Updated: Tuesday, December 26, 2017, 12:30 PM
New Year’s Eve gets a bad rap for being a holiday all about hype. “Why celebrate another date on the calendar?” the detractors will say. But let’s be real: There’s nothing wrong with getting wrapped up in a little hype. Whether you have the kids or are looking for a big night out, Philly offers no shortages on the NYE entertainment front.
While skating tickets for the annual riverfront party are sold out, non-skaters are welcome to make Winterfest their home base for one of two fireworks shows illuminating the Delaware River waterfront. The 6 p.m. — called “The Fire Within” — is meant to say goodbye to 2017, while the midnight show — “Reach for the Stars” — has a fantastical feel, with music from Star Trek; 2001: A Space Odyssey;Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and more. Enjoy food, drink, music, and other entertainment, in addition to the picturesque sights.
5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, 101 S. Columbus Blvd. $30. delawareriverwaterfront.com
If you want to stick to the Jersey side of the fireworks, check out the Battleship New Jersey. The boat opens two hours before each fireworks show — 4 p.m. for the 6 p.m. show, and 10 p.m. for the midnight show. There will be music, food, and bar service if you’re looking to spice up your viewing.
4 p.m. to 1 a.m., Battleship New Jersey, 100 Clinton St., Camden, $10, 866-877-6262 ext. 108, www.battleshipnewjersey.org.
Midnight From the Top One Liberty Deck Celebrate the New Year at One Liberty Observation Deck’s Midnight from the Top
For another view of the fireworks, One Liberty Observation Deck is offering discounted admission for families to view the 6 p.m. fireworks from 57 floors up. For those with a later bedtime, an adults-only party begins at 9 p.m. with an open bar and bites from the folks behind BRÜ Craft & Wurst, U-Bahn, Uptown Beer Garden, and Cinder Copper & Lace.
4 p.m. to 2 a.m. One Liberty Observation Deck, 1650 Market St. $125. phillyfromthetop.com
The Mushroom Capital of the World stays on-brand, even on New Year’s. In lieu of a ball drop, an illuminated mushroom figurine will fall from the sky at the stroke of midnight. Other family-friendly entertainment includes a laser light show beginning at 6 p.m. and live music all night.
6 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. State and Union Streets, Kennett Square. Free. midnightinthesquare.com
Start your 2018 in bathing suit. Sahara Sam’s, the West Berlin indoor water park, hosts this kid friendly NYE celebration that includes the usual attractions: a DJ, food, a foam party, a champagne toast (for 21-plus), and a cider toast for those too young to imbibe.
7 p.m.-12:30 a.m., Sahara Sam’s Oasis, 535 North Route 73, West Berlin, $66.95, 856-767-7580, www.saharasams.com
Dark Star Orchestra
Suzy Perler The Dark Star Orchestra plays the Electric Factory on New Year’s Eve in 2016.
Enjoy a Grateful Dead concert experience that’s almost as good as the real thing. Party through expert renditions of cuts from the Dead’s repertoire.
Doors open 7 p.m., show 8 p.m. Electric Factory, 421 N. 7th St. $49.50-$149. Electricfactory.info
Class it up a little at the orchestra. Conductor Stéphane Denève leads the orchestra through a number of musical selections from around the world including “I Could Have Danced all Night” from My Fair Lady and Offenbach’s “Cancan.”
7:30 p.m. Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad St. $60-$135. philaorch.org
This upscale venue pulls out all the stops for its New Year’s Eve party. Pace yourself through a five-hour open bar, multiple rooms with DJs, body painters and hoop dancers.
8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Crystal Tea Room, 100 Penn Square East. $39-$205. www.nyephilly.com/Crystal-Tea-Room
Ring in 2018 with a full belly. Vetri restaurants Alla Spina, Osteria, Terrain Garden Cafe, Amis, Bar Amis, and Pizzeria Vetri will have food stations at this party, along with an open bar, DJ, photo lounge, and more.
8:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. Alla Spina, 1410 Mount Vernon St. $125-$145. allaspinaphilly.com/events
‘Tis the season for champagne — so drink it all night. In addition to a five-hour open bar, this party offers bottomless champagne, DJs spinning, dinner, and a speakeasy area.
9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Vesper Sporting Club, 223 S. Sydenham St. $99-$150. vespersportingclub.com/new-years-eve
There won’t be a disco party as good anywhere else. DJs will spin classic disco on vinyl while go-go dancers get down. Don’t forget to grab a cocktail (or a few).
9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Trestle Inn, 339 N. 11th St. $25-$125. thetrestleinn.com
DJs Deluxx, Dior and Jamz provide the music, you bring the dance moves. Also, burlesque, free hats, noisemakers, and a champagne toast at midnight.
10 p.m. to 2 a.m. The Foundry at The Fillmore, 29 E. Allen St. $20-$30. www.thefillmorephilly.com/foundry
Also a prime party spot for fireworks viewing (slip out and head to Race Pier to view them at midnight — don’t worry, they’ll let you back in), this bash features live music from local hip-hop group Ill Doots and DJ Dame Luz.
10 p.m. to 2 a.m. FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Blvd. $35-$49. fringearts.com
Break out the dark eye makeup and bring your friends to hear hits from Panic! At The Disco, My Chemical Romance, Paramore, and the other emo bands that defined the early aughts. The dancing won’t stop until 2018 is hours old. — Thea Applebaum Licht
8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday, Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N Front St. $10 before midnight. 215-291-4919, www.kungfunecktie.com/
Read full story: How to celebrate New Year's Eve in Philadelphia