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How to have a low-key New Year’s Eve in Boston

December 19, 2017 / Boston

For some people, New Year’s Eve is the time to find a party or a lively bar and enjoy the celebrations until the wee hours of the morning. That can be fun, but sometimes it’s more enjoyable just to unwind in a more easy-going atmosphere. Maybe you’ll have a drink or 2, but you’d like to have an evening that’s worth remembering, rather than one you can’t recall. Boston’s rich history and culture make it the perfect place to experience a more laid-back New Year’s Eve celebration. Try some of these ideas around the city to create your ideal evening for the final day of 2017.

1. First Night First Day on Boston Common

This festival has been a Boston New Year’s Eve tradition since 1975. Enjoy artistic and musical performances, dazzling light displays, whimsical ice sculptures, and more in Copley Square. There will be a parade and fireworks in the evening, and the signature Copley Countdown pyrotechnics and light show will happen at midnight. You can also view the midnight fireworks display over Boston Harbor.Come back on New Year’s Day from 11am to 2pm to enjoy family fun activities and children’s entertainment. The celebration is free and open to the public.

When: Dec 31, 6pm – Jan 1, 2pm

Where: Copley Square

2. Brattle Theatre

Ring in the new year watching classic films at the Brattle Theatre, Cambridge’s only independent cinema. See Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid at 1pm, Vertigo at 3pm, Notorious at 5:45pm, or To Catch a Thief at 8pm. Better yet, load up on the popcorn and snacks, and watch them all. The evening will wrap up in time to have a quiet toast at midnight at home or to sneak out for some quick party time just before the new year.

When: Dec 31, 1pm – 10pm

Where: 40 Brattle St, Cambridge

3. Beat Brasserie

Catch some live music at Beat Brasserie’s New Year’s Eve Blues Explosion. There will be an à la carte menu from 5pm to 8pm and a 3-course prix fixe menu from 9pm to 1am for $125. This Bohemian underground haven features craft beer, classic cocktails, and artisanal wine, in addition to creative meals and appetizers.Music will be provided by Sonya Rae Taylor from 5:30pm to 8:30pm and Willie J. Laws from 9:30pm until closing time.

When: Dec 31, 5pm – 1am

Where: 13 Brattle St, Cambridge

4. A4cade

Find the secret back door in Roxy’s restaurant, and discover this spot that’s part speakeasy and part arcade. This retro atmosphere offers craft beers and cocktails that are inspired by Prohibition times. Try a burger or gourmet grilled cheese with the incredible truffle fries. You can spend the evening unwinding with some simple yet challenging pinball and arcade games. See why this spot has been nominated for Eater Boston‘s Most Gorgeous Restaurant of the Year award.

When: Dec 31, 12pm – midnight

Where: 292 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge

5. Wally’s Café

This humble spot is about to become your new favorite hangout. Wally’s Café has been bringing sweet jazz sounds to Boston since 1947, making it one of the oldest jazz clubs in the United States. You can hear live music every night of the year, but the relaxing atmosphere is the perfect way to send out 2017 and welcome in the new year. Enjoy a jam session from 6pm to 9pm, and listen to some funk tunes from 9:30pm to 2am.

When: Dec 31, 6pm – 2am

Where: 427 Massachusetts Ave

There’s no lack of options in Boston to experience a relaxing and refreshing celebration of New Year’s Eve. You’ll wake up in 2018 ready to take on the whole year.