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Everything you need to know about First Night/First Day Boston 2018

Steven Rose from Ice Effects worked on a shark that is part of a nautical themed piece of ice work to be on display in Boston for First Night 2017.
Steven Rose from Ice Effects worked on a shark that is part of a nautical themed piece of ice work to be on display in Boston for First Night 2017.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff/file/Globe Staff

Editor’s note: Some events for First Night/First Day Boston have been canceled, including the parade and an early evening fireworks display. For more information, click here.

This year’s First Night/First Day Boston festivities will be ringing in the New Year with gleaming ice sculptures, musical performances, and fireworks displays. The majority of the events will take place on Sunday, Dec. 31, from noon to 12:30 a.m., but a few will carry over to New Year’s Day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thus, the new name.

There’s a lot to see and do at this year’s celebration, which is free and open to all. Here are some key things to know if you plan to go.


Getting there


Similar to previous years, the T will not collect any fares after 8 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, according to the MBTA’s website. For those planning to ride the T, take the MBTA Green Line to Copley, where the majority of the events will be held.

Subway lines will operate on rush-hour schedules between 3 p.m. and 2 a.m.

Some commuter rail lines will operate with additional outbound service beginning at 1 a.m.

The ferry will operate on a weekend Charlestown schedule with no Hingham/Hull service.

Buses, however, will operate on a typical Sunday schedule. THE RIDE will operate extended hours until 2 a.m. For more details, visit mbta.com/holidays.


Dartmouth Street will be closed from St. James to Boylston from Dec. 31 through Jan. 1.

Trinity Place and Blagden Street will be closed on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1.

Boylston Street will be closed from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Dec. 31 along the parade route from Dartmouth Street to the Boston Common.

Dressing for cold weathER


This year’s festivities will be taking place near the end of a weeklong cold snap here in Boston. According to the National Weather Service, Sunday is expected to be mostly sunny with a high of 14 degrees. The temperature on New Year’s Eve is anticipated to drop close to 0 degrees, and wind chills promise to make it feel even colder. So warm clothing and layers are a necessity.

To protect yourself against harsh conditions, the weather service suggests wearing at least two upper-body layers in cold, and three or more in extreme cold — which New Year’s Eve will be. One to two layers of pants could be sufficient in cold, while two or more pants layers are suggested in the extreme cold.

Waterproof boots, gloves, a warm hat, and an outer layer to protect against wind and snow are also recommended in extreme cold. The weather service also advises those traveling outdoors to wear a face mask in extreme cold.

Ice sculptures

The theme of this year’s ice display in Copley Square is “Enchanted Forest.” Ice sculptures will also be displayed around Back Bay in front of the Four Seasons Hotel, the Newsfeed Cafe/WGBH, Fire + Ice Restaurant, and elsewhere. See the list of participating businesses on the First Night website.


Note: The early-evening family fireworks on the Common, sponsored by the Mugar Foundation, have been canceled because of the weather.


There will be a midnight fireworks display over Boston Harbor with viewing from the North End and the Seaport. The Midnight Harbor Fireworks are sponsored by the Friends of Christopher Columbus Park, Boston Harbor Now, the Wharf District Council, the city of Boston, and other businesses around the harbor.

Scavenger hunt

An app-driven scavenger hunt has been added to the roster of activities this year. Guests will be able to take on “digital missions” and can potentially win prizes that range from $100 gift cards to a one-night stay at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel.

Performances to see:

Dec. 31, 11:50 a.m.

Boston Chinese Waist Drum Troupe

Copley Square, 560 Boylston St., Boston

Dec. 31, 1:15 p.m.

Boston Saxophone Quartet

Boston Public Library — Johnson Building (Boylston Street), Commonwealth Salon

Dec. 31, 2:15 p.m.


Boston Public Library — Johnson Building (Boylston Street), Rabb Lecture Hall

Dec. 31, 5 p.m.

TEMPO International Rhythm Section

Copley Square

Dec. 31, 8:15 p.m.

Hip-hop artist Dutch ReBelle

Copley Square

Dec. 31, 11 p.m.

Eli “Paperboy” Reed

Copley Square

Sophia Eppolito can be reached at sophia.eppolito@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @SophiaEppolito.