So you’re headed to New York City’s Times Square for New Year’s Eve, one the biggest celebration of the year.
This is a free event open to the public on a first-come, first-serve basis, so remember there are no public viewing spaces available for sale.
In the spirit of the famous ball drop and countdown to the new year, here are 11 tips to help ensure your experience is a safe, pleasant, and memorable one in Times Square.
Can’t make it to Times Square? You can watch the LIVE webcast of the event here.
11. Use the bathroom in advance
There are no portable restrooms in Times Square so plan to use the restroom before you arrive, or at a local restaurant.
A good viewing area is difficult to find (let alone keep), so if you get a good spot you’re not going to want to give it up.
10. Dress warmly
Not to state the obvious, but it is easy to underestimate how cold it’s going to be standing for hours on end outside.
Even if the temperatures aren’t very low, dress in layers, you’re going to be outside for quite a while.
9. Leave the backpacks at home
At the entry points, and at the designated viewing areas, everyone will be searched with a hand-held wand.
Large bags are not permitted, and ALL bags will be searched. In fact, it may be best to just bring any bags at all.
8. Eat beforehand
Again, if you find a great spot to see everything, you’re going to lose it if you leave. And don’t expect food vendors in Times Square. There are no licensed food/beverage vendors in Times Square during the NYC celebration.
There are hundreds of restaurants in and around the area, so you could also go that route. Call the restaurant to check on their operating hours to make sure they are open. You will almost certainly need to book reservations ahead of time.
So, given that you could be standing in the same area for ten hours or more, make sure you eat at home or before you find your spot. Carrying an energy bar or two in your pockets is a good idea as well.
7. Take the train
You didn’t think driving in was a good idea, did you? Don’t drive, don’t take a cab as both of those options can be very pricey.
We highly recommend taking public transit to a stop nearby the event, and then walk the rest of the way (to help avoid some of the crowds).
Be sure to wear comfortable shoes or sneakers so that you can walk several blocks depending on what stop you get off at.
6. Arrive early
This tip isn’t so much an insider’s tip, since it should be rather obvious to anyone who’s even watched the ball drop on television – the earlier you get there, the better view.
But early doesn’t mean a few hours before midnight. It means in the early afternoon (like 12pm), as the best viewing areas often fill up early in the day.
You might even want to arrive the day before, stay at a hotel, and eliminate the stress of getting there the day of.
Besides, that’ll give you a chance to check out some cool New York attractions while you’re there.
Note that if you arrive at your preferred viewing area too early in the day, you may be moved by the police when the barricades are put into place.
5. Find a good spot to watch
The designated viewing areas will fill up on a “first come, first served” basis.
The ball drops at One Times Square, but bear in mind that if you want to be that close you’ll be hanging out with an estimated one million other people.
If you want to beat the crowds, and by that I mean avoid them, good luck. It’s possible, but not easy.
Alternatively, if you’re staying overnight, prime views can be had at several hotels, including the Marriott Marquis and the Renaissance New York Times Square Hotel.
Of course, make sure you score a room that has a view.
4. Don’t miss seeing the ball raised
There’s a lot of standing around while you’re waiting for the celebration to start, so you might as well see everything you can.
The Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball is raised up a 77 foot flagpole at the top of One Times Square at approximately 6:00 pm.
A few good places to watch is along Broadway (43rd Street – 50th Street), and along Seventh Avenue, as far north as 59th Street.
3. No alcohol in Times Square
Sorry, there will be no alcohol allowed in Times Square, as public drinking is illegal in New York City. Police will confiscate any and all alcohol.
2. Have fun & enjoy ringing in 2016!
You’re in the one of the most famous places in the world to celebrate the New Year, so make sure you enjoy it.
1.Visit top attractions & save up to 45%
We suggest turning your NYE celebration into a fun filled weekend visiting some of the areas’s top attractions and activities.
Depending on how much energy you have, pick up a 3, 5, 7, or 10-Choice New York City Explorer Pass.
You can choose as you go from dozens of top New York attractions and save up to 45% off combined admission vs paying at the gate. Or, build your own pass and save up to 25% off.
See all available passes, attractions & prices – Learn more.