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Four FREE ways to celebrate on New Year’s Eve

Celina Colby
Celina Colby is an arts and travel reporter with a fondness for Russian novels.... VIEW BIO
Four FREE ways to celebrate on New Year’s Eve

Despite wintry temperatures and dark days, Boston is bursting with enthusiasm for the new year. Celebrate a fresh start for 2023 at these exciting, free events happening around the city as part of the First Night New Year’s Eve celebration.


1. Waterfront Ice Sculpture stroll

For 10 years, the Waterfront Ice Sculpture Stroll has been showcasing striking pieces of frozen artwork in Greater Boston. It’s a scenic walk around the city and a free art show all in one. This year you can spot more than 30 innovative ice sculptures along the Boston waterfront and through the area, from Roxbury all the way to Revere.


Pro tip! Start your tour with the sculpture outside the Roxbury Branch of the Boston Public Library, then hop onto a free shuttle provided by Boston Harbor Now to head downtown and see the rest. Shuttles go to the Aquarium and the Institute of Contemporary Art.

Where: Boston and beyond (multiple locations)
When: Saturday, Dec. 31, 1-5 pm

2. H+H Emancipation Proclamation concert

Handel and Haydn chorus PHOTO: CHRIS PETRE-BAUMER

In 1863, the Handel and Haydn Society performed a stirring concert to celebrate President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation freeing enslaved people. Now, the concert is an annual New Year’s Eve tradition in which H+H performs spirituals and orchestral music by Mendelssohn, Bach and others, and nationally renowned slam poet Regie Gibson reads from the proclamation.

Pro tip! Arrive early, as this free concert fills up fast and you’ll want to get a good seat.

Where: Trinity Church, Copley Square
When: Saturday, Dec. 31, 1 pm

3. Frog Pond Skating Spectacular

Head to the Boston Common Frog Pond to watch a thrilling figure-skating show put on by the Skating Club of Boston. This is no amateur hour: You’ll see national and international competitive figure skaters, soloists, groups, wee skaters, and Team Excel Synchronized Skating and Theater On Ice of Boston teams, all performing their hearts out in the middle of the city.

Pro tip! You can give skating a try yourself on any other day this season. The Frog Pond is open for skating all winter. Just maybe don’t try a triple axel straight out of the gate.

Where: Boston Common Frog Pond
When: Saturday, Dec. 31, 6 pm

4. Boston Harbor New Year’s Eve Fireworks

Nothing says “Happy New Year” quite like a midnight fireworks display. This tradition has been going on in Boston for nearly 40 years, thanks to Friends of Christopher Columbus Park and Boston Harbor Now. Just as the clock strikes 2023, you can enjoy a vibrant fireworks show over the Boston Harbor between East Boston and the North End.

Pro tip! Take a look at the Holiday Lights display at Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park, then snag a bench. The park is prime seating for the fireworks display.

Where: Boston Harbor by Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park
When: Saturday, Dec. 31, 11:59 pm

2023, Boston Harbor Now, NEW YEAR'S EVE