I’m very late in posting this but better late than never, right? For New Year’s Eve we went to NYC to see the ball drop in Times Square! This has always been on my bucket list and we decided this year was the perfect time because it was record high temperatures (almost 50 degrees in NY!) and we both had the day off! We had a great time and it was an unforgettable experience!
While I was planning this trip I noticed there wasn’t much information out there on NYE in Times Square. I decided to put some tips together (see below) about our experience, hopefully this helps someone!
How Times Square is organized
Part of the fun of NYC is the chaos…at times you will think the whole thing is very unorganized but it is part of the experience. That being said, on NYE Times Square is divided into sections with barricades. Each section is first come, first served. They allow only so many people into each section and then they start filling the next section. Obviously, the first few sections are the best because you’re close to the concerts and closer to the ball! They do this to keep the area safe and controlled, there are a few cops watching over each section.
When to Arrive
This all depends on how close to the ball you want to be! If you want to be in the first few sections, you will need to arrive very early! I was told some people camped out for days (no thanks). We arrived at noon to Times Square and we were a few blocks back from the ball. We had great views of the ball! However, we couldn’t see the celebrities on the stage but that was ok with me. If you want to see the ball but don’t care about anything else, I highly recommend arriving between 11am-2pm.
Where to Stay
I strongly recommend staying in Manhattan because it will be chaotic trying to get out of the city after the ball drops! Just a warning, prices are sky-high on NYE and you need to book early! We stayed at The Lexington which is about a 15 minute walk to Times Square; it was the cutest boutique hotel! We absolutely loved it!
In August when I went to NYC (you can read about this here), we stayed at the Hampton Inn Times Square West, this is about a 5 minute walk to Times Square. If you want to pay a fortune, you can stay in the few blocks of Times Square and you won’t have to stay outside for 12 hours because you can see the ball from your hotel room. A few of those hotels with views are: Renaissance New York, Double Tree Guest Suites, Marriott Marquis, Knickerbocker, and the Novotel New York Times Square.
How to Survive All Day
I am going to be honest, this experience isn’t for everyone! If you have to use the bathroom a lot, if you can’t stand for long periods of time, if you don’t like being around a ton of people (roughly 1 million), or if you despise cold weather…this isn’t for you! We got really lucky to have nice NYC police officers guarding our section and they let both Judd and I out of our section once to use the restroom. We had to go in a restaurant and buy something to be able to use the restroom. We also brought a few snacks and a couple of drinks so we didn’t get dehydrated or hungry. For entertainment we brought our phones, talked a lot, and people watched. Lastly, we wore lots of layers and comfortable shoes because you are outside standing for 12+ hours.
I was initially nervous about being in Times Square on NYE because there is so much going on in the world right now. However, we felt completely safe the entire time! Everyone goes through security to get into Times Square and then through security again to get into each section. There are police in uniform everywhere and we were told there were also undercover police all throughout Times Square.
Extra Tips/Interesting Things We Learned
1. Dress warm and in layers
2. Bring snacks
3. Don’t drink a lot of liquid because you might not be able to use the restrooms at all! But bring some water so you do not get dehydrated.
4. Wear comfortable shoes
5. Get a place next to a barricade so you can lean on it. Sitting in the back of each section is ideal because you have more room because everyone is trying to get close to the front of the section.
6. Don’t bring a book bag or a large bag because police will confiscate it.
7. Make sure your phone is fully charged and bring a portable charger!
8. It’s not as big of a party as it looks like on TV. There is a lot of waiting!
9. Alcohol is not allowed
I used the Times Square Alliance website to plan our day. They post a lot of important information and they also post the event schedule.
Don’t forget to take a stroll through the city! The Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Center is still up and there are decorations all throughout the city!
There is no place like NYC during the holidays!
Wishing everyone a very happy New Year!