people celebrating with champagne and sparklers at a table

All across America, First Night celebrations take place on New Year’s Eve to celebrate American culture and artistry. These celebrations are often held outside and are full of fun activities for the entire family to enjoy. If you’re looking for New Years’ travel destinations that will help you close the old year in a fun and memorable way, Western Massachusetts is a great spot. The region hosts a wide variety of First Night celebrations.

Six Flags Holiday in the Park Lights 

Six Flags is holding its annual Holiday in the Park Lights every day from 5pm to 9pm. Enjoy family-friendly holiday festivities, including holiday lighting and music displays, food, and drinks all night from 4pm to 9pm. Single-day tickets start at just $14.99, so there is no reason to miss out on the festive experience. And if you aren’t in the mood to walk around the park all night, book a rental car (or take your own) and enjoy the Holiday in the Park Drive-Thru experience.

Northampton First Night

For 37 years, the Northampton Arts Council has been putting on a New Year’s Festival to celebrate First Night. Open from noon to midnight, this family-friendly festival is one of the best New Years’ tourist spots. The festival of arts includes displays from local artists to celebrate the cultural diversity of the region. Enjoy a fireworks show just after dark and then watch the ball rise at midnight to conclude the festival. The festival charges a flat fee for admission, but this fee gives your entire family access to enjoy all of the games and activities.

Westfield First Night

The Westfield First Night Festival is held every year at Amelia Park. There are plenty of vendors selling local goods as well as activities and games for kids to enjoy. Parents can enjoy the food scene and splurge on delicious festival food. The event lasts from 4:30 P.M. to 7:30 P.M., when the night concludes with a dazzling fireworks show. Bring the kids for a fun night that won’t keep them out too late.

Bright Nights at Forest Park

Visit Forest Park on New Year’s Eve to be stunned by a dazzling light show. The lights are up from 5 P.M. to 11 P.M., so you’ll have plenty of time to travel throughout the park and check out all of the light displays. Let your kids choose a noisemaker or a festive hat to wear from the gift shop while ringing in the new year. All children receive a complimentary ticket to an amusement ride in Santa’s Magical Forest, so there are plenty of activities available for the whole family to enjoy.

Celebrate First Night in Western Mass

First Night celebrations are held all over the nation, but if you’re looking for a New Years’ travel destination that offers plenty of family-friendly activities, choose Western Massachusetts. This region has festivals that are sure to appeal to people of all ages, so you can have a fun day of entertainment for the whole family. For more information on the family-friendly events happening in Western Mass, contact our Visitor Center.


Image Source: Yulia Grigoryeva / Shutterstock


What Is First Night?

First Night is an annual celebration of American art and culture. Held on December 31st, this holiday is a great way for people of all ages to ring in the new year safely. These fun festivals often include games and activities to keep kids entertained while their parents sample tasty food and browse booths owned by local vendors. Some of the festivals if feature stunning firework displays at the end of the night.

What Time Does First Night Start?

Traditionally, First Night starts at 12 P.M. on December 31st and runs until midnight. However, there are many festivals to choose from, and they all have different start times. If you’re feeling adventurous, you may even be able to hit multiple festivals and celebrate First Night in a variety of ways.

What Are the First Night COVID Regulations?

The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically altered the travel industry, and regardless of which location you choose, you will need to consider safety precautions to slow the spread of the virus. Every town in Western Mass has its own protocol for COVID precautions, so it is best to contact the town you are interested in visiting to determine which protocols you will need to follow. The town can guide you on mask and travel restrictions so that you can make the most of your New Year’s trip.