Times Square might get all of the hype, but Philadelphia plays host to its fair share of New Year’s Eve countdown celebrations.
Whether you want to burn the midnight oil or have the kids in bed by 8, there are plenty of options for celebrating, including two big rounds of Delaware River fireworks, at 6 p.m. and midnight. Here are nine options to consider, in chronological order.
Noon and 1 p.m.: Countdown2Noon at the Please Touch Museum
Ring in the New Year before nap time. The Please Touch Museum’s annual event features confetti-bag decorating, live music from the Avalon String Band, and a traditional countdown and ball drop at both noon and 1 p.m.
New Year’s Eve activities 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Please Touch Museum, 4231 Avenue of the Republic, Philadelphia, $25, 215-581-3181, pleasetouchmuseum.org
Noon, 2 p.m., and 5 p.m.: Sesame Place ‘Countdown with the Count’
New Year’s Eve park visitors who upgrade to the “Countdown with the Count” dine-in event can join the famous numerating character in one of three early countdowns to 2019. Countdown reservations are $30 for adults and $13 for kids ages 2-9 — in addition to park admission — and include a buffet meal along with character autograph sessions and photo ops. Sesame Place sets off its New Year’s Eve fireworks at approximately 6:20 p.m., following the last parade of the day. Anyone inside the park can enjoy the display, synced to Sesame Place tunes.
Holiday parade at 6 p.m., Sesame Place, 100 Sesame Rd., Langhorne, $34.99, Count’s Countdown an additional $30 (adult dining) or $13 (ages 2-9), 215-702-3566, sesameplace.com
3-8 p.m.: Franklin Square Kids' New Year’s Eve Countdown
The light-bedazzled park concludes its monthlong holiday festival with a family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration featuring arts and crafts and a 6 p.m. “Square Drop,” with a square instead of the usual ball. You’ll be able to view the 6 p.m. show of this year’s Delaware River fireworks right from where you are in the park. The party continues afterward inside the Franklin Square Pavilion with a kids' dance party until 8 p.m.
3 p.m. to 8 p.m., Franklin Square, 200 N. 6th St., Philadelphia, free, 215-629-4026, historicphiladelphia.org
6 p.m.: Delaware River Fireworks (early show)
The first of two SugarHouse New Year’s Eve Fireworks displays goes off at 6 p.m. along the Delaware waterfront. Count down with the masses at Penn’s Landing and nearby, and sing along to movie tunes — from Frozen, Purple Rain, and more — synced to the fireworks display. A pre-fireworks day of family fun at the Independence Seaport Museum concludes with noisemakers, party hats, and a ginger ale to toast the new year from the museum’s outdoor terraces during the fireworks display.
Fireworks along the Delaware 6 p.m., free, details at delawareriverwaterfront.com. Independence Seaport Museum open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., 211 S. Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia, $12-17, 215-413-8655, phillyseaport.org
9 p.m.: Atlantic City Boardwalk Fireworks
Spending New Year’s at the Shore? Tropicana Casino & Resort presents a free, full-scale fireworks display at 9 p.m. at the Atlantic City Boardwalk. Keep the celebration going at any number of ticketed parties and events, including Tropicana’s New Year’s Eve at Boogie Nights, The Pool After Dark at Harrah’s Casino, and NYE at The Pier at Caesars Hotel & Casino.
Fireworks 9 p.m. along Atlantic City boardwalk, free, 609-340-4000, atlanticcitynj.com/events
Midnight: Delaware River Fireworks (late show)
The second of the big SugarHouse New Year’s Eve Fireworks displays goes off at midnight, synced to dance music broadcast on speakers along the waterfront (and also on KYW Newsradio). It’s free to count down with the crowd along Penn’s Landing. Ticketed parties and events include these:
The new Cherry Street Pier hosts a New Year’s Eve dance party hosted by Flygirrl featuring DJ Lil' Dave + Lean Wit It. A $50 ticket (21-plus only) gets you private access to the pier and its primo fireworks view and two drink tickets. Pay as you go for food from on-site vendors. Fire pits, outdoor heaters, and an indoor warming tent help ward off the cold. The pier will not be open to the public for the 6 p.m. fireworks. 9 p.m.-1 a.m., Cherry Street Pier, 121 N. Christopher Columbus Blvd., $50, cherrystreetpier.com.
At Blue Cross RiverRink, you can ice skate (and warm up in the heated lounge) before, during, and after the two fireworks displays. Tickets include entertainment, snacks, skate rentals, and a cash bar. Not a skater? Discounted spectator tickets include everything but the skates. 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., Blue Cross RiverRink, 101 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd., $35-45, 215-922-2386, www.delawareriverwaterfront.com
On the Jersey side of the river, families can party, watch the fireworks, sleep over, and have breakfast at First Night of 2019 Aboard the Battleship New Jersey. You’ll sleep in the bunks of America’s most decorated battleship. Tickets include dinner and breakfast, the chance to fire off a saluting gun, and a front-row seat to the fireworks. 5 p.m. to 9 a.m., Battleship New Jersey, 100 Clinton St., Camden, $79, 866-877-6262 ext. 203, www.battleshipnewjersey.org