by Carolyn Batt

Whether it’s ice skating and First Night for the family, the Ice Ball for the 21+, the ball drop at midnight, or the entertainment district for the partiers, downtown Buffalo has plenty of activities to ring in the New Year!

Start your day on New Year’s Eve with free outdoor skating at Buffalo Place’s Rotary Rink, located at Main and Chippewa Streets. The rink is offering extended holiday hours, and is open December 31st 11am-1am and January 1st 11am-9pm.

Head over to First Night Buffalo, which attracts more than 5000 people every year on New Year’s Eve at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. Featuring a wide variety of visual and performing arts, music and dance, sports activities and children’s entertainment, First Night is a drug and alcohol free event that serves as a healthy holiday alternative to New Year’s Eve celebrations.

If you’re looking for an upscale full-night event, check out the Ice Ball, taking place at the historic Statler Towers. This 21+ event features an optional dinner, live music, dancing, an open bar, confetti white-out and champagne toast at midnight. Other highlights include seeing the 1st marriage proposal of 2010, a photobooth, magician and ice sculptures.

For those that prefer a more traditional New Year’s celebration, this year marks the 22nd annual ball drop from the Electric Tower in Roosevelt Square. Attracting more than 40,000 people a year, this is the biggest party of the year in Downtown Buffalo. With a close proximity to Buffalo’s Chippewa Entertainment District, downtown Buffalo’s after-party will bustle until last call at 4 a.m. (and many bars will also extend their hours to remain open well past 4 a.m. for this night).

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