The Last Night is the First Night

Ring in the New Year in downtown Burlington at the First Night Festival. This is a must-do event that brings together over 750 talented artists from all over our region to celebrate in a substance free environment. With a little advance planning (and some insider tips) First Night can be an outing that the whole family can enjoy.


A button is required for all performances at all venues. That being said, why not just purchase them now and get it out of the way. They will be held at the "will-call" desk in the bottom of City Hall.  Plus you avoid the price hike on New Year's Eve.


Until Dec. 30th, regular adult buttons are $15. After that the price increases to $20 on NYE. Child buttons (3-12 years of age) are $5 every day and kids under 3 are always FREE!

Additional tickets are required for shows in at the Flynn Main Stage and in Memorial Auditorium.  That means if you are interested in seeing, the Vermont Youth Orchestra, Circus Smirkus, or Burlington Takio you are going to need to purchase those separately for $3.00 each.


Should you decide to wait until you arrive in Burlington, you can purchase your buttons the day of the event at:




Parking in town can get a little nuts.  You can try metered street parking or getting into one of several garages around town, but why not make it easy on yourself? Park the car for free and hop a convenient shuttle into town. 

Park at the Gutterson Parking Garage at the University of Vermont

  • 11:00 am, December 31 - 12:30 am, January 1 
  • Walk to Patrick Gym where shuttles will pick up every 15 minutes
  • Drop off points along Main Street include Edmunds School and the Flynn Center


It is inevitable, when you hear "Mom-m-m, I gotta go" here is where to go: 

  • City Hall (Church Street near Main Street) - second floor
  • Memorial Auditorium (Main and South Union Street)
  • Burlington Town Center (Church Street)




Chow time.  Another important factor in a successful family outing.  While Burlington certainly has many wonderful family friendly restaurants, your wait time to be seated could be a deal killer for the whole night.  As part of the First Night Festivities, these folks are putting on some super suppers: 

College Street Congregational Church (4pm-8pm)

College Street across from the YMCA
Chili supper (meat and vegetarian) plus hot dogs, peanut butter/jelly, cookies and warm beverages.

Green Steeples Cafe (3pm-10pm)

First Baptist Church, St. Paul Street
Home made vegetarian chili, corn chowder, hot and cold sandwiches plus cookies and beverages.

First United Methodist Church  (4pm-10 pm)
No. Winooski Ave.
Beef stew, fresh homemade baked goods and an assortment of hot beverages.  A children's menu will also be available. 

Unitarian Church (4:30pm-7 pm)

Pearl and Church Streets
Italian food at family prices for hungry First Nighters.  A hearty tummy-warming spread to benefit the church downstairs in the dining room.

Edmunds Middle School Gym  (11am - 10pm)
Main and South Union St.
Get your hot dogs, chili, and cornbread here!  They'll also be serving home-baked goods, soft drinks, bottled water, and of course, coffee, cider, and hot chocolate to warm you up fast!  All proceeds go to benefit the Edmunds Middle School PTO.



  • The parade at 6:00 pm begins at the top of Church Street (at Pearl Street) near the fountain and ends a Burlington City Hall (Church Street at Main Street)
  • There is a an early Fireworks show at 7:00 pm (pretend like it is midnight an call it a night). Coordinate viewing these with a waterfront dinner spot like the Skinny Pancake or Madera's.
  • Most Shows are 40 minutes long


Sample expeditions could look like this:

Kids 0-7


Kids 0-12


Kids 8-12



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