If you don’t already have your New Year’s Eve tickets for some of the city’s biggest parties, well, you may have to wait for next year. Most of those have sold out. But we found some hidden gems, some unique events, and some musical performances in town that should still provide you with a stellar NYE experience. And if you’re looking for kid-friendly events, we have a good list of those as well. After all, if you can wear the kids out early, you can enjoy a peaceful NYE with an adult beverage and televised specials right from your own couch/bed. You can thank us later.
New Year’s Eve Celebrations
Parties on Ice
- Where: Blue Cross RiverRink, 101 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd.
- When: 5 to 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 31 and 10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31 to 1 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 1
- How much: $60 per person, $50 for spectators (no skating)
The Blue Cross RiverRink hosts two skating parties with a vantage point for New Year’s Eve fireworks. The ticketed Parties on Ice include skate rental and admission, a complimentary ride on the Ferris wheel, access to outdoor fire pits, face painting, glitter tattoos, a photo booth, and New Year’s Eve party favors, while supplies last. Non-skaters can attend on a spectator ticket. The parties are happening rain or shine so come prepared should the forecast include inclement weather.
Illusion of Time New Year’s Party 2023
Where: Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion, 8046 Frankford Ave.
When: 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 31
How much: $40
Here’s a unique New Year’s celebration. First, it’s at the city’s insect museum, so you’ll be sharing the space with the multiple species of insects that already reside there. Second, during the Illusion of Time NYE 2023 party you must complete magic tricks to earn tokens to upgrade from ‘commoner’ to ‘Merlin.’ You’ll be assisted by the professional magicians on-site. For each upgrade, you’ll get a free drink and/or other privileges. Acrobats will also be onsite, too, but you won’t have to master any of their moves. At midnight, the New Year will be celebrated with a liquid nitrogen explosion. We’ll assume it’s a safely controlled one.
NYE Countdown to Climax with Snacktime
- Where: Mission Taqueria, 1516 Sansom St.
- When: 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 31
- How much: $150 per person
There are numerous kid-friendly New Year’s Eve events but this one is strictly for the adults. The NYE Countdown to Climax party includes a performance by the band Snacktime, the local group that performed the most concerts in the city this year. The organizers describe the event as a “sexy low brass burlesque dance party” and promise a full band strip tease with burlesque performer Goldi Fox. The ticket price gets you three drink tickets, hors d’oeuvres, and the burlesque show, but alas, the champagne is extra.
Fame Lust presents New Years Emo 2023
Emo, anyone? Fame Lust is hosting the New Year’s Eve party New Years Emo 2023, perfect for people who like to celebrate life’s pathos. Organizers promise a soundtrack by leading emo bands including several local ones. Get ready to dance to My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, Green Day, Panic! At the Disco, We the Kings, The Wonder Years, The Starting Line and more. If you can party together, you can cry together and bring in the new year, emo-style.
Kid-Friendly New Year’s Eve Celebrations
- Where: Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks, 789 E. 1st St., Bethlehem
- When: 3 to 6 p.m., Friday, Dec. 30, and Saturday, Dec. 31
- How much: $5 – $15
The polarizing Easter candies have a fervent fanbase as they’re now celebrating their 100th anniversary. The annual Peepsfest introduces some new flavors of the delicacy as well as two days of music, games, activities, and a family fun walk/run. Performances by Lolly Hopwood, DJ Wesley Works, and Eddy Ray Magic are scheduled. Children under 12 receive a goodie bag and a coupon for a s’mores kit, and families can upgrade their tickets for an ice-skating session at the SteelStacks’ ice rink. The famed Peeps drop — with a 400-pound replica Peep — will happen each day at 5:35 p.m., and you don’t want to miss that. All activities are outdoors and will happen rain or shine.
New Year’s Eve (Day) Family Jam with Alex & The Kaleidoscope
- Where: Ardmore Music Hall, 23 E. Lancaster Ave.
- When: 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 31
- How much: $20
While jam bands are the norm at Ardmore Music Hall, a different kind of jam is happening in celebration of New Year’s Eve. The Family Jam with Alex and The Kaleidoscope features a performance from the children’s music artist who we suspect kids will find as irresistible as their adult counterparts do when a tribute band takes the stage. In any case, it will get them out of the house. A noon countdown with balloons, the concert, New Year’s themed arts and crafts, and a family-friendly brunch menu should fulfill all your NYE needs for the kiddos.
New Year’s Eve Family Party
- Where: Cherry St. Pier, 121 N. Christopher Columbus Blvd.
- When: 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 31
- How much: $25 per person, free for kids 2 and under
Family fun is at the forefront of this holiday weekend and the Cherry St. Pier has a full schedule of events to help make it memorable. Their New Year’s Eve Family Party is in conjunction with Pop-Up Play, a local business that provides interactive kids’ activities for private parties, schools and festivals. Tickets include a good seat for the 6 p.m. waterfront fireworks, collaborative mural making, and make-and-take arts and crafts. A giant Lite Brite and dance party with live video feed are also on the program.
Harriett’s Presents: The Cookbook Book Club
- Where: Online, via Zoom
- When: 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31
- How much: Free, with registration
Harriet’s Bookshop owner Jeannine Cook will showcase her cooking skills in an online demonstration, “Harriet’s Presents: The Cookbook Book Club celebrating the sixth day of Kwanzaa. The principle celebrated is Kuumba (creativity) and, along with a special surprise guest, Cook will take a recipe from cookbook to completion. Kwanzaa ends on Monday, Jan. 1 with another online event, “Embodying Kwanzaa: A Meditation and Movement Practice” via AAMP. (You can scroll down on the website to register).
- Where: Please Touch Museum, 4231 Ave. of the Republic
- When: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 30
- How much: Free with $22 general museum admission
Morris Day and the Time
- Where: Rivers Casino Philadelphia, 1001 N. Delaware Ave.
- When: 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 30
- How much: $59 – $99
Morris Day and the Time were recently honored with the Legend Award at the 2022 Soul Train Music Awards. It’s a well-deserved honor that acknowledges the band’s four decades in the business. The Time’s self-titled debut album was written and produced by Prince, which means he created the group before the band, except for Morris, was even in place. Day and the Time are in the area to help bring in New Year’s Eve and if you’ve ever seen them, you know it’s going to be a funk fest. Day says his latest album “Last Call” will be his final one, though we hope he’s not truly hanging up his Stacy Adams for good.
New Year’s Eve with West Philadelphia Orchestra
Whether they’re performing Macedonian folk-dance songs or Bulgarian wedding music, the West Philadelphia Orchestra can play multiple genres. The band was created to celebrate the music of Serbia and Bulgaria and has grown to more than 20 rotating players. They’ll perform this New Year’s Eve along with Johnny Showcase and the Mystic Ticket and Muscle Tough.
New Year’s Eve Celebration with the Philadelphia Orchestra
- Where: Verizon Hall, 300 S. Broad St.
- When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31
- How much: $55 – $155
End your year on a classical note with the Philadelphia Orchestra at their New Year’s Eve Celebration. Conductor Thomas Wilkins and vocalist Nikki Renée Dennis are on the bill, which includes performances of Gershwin’s “Summertime,” “By Strauss,” and “An American in Paris”; Loewe’s “I Could Have Danced All Night”; Ellington’s “Solitude”; and Strauss’ “Music of the Spheres.”
- Where: Delaware Children’s Museum, 550 Justison St., Wilmington
- When: 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., and 2 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 31
- How much: Free with $12 museum admission
Kids enjoy a New Year’s celebration, too, which is why the Delaware Children’s Museum’s Confetti Countdown is so popular. This is their first in-person celebration since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, so there are four times you can bring the kids to party like it’s 2023. Each time slot includes puppet meet-and-greets and a live performance from We Kids Rock.
Noon New Year’s Eve
- Where: Brandywine Zoo, 1001 N. Park Dr. Wilmington
- When: Noon, Saturday, Dec. 31
- How much: $5, kids 3 and under free
The Brandywine Zoo is hosting a Noon Year’s Eve for kids with a countdown to celebrate the incoming year. The outdoor event is rain or shine, and depending on weather, all the animals may not be accessible. Hot chocolate is available for purchase during the event.
Battleship New Jersey Fireworks
- Where: Battleship New Jersey, 100 Clinton St., Camden
- When: 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31
- How much: $10
The historic battleship hosts a New Year’s Eve watching party at 6 and 10 p.m. to watch the fireworks across the Delaware River. Live music and pay-as-you-go concessions will be available for the all-ages event. Decks open two hours before each fireworks show, but the ticket does not include a tour. And FYI, no chairs or outside food and alcohol are allowed on the ship.
Drag Me to 2023 New Year’s Eve Bash
- Where: Landmark Americana, 1 Mullica Hill Rd., Glassboro
- When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31
- How much: $30 – $50
If you already feel that you’re dragging into 2023, why not do it with some professionals? The Drag Me to 2023 New Year’s Bash is hosted by Astala Vista with co-hosts Vinchelle and Jenna Tall. The 21+ event is both a drag show and dance party. A pre-countdown cocktail hour starts at 9 p.m., followed by the show, audience games, and then the countdown. After ringing in 2023 with complimentary champagne, you can then enjoy the free bagel bar and dance the night away with a few queens.
Saturdays just got more interesting.