Whether you’re expecting your best year yet, can’t wait to see what 2018 has to offer your loved ones, or just can’t wait to put 2017 behind you–you deserve a New Year’s Eve celebration to remember! Ring it in with our top choices for family-friendly fun with the little ones. For a night just for adults, we’ve also pointed you to some alternatives to typical hotel and club parties in the area. Grab your confetti, balloons, and toast to 2018 with something sparkly!
Looking for afternoon or evening plans that will delight the kids? Several communities in the region welcome local residents and visitors to First Nights, fireworks, and other unique events featuring performances, entertainment, food and more.
Photo courtesy of First Night Alexandria
Don’t miss this popular yearly event, spanning several locations and offering musical entertainment, arts and crafts stations, historical tours, a game room, and other family-friendly fun. Performances will be held inside Old Town Alexandria’s historic buildings and many events will be held at the Masonic Temple on Callahan Drive. At midnight, you can celebrate the New Year while watching the beautiful fireworks display over the Potomac River!
In addition to parking and the DASH bus, trolley, and Metro options, there will be a free shuttle directly between the King Street Metro and the event sites from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.
December 31st | 7 p.m. to midnight. | Free
Photo courtesy of Watch Night
Ringing in 2018, the popular Watch Night in Falls Church celebrates their 20th year! You’ll be treated to tons of entertainment, music, and and activities. “Sudden M Pac,” who are crowd favorites at Falls Church public events, are slated to perform. At the end of the night, countdown to the new year and watch the lowering of the star, which first lit the new city of Falls Church in 1948.
Registration available online, $40-45.
Photo courtesy of Pacers Running
If you could be persuaded to start your active lifestyle New Year’s Resolution early, lace up and head out for the Fairfax Four Miler running event. As a reward, you’ll have a food and entertainment party post-race. Around 1,700 runners participate each year, so you’ll have a nice crowd to mark the occasion!
December 31st | 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. | Free
Photo courtesy of Canal Park DC
For a mid-day activity that still marks the occasion in style, head over to The Yards Park in Navy Yard for Noon Yards Eve. Kids will delight in a large balloon drop, trackless train rides around the park, face painting, music and more.
(Plus, if you’re in the area a few days later and looking for a way to keep up your new fitness resolution, hop over to Canal Park for a VIDA Fitness bootcamp class, ice skating, and chance to win classes at the Trapeze School of New York’s nearby D.C. location. January 6, 10:30 am – 1 p.m.)
Photo courtesy of Georgetown DC
For another mid-day event with a more historical slant, check out Noon Year’s Eve at Tudor Place and celebrate with confetti, crafts, and a 2018 juice toast.
Tickets are $5 for children members; $8 for children non-members; free for adults.
December 31st | 3 p.m. – midnight
Photo courtesy of City of Annapolis
Who wouldn’t like a chance to see not one, but two fireworks displays over a scenic water vista? Annapolis’ celebration includes live musical entertainment and the option to check out the traditional midnight fireworks show or an earlier option (5:30 p.m.) for families or those looking to get an earlier start to their night.
December 31st | 5-8 p.m. (fireworks at 7 p.m.)
Photo courtesy of Trip Savvy
Are you feeling like there’s no such thing as seeing enough Christmas lights this season? This time-honored tradition, running for more than 20 years, has you covered. Head out to Midnight at 7 and stroll through the Symphony of Lights, comprised of over 300,000 bulbs in dazzling displays that light up Merriweather Post Pavilion (Columbia, Md.). The venue typically hosts outdoor concerts and other events year-round and sits on a scenic 40 preserved acres known as Symphony Woods. This special event will also feature a fireworks show, and food will be available for purchase. Proceeds benefit the Howard County General Hospital.
Tickets: $15 per person in advance (online); $20 at the entrance; free for children 4 and under.
Around the DMV, a wide selection of restaurants offer New Year’s Eve dining specials and tons of bars and clubs offering celebrations ranging from casual to galas. You can always find a way to party into 2018 in your style (if tickets haven’t sold out in advance).
But before you decide, consider one of these alternative celebrations:
Photo courtesy of Georgetowner
Businesses that dot the Georgetown Waterfront and M Street are almost always a destination, but they are putting on a special show for diners, drinkers and dancers for New Year’s Eve. Start early with brunch at Via Umbria, get some BBQ grub and drink specials at Old Glory, enjoy a DJ and eight bar locations at Tony & Joe’s Seafood, or choose from a dozen more events, specials, and parties. A summary of events is here.
Prices vary; advance ticket purchase may be required.
Photo courtesy of Black Cat
For a more casual vibe, check out a tried-and-true neighborhood venue. Around U Street, head to the Black Cat’s New Year’s Ball for two floors of a range of music, and a no-dress-code way to dance into 2018.
Out in Falls Church, head to The State Theatre and hear area-favorite The Legwarmers jam to some 80s tunes ($50 cover).
December 31, 8 p.m. – sunrise on January 1
Photo courtesy of MGM National Harbor
Feeling your luck in 2018? Celebrate with some slots, blackjack, or poker at the new MGM National Harbor or Maryland Live! Casino. At either location, you can join in the flashy Times Square Ball Drop revelry from afar with live viewings. The MGM National Harbor is throwing it back to the 80s with a New Year’s Eve Rewind, featuring a performance by The Deloreans. December 31, 10:30 p.m., current ticket sales start at $160 each. Maryland Live! Casino is offering several music, special winnings chances, and a way to cap off the night celebrating 40 years of disco with a groovy New Year’s Eve party.
Photo courtesy of 3 Stars Brewing
Are you a local beer or whiskey aficionado, or just looking for a unique venue to mark 2018’s entrance? Whether you’ve visited these local spots already or not, sip the afternoon night away in style.
Denizens (Silver Spring), 9 p.m., $60
Anxo Cidery & Pintxos Bar (Shaw), 10 p.m. $65
Cotton & Reed (NoMA/Gallaudet), 8 p.m., $150
3 Stars Brewery (Takoma, NE D.C.) open December 31st 1-6 p.m.
Atlas Brewery (Ivy City, NE D.C.) open December 31st 1-8 p.m.
Don’t feel like checking out the nightclub or concert venue scenes? You can always head to your nearest down-home sports bar or neighborhood tavern instead. There are often no covers, reasonable drink specials, and you’ll have a cozy way to welcome the year with friends.
Whatever you choose, we join you in welcoming 2018. Happy New Year!