Free and Cheap Things to Do on New Year's Eve in Atlanta

Ready to ring in the new year without breaking the bank?
  • Let history's splendor inspire your new year at the High.
    Let history's splendor inspire your new year at the High.
  • Build something new at LEGOLAND for 'Noon Year's Eve.'
    Build something new at LEGOLAND for 'Noon Year's Eve.'
  • Experience a dino-friendly celebration 65 million years in the making. (2014, Gene Phillips)
    Experience a dino-friendly celebration 65 million years in the making. (2014, Gene Phillips)

This post was updated in Dec. 2016.

Sure, you can dust off the little black dress or tuxedo and celebrate the new year at a big bash, but maybe you’d just as soon spend a little (or nothing) and wear your Lucky jeans to ring in 2017.

If the latter sounds more like you, check our list for free and cheap things to do on New Year’s Eve in Atlanta.

Freebies

  • The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Parade. Presented by Lions Clubs International, the parade steps off on Dec. 31, at 9 a.m. The parade starts at Baker and Peachtree streets and travels through Centennial Olympic Park to FanFest at the Georgia World Congress Center. See floats, classic cars, cheerleaders, mascots, marching bands and dance groups.

  • Centennial Olympic Park Holiday in Lights. The Centennial Olympic Park Ice Rink and the Holiday in Lights display, presented by Coca-Cola, features a 115-by-64 foot ice rink and the Coca-Cola Skate Cam where skaters can see themselves on the ice and view special programming throughout the season. The ice rink offers its very own concessions location, featuring carnival favorites including funnel cakes, fried PB&J and corn dogs, as well as holiday treats such as hot chocolate and apple cider. Private restrooms and lockers for belongings are also available.


    As if that isn't enough, this year Centennial Olympic Park presents The Chinese Lantern Festival featuring 25 handcrafted lanterns, a three-story pagoda and a 200-foot-long Chinese dragon. 

  • 2017 Peach Drop.  Billed as the largest New Year’s Eve celebration in the Southeast, the Peach Drop has been an Underground Atlanta tradition since 1989. Plans are still being formulated, so be sure to check with Underground Atlanta for details. 

Cheapies

  • The Earl. Settle in for the music of Royal Thunder, a four-piece Atlanta rock band. $10.

  • Dad's Garage Theatre New Year's Eve Shizzazzle. There will be two shows, one starting at 7 p.m. for those who want to ring in the New Year somewhere else and one starting at 10 p.m. for those wanting to ring in the New Year with funny people. You'll see a cavalcade of ridiculous improvised games and scenes. Adults only. $30 online; $32 by phone and at door. Laugh your way into the new year.

  • Variety Playhouse New Year’s Eve Celebration. Improvisational funk band The Motet. $34 advance; more expensive VIP tickets available.

Family

  • High Museum of Art. Create a handmade coin collector to take home -- use it for stowing change throughout the year. Enjoy  story time with Mama Koku as she brings Eric Carle’s "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" to life. Please bring a new children’s book (appropriate for ages from infants through 5 years) to benefit metro Atlanta’s Sheltering Arms Early Education and Family Centers. Free with museum admission. 1 to 4 p.m.

  • LEGOLAND Discovery Center Noon Year’s Eve. The balloon drop occurs at noon, with a countdown displayed on screens around the center. Throughout the day, you can  participate in the large 2017 group build, enter to win great prizes and receive special offers. Prices vary, but they won’t break your bank. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

  • Fernbank Museum of Natural History Noon Year’s Eve. Ring in the New Year early with Atlanta’s biggest party animals. Uh, that’d be dinosaurs. This family celebration includes a countdown to a balloon drop at noon, a kids' DJ and more. The party is free to members; non-members need only pay the price of admission. Dino-mite! 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Carol Carter writes and edits for Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau.

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