Things to Do

5 Fun New Year’s Eve Activities That Don’t Involve Drinking

Plus, family-friendly events.

Photograph via Shutterstock.

There’s no shortage of New Year’s Eve parties around DC. But what if you’re looking for a quieter—and less boozy—way to ring in 2023? Here are five things to do on New Year’s Eve instead of hitting the party circuit.

First Night Alexandria
Various locations in Old Town Alexandria
The annual event around Old Town kicks off at 12 PM and runs until midnight. Live music, magic shows, kid-friendly performances, and more will take place in locations across Alexandria. The celebration culminates with a colorful fireworks display over the Potomac River. Tickets run from $10 to $75.

New Year’s Eve Forest Bathing at the National Arboretum
3501 New York Ave., NE 
Get a head start on your mindfulness resolution with a forest bathing session at the Arboretum. A guide will read prompts to help participants engage in the practice, whether you choose to meditate in the garden or stroll around. A tea ceremony will follow the forest bathing. Tickets are by donation.

A Jazz New Year’s Eve at the Kennedy Center
2700 F St., NW
Jazz singer Carmen Lundy is headlining the Kennedy Center concert, accompanied by a vibraphone, harp, organ, and more. The musical performances will take place at 7 PM and 9 PM, and tickets start at $79.

Noon Yards Eve at The Yards Park
355 Water St., SE
Climb aboard the 2023 train in Yards Park—literally. The New Year’s Eve fête features train rides, crafts for kids, bounce houses, and family-friendly games and shows. The free event runs from 10 AM to 1 PM.

Bowling at the Branch
49 Catocin Cir., Leesburg. 
Reserve a lane ahead of the new year at the Leesburg bowling alley for up to six people. Slots are available for 2 PM, 4:15 PM, and 6:30 PM games, and the $120 fee includes a pizza, bottomless fountain drinks, and shoe rentals for your group.



Daniella Byck
Lifestyle Editor

Daniella Byck joined Washingtonian in 2022. She was previously with Outside Magazine and lives in Northeast DC.