Baltimore New Year’s Eve Events That Won’t Break the Bank

Where to watch the ball drop if you’re ballin’ on a budget.

With inflation being what it is, planning a night on the town might be causing some anxiety this year–and we get it. But even if your bank account is tapped out after holiday expenses, the local scene is still offering plenty of ways to ring in 2023 without having to shell out big bucks. Whether you have some gift money left to spend, or are looking for totally cost-free fun, our list will help you plan the evening your way. 

Free Admission

NYE in the Neighborhood: A 23rd Street Bar Ramble: Tight-knit Old Goucher/Remington neighbors Church, Dutch Courage, Fadensonnen, Clavel, and W.C. Harlan are uniting to organize a fun bar crawl around the neighborhood on December 31. Each location will be handing out free punch cards and offering their own specials (we hear Church is whipping up an alcohol-free sip with Seedlip spirits) for the evening. Revelers who get their card stamped at any three bars will be entered into a raffle for celebratory bottles and gift cards to the participating spots. The best part? Everything is a la carte, making it easy to stick to a budget. 

Inner Harbor Fireworks: After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts is (finally) bringing back the New Year’s Eve fireworks show in the Inner Harbor. Bundle up tight and grab a spot. The 15-minute show will light up the waterfront promptly when the clock strikes twelve. 

The Charmery’s Kiddie Scoop Ball Drop: Whether you have little ones, or just love the idea of being snug in bed well before midnight, The Charmery’s annual early celebration is the way to go. Starting at 5:30 p.m., bring the family to the ice cream factory at Union Collective in Hampden to enjoy live DJ entertainment, a special popcorn bar, glitter tattoos, Union Craft beers, Vent coffees, and, of course, specialty scoops. (All pay-as-you-go.) All of the fun leads up to the special countdown and ball drop outside at 8 p.m. 

Baby New Year Ball Drop on 34th Street: Speaking of Hampden, historically, thousands of neighbors gather at midnight on the glowing Miracle on 34th Street to catch a glimpse of the holiday lights before they come down, while also watching the block’s champion Bob Hosier run through the street dressed as “Baby New Year.” The tradition also features a homemade ball drop. 

Countdown to Midnight in Dublin at Guinness Open Gate Brewery: Naturally, Halethorpe’s Guinness headquarters is counting down at 7 p.m. our time to ring in the 2023 along with the folks in Dublin. Gather inside the taproom to enjoy the brewery’s signature drafts and some pub grub, as well as a complimentary sample of Guinness’ annual mystery beer for the early-evening toast. If you like it, head home with a six-pack.

Cross Street Market’s New Year’s Eve Family Party: Families in the Federal Hill area and beyond will gather at the neighborhood’s public market for a special celebration from noon to 4 p.m.—which will host a live band, arts and crafts, noise makers, and an early balloon drop at 3 p.m. Plus, stalls like Pizza di Joey, DMV Empanadas, and Southside Burger Bar make the venue the perfect spot for everyone to choose their own adventure for lunch.

Two-fers at Lee’s Pint & Shell: Get more bang for your buck at this Canton neighborhood bar, which is offering two-for-one drinks starting at 6 p.m., as well as $1 Rumple Minze shots beginning at 10 p.m. Expect requisite party favors and a Champagne toast at midnight.

New Year’s Eve on Point: No matter the occasion, The Point in Fells is always down to celebrate—and New Year’s is perhaps its biggest she-bang of all. (In fact, the bar stays open all night long and rolls right into brunch service at 9 a.m.) Tiered ticket packages—ranging from free admission with a cash bar to a $100 all-you-can-eat-and-drink deal—make it an easy choice if you’re making plans as a group. And you can expect live DJs spinning from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. 

B-Side Cocktail Lounge: While Mt. Vernon’s Hotel Revival will be offering a fancy prix-fixe meal at its top-level restaurant, Topside, its downstairs bar and lounge will be open for a la carte service. If you and your crew are looking to sing your way into 2023, reservations for B-Side’s private karaoke rooms can be made by calling the hotel (410-727-7101) or emailing food and beverage director Achraf Iraqui at [email protected] 

New Year’s Eve Bash at Michael’s Cafe: Fun favors, complimentary bubbly, and a special a la carte menu are in store at this Timonium favorite. Of course, no Michael’s party is complete without live music, so the team has booked Rob Fahey & The Pieces in the original bar, as well as DJ Tony Campbell to spin in the patio room. 

NYE Party at Bar 1801: A solid option for live music lovers, this bash thrown by Bar 1801 in Upper Fells Point will feature performances by Lowland Tropics and Petite Fleur from 6 p.m. until midnight. In between sips of vino, thumb through the bar’s vinyl bins to find your first music purchase of 2023.

$10-25 Admission 

NYE at The Royal Blue Bar: This Station North hangout is celebrating its first New Year’s Eve right with DJ Diaspora and DJ Chris Brooks spinning from 9 p.m. to close. For a $10 cover, sip cocktails and ring in 2023 by showing off your best moves beneath the bar’s glitzy disco ball.

New Year’s Eve…ning Party with Fluid Movement: The creators of Charm City’s bright, sparkly water ballet, are throwing this bash at Charm City Meadworks, complete with mocktails, mead, pizza, cake, and, of course, live performances. For the $20 price of admission, throw on your favorite, festive outfit and party with the Fluid Movement crew from 7-10 p.m.  

Dan Deacon’s New Year’s Eve Bash: Two local music geniuses providing the live soundtrack for NYE 2023 for $25? Sign us up. Homegrown electronic artist Dan Deacon is taking the Ottobar stage for a special show with Moss of Aura, the solo project from Future Islands’ Gerrit Welmers. Spend the final hours of 2022 on the dance floor before a Champagne countdown with the hosts. 

$30-50 Admission

BSO Fusion x The Night Brunch: Dress to the nines and say goodbye to 2022 with arts and eats at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. On the heels of the BSO Fusion’s successful Tchaikovsky x Drake mashup concert, the series is back again with its From Beethoven to Beyonce installment, which is described by conductor Steve Hackman as a “fantastical trip through an imaginary music festival.” After enjoying cocktails by Hotel Revival and live tunes spun by DJ Impulse in the “lit lobby,” settle into your seats for performances that combine the work of legendary composers with modern pop greats. (Think: Lady Gaga and Brahms; Bruno Mars and Bach; Shostakovich and Chance the Rapper; and Beethoven and Beyonce.) 

As an added New Year’s Eve bonus, the Night Brunch team will be bringing its popular food and beverage pop-up event to the Meyerhoff lobby after the show. Beginning at 10:30 p.m., DJ Impulse will once again step into the DJ booth while guests enjoy eats, drinks, and free Champagne at midnight. Guests can choose to purchase BSO Fusion tickets ($35-55) and Night Brunch tickets ($50) separately, or add Night Brunch admission to tickets to the show for $30. 

Fully Tilted New Year’s Eve: This come-as-you-are shindig at Full Tilt Brewing in Govans (comfy clothes encouraged) offers plenty of beer, Champagne, party favors, and an all-you-can-eat buffet. The deal ($30 for one person, $50 per couple) includes bottomless food to line your stomach, plus a flight of beer for each person and bubbly at midnight. Each attendee will also get a free taste of Full Tilt’s new non-alcoholic Hop Water for the Lyft home.

New Year’s Eve at Crossbar: If you’re shopping around for bottomless drink packages, consider this low-key Federal Hill biergarten, which offers plenty of big screens to watch the Times Square ball drop. A $45 all-you-can-drink offer includes domestic beers, mixed rail liquor drinks, and wine, while a $70 premium option includes all beers, top-shelf spirits, and wine. (Shots aren’t included in either package.)

$50+ Admission 

Brew Year’s Eve at Nepenthe: House-brewed beers, a killer food menu, and some of the friendliest bartenders around make this Hampden hotspot a surefire bet for ringing in the New Year. Tiered admission, ranging from a $45 designated driver ticket to a $125 VIP ticket, will grant you access to highlights such as an open bar, photo booth, hourly prize drawings, limited-edition beers, and a special barrel drop at midnight. 

NYE at Mobtown Ballroom: The Pigtown dance venue (proof of vax required) is pulling out all the stops this year with live music by the LMP Band, burlesque performances, craft cocktails, and a Champagne toast. Tickets ($65) are going fast, so don’t procrastinate. 

Charles Street Block Party: Federal Hill revelers can hop around from Wayward to Banditos to 101 at this South Charles Street spectacular. A $79 wristband (VIP and “fast-pass” options to skip the lines are also available) grants you open-bar access at all three spots from 9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. With live DJs spinning at all of the bars, it’s guaranteed you’ll have a good time no matter where you end up at midnight. If you’re celebrating in the county, the Wayward and Banditos locations in White Marsh are offering a similar deal

Suspended Brewing’s Countdown to 2023: For the $100 all-inclusive price, this fourth-annual event at Pigtown’s sustainable beer haven will offer eats by Ekiben, as well as a full bar with beer, bubbly, and five specialty cocktails. Among them are the “Poolside Convo” (tequila with cantaloupe and orange triple sec), “Lunar Light” (6-year-old rye with Chrysanthemum flower tea, orange bitters, and simple syrup), and a classic Old Fashioned. Be sure to wear your dancing shoes.

Shred at the Shed: For the second year in a row, Watershed in Federal Hill is transforming into an ’80s-themed ski lodge for its New Year’s throwdown. Coordinate your best apres-ski getup (snowsuits encouraged) to enjoy a live DJ, open bar with warm cocktail specials, and food buffet for the $100 price of admission.

NYE Party with Jimmy’s Chicken Shack: Beginning at 7:30 p.m., post up at Jimmy’s Famous Seafood in Dundalk to get cozy in the ballroom while waiting for the ball to drop. If you’re eating beforehand, go for the open bar package ($79) to enjoy four hours of specialty cocktails, mixed drinks, beer, wine, and Champagne. For those looking to dine out, splurge on the $149 premium open bar and surf-and-turf buffet, which includes eats like mini crab cakes, parmesan-crusted rockfish, lobster-and-shrimp pasta, and a full raw bar.