Ready to bid farewell to 2020? Yeah, us too. This New Year’s Eve will look different — there will be no major fireworks extravaganza on the waterfront, and the New Year’s Day Mummers parade is canceled, just for starters — but there’s still lots of ways to ring in 2021 in the Philly area.
Here are the best parties, events, restaurant takeout and more for your New Years celebration:
Cities and towns in Pennsylvania have a lot of traditional ball drops, some stranger than others, including a Hershey’s chocolate kiss, a marshmallow Peep, a pickle, and even pants. Some are cancelled this year because of COVID-19, but others have gone virtual, meaning that you can peruse some unusual traditions from afar. Here are some virtual ball drops happening across the state:
York: White Rose Drop. The celebration will kick off at 10:30 p.m. on Facebook, organized by The Parliament Arts Organization.
Lebanon: Bologna Drop. The bologna drop and celebration will kick off at 11:50 p.m. on the City of Lebanon’s Facebook page. This year’s event is sponsored by Godshall’s Quality Meats, who will donate the bologna to the Lebanon Rescue Mission.
Hanover: Pac-Man Drop. The celebration will unfold on TimeLine Arcade’s Facebook page.
Lower Allen Township: Pants Drop. The celebration will take place on the BreechieLAT Youtube page (youtube.com/channel/UCnAUSJP-MiE--U5mbG4muDA). Just before midnight, tune in to find a video of the yellow breeches getting ready to be lowered. “Little Breechie” will drop at 10 p.m. for the kiddos to watch.
🍾 F--- 2020: A Transcendental New Year’s Eve Celebration (New Year’s Eve / virtual / dance party) Philly’s dance party specialists Making Time team up with Barcelona’s Primavera Sound music festival for a virtual New Year’s Eve party complete with sets performed by DJs around the world and exciting digital stage design by Klip Collective. Guests are encouraged to dance, party and chat with other virtual attendees as they ring in 2021. ($12.90, Dec. 31, 7 p.m.-3 a.m., dice.fm, add to calendar)
🍾 Uptown! 5th Annual New Year’s Eve Gala (New Year’s Eve / virtual / fundraiser) Tune into a variety of liverstream performances — ranging from a showcase by the Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers to WC Studio’s Uptown! Singers — for West Chester’s Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center’s New Year’s Eve party. Funds from the party, which also includes a silent auction and raffle, benefit the performing arts center’s programming, reduced ticket prices for select groups of people, theater maintenance and more. ($100 per household, Dec. 31, 8-10 p.m., onthestage.com, add to calendar)
🎊 Winter in Franklin Square presented by Citizens Virtual New Year’s Eve Family Celebration (New Year’s Eve / virtual / kid-friendly / free) On its Facebook page, Franklin Square hosts a last-day-of-the-year celebration complete with crafting demonstrations, a showing of its Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show, dance lessons and a grand finale virtual square drop. (Free, Dec. 31, 5-6 p.m., historicphiladelphia.org, add to calendar)
🎊 The Please Touch Museum’s Countdown From Home (New Year’s Eve / virtual / kid-friendly / free) The Please Touch Museum moves its annual afternoon New Year’s countdown online for 2020. Stream a celebratory video featuring music and a countdown led by the museum’s mascot Squiggles any time on New Year’s Eve. (Free, Dec. 31, pleasetouchmuseum.org, add to calendar)
🎊 New Year’s Resolution Wall at the Kimmel Center (Seasonal / virtual / kid-friendly / free) You can post your 2021 New Year’s resolutions on social media, tagged with #KimmelResolutions2021 and they’ll be collected and shared by the Kimmel on multiple platforms, including the huge digital sign outside of the theater. (Free, through Jan. 14, kimmelcenter.org, add to calendar)
⛸️ Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest (Seasonal / in-person / outdoors / kid-friendly / multi-day) There’s ice skating, designated areas for seasonal food and drinks, festive decor and more at the winter favorite on the Delaware River. COVID times means adjustments like an open-air lodge, capacity restrictions on the rink, mask requirements and frequent cleaning. ($5 for admission, $10 for skate rental, through March 7, delawareriverwaterfront.com, map, add to calendar)
⛸️ Ice Rink at Dilworth Park (Seasonal / in-person / outdoors / kid-friendly / ongoing) Dilworth Park marks the holidays with the return of its popular ice skating rink, which, in addition to skating, has super Instagrammable views of Center City and City Hall. This year, the winter park’s food-and-drink cabin becomes an open-air restaurant with a range of food and cocktails, with winter decor and toasty heat lamps. Masks, social distancing and timed tickets required. ($5-14 for skating; $10 for skate rental, through Feb. 28, centercityphila.org, map, add to calendar)
While many fancy NYE menus have already sold out, here are a few spots where you may be able to still snag some fancy grub:
Pumpkin BYOB: The cozy South Street spot serves up four courses for NYE: a choice of oyster and celeriac chowder with black truffle, lamb-stuffed cabbage roll, or heirloom carrots to start; a cheese course with fennel agrodolce; dry-aged ribeye, braised monkfish, or Roman gnocchi; and either chocolate torte or portokalopita, an orange-infused, syrup-soaked cake, for dessert. 1713 South St., 215-545-4448, pumpkinphilly.com
Riverwinds Restaurant: Gloucester County’s steak-and-seafood spot is set for New Year’s Eve. Start with a colossal shrimp or crab cocktail, move on to cheesesteak spring rolls or fried mozzarella bruschetta, and finish with surf and turf or crab-crusted salmon. 1075 Riverwinds Dr., West Deptford, N.J., 856-579-7900, theriverwindsrestaurant.com
Miss Rachel’s Pantry: Rachel Klein’s vegan dinners — like her holiday lasagna layered with roasted seitan, rosemary stuffing, and gravy — sell out quick. Her New Year’s Eve offerings, for pickup and delivery by Dec. 30, include charcuterie boxes, DIY fondue kits, spanakopita bites, and other DIY canapés that will stay fresh till the next day. Look out for a New Year’s Day brunch, too (frittatas, baked French toast casserole). 1938 S. Chadwick St., 215-798-0053, missrachelspantry.com
Buy some bubbly
Not sure what bubbles to grab? Wine writer Marnie Old recommends Perrier-Jouët “Grand Brut” Champagne:
“This classic example features a striking Art Nouveau bottle design and offers a flavor experience that is even more memorable. The wine may be bone-dry with a subtle filigree of apple and lemon flavors, but these are embellished with pastry shop aromas of fresh-baked croissants and enriched by a creamy texture that somehow evokes crème brûlée while leaving the palate as clean as a whistle.
Perrier-Jouët “Grand Brut” Champagne, PLCB Item #7342, Champagne, France, 12.5% alcohol, $45.99, (Sale price through Jan. 3 — regularly $53.99)
Make a punch
Sure, a giant bowl doesn’t suit a small soiree at home. But as W. Carrie Allan writes, “I’ve still found myself wanting to indulge in punch-making, almost as a gesture of hope.” Allan has a roundup of scaled-back punch recipes for New Year’s, including these:
Pomegranate Fizz (pomegranate juice, lemon juice, gin, dry curaçao, orange bitters, chilled sparkling brut-style white wine)
Stocking Clementine (ice, tangerine or clementine juice, mezcal, St-Germain liqueur, Peychaud’s bitters, club soda)
A Pear-tridge in a Chai Tea (ice, vodka, chai, lemon juice, pear nectar, pear liqueur, Angostura bitters, ginger ale)