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First Night Burlington, VT

  • 4.5

(4 reviews)
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First Night Burlington, VT
Church Street
BurlingtonVT 05401
(802) 863-6005

Ages: 1 and up

Cost: See web site for pricing options.

Parking: Yes - Meter parking and City-owned parking garages are free after noon on December 31st. | Free parking is provided by the University of Vermont at the Guttersen Parking Garage on the UVM Campus w/ Free Shuttle Busses

Features: Snack Stand, Restrooms, Handicap Accessible

First Night Burlington is Burlington’s alcohol-free New Year’s Eve celebration and Vermont’s largest one-day arts festival. First Night Burlington, attracts 20,000 people to downtown Burlington for New Year’s Eve. Programming is diverse and includes many cultures and art forms including musical performances, dance, theater, circus arts, puppetry, visual arts, storytelling, and comedy. A First Night Burlington button admits one to all events at twenty sites, on a first-come, first-served basis. Fireworks and a parade are also part of this New Year’s Eve celebration. 

ADMISSION: A First Night Button admits you to all official events on a first-come first-served basis. There are dozens of venues in downtown Burlington where First Night performances and activities take place over a twelve hour period. Buttons and tickets are non-refundable.

Click here for an Insider's Guide to Burlington's First Night Celeberation.

4 Reviews

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  • 4

Reviewed on 08/19/2013

My Family has made First Night Burlington a New Years tradition for at least the past 4 years. Every year we grab a brochure (or download the PDF online) and plan out our evening based on that years offerings. Some staples that make it into our plan every year include:
-Circus Smirkus (separate tickets may be required and cost additional $). We go to the first show and then directly downstairs for Face Painting.
-Face Painting is a popular activity at First Night. Be prepared to stand in line for a hour...break out a snack. There are usually craft activities in the vicinity so if you can, many folks have one adult act as a place holder while another adult and kiddo's enjoy the crafts.
-Looney Toons on the big screen at the Roxy Cinema. There is a constant flow of folks in and out of the theater in between "toons" so even if there is a line when you arrive, it will move.
-Dragon Parade. Even my older kids still love the dragon parade though they also like our tradition of stopping at "Sweet Thing", a candy store on Church Street to pick out a treat before the parade moves through. My Kiddo's tend to go for those long rainbow-colored unicorn horn lollipops and Mom and Dad enjoy Chocolate-Covered Expresso Beans. Grab a spot on Church Street early and do not move once folks start filling in around you or someone will fill in your space!

Other Tips:
*For non-ticketed events (only a few require tickets) I suggest having a back-up as some venues reach capacity.
*Think about where you will be when you depart and park close. Some years we knew we'd leave after early fireworks down by the waterfront so we parked as close to the waterfront as possible so we didn't have to go far to reach our car at the end of the day. Our kids were much more willing to walk early in the afternoon then they were in the evening.

Oh, and I gave only 4 stars because I'd like to see a few more kid-friendly shows (think tween and younger sibling) after the kids fireworks (6 or 7 pm).

First Night Burlington, VT


  • 5

Reviewed on 01/25/2013

This year was the first time i attended first night with my children. I didn"t realize how many indoor events they had i never took my children because i thought it was too cold and i always thought of New Years as a adult holiday but honestly getting out this year i now realize that they have things for kids to do as well my children loved the fireworks and i was glad to beable to enjoy new years with them. Thank you Burlington for making these kid events possible!!!!...more

First Night Burlington, VT


  • 4

Reviewed on 03/06/2011

The Circus Smirkus performance was worth the trip alone! The only downside was the limited amounts of other children's activities, making the children events VERY crowded.
I do love that earlier fireworks start at 7:00 so the younger ones can join in on the fun!

First Night Burlington, VT


  • 4

Reviewed on 09/13/2010

I was surprised by the kids section of first night. The basement of Memorial Auditorium was set up with lots of different kinds of kids activities. The Green Mountain Children's museum had some great activities for little kids (my kids were 18 months and 3 years). The only difficulty was putting shoes on and off because of the amount of space there was. My 3 year old made a music maker and plays with it months later. We'll do it again next year!...more

First Night Burlington, VT