In Prague, New Year’s Eve has a name and that name is Silvestr. Everybody knows Silvestr. Silvestr is a hep cat prone to indulge in parties, loud noises, throbbing music, immoderate substance use, and erratic behavior. Many local people love Silvestr’s charm and daring. Many other local people avoid Silvestr like the plague by escaping to their cottages in the country with their family and close friends where they hunker down and wait for the apocalypse to pass. Many foreign people, however, come to Prague this time of year specifically to make Silvestr’s acquaintance. As for myself, I’ve known Silvestr for years and we’ve had some good times together, but this year I’ll probably go spend some time in the woods if I can find a pension with a vacancy. For those of you who plan on being in the city, the following lists are for you.
Note: You can also go on a Prague Extravaganza Free Tour and ask your guide what’s cool to do on December 31st and, of course, he or she will be able to give you all kinds of interesting suggestions because they are experts on Prague and what goes on here.
Further note: Please be careful. Silvestr can be a blast and Prague is a marvelous city in which to ring in the new year, but it is also the pick-pocket capitol of Central Europe, and scammers and con artists appear on the streets like a swarm of locusts during the holidays. If you try to exchange currency through a stranger on the street who is hanging out in front of a legitimate currency exchange, you will have your money stolen. If you leave your mobile phone or bag on the table at a club, any club, it will disappear faster than you can blink your eyes, and neither the establishment’s staff nor the police will be able to help you. And, speaking to ladies specifically but heads up to guys too, there are large groups of drunken men out there who are not gentlemanly at all. Thankfully, all of the above potential buzz-kills can be avoided simply by keeping your eyes open and paying attention to your surroundings at all times. So keep that in mind, stay safe, and have fun.
Fireworks at midnight, places to be
- Wencelas Square, I can only imagine, is like being in the middle of a combat zone. Every crazy amateur in town goes there to set off their own fireworks with little or no interference from public safety officials. A particularly favorite thing to do seems to be aiming them at trams pulling into and out of Mustek. If you enjoy adrenaline rushes, near-death experiences, and the smell of singed hair, this is the place to be. Not suitable for dogs, small children, or sane people.
- Letna Beer Garden sits on a hill on the west bank of the Vltava and has probably the best view directly down into the center of the city. It’s my personal favorite firework-watching spot. From there, you can safely view not only the official city fireworks display, but can also watch all the crazy amateurs blow each other up without endangering yourself or your loved ones too much.
- Riegrovy Sady is a big park not far from the center that sits on the border between Vinohrady and Žižkov. Go there a bit early and walk around until you find the open hillside from which you can see Prague castle.
- Petřín park is the big hill in Malá Strana with the small replica of the Eiffel Tower on top of it. You can see well from just about anywhere there, but the higher you climb, the better the view.
Big commercial parties in mainstream clubs
I’ll spare you the details for each event as I can’t describe them any better than their organizers already have. For more information, click on the links below to go directly their websites.
- New Year’s 2016 Universe at Roxy
- Platinum New Years 2017 at M1
- New Year’s Eve Glitter Ball at KU Bar & Lounge
- New Year’s Eve Bash at La Loca This one has free entry.
- New Year’s Eve 2016 at Duplex This one has… oh, nevermind. I just threw this in to amuse myself.
Less commercial parties in less mainstream clubs or wherever
- Silvestr 2016 at Chapeau Rouge
- Happy Moon Year 2017 at Cargo Gallery
- Silvestr v Rock Café Great live music line-up here. This might be my definite pick if I were staying in town.
- Professor at Vagon Klub Concert featuring music from the Beatles, Lennon, Deep Purple, Queen, and others. As retro classic rock as it gets. No smoking during the show.
- Silvestr 2017 a lá Kokosy Na Sněhu (Coconuts in the Snow) at Cafe 80’s promises a party in the style of the 1993 film Cool Runnings, which IMDB tells me is a Disney movie about an Olympic Jamaican bobsled team. I’m not sure what this means exactly. I think it needs to be filed under the category “Seriously, you can only find things like this in Prague”.
Do something sophisticated and upper-crust
- Go to the opera. The National Theater presents Die Fledermaus and New Year’s Eve with Mozart at the Estates Theater.
- Watch a play by Shakespeare. Prague Shakespeare Company presents William Shakespeare’s Long-lost First Play (abridged) at the Kolowrat Theater.
- Organize your own Baroque Flash Mob event.
Closing note: Several hours ago I posted this status on Facebook: “Looking for unique and interesting things to do in or around Prague on Silvestr / NYE that don’t involve being in a bar or a club or at a party. Any suggestions?” So far, the only response I’ve received that wasn’t a joke, is: “Beer spa.” I’ll leave you to google that one for yourselves.