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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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: