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From Our Blog

Guide to Boston’s First Night Celebrations

At this time of year, thoughts turn to New Year’s Eve celebrations. Here in Boston, we have a great tradition that blends family-friendly activities with fun and history.

First Night® Boston is New England’s largest New Year’s Eve celebration. The event started in 1975 as a way to bring the community together on December 31 with free events that were accessible and welcoming to all. As in years past, First Night will take place in Copley Square, as well as at indoor venues in Back Bay and on Boston Common, offering hours of live entertainment and programming for guests of all ages. More than 400,000 people are expected to visit the area on New Year’s Eve.

The fun kicks off just before noon at Copley Square with the Dempsey Sisters, bringing their youthful twist to music. The entertainment then continues throughout the day and evening with a robust and diverse line-up of performers.

Many activities take place indoors. Next to Copley Square is Trinity Church, dating to 1877. Here, the Handel and Haydn Society partner with the Museum of African American History to present a celebratory afternoon of music and storytelling on the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. The event begins at 1:00 p.m.

Aerial view of Boston skyline and Boston Common park in Massachusetts, USA at sunset in winter

Nearby at the Copley Place Mall, The Puppet Showplace Theater offers performances for families and children. Shows are every half hour from 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

If you enjoy organ music, then the Old South Church is a must visit. At 3:00 p.m. the church’s 7000 pipe organ bellows up for a performance of “The King of Instruments”. The enthralling sounds continue in the evening at 6:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. with two performances of “Pipes and Pops”.

In the early evening at Boston Common, the Boston Skating Club puts on a free ice show at 5:30 p.m. followed by a spectacular show of light at 7:00 pm. Taking place in the heart of the city, the fireworks display is one of the most watched events of the year in Boston. Luxury hotel accommodations, such as nearby Boston Park Plaza offer the perfect home for a memorable evening.


The music continues throughout the day at Copley Square until this year’s feature act, Single by Sunday, the UK-based melodic pop-punk band takes the stage at 11:30 p.m. Following the midnight countdown at Copley Square, guests will be treated to a pyrotechnics and light show to celebrate the arrival of the new year.

There are so many venues and events to enjoy at First Night. All the activities are free of charge, but given space restrictions, some performances require tickets. Speak with one of our Concierges to make sure you’re able to experience the celebrations that mean the most to you.

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