Every year on Dec. 31, thousands of people gather in downtown Raleigh to watch the acorn drop, marking the start of a new year in the City of Oaks.
First Night Raleigh is a family-friendly event featuring live performances, art, fireworks and more.
Here’s a guide to the event:
How do I get tickets?
An all-day pass for $10 gives you access to every performance venue and activity. Passes are available at Harris Teeter and CVS Pharmacy stores. The day of the event, tickets are $14 for adults and $11 for children ages 6 to 12.
What time do the festivities begin?
Several events will get underway at 2 p.m. The Children’s Celebration is from 2 to 6 p.m. at Bicentennial Plaza and inside the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences and the North Carolina Museum of History.
The Ferris wheel also starts operating at 2 p.m. The People’s Procession, which travels down Salisbury Street, begins at 6 p.m.
When can I see fireworks?
For those who can’t stay awake until midnight, an early countdown and fireworks will begin at 7 p.m. at the main stage in City Plaza, 400 Fayetteville St. More fireworks, and the acorn drop, will be at midnight in City Plaza.
Where should I park?
City-owned parking decks and lots throughout downtown will be open all day and night for $5. State government visitor lots are available at an hourly rate during the day, and other state-owned lots are available for free parking at 6 p.m.
What about public transportation?
For the second year, GoRaleigh buses will operate a park-and-ride system into downtown. Visitors can park and catch a bus at the lot at Oval Drive and Initiative Way on the N.C. State University Centennial Campus; or at the Wake County Government Office Park at 4011 Carya Drive. The buses will run every 30 minutes or less.
The downtown drop-off and pick-up site is at the corner of Morgan and Wilmington streets.
Once downtown, visitors can also take the R-Line, a free circulator bus service that runs about every 15 minutes.
Where can I find a cab to get home?
Taxi cabs will line up from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. in two locations: the east side of Salisbury Street from Morgan to Cabarrus streets; and the west side of Wilmington Street from Morgan to Davie streets.
What should I eat?
Plenty of vendors will sell food and beverages in Bicentennial Plaza and along Fayetteville Street. Downtown restaurants will also be open.
Can I drink alcohol?
First Night Raleigh is alcohol-free. Open containers are not allowed on the streets or in any venues.
Who will perform?
Look for cloggers, a piano player, Mexican folk musicians, a Johnny Cash tribute band, the N.C. Opera and more.
What else is there to do?
Visitors can get creative with the Scrap Exchange from 2 to 6 p.m. Miniature golf will be available from 2 to 9 p.m. at Market Hall in City Market. Check out the Andy Griffith movie marathon at 5:30 and 8 p.m. at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Or get hitched (for pretend) at a pop-up wedding chapel.