Going to a Time Square for New Year’s Eve is a monumental occasion and attracts literally millions of people from around the world. If you are like me and you want to know if Time Square for New Year’s Eve is a family friendly event, then I am going to tell you that is can be, but only if you do it right.
I went to Time Square for News Year’s Eve with my son and my mother and it was very family friendly, but it required a lot of planning in advance. So if you are planning going to Time Square for New Year’s Eve, I am going to share some family friendly tip and tricks that can make you and your family a lot more comfortable.
As a disclaimer I normally focus on budget friendly trips you can see some of them below:
However, this is not a budget friendly trip and there is NO way for it to be budget friendly try. Time Square for New Year ’s Eve is a worldwide event that people know about and want to come to. So expect to spend money.
Time Square for New Year’s Eve ~ Hotel
I advise staying at a hotel on Time Square. I stayed at the Westin on Time Square which was a block and a half away from the ball drop. The hotel was really nice but also really expensive as New York is already expensive and for Time Square on New Year’s it will be that even more expensive.
Even if you are staying on a hotel on Time Square, know that you cannot just pop out of your hotel and watch the ball drop and come back in. There are a lot of police restrictions and barricades around Time Square that will prevent you from doing that.
Traffic will be blocked starting on New Year’s Eve Eve AKA Dec. 30. On December 30, there are some limitation on where you can drive. We drove to NY and had some issue getting to our hotel for this reason. On New Year’s Eve there is no traffic whatsoever around the area, because it is blocked off.
Meaning that if you stay in a hotel that is not in Time Square and you want to come to Time Square for New Year’s Eve then expect to have a hard time getting down there no matter what mode of transportation you use. And if you have kids, who wants to travel like that in the cold? Because it was freezing and already super crowded.
So make your life easier and stay at a hotel on Time Square. It is a bit more expensive and the rooms are not as big as you think for the money, at least it was like that at the Westin. But the Westin on Time Square was the prime location.
Aside from on New Year’s Eve, we could walk outside of our hotel and walk to Time Square as we got there before New Year’s Eve and left on the 2nd. There are plenty of stores, restaurants, and other things to do around that area and it is all within walking distance.
Time Square for New Year’s Eve ~ What To Do
We stayed in New York from December 29th to January 2nd. Not only did we get to enjoy New Year’s Eve, but also got to enjoy New York as a whole. During the entire time that we stayed the place was REALLY packed. There were so many people everywhere all up and down the sidewalks. It was really crazy. On Time Square, we went to the Cake Bosses Shop to get a dessert which was a block away from our hotel.
So when you are trying to travel and see things while in New York, try to keep thing as centrally located as possible. The main two places that we went was of course Time Square and then we went to Rockefeller Center one of the days.
Even though Rockefeller Center is not Time Square it was still really packed, had many NYPD, and had barricades as well. The main mode of travel that we used is Uber and a taxi. If I had to recommend a way to travel choose a taxi. In most places an Uber is really easy to take. Not in New York. The place is already super packed any way so when you Uber arrives, them finding a place to park and you finding them is very difficult.
As we were leaving Rockefeller Center I ordered an Uber and the guy abandoned me because he could not get close to where we were. So we waited in the cold for 10 minutes for an Uber all for them to cancel. It was too much. We ended up getting a Taxi after that. Which there are many and you can just stick your hand up and one will stop.
What we saw in Rockefeller Center was the ice skating ring, which is a family friendly activity. But it was way too cold so my son did not want to do it. There was also the Lego Store and Saks 5th Avenue. Which was a huge deal. Saks 5th Avenue is a great place for your child to use the restroom, get warm, and to look at their grand window display and Christmas light decorations.
Also at Rockefeller Center was the Today show and filming stations. You can go in there and look at the shops, take pictures, and get away from the cold for a while.
Time Square for New Year’s Eve ~ NYE Events
Let’s talk about the ball drop. If you are dead set on watching the ball drop live, then you will have to go to an event with a live ball drop view which can be $700 plus per ticket per person or stand out in the cold and start lining up around 12pm noon. To stand out in the cold until midnight. Which I do not recommend for those who have kids it is way too cold, they cannot use the rest room and once you are in you cannot get out.
Those places that I know of a live Ball Drop are the Hard Rock Café and Bubba Gump Shrimp which both have events for New Year’s Eve. You of course have to check with them to see if the event is for all ages as all of them are not. You have to get the tickets WELL in advance like in July and expect to pay at least $600 per person.
Other live ball drop events can be found on Ball Drop.com. Ball Drop has most of the Time Square for New Year’s Eve events. They are mostly hotels that you can see the ball drop from the roof or a suite. Some are family friendly. Expect to pay $1k plus per person per ticket and that is not even a seated ticket but standing. Expect to pay much more for a seated ticket.
There are other kid Friendly NYE events on Time Square Such as Ripley Believe it or Not which was Sold out and it is right on Time Square, AMC Movies, and Dave and Busters. All the events typically come with food included and an open bar. But the above places even though they are on Time Square cannot promise you a live view of the ball drop.
I went to the Dallas BBQ event in which I got on Ball Drop.com. This website as all of the NYE events and they have a designated ticket place for you to pick your tickets up. You can have them mailed to you for like an additional $50. I chose this place because of the food buffet, it was family friendly, open bar, music, and the tickets were seated because I knew my son was not going to want to stand the whole time. Neither did I. The event was from 8pm-2am
To get to the event, Ball Drop has designated people behind the barricades that will point you to where you have to go. Be prepared to walk. Our hotel was less than a block from Dallas BBQ, and when we tried to walk there the police made us walk several blocks out of the way to follow the designated Ball Drop path. You have to have your tickets with you as this is the only way the police will let you pass.
Many people are going to several events on Time Square for New Year’s Eve as I mentioned many of the ticket are sold by Ball Drop so expect a crowd and the police stop people at random as well. When we got to Dallas BBQ there was a line! It was moving so slow and it so cold outside. I was dressed up with heels and no socks and I did not expect to be outside that long. I thought my toes would fall off. My son was crying because of how cold it was. The manager then came out and sped up the process by 100%. I am not sure what in the world the staff was doing before but once he saw the line he handled it and we were in, in five minute. Once we got in and got our seats, it was a really good event.
It was three of us we got to sit at our own table and they had a waitress bring us our drinks. The buffet was set out and the line was insanely long for the buffet. I waited in line for 30 plus minutes. But I was given so much food the first go round that I did not want to stand in line again. In fact no one did. Once everyone got through the line once, there was no more line. Not many people went back for seconds because you were given so much food the first time.
So either you can wait until everyone goes through and get food or if you want to go back for seconds you can just walk up. The tickets for this event was $189 per person. They had an open bar for us and virgin drinks for the kids. We watched the Ball Drop from the TV inside which was fine with us, it was so cold. There was some people who left 30 minutes before to see the ball drop. I am not sure if the police let them through or now, so I could not tell you if leaving the event is beneficial for you or not. I did get to see the ball as I passed the barricade on the way to the event which was good enough for me.
Time Square for New Year’s Eve ~ Leaving
We chose to leave on the 2nd which was perfect. Most people left on the first. I recommend not doing that because the traffic is insane and getting out is insane. Choosing to leave a day later made a huge difference. On the 1st we went back out to Time Square and there was so many places open and the crowd was much less than it had been. That gave us more freedom to shop and walk around.
Final Tips To Consider When Visiting Time Square For New Years
- Get there on the 29th do not try the 30th and it is impossible on the 31st.
- Consider a NYE event to keep you warm, especially when you have kids. They can be just as fun, they have food, and drinks all night included in the price. And a view of the Ball Drop from inside.
- It will be crowded, always hold your child’s hand no matter what when going from place to place.
- Stay in Time Square, Manhattan, or Rockefeller Center. You can see a lot of things and it is really easy to travel there during this time.
- Travel by Taxi, it is the easiest way to get around with your family.
- Get a hotel on Time Square, it is more expensive but you will be thankful you did.