As we prepare to turn the final page on our calendars, Northern Virginia is gearing up to ring in the New Year. While some enjoy more bustling parties, many families prefer kid-friendly celebrations that emphasize fun without alcohol.
Here are some family-friendly parties happening throughout the region.
December 31 2 p.m.–January 1, 2024 12:05 a.m.
Now in its 29th year, First Night Alexandria is NoVA’s largest family-friendly New Year’s celebration. The festivities kick off throughout Old Town at 2 p.m. and continue into the night, complete with two fireworks displays over the Potomac River and performances throughout the festival from 18 artists, including bands, comedians, magicians, and cappella groups. Wander the city playing the event-themed Fun Hunt before arriving at the daytime block party in Market Square. The revelry stretches until the clock strikes midnight. Tickets are required. Proceeds go to help students in Alexandria pay for orchestra and band equipment. Old Town Alexandria, $10–$50
December 31 7 p.m.–January 1, 2024 midnight
Falls Church offers this free indoor and outdoor event with activities for the whole family to enjoy. Outdoor activities throughout the Little City’s business district include a bounce house, the maze, a 32-foot climbing wall, a fun slide, and firepits to keep warm. There will be live music from entertainers Ruby Jones, No Better Off, and Skyline Band. The Northern Lights Big Band Orchestra will play classic big band tunes indoors, perfect for swing dancing as you welcome the New Year in style. West Broad St., Falls Church, free
December 31, noon–6 p.m.
Take part in a new tradition at Shipgarten. Rather than wait until the ball drops, many families choose “noon-year’s” festivities that wrap up in the early afternoon, which means no late-night travel. At Shipgarten — the innovative indoor-outdoor venue near Tysons Galleria — families will love the outdoor activities like the bounce house, playground sets, and face painting. Spider-Man and Elsa & Anna will be there. And the balloon drops at 2 p.m. If you get hungry, Shipgarten has four restaurants, each operating out of a converted shipping container. The venue is also equipped with numerous big-screen TVs and projectors, so you never miss a minute of the New Year’s sports action. 7581 Colshire Dr., McLean, free admission, food extra
December 31, 2–8:30 p.m.
Roll into 2024 with the perfect strike at The Branch, where you’ll find entertainment for the whole family. Packages for the big night include a two-hour bowling lane rental for up to six people, a family-sized pizza, and bottomless fountain drinks. Check out the classic arcade when you’re done bowling the night away. 49 Catoctin Cir. SE, Leesburg, $130 per lane
December 31, 10:30 a.m.–noon
Celebrate the New Year early, with just enough time to make it home for a relaxing midday nap. This noon New Year’s Eve celebration features festive crafts, outdoor games and activities for children, and a s’mores roasting station. For an extra treat, go for a stroll around Hal and Berni Hanson Regional Park. Registration required. 42071 Nature Overlook Dr., Aldie, $5 person and each child must be accompanied by an adult
Feature image by J. Clifford for Visit Alexandria
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