11/28/2011 02:48 pm ET Updated Dec 03, 2011

New Year's Eve In Virginia: A MapQuest Guide

On New Year's Eve in Virginia, locals and visitors revel in the possibilities of the months to come. From ball drops to fireworks to First Night activities, every locale rings in the new year a little differently. As part of NewYearsQuest -- a MapQuest guide to the best New Year's Eve sights and sounds in the U.S. and in major cities around the world -- here are three recommended events for New Year's Eve 2011 in Virginia.

Virginia New Year's Eve Events Map

First Night Alexandria

Historic Alexandria, which sits just across the Potomac River from the nation's capital, hosts First Night Alexandria, the largest family-oriented New Year's Eve celebration in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. This sprawling event will showcase dozens of acts, from music (the blues funk of Anthony Swampdog Clark; the "New Orleans party music" of the Junkyard Saints) to kids' performers (Mike Rose, aka "The Magic Kinda Guy"; Storytime with Miss Megan). There will be plenty of activities for children, such as a moon bounce, interactive games, ship-model building and face painting. The New Year's Eve festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. and end with a laser show and an explosion of fireworks. Tickets may be purchased online or at a participating Alexandria retailer. Adult admission badges cost $20 ($15 if purchased by Dec. 21). Kids under 12 enter for free and are not required to wear a badge, though a badge-wearing adult must accompany them.

Durant Arts Center, 1605 Cameron St., Alexandria, VA 22314


After approximately 24,000 people flooded the streets of Richmond's Carytown neighborhood for its 2008 New Year's Eve celebration, the Carytown Merchants Association decided it could no longer afford the cost of holding an official event. Still, the area remains a popular destination for New Year's Eve revelers. According to, Carytown continues to attract several thousand people to its streets on New Year's Eve, who socialize and enjoy its many restaurants and bars. Official party or not, at midnight, in keeping with past tradition, Carytown partiers still gather outside of the Byrd Theatre to watch and cheer as it raises -- not drops -- a ball to ring in the new year.

Byrd Theatre, 2908 W. Cary St., Richmond, VA 23221

First Night Virginia

Charlottesville's First Night celebration, which began in 1983, is the second-oldest First Night celebration in the United States. Held in the town's Downtown Mall area, Charlottesville's family-friendly First Night Virginia features more than a dozen musical acts, ranging from blues (Dr. Levine and the Dreaded Blues Lady) and rock 'n' roll (Billy Caldwell) to Scottish bagpipe performers (Albemarle Pipes and Drums). The event has an area designed specifically for teenagers that features a mechanical bull as well as an area designed for kids that includes jugglers, inflatables and face painting. The evening culminates with a ball drop at the Downtown Mall's Pavilion. Wristband tickets can be purchased online or at various Charlottesville retailers. Prices start at $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 6 to 15. Admission to the Virginia Discovery Museum is free to all First Night attendees.

Downtown Mall, Main Street, Charlottesville, VA 22902

New Year's Eve In Virginia: Video

The ball drops in the Charlottesville Pavilion during First Night Virginia 2010.

Did we miss a Virginia New Year's Eve event? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

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Check out our coverage of New Year's events around the world, including Maryland, Washington, D.C. and North Carolina!

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Interested in more stories about Virginia? Go to Patch and scroll the list of states to get great local coverage of your neighborhood.