New Hampshire is a fun destination year-round, and especially vibrant during the holiday season. There are plenty of unforgettable New Year’s Eve celebrations taking place all across the state. Stay close to numerous family-friendly New Year’s Eve events by booking a vacation rental in New Hampshire. Look forward to heading to wintry Hampton Beach to watch fireworks, ringing in the new year on the slopes, or sipping hot cocoa in a warm ski lodge in the White Mountains. New Hampshire is a great New Year’s Eve destination for both adults and families with children. That said, here are the top cities to spend the holiday season.
The Currier Museum of Art in Manchester is home to northern New England’s largest family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration with its annual Noon-Year’s Eve party. Activities include a magician, face painting, and noisemaker construction. There’s kid-friendly food with live music and dancing, leading up to the big event – the floor of the museum’s Winter Garden Cafe gets covered with bubble wrap for a fireworks simulation as the kids chase hundreds of balloons dropping from the ceiling. Approximately 600 people attend this event each year, and significantly discounted advance tickets are available. Adults have options for later in the evening, including a choice between a New Year’s Eve Gala at the Radisson Inn and a special New Year’s Eve set at Headliner’s Comedy Club.
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Pats Peak is New Hampshire’s largest night skiing facility and the prime New Year’s Eve destination in Henniker. New Year’s In Motion is their annual family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration, especially suited for families with older children. Things to do include skiing, snowboarding, tubing, and enjoying a comedy show. Food stations featuring American, Italian, and Chinese cuisine are prepared by local chefs, with music and dancing all night, party favors, a champagne toast, and a fireworks display at midnight. Tickets for skiing only, the party only, or both are available.
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3. White Mountains Region
The White Mountains area consists of several small towns, including North Conway, Bretton Woods, Jefferson, and Whitefield. Vacation rentals are particularly abundant in this part of the state, with New Year’s Eve celebrations at all of the major resorts and inns. The New Year’s Eve Family Celebration in the Crystal Ballroom at the Mountain View Grand Resort and Spa features music and dancing. A “Family-Friendly” New Year’s Eve Celebration in the King Pine Ski Area at Purity Spring Resort offers outdoor activities such as ice skating, sleigh rides, a torchlight parade, and bonfires, along with entertainment by clowns and a fireworks display.
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Santa welcomes Father Time, the Baby New Year, and children of all ages to the New Year’s Partybration which takes place at Santa’s Village. Children can enjoy food, soft drinks, music from a live DJ taking requests, and access to the rides all night. The party caps off with a visit from Father Time and a fireworks display. While this event is geared toward adults with small children, it ends in plenty of time for parents to put the kids to bed and enjoy one of the many celebrations in the White Mountains region.
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Dover’s Family New Year’s Eve Celebration takes place in the New Hampshire Children’s Museum. The festivities include three separate “countdowns to midnight” at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 2 p. m., with glittery disco ball drops, confetti, and wish blimps gently falling to the ground. Children can make sparkly recycled paper hats and have fun taking photos in the photo booth while a magician entertains them between drops.
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6. Concord and Loudon
Head to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway located just north of Concord in the town of Loudon for an early family-friendly activity. The Gift of Lights is a holiday display extending two miles around the outside of the track’s grandstands and featuring over 60 holiday scenes, 400 light displays, and two million LED bulbs. It’s a great activity before or after dinner that leaves plenty of time for adults to put young children to bed and get ready for a night out. A portion of the proceeds goes to benefit Speedway Children’s Charities. Afterward, head to the New Year’s Gala at the Concord Holiday Inn for dinner, dancing, and a comedy show.
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7. Hampton Beach
Hampton Beach is primarily a summer tourist destination and may seem deserted in winter, but it’s a great getaway for families looking for seclusion or couples looking for a romantic weekend away from the crowds. The beach comes to life for one night each winter for New Year’s Eve with a fireworks display that appears to take place right over the Atlantic Ocean. Couples and families bring blankets to the beach to witness the annual spectacle after a special New Year’s Eve dinner in nearby Portsmouth or New Castle.
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As a coastal town and the home of the University of New Hampshire, Portsmouth is full of fun things to do year-round, and New Year’s Eve is no exception. First Night Portsmouth is a full day and night of indoor and outdoor alcohol-free activities designed to appeal to families with children. Attendees receive buttons that grant access to indoor events that consist of storytellers, music, and shows. Outdoor activities include ice sculpting, street dancing, and discounted skating at Puddle Dock Pond at Strawberry Banke, where the early fireworks display occurs at 7:30 p.m. Later on, there’s a countdown to midnight. Elsewhere in Portsmouth, many of the local restaurants feature special New Year’s Eve menus and parties.
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