs kids they should jump in. 2009: 12pm.
Mackeral Cove, Jamestown, RI. more
|Hangover Classic (race and polar swim)||Jan 1||Boston Metro|
|This one’s near Newburyport, MA.
Salisbury Beach, 3 Broadway Street, Salisbury, MA. more
|New Years’ Day Polar Bear Plunge||Jan 1||Rhode Island|
|Insane people dip into the water. 2009: 11am-12:30pm.
Easton’s Beach, Memorial Blvd, Newport, RI.401-846-0028. more
The Week in Weird
|Moby Dick – The Marathon||Jan 3 – Jan 4||Southern Mass|
|OK look there’s more going on in January, just… Not much more. Here’s a gem. People gather and listen to a nonstop reading of Herman Melville’s classic, Moby Dick. It takes 25 hours.
New Bedford Whaling Museum, New Bedford, MA. more
|Sleigh rides & smores at Point of View Farm||Jan 2 – Feb 28||New Hampshire|
|Weekends through February, you can get a real sleigh ride in New Hampshire.
160 South Road, Deerfield, NH.603-463-7974. more
|Kimball Farm Horse-Draw Sleigh Rides||Jan 2 – Feb 28||Northern Mass|
|Or closer to Boston in Haverhill, MA, if there’s snow.
Kimball Farm Corn Maze, 780 East Broadway, Haverhill, MA.978 521-3990. more
|Quadtrantids Meteor Shower||Jan 3 – Jan 4||Metro West|
|Or stay up late Jan 3rd to see the meteor shower, which peaks at 1am Jan 4th. Go someplace without any city lights, like a large field or lake.
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