Where to Celebrate New Year’s Day in Philly
From Mummers to free concerts, here's where to start your 2018 off right.
Happy 2018! You closed out 2017 with a bang, counting down to noon, watching evening fireworks, hiring a babysitter for your own party, or maybe just passing out on the couch with some champagne after the kids went to sleep.
But no matter how cold it is, there are Mummers strutting out there and half of South Philly has been drinking since 5 am in preparation! You owe it to them and yourselves to start the New Year off right. Here’s all the family fun to be had on New Year’s Day — the kids go back to school tomorrow, so make the most of January 1.
9 am — 5 pm
Of course the centerpiece of New Year’s Day in Philly is the Mummers Parade. The music, the ornate costumes, the revelry — this Philly tradition is the most iconic and colorful of them all. You can catch them strutting south on Broad Street from City Hall all day long, so you’re sure to see something entertaining no matter when you get there.
After the parade, you can get tickets to watch the Fancy Brigades perform their finales at the Convention Center (there’s also a family-friendly performance at 11:30 am, if your little ones can’t make it to the evening show). You can snag a bleacher seat by City Hall if you get a chance to buy them at Independence Visitor Center in advance. We prefer to pop in and out so we’re not standing out in the cold for hours, which brings us to the perfect opportunity to do that…
300 S. Broad St., Philadelphia
10 am — 5 pm
The Kimmel Center opens its doors for a free all-day New Year’s party with fun for the whole family. There are live performances all day, including kids’ concerts, Latin dance music, and Broadway songs. Kids will have plenty to do, including facepainting, balloon art, and more.
They’ll also love watching jugglers, hula hoopers, and an organ demonstration. And in between watching the Mummers out in the cold, you can warm up at the Garces Hot Chocolate Lounge all day. If you want more than hot chocolate, you can buy tickets for the delectable Garces New Year’s Day Brunch on the balcony. You’ll get an amazing bird’s eye view of the parade, and parents can have Bloody Marys!
3420 Sansom St., Philadelphia
9:30 am — 2:30 pm
Another great brunch option away from the clamor of the parade is White Dog’s annual pajama brunch. It’s a fun way to have a lazy New Year’s, and also an opportunity to support a good cause. White Dog has partnered with Justin Jean Pajamas to help raise funds for Alpha Bravo Canine, which provides trained service dogs to U.S military veterans suffering from combat related disabilities. If you wear Justin Jean PJs to the brunch, and share a picture on White Dog’s Facebook page, you’ll be entered to win prizes and the chance to model with one of the Alpha Bravo Canine puppies in training.
Good news for our Main Line readers: White Dog’s Wayne and Haverford locations are also participating in this fun tradition!
2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia
11 am — 3 pm
Was your New Year’s resolution to expose your kids to more culture and less screen time? Well, there is no better time to start than the first day of the year! The Philadelphia Museum of Art will be doing a very manageable one-hour Family Tour of the galleries at 11 am, then you can drop into the art studio for some creative time together til 3 pm!
1234 S. Broad St., Philadelphia
10 am — 3 pm
South Philly’s indoor playgroup is opening its doors to the public for free on January 1. Come in for some free playtime (and free coffee!) before you head out on South Broad to see the Mummers.
Photographs by Laura Swartz.