With the holidays nearly over (Kwanzaa ends on January 1), it’s time to grab a few pairs of glasses shaped like “2019,” some noisemakers and figure out, if you haven’t already, where you’ll be spending New Year’s Eve (and whom you’ll be kissing once the ball drops). As always, Saratoga Springs and the rest of Upstate New York provides people with a fantastic array of options for ringing in the new year. saratoga living put together a quick primer with five wonderful and, most importantly, local options for celebrating on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
(1) Hit The Streets For First Night Saratoga 2019
One of Saratoga’s most highly anticipated annual events, First Night Saratoga 2019 is an all-night affair starting, obviously, on Monday, December 31. This year’s theme? “Let’s Celebrate!” Presented by Saratoga Arts, First Night Saratoga will feature 70-plus local and regional performers, including live music performances, comedy shows and magic demonstrations in 30 different venues across the city. Be sure to get there early and grab a spot at your preferred location (or locations); last year, there were more than 15,000 revelers crowding the streets of Downtown Saratoga. That shouldn’t be too difficult, given that First Night officially kicks off at 5:30pm with the popular Saratoga Arts First Night 5K Run, which begins and ends at Skidmore College. There will also be a parade for kids to Lake Avenue Elementary School and a fireworks finale at midnight in Congress Park.
(2) Do Dinner Downtown Before The Ball Drops
A number of restaurants in Saratoga are offering special celebrations and delectable fare on New Year’s Eve. Saratoga National Golf Club is hosting its New Year’s Eve party at Prime, with a full dinner menu, a GIF photo booth and even a balloon drop. From 11am to 10pm, the Olde Bryan Inn is offering a special menu, featuring a holiday-themed cocktail (the New Year’s Mule) and J&S Watkins’ French vanilla cheesecake for dessert. 2 West Bar & Grille is offering a happy hour with buy-one-get-one-free drinks from 2pm – 7pm, plus dinner specials and cookie decorating. Salt & Char is offering special three- and four-course meals for its New Year’s Eve dinner, and nearby Druthers will be hosting a New Year’s Eve Beer Dinner with up to six courses, including a churro ice cream sandwich for dessert.
(3) Get Your New Year’s Eve On Beyond Downtown
Vapor at Saratoga Casino Hotel is having a Las Vegas-style New Year’s Eve celebration from 8:30pm until, well, whenever the fun fades. The celebration will include party favors, Vegas showgirls and more than $30,000 in prizes on the gaming floor. (Patrons can also make reservations to stay the night.)
Theater fans can grab dinner and catch a show on New Year’s Eve at the Park Theater in Glens Falls. From 6pm to 8:15pm, diners will have access to delicious hor d’oeuvres and drinks, in addition to a gourmet meal with grilled filet mignon and baked red snapper bruschetta, all from Doc’s Restaurant next door. The show, It’s Your Line Now!, is a hilarious, one-of-a-kind comedy that begins at 8:15pm.
If laughs are what you’re after on New Year’s Eve, then check out First Night of Funny at The Egg in Albany 8pm, featuring four comedians and two hours of side-splitting laughter. The Charles R. Wood Theater, Cohoes Music Hall and Proctors Theatre also have comedy shows available. (There’s also a New Year’s Eve dinner and show at The Comedy Works in Saratoga, but it’s already sold out!)
(4) Wake Up The Morning After In The Lap Of Luxury
Why not spend New Year’s night at one of Saratoga’s finest hotels? The Adelphi is offering a New Year’s Eve dinner, as well as a New Year’s Day brunch, both at The Blue Hen. For dinner (8pm – 1am) enjoy an open bar, live music from Grand Central Station, a four-course dinner, dessert and coffee plus a Veuve Clicquot champagne toast at midnight. And for the New Year’s Day brunch (11am – 3pm), The Blue Hen will offer guests a two-course brunch with a special menu curated by Chef David Burke.
Across town, Longfellows is also throwing its Annual New Year’s Eve Bash from 7:30pm – 12:30am. Now in its seventh year, the New Year’s Eve party will feature a five-hour open bar (beer, wine and champagne), specialty cocktails, a huge dinner menu, dancing and, for a little extra dough, overnight accommodations. (Perfect, if you don’t want your Uncle Ralph to be the designated driver.)
Another option for enjoying New Year’s Eve away from all the hustle and bustle of Downtown Saratoga? Try The Gideon Putnam in the Saratoga Spa State Park. Its New Year’s Eve 2018 at The Gideon Putnam celebration will include a special dinner prepared by Executive Chef Luca Brunelle, as well as a four-hour open bar, dancing and live music from Capital Disc Jockeys.
(5) New Year’s Day: Take A Chilly Cruise Or Polar Plunge
If you’re looking for a chillier start to your new year, let me suggest the New Year’s Day Frostbite Cruise courtesy of Lake George Shoreline Cruises from 12pm – 2:30pm. Currently celebrating its 34th year, this boat ride across Lake George will include delicious food, drink and live entertainment onboard, as well as some of the most spectacular views imaginable. The best part? It’ll go off January 1, whether Lake George is frozen or not. (If the lake’s iced over, Shoreline will simply host a stationary cruise party on the dock.)
Lastly, if boating around Lake George on New Year’s Day doesn’t do it for you, how about New Year’s Day in Lake George? Literally. True winter enthusiasts will enjoy the Village of Lake George’s annual Polar Plunge 2019. Since 1973, hundreds of locals have taken a (very) brief dip in the lake’s icy, blue waters as a way to celebrate New Year’s Day. The tradition starts at 1pm at Shepard Park, and there will be a New Year’s Day Polar Plunge Party afterwards (1pm – 5pm) at Duffy’s Tavern.