First Night Boston: Family-Friendly New Years Eve Fun with Kids in Boston
Boston rings in 2014 with its annual First Night celebration, the country’s oldest and largest New Year’s Eve arts festival that showcases the work of 1,000 artists in 200 performances and exhibits at 35 indoor and outdoor venues in downtown Boston.
The New Year's Eve celebration starts at 1pm on Saturday, 12/31 and features music, dance and theater performances, a Family Festival at the Hynes Convention Center, a Grand Procession down Boylston Street, colossal ice sculptures, and a spectacular fireworks display at midnight to welcome in 2014.
The First Night Button
In addition to being a work of art (each year, the button is designed by a local artist), the First Night button is your ticket to music, dance, theater, visual arts, film and other performances, exhibits and workshops. Buttons can be purchased online, at local CVS stores and metro Boston Bank of America branches. New price for 2014: All outdoor events are free; your $10 First Night button is your ticket to all indoor events.
First Night Highlights
The information below is from 2013; we will update for 2014 as soon as details are available.
FedEx Family Festival: The Hynes Convention Center is packed with kid-centric events from 1pm to 6pm: performances by Ellis Paul, Rosalita's Puppets, Airborne Comedians, Gerwick Puppets; crafts, dance, and circus arts workshops; anime films, magic shows, and more.
The Grand Procession: Starting in front of the Hynes Convention Center at 5:30pm and moving down Boylston Street to end at Beacon Street.
Ice Sculptures at Brewers Fountain and the Frog Pond (Boston Common) and in Copley Square are illuminated at dark with a bright display of colors.
Countdown to Midnight at Copley Square (begins at 8:30pm) and on the Boston Common. Fireworks at 11:59pm (Boston Harbor)
In addition to providing admission to First Night events, your buttons can be used at area attractions on December 31 during special times, including:
- Boston Children’s Museum - free admission from 10am-12n
- Old South Meeting House - free admission from 10am-4pm
- Mary Eddy Baker Library - free admission from 10am-5pm, plus all-day crafts, face painting and other activities
- MFA - free admission to first 300 button holders, 10am-4:45pm
- Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum - free admission to first 300 button holders from 11am-2pm. Visit the studio for family activities
And save your buttons! Some area attractions offer specials for button holders through January, including free or reduced-price admission at the Old South Meeting House, Harvard Museum of Natural History, and Zoo New England.
- Plan ahead! The First Night website offers an interactive planner, and it’s a really useful tool. There are so many options available that it’s very helpful to go with a few choices already in mind.
- Get an early start: Events are first-come, first served and can fill up quickly.
- Use public transportation
- Dress for the weather!
- Emergency services; restrooms: There are two Lost Children stations, at Hynes Convention Center, room 101; and Boston Common, at the corner of Charles and Beacon Streets. Portable “blue rooms” are located on the Common and Copley Square.
Have fun, and stay safe!