New Year’s in NYC: Rated on a Scale from Mellow to Wild

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12/14/15

There’s nothing quite like New Year’s Eve in New York City. In NYC, there’s something for everyone on every day of the year, and NYE is no exception. Here are some party options, plotted on a scale from mellow to wild.

La Vie Parisienne at Lincoln Center

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@nyphilharmonic

The title of this program translates to “Paris Life.” With New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert leading a Grammy-winner and two virtuoso pianists through Saint Saens’ Carnival of the Animals and Offenbach’s Gaite Parisienne, it promises to be a memorable celebration of France.

Intensity Rating:

Laid back and sonically uplifting. This undeniably pleasant New Year’s program ends early (around 9pm), leaving time to hit the town or retreat to your hotel for a quiet toast with a loved one.

Perfect For:

Classical thinkers, musicians and adults in a chilled-out mood

Highlight:

The Phil’s performance of Ravel’s Pavane pur une Infante Défunte

Kid’s Party at AMC Times Square

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@astuteattire

The massive AMC Theaters at Times Square will host three levels of parties for New Year’s Eve, and the family-friendly one is among the cooler kid-friendly shindigs in town. Auditoriums will be open and screening blockbuster hits all night, and there will be a dance floor with top 40 hits playing.

Intensity Rating:

The kids will go wild, but beyond wrangling them, you’ll have a mellow, game-filled, booze-free evening.

Perfect For:

Traveling families, and those with a craving for NYE in Times Square… but not ready to tackle the full ball-drop experience

Highlight:

The arcade will be open all night long!

NYRR Midnight Run

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Some people will tell you to avoid Central Park at night, but we feel confident saying this is the exception. Take off as the clock strikes twelve for a four-mile run with cash prizes awarded to the first three men and women who finish.

Intensity Rating:

For non-athletes, exercising on New Year’s is intense! For runners, however, this four-mile jaunt through Central Park’s “inner loop” is a rather mellow, get-the-blood-flowing, fun way to bring in 2016.

Perfect For:

Wait for it… Runners! Also a great option for non-drinkers and outdoors enthusiasts.

Highlight:

The run begins at the stroke of midnight, just as fireworks light up the sky. Inspiring, right?

NYE Open-Bar Events Around NYC

Group of dancing friends enjoying night party

Clubs and venues all over town will have swanky New Year’s Eve parties with bottle and cocktail service and name-brand DJs. Gotham Hall, Capitale, Hornblower Cruises and Cipriani 42nd Street are all elegant, utterly NYC options.

Intensity Rating:

Pretty intense partying and dress codes, but ticketed admission keeps the crowds from growing too large.

Perfect For:

People in the mood to dress up, dance and experience that quintessential NYE-in-NYC moment.

Highlight:

Champagne toast at midnight.

Phish at Madison Square Garden

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@peoplewholovefish

The 90’s jam band sensation and spiritual grandchild of The Grateful Dead will take over Madison Square Garden for four nights, straddling the new year.

Intensity Rating:

Make no mistake, this will be a full-on party. Phish’s fanbase leans more towards hippy than raver, however, so swaying and head rocking will be totally acceptable forms of celebration.

Perfect For:

90’s music lovers, hippies of all ages, and, of course, Deadheads

Highlight:

The floor is general admission, which isn’t always the case at MSG.

The Chainsmokers and Nicky Romero at Pier 94

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@nickyromero

DJ sensations The Chainsmokers, Nicky Romero, and Travis Scott will bring the trap, dubstep and house music to the waterfront warehouse venue.

Intensity Rating:

This will be an intense, sweaty, rollicking show. Guests will feel the music’s base from their feet through their skulls.

Perfect For:

Ravers and fist-bumping clubbers

Highlight:

VIP tickets include open bar

Watching the Ball Drop in Times Square

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This is it! Go where America’s televisions are tuned in, and watch the ball drop in person. The crowd, the glitz, the huge light-up billboards all over Times Square—this is a once-in-a-lifetime scene.

Intensity Rating:

This is as intense as New Year’s Eve celebrations get. If you want to get anywhere remotely near the ball, show up in the morning, and bring warm clothes. It’s best to have a buddy nearby, as you’ll have to keep your spot saved at all times. During the actual countdown, expect to embrace more and more and more people.

Perfect For:

New Year’s Eve all-stars

Highlight:

Lifetime bragging rights: You saw the ball drop!

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