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