First Night

First Night Celebrations are North American multicultural artistic celebrations that take place on New Year’s Eve in cities throughout the country. Depending on your closest city’s First Night, there are so many activities to do together. From dancing to horse drawn carriage rides, this can be a unique opportunity to enjoy some of the seasons favorite activities while taking in some terrific local art culture.

These celebrations started in 1975 and occur on the last night of the year, but are named First Night in the spirit of looking forward instead of backward. This affordable yearly tradition puts a different spin on New Year’s Eve and gives a variety of activities to try out.

First night cities

To prepare, locate a First Night Celebration to attend (see our handy infographic above). Order the buttons, wristbands, or tickets. If it is too close to the occasion, you can purchase your entry at the location. If the location has fireworks, pack a picnic blanket or folding chairs to get from your car later in the evening to watch the light show. If the weather is decent, bundle up and take in all the festivities.

Want to take in some local culture and art? Check out the surrounding museums and galleries. Want to watch a parade? Schedule some time to view the marchers. Want to go ice skating? No problem, some locations have arenas set up for you to rent skates and do some figure-eights. The possibilities are only limited to what the city has to offer.

Spend time visiting the businesses and venues from the area that are participating. You’ll likely find places you want to go for future date nights.  Some vendors will offer a discount for showing your First Night wristband or badge so make sure to check out all the available deals.

Celebrate the incoming New Year with your community, while enjoying a family friendly, alcohol-free American tradition.


Impress your date fact: The first First Night was celebrated in Boston 40 years ago as an alternative way to bring in the New Year.