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What You Need To Know About First Night Boston 2019

Fireworks light up over the Custom House Tower in Boston during the First Night celebration in 2014. (Elise Amendola/AP)
Fireworks light up over the Custom House Tower in Boston during the First Night celebration in 2014. (Elise Amendola/AP)

Before we can welcome 2019, the city first needs to send off 2018 in true Boston-fashion at its annual First Night celebration.

Since 1975, Boston has rung in the new year with ice sculptures, live music and fireworks at its First Night event. More than 200,000 people are expected to attend this year’s celebration, according to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. From where to watch the fireworks, to when headliner Chadwick Stokes is expected to take the stage, here’s everything you need to know about First Night Boston 2019.

The Basics

All First Night events are free and open to the public. You can catch most of the scheduled events in Copley Square and Back Bay.

When It’s Happening

First Night festivities start at 12 p.m. Monday, Dec. 31 and last through 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 1.

Road Closures And MBTA Information

You might want to stick to public transportation. Parking is tight and the following roads are closed throughout the event:

  • Dartmouth Street from St. James to Boylston
  • Trinity Place and Blagden Street
  • Boylston Street along the parade route from Dartmouth Street to the Boston Common, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Dec. 31

The most direct access via public transportation is the Green Line to Copley Station. The MBTA will operate on a weekday schedule, with the subway and commuter rails running a late-night service. It will operate a Sunday schedule on Jan. 1.

'I’m Going To First Night During The Day…'

Performances will kick off inside Boston Public Library and within the Copley Mall at noon on Monday. Grab the kids and head to the Puppet Showcase Theater starting at 12:15 p.m. At 12:30 p.m., Boston-based Sweet Harmony will take the main stage and the Handel and Haydn Society will follow at 1 p.m. Both the Old South Church and the First Church of Christ, Scientist host organ concerts at 3 and 4 p.m., respectively. Comedy performances will run in the BPL until 4:30 p.m.

'I’m Going To Check Out The Fun At Night…'

Starting at 7:45 p.m., performers including hip-hop duo STL GLD, hard rockers Flight of Fire, singer Sonika Vaid (who you might recognize from American Idol), alt rock band Ménage and pop-punk outfit Single By Sunday take the main stage at Copley.

Then, to lead the city into 2019, Chadwick Stokes takes the stage at 11:20 p.m. (Ever hear of that band Dispatch? Stokes was the frontman of the band as well as the rock trio State Radio.)

Check out the complete schedule here.

Where (And When) To Watch The Fireworks

Boston has two rounds of fireworks. For the first, Mayor Marty Walsh will kick off the People’s Procession from Copley Square to the Boston Common at 6 p.m. Fireworks will fill the sky at 7 p.m. on the Common. For the big celebration at midnight, fireworks are at the Boston Harbor. (Or you could check out the midnight pyrotechnics and light show that takes place off the roof of the Fairmont Copley Hotel.)

How To Avoid The Crowds

You can sneak a peek at some of the ice sculptures before New Year’s Eve. On-site ice sculpting depends on the weather, but it will begin during the days leading up to First Night.

If you want to watch the performances and fireworks from the comfort of your own, warm couch, segments of the show will air live on NBC10 Boston, New England Cable News and Telemundo Boston.

And Don’t Forget…

  • This is the first year that Boston is partnering with charities for First Night. The Charity Partner Program this year will focus on charities that help and empower girls and women both locally and regionally: Project Hope, the Center for Women and Enterprise, and #HereForTheMusic. You can learn more about the groups here.
  • Even though marijuana is legal in Massachusetts, it’s illegal to light up in public spaces. Whether a cigarette or a joint, you'll be written up with a violation for smoking in public.
  • Stations for lost children and Boston EMS aid stations will be set up at Copley and near the Common at Beacon Street and Charles Street.
  • Officers will likely be checking bars to crack down on over-serving and overcrowding. Bars are open a little later than usual, but you'll need to relocate the party by 2:30 a.m.
  • Police suggest that you leave the bags and backpacks at home.

Related:

Meagan McGinnes Twitter Newsletter Editor
Meagan is WBUR's newsletter editor.

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