2018 New Year’s Eve in Charlottesville

New Year’s Eve Celebrations Around The Area

New Year’s Eve falls on a Sunday this year, but with the next day typically a national holiday there is still lots to do and enjoy around our area.

The most beloved annual celebration in Charlottesville – known for its many family-friendly activities on and around the historic Downtown Mall – is celebrating its 36th birthday this year.

First Night Virginia (FNV) is an annual “community celebration of the arts” that began in Charlottesville in 1982 and is the second oldest First Night in the country. 

Since then, 200 cities in North America and others around the world have joined the First Night family. The mission of FNV is to bring families together and unite the community in all its diversity through the visual and performing arts in Charlottesville on New Year’s Eve. 

Throughout the night, there are fabulous musicians, magicians, storytellers, puppet shows, and entertainers galore. FNV, a self-supporting nonprofit organization, is dedicated to high quality programming that is affordable, accessible, and alcohol-free.

How to get in

Wristbands get you free parking in the Market and Water Street garages, courtesy of the City of Charlottesville, the Charlottesville Parking Center and the Water Street Parking Garage Condominium Association, and into a wide variety of events around the Downtown Mall. There’s also parking available at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center.

You can volunteer for a two-hour shift or donate blood at Virginia Blood Services at the Omni from 10 am until 2 pm on the 31st and get in free.

You can also purchase bands at: Plan 9 – 210 Zan Road; Timberlakes Drug Store – 322 East Main St Downtown Mall; The VA Discovery Museum – 524 East Main St Downtown Mall; The Paramount Theatre – 215 East Main St Downtown Mall; Volvo of Charlottesville – 3025 Ivy Rd (250 West); Carpet Plus – 1739 Allied St; and on December 30 and 31 at FNV Headquarters at the Omni from 10 am until End of Day.

Many local restaurants on the Downtown Mall also host special dinners and countdowns with music – you can check online and call ahead for reservations.

While there are many events that lead up to the countdown – there are two spots where you can choose to ring in 2018 – admission is with the FNV wristband.


Fresh Prohibition-Era Jazz! Part Louis Armstrong, part Fats Waller, and part Flapper — that’s Zuzu’s Hot 5. New Orleans Jazz: It’s Alive! Thumpin’ strings send your body into an unstoppable rhythm. Thrill to the call of the trumpet and the trombone’s response. The Hot 5 provides stomps, rambles, lowdown blues, rollicking Dixieland and pop ballads from the most tumultuous and creative era of American music: 1910-1931


Since 2004 we have made it our responsibility to keep Central Virginia laughing. With each new year our group becomes bigger and more ambitious, but at the same time we hold true to our motto: “You Say It, We Play It”

20-plus comedians bring their A-Games to every show, and every class. A mix of “Whose Line Is It Anyway”, “Second City”, “SNL”, “MadTV”, “Comedy Sports”, and Comedy Central’s “Premium Blend”. Bent Theatre guarantee’s you will not leave disappointed. With shows and classes for all ages and backgrounds. Bent Theatre has something for everyone. Cheers and Good Times

Other events around the area – all take place on Sunday, December 31.

NEW YEAR’S EVE FAMILY FROLIC – Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.

Family activities in the afternoon with live entertainment, music, parade and crafts. Stay on and enjoy Dominion GardenFest of Lights later from 5-10pm. Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.  2-5pm. Regular Garden Admission. All ages welcome. For more info call: 804-262-9887. 

FAMILY FRIENDLY NEW YEAR’S EVE – Blue Mountain Brewery. 

A family-friendly celebration with two sparkling cider toasts and countdowns to the New Year (4:30pm and 7:30pm). 3-8pm. Free. Email: [email protected]. For more info call: 540-456-8020. 


Ring in the new years with a 6 pm balloon drop, sparkling cider for the kids and a catered dinner by Chef Hannah Matarazzo. Parents can relax with a selection of our craft beers in Random Rows family-friendly space featuring board games, large screen TVs and games for the kids. Each adult ticket includes two pints, and a fully catered dinner. Kids 5 and under are free! Random Row Brewing Co. Directions: 608 Preston Avenue4-7pm. $40 adult, $15 ages 5-12, Free under 5. All ages welcome. Email: [email protected].

NOON YEAR’S EVE BASH – Children’s Museum of Richmond.

Ring in the New Year with a countdown to noon, Seymour parade, special activities and more. All Children’s Museum of Richmond Locations. 10am-2pm. Free with museum admission. For more info call: 804-474-7000. 


NOON YEAR’S EVE BASH – Science Museum of Virginia.

Ring in the Noon Year with a countdown to noon to see a dramatic and quirky version of the traditional ball drop. Kick off the New Year with science on your side and watch 2,017 bouncy balls, paper streamers and confetti bring the Rotunda to life for a special ball drop and apple juice toast to celebrate the New Year. Science Museum of Virginia, Richmond.  Directions: 2500 West Broad St9:30am-1pm.Email: [email protected]. For more info call: 804-864-1400. 


Ring in 2018 at Wintergreen. There’s a party for everyone, including the kids. Teen and kids’ parties, live entertainment and fireworks. Wintergreen Resort. Email: [email protected]. For more info call: 434-325-2200. 

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