2019 New Year’s Eve in Charlottesville

2019 New Year’s Eve in Charlottesville

New Year’s Eve falls on a Monday 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 37th 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. Wristbands go on sale in December – http://www.firstnightva.org.

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

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

Family activities from 2-5 pm in the afternoon with live entertainment, music, parade and crafts. Photo opportunities with the Garden Keeper  — bring your cameras. Make your own New Year’s party hat. Write your wish for 2019 and add it to our “wishing chain”. Be a part of the annual Garden tradition: “Rolling in the New Year” by rolling down the hill to the Cochrane Rose Garden.

Stay on and enjoy the Dominion GardenFest of Lights later from 5-10 pm. Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond. Regular Garden Admission. All ages welcome. For more info call: 804-262-9887. 


Celebrate the new year in a new way with their first ever Oyster Roast. This New Year’s Eve from 12-7 pm enjoy raw, grilled or fried oysters with some great local, live music by Eli Cook Trio (12-2), Firecracker Jam (2:30-4:30) and Kendall Street Co. (5-7pm).

Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door. Your ticket gets you a souvenir glass and your first 6 oysters. Oysters will be available to purchase by the 1/2 or full dozen. Raw, grilled, fried and oyster stew will be available. Food truck will also be on-site with burgers, nachos, and more famous offerings. 

Family-friendly event. Hot Chocolate and Cider will be available for the kids. Kids 12 and under are free. For more info call: 540-456-8020. 


Ring in the new year with a 7 pm balloon drop, sparkling cider for the kids and a buffet dinner by Chef Hannah Matarazzo and Harvest Moon Catering. Parents can relax with a selection of craft beers in the 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 Avenue. 5-8 pm. $40 adult, $15 ages 5-12, Free under 5. All ages welcome. Email: kevin@randomrow.com.

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 2,019 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. 

Noon Year’s Eve is included in Museum admission and is open to the first 2,500 guests. The Museum will open at 9 am that day to begin selling tickets. Tickets must be purchased in person at Guest Services on December 31; advance ticket purchases and online ticket purchases are not valid for this event. Science Museum of Virginia, Richmond.  

Directions: 2500 West Broad St. 10 am-1pm. Email: info@smv.org. For more info call: 804-864-1400. 


Ring in 2019 at Wintergreen. There’s a party for everyone, including the kids. Teen and kids’ parties, live entertainment and fireworks. Wintergreen Resort. For more info call: 434-325-2200. 

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Charles McDonald
Charles McDonald
Charlottesville Solutions
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