I recently heard a tale about a woman who boasted of wearing a diaper to watch the ball drop in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. Apparently you can’t leave your spot once you’ve claimed it—even to use the restroom—because if you leave, the crowd won’t let you back in. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like the most unpleasing New Year’s Eve experience ever. Being packed in a space where basic hygiene is not respected—a root canal seems like a more pleasant way to ring in 2014.
This got me thinking: What are some cool ways to celebrate the end of 2013 that aren’t overpriced, overcrowded, and prohibitive when it comes to using the bathroom.
For little party animals
If your biggest issue with NYE is staying awake til midnight because your little kids woke you up at 5 a.m., then the Please Touch Museum’s annual “Countdown 2 Noon” is perfect for you and your family. The event features music, special activities and an appearance by King Countdown, the museum’s official New Year’s Eve marshal. And there is a second countdown at 1 p.m. if you miss the noon show. It’s also an educational way to exhaust your children if you do want to stay up late.
For fans of the unusual
If the thought of spending an evening packed in a room with revelers is unappealing, considering spending it with the dead. The Powel House in Philadelphia’s Society Hill offers five eerie 70-minute ghost tours between 7 and 11 p.m., where participants will learn about 18th & 19th century high-society spirits who return each year to the mansion to dance the night away. Tickets, available online, are $25. The tours are for ages 13 and up.
For experience seekers
If you want an NYE that’s completely outside the box, consider spending the night on a battleship (and no, signing up for military service is not required). Battleship New Jersey’s Overnight Encampment opens its deck for overnight guests, who will sleep in bunks, enjoy dinner and a morning chow-line breakfast, embark on a special tour of the ship, and ride the 4D flight simulator. You’ll also have a front-row seat for the fireworks display over the Delaware River. Tickets are $64.95 per person.
If you want to get a jump on your “get in shape” New Year’s resolution, consider signing up for this four-mile race through Central Park that starts at the stroke of midnight. The run is unscored, and runners are entertained by the fireworks display above the park—as well as the participants who pound the pavement in costume. There’s a dance party before at 10 p.m. and a costume parade at 11 p.m. When it’s over, though, don’t blow you’re “eat healthier” resolution on a post-race feast. Sign-up fees vary from $45-$65.