New Year’s Eve in Ocean City, New Jersey

new year's eve in ocnj

Another year is almost done and it’s time to get together with friends and family to celebrate New Year’s Eve. There’s no better way to usher in a new year and say goodbye to the old than by gathering with loved ones. You could spend a quiet evening watching the ball drop at home. Or, you could get in on the worldwide party and experience the holiday in Ocean City, New Jersey.

If there’s one thing Ocean City knows how to do, it’s put on a festival, and the end of the year is no exception. The city livens up for a two-day experience filled with fun, friends and entertainment. Spending New Year’s by the beach is an excellent way to enjoy the holiday. Learn more about what the city has in store for one of the largest Ocean City events and get ready to become a part of the festivities.

New Years in Ocean City: Two Days of Entertainment and Events

While most cities celebrate the night of New Year’s, Ocean City does things a little differently. The town starts their festivities in the early evening of December 31 and continues into January 1 with several special events. The night is packed with live entertainment and interactive activities, providing you and your family or friends with many different options. The events on the morning after are meant to get the town up and active, and excited for the upcoming beach season.

First Night

On the last day of the year, Ocean City has a city-wide celebration called First Night. It sends off the old year with a bang, as thousands of locals and visitors gather together by the beach.

The 2023 celebration schedule includes plenty of entertainment acts.

Live Music

Throughout the afternoon and evening, there will be various music acts in different locations. Young or old, all audiences will enjoy the live bands as they send off the past year. Some of the visiting performers include:

live music

  • The Trammps: Headlining at the music pier, The Trammps are one of the most iconic disco bands. They began their career in Philadelphia with their 1972 cover of “Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart.” They might be most famous for their 1976 Grammy-winning hit, “Disco Inferno.” Their soulful sounds will fill the pier until midnight, ushering in a new year.
  • The Philly Keys Dueling Piano Show: Consisting of five individual members, The Philly Keys are a professional music group that brings an exciting twist to any event. Their dueling piano performance is top-notch, and the audience can get in on the fun by providing song requests and singing along. The show encourages you to get up and get moving while the pianists play plenty of classics you know and love. The Philly Keys bring the best of live music and a DJ to the same stage.
  • Let’s Rock: A Fully Staged Tribute to Rock ‘N’ Roll: If you want to experience a performance that lets you re-live the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, then Let’s Rock is just the show for you. Thanks to theatrical effects included colorful lighting, costumes and dancers and a full live band, you’ll feel like grooving along with them. The band will play classic rock songs you can sing along to and put on a show that’s entertaining for all ages.
  • The Beach Strums ukulele group: What instrument is better for a beach celebration than a ukulele? The Beach Strums are dedicated to showing just how versatile a ukulele can be. The group will play anything from Hawaiian classics to Vaudeville songs to popular American music to Doo-wop. You can also get in on the fun, as the performers will encourage participation from the audience.

Family Activities

If you have young children, it can be challenging to find New Year’s Eve plans that include them. In Ocean City, you’ll have access to plenty of family events and activities, all age-appropriate for kids. The schedule includes:

  • Disney’s Imagination Movers: Ocean City Music Pier is proud to welcome the Emmy Award-winning performance group, Imagination Movers. Their concert is interactive, family-friendly and great fun for kids of all ages. You’ll see wild and wonderful acts, complete with giant balloons, streamers, vortex cannons, flying toilet paper and upbeat music. It’s sure to be a memorable experience for all.
  • Inflatables: One of the more popular attractions for children is the indoor carnival. The Ocean City Sports and Civic Center hosts a festival in their facilities, complete with giant inflatable activities.
  • Ice skating: Ocean City’s popular synthetic ice skating rink is sure to provide plenty of winter fun. Families can take to the outdoor ice as a DJ plays hit music that’ll have you dancing. The rink provides skates, so you can still enjoy the festivities if you don’t have a pair.
  • Ocean City Historical Museum open house: In-between some of the high-energy activities, you can take an educational break by walking through the Ocean City Historical Museum’s exhibits. Learn about the founding and creation of the boardwalk, the evolution of the city since its establishment and explore the mysteries of a nearby shipwreck. You’ll see collections of preserved documents and artifacts that outline the city’s history. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, the museum is a great way to appreciate Ocean City.
  • Gillian’s Wonderland Pier: Although they close during the winter months, Gillian’s Wonderland Pier reopens for New Year’s celebrations. From 5 to 9 p.m., your family can ride the rides, such as the carousel, bumper cars, Ferris wheel and more.

Special Performances

special performances

Beyond the many musicians coming to the festival, there will also be several entertainers and groups. All of them are appropriate for children and exciting for adults as well. The performances include:

  • Harlem Wizards: For an action-packed performance, there’s no better group than the Harlem Wizards. The Wizards have been entertaining crowds since 1962, with a mesmerizing display. Their high-flying basketball show is full of tricks, talent and hoop artistry. They’ll show off their slam-dunk abilities, hold contests, create some laughs, give merchandise to the audience and engage the crowd throughout the show. The popular group is an exciting way to celebrate the end of the year.
  • Illusionist Anthony Salazar: Beginning his craft at the early age of 13, Anthony Salazar is an accomplished illusionist. He balances his performances with large scale illusions, sleight of hand tricks, mind-reading and comedy, connecting with crowds young and old. His act will leave you eager for more. Returning to the Ocean City New Year’s festivities due to popular demand, Salazar will be sure to dazzle and entertain.
  • Magician Chad Juros: With over two decades of performance experience and several awards, Chad Juros is a master of the magical arts. He’s performed at the White House, in Las Vegas and at Carnegie Hall. Juros has also made appearances on several television shows, including Criss Angel Mindfreak and Penn & Teller Fool Us. His talents will dazzle you and your family.
  • Mentalist Dan Cain: For over ten years, Dan Cain has been practicing and performing feats of mentalism for audiences. If you need proof of his talents, Cain is the only mentalist in history to predict the correct teams, final score and a notable event for a Superbowl game — 46, to be precise — weeks before the event. You can see him work his magic during the Ocean City New Year’s Eve festivities.
  • John Pizzi, Ventriloquist: Stand-up comedian and ventriloquist John Pizzi is a proud New Jersey native and a talented performer. His family-friendly acts have brought him a lot of attention and made him into a rising star in comedy entertainment. He’s featured on the hit television show “America’s Got Talent” as a contestant in season six, and has opened for popular acts like Weird Al Yankovich, Jerry Vale, The Trammps and Joy Behar. Pizzi is bringing his headlining act to Ocean City for all audiences to enjoy.

Participation Events

If you want to do something a little more interactive with your evening, there will be other events where you can dance like there’s no tomorrow, sing your heart out or compete against your fellow festival-goers. Some of the participatory events include:

  • Karaoke Party: Break out your inner superstar at Center Stage Entertainment’s Karaoke Party. With a high-quality setup and an audience to sing along, you and your friends can live out your pop star fantasies. Or, if you don’t want to sing yourself, you can cheer on the other performers and bust out those sweet dance moves. In between singers, KJ — the DJ — will put on popular dance hits, so the party keeps moving.
  • Quizzo live team trivia: Want to show off your knowledge of obscure topics and memory for random facts? Grab a few friends and enter your team in the Quizzo trivia game. You’ll play seven rounds of 10 questions each, with differing point values. Trivia topics include general knowledge, celebrity identification, geography and history, entertainment, sports and a mystery bonus round. Teams will compete against one another for the winner’s title, and by the end of the night, only one will have the honor of bragging rights.
  • Country line dance experience: Fans of country music will flock to the dance floor for a night of line dancing fun. Experienced guests will have a blast dancing to the sounds of their favorite country classics. Even if you’re new to the line dancing scene, you can learn all the latest moves by following the professionals in the front. They’re there to teach and dance along with you.


Regardless of what you choose to do with the early part of the evening, everyone gathers at the end of the night to watch the city’s spectacular fireworks display. Stand on the boardwalk to watch shimmering fireworks light up the sky as a new year begins. The show is a celebration and a way to welcome the first night, while the evening’s events all come to a close. It’s the best way to end the festivities — among friends and family.

First Day

In most cities, January 1 is a quiet day of rest after a full night of celebration. Not on the Ocean City, New Jersey boardwalk. The New Year’s festival continues into the start of the year with a second part, called First Day.

first day

There are two notable and popular events on First Day. First is the annual boardwalk 5k, where runners and walkers gather to race against one another. The route takes part on the boardwalk where participants gathered the night before. There are also several award categories — male and female for overall run time and within designated age groups. It’s an excellent way to start your year right.

If you aren’t a runner but have a bit of a daredevil spirit, you can participate in the First Day at the Beach Polar Plunge. Participants will brave the cold in swimsuits and run down the beach to the freezing waves, where they’ll plunge in as far as they dare to venture. The registration is free, but you do have to sign a waiver beforehand. The Polar Plunge is sure to wake you up and get you ready for the coming beach season.

Why Celebrate in Ocean City?

New Year’s Eve is a special time to show appreciation for family and friends, remember the memories you made over the past year and celebrate the chance to make more. With the help of the residents and the Chamber of Commerce, Ocean City is able to put on a spectacular celebration. You can enjoy the serenity of the beach in winter while reveling in the joy of those around you. It’s a truly happy occasion.

More than that, it’s an excellent option for families and people of all ages. Many large-scale New Year’s Eve parties are age restrictive or cause a lot of hassle when it comes to transportation. With over 70 shows and Ocean City activities, even large families can find something for every member at our celebrations. You’ll also have the benefit of enjoying a dry city, where there’s no need to worry about safety or anything getting out of control.

Bring in the New Year in Ocean City, New Jersey

bring in the new year

If you’re looking for a place to enjoy the excitement of the holiday, you’re welcome to spend New Year’s in Ocean City. Make your night memorable with our many events and activities, and cap off the evening with the fireworks spectacular. There is plenty to do for friends and family, so bring a group and party together.

For over 25 years, the city has been running a safe New Year’s Eve celebration, with attendance capped at 10,000 people. Since it began the event has grown exponentially and usually the tickets sell out due to popularity. As long as you plan in advance, you’ll be able to get in on the festivities. We’re already getting ready for the big event.

You can register for Ocean City’s New Year’s Eve festival by purchasing one of the admission buttons on the official First Night site before they’re gone.

Previous ArticleStart Planning Your Summer Family Vacation Next ArticleThe Do’s and Don’ts of Wearing Jewelry to the Beach