New York, New York.

It’s the city that never sleeps, a statement that’s true all year round, but never with more authority than on New Year’s Eve – the one night a year where it seems as though the entire human population elects to descend on Manhattan for a night of drinking, diversion, and debauchery. Having just seen-in the new decade in this wonderful, crazy city, I thought it best to create a definitive guide to New Year’s, for those future revellers hoping for the best possible NYE in NYC experience.

DON’T – Go to Times Square

When asking around about what to do on NYE, the unanimous response from everyone in New York is “Don’t go to Times Square.” Every year, thousands upon thousands of tourists and locals flood into the crossroads of the world to watch the ball drop at midnight. The result? A suffocating crowd from which there is little escape. If you do go, be prepared to go early (4pm at the absolute latest), stand until midnight with no water, food, or bathrooms, no way to exit, and surrounded by people in adult-diapers with no concept of personal space. I wouldn’t hesitate to say NYE in Times Square is on par with Navy SEAL training when it comes to the physical and mental torture one must endure. NYE in Manhattan can be so amazing – as long as you steer clear of this trap.

DO – Go to Times Square

Despite the indisputable truth of all of the above, Times Square on NYE is a truly unique experience, and something on many peoples’ bucket lists – even if just to be able to warn others who may venture towards a similar fate. Just be prepared to face the brutal conditions. There are plenty of other NYE options in New York – but there is nothing quite like Times Square. Another fun alternative to actually going in is walking down Broadway at about 5pm and just watching the mass of people swell at the gates. Of course, if unprepared/unwilling to brave the reality of NYE in Times Square, there are plenty of other options for the partygoer – and you won’t be missing out on too much fun.

DO – Find the right bar for you

The beautiful thing about Manhattan is the pure diversity of choice for anyone on a night out. Whether you’re into dance clubs, Irish pubs, arcade speakeasies, or heavy metal thrasher bars – there’ll be a perfect spot to see in the new year in the perfect way. Book early and do your research. New York offers everything, and wherever you go you’ll want it to be the best possible start to the year. Some favourite places include Le Bain and Two-Bits.

DON’T – Leave it too late

A rookie error for many first-timers is leaving it too late to book – or not booking at all. Manhattan is a busy place, and without booking at your ideal New Year’s party, you risk being charged a hefty cover charge or – worse – left out altogether. By planning your night in advance, you can ensure that your NYE goes off without a hitch. 230 5th is a personal recommendation of mine, with excellent views from one of the coolest spots in NYC.

DON’T – Buy tickets on the street

In the days leading up to NYE, a number of vendors and scalpers will pop up in the popular tourist locations to spruik cheap and exciting tickets to parties or to Times Square. Don’t fall for it. The event in Times Square is completely free, and most venues will sell tickets to their parties online or at the door. Don’t start out the New Year getting scammed.

DO – Plan your journey home

When the celebrations wrap up, hundreds of thousands of people will storm uber, taxis, and the subway to journey home. It’s therefore crucial that you know in advance just how you’ll actually get home – and how much it should cost you. Don’t let the taxis scam you, and try to avoid the ridiculous uber surge. The subway is your best bet in terms of affordability – but in all that crowd, you had better know exactly where you’re going.

DON’T – Be anywhere else next New Year

I’ll see you in New York on December 31st to welcome 2021 in style.

All Images via ShutterStock.