New Year’s Eve Events Across the Triangle

8 kid-friendly ways to ring in the New Year
Moritz Knoringer Fke6yi Yfsi Unsplash
Photo courtesy of Moritz Knoringer

New Year’s Eve is a very exciting time, but staying up till 12am with the kiddos can be a drain. Luckily, there are some alternatives to watching the ball drop at midnight. Equally important, our 8 options are all kid-friendly.

Noon Year’s Eve Party

Little Doodles Play Cafe, 6548 Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh
The earliest New Year’s Eve party is at Little Doodles Play Cafe in Raleigh from 10:30am-12:30pmJoin the fun to ring in the “Noon” Year! To build up to the magical moment open play, snacks, and crafts will be at your disposal. As the hand gets closer to 12pm, get pumped for the balloon drop. Tickets are $10 per person and are required.

Light It Up! Noon Year’s Eve Virtual Dance Party

Virtual via Zoom
Looking for a virtual kid-friendly way to ring in the New Year? Look no further than Kidzu‘s Light It Up! This children’s museum located in Chapel Hill is creating a virtual dance party from 11am-12pm during the day. Count down to “Noon” Year’s Eve, but before that make a glow-in-the-dark instrument and dance ’til the ball drops. Family registration is $10 and includes viewing access for your entire family, plus one craft materials kit to use during the crafting session. Additional craft materials kits are available for $2.50 each.

First Night Raleigh

Downtown Raleigh
First, things will kick off at 2pm with the Children’s Celebration. At the same time, the Disco Roller Rink and Funky Ferris Wheel will open their gates. The former can be found in the middle of Fayetteville St. and Morgan St. Bring your own skates or rent them for a groovy time. The latter will be spinning at the center of Fayetteville St. and West Hargett St. Plan your ferris wheel ride accordingly in the hopes of catching a bird’s eye view of the kid’s Acorn Drop and fireworks at 7pm. Otherwise, join the People’s Procession at 6pm and be a part of the action on the ground. The party does continue unitl midnight if you rather stay out all night. Tickets are $12 in advance; on-site tickets are $12 for ages 6-12 and $16 for those 13 and older.

Life-Size CandyLand in Clayton

Main St. Community Garden, Clayton
A dose of nostalgia is waiting for you at the Main St. Community Garden in downtown Clayton. Play The Woman’s Club of Clayton‘s version of Candyland any day of the week through Jan. 2. The Garden is located on 439 E. Main Street, and the game is in play Monday through Friday from 2-4pm and Saturday & Sunday from 1-4pm. Navigating Candyland is a free event, but donations are appreciated. Although all are welcomed to look around and play the life-size version, younger children are most appropriate for this experience. Roll the dice and see where you land this holiday season.

New Year’s Eve Kids Countdown

United Skates of America, Inc., 2901 Trawick Rd., Raleigh
Dust off your roller skates and practice your disco moves for the New Year’s Eve Kids Countdown at United Skates of America, Inc. Roll into the New Year with the whole family from 3:30-6:30pm. Games, prizes, music, and of course skating will fill your afternoon. Admission is $15 per person and includes the following: skate rental, slice of cheese pizza, small drink, 5 tokens, and party favors.

NC Chinese Lantern Festival

Koka Booth Amphitheater, 8003 Regency Pkwy, Cary
One of the better known festivals in the Triangle, the NC Chinese Lantern Festival is back at Koka Booth Amphitheater for the 5th year. Marvel at the luminous display of lanterns from twilight to nightfall. The expected time to view everything is about 45-75 minutes. Afterwards, indulge at the food trucks which can be found on Friday & Saturday nights. Prices vary from $15-35.

Residential Holiday Lights

Across the Triangle
Whether you’re looking to stay in the neighborhood or want to scout out the surrounding areas, the Triangle has no shortage of holiday cheer, with residents getting into the spirit for decades. Gather the family together, get in the car and discover the dazzle.

Illuminate Art Walk

Downtown Raleigh
Lights, arts, and family-friendly fun are back this year in the form of the Illuminate Art Walk. The Downtown Raleigh Alliance and Wake Tech are commissioning 15 pieces from local artists to transform public spaces and storefronts in Downtown Raleigh. The light-based installations are on display nightly from Friday, Dec. 3 to Friday, Jan. 7. The walking tour is self-guided and free.

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