Disclaimer: Due to COVID-19 concerns, many events might be canceled, postponed, or changed into limited versions, sometimes at very short notice. Please check with event organizers directly for the latest updates (view the "External Resources" section below).
On December 31, downtown Philadelphia bustles with cheerful crowds looking forward to ring in the New Year. Instead of asking for things to do, better ask what you can't do here this night. You will find all kinds of celebrations in the city, including fireworks, parties, parades, and other events.
Many choose the universal way to welcome the upcoming year—with fireworks. Rivers Casino New Year's Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront is the largest celebration in the city. Penn's Landing will see two explosive shows over the Delaware River—at 6 pm and midnight. You can view the display for free. Make sure to bundle up, as it's quite cold outside at this time of the year.
You can also watch the fireworks aboard a NYE cruise on the Spirit of Philadelphia. Or maybe you'd love to see the spectacle is from the comfort of One Liberty Observation Deck at a black-tie party, 57 floors above the city. By the way, if you're into an elegant evening for NYE, Pyramid Club and Crystal Team Room also host some posh parties.
Dwelling at the parties, there're tons of hot places across Philly to dance in the New Year. Choose from open bar parties, clubs, hotel parties, firework bashes, tap houses, and restaurants. But remember to make reservations. Come with a clique of friends, and you'll get group discounts at most places.
Celebrating with kids
There are family-friendly options too. Have fun with your dearest and nearest at the Blue Cross River Rink. Or head to Franklin Square for the Kids' New Year's Eve celebration kicking off at 4 pm. The Countdown and fireworks are much earlier than midnight—at 6 pm.
Philadelphia Mummers Parade (January 1, 2021—CANCELED)
Lastly, a great idea while planning your NYE getaway would be staying over, as you don't want to miss the iconic Mummers' Parade on New Year's Day. This only-in-Philadelphia tradition dates back to 1901. The street extravaganza starts at the City Hall and is a must if you have made it to the City of Brotherly Love at this wonderful time of year.