First Night Raleigh 2022 — major events + performances

First Night Raleigh celebrations | Photo by @fun4raleighkids

Ready for 20 blocks of downtown Raleigh to come to life with Raleighties eager to ring in the new year?  

Artsplosure — a nonprofit art organization + cultural events production studio — is gearing up for its annual First Night Raleigh Celebration on Fri., Dec 31. This event has grown to be the largest New Year’s Eve event held in eastern NC.

With performances in over 30 downtown Raleigh locations, it might be a bit difficult to attend every interactive art installation, drama, magic, music, comedy, and dance performance + make it to the Raleigh Acorn Drop at midnight. To help you plan out your evening, we’ve compiled a list of major performances and activities to check out before the acorn drops. 🎊


  • Liam Purcell & Cane Mill Road | 6-7 p.m. | Main stage, City Plaza | Enjoy a performance from this Bluegrass roots group from Deep Gap, NC. 
  • Jack The Radio | 7:30-8:30 p.m. | Main stage, City Plaza | This Raleigh-based band  blends rock + blues with Americana, folk, and country to create southern-tinged sounds and music. 
  • ZOOCRÜ | 9-10 p.m. | Main stage, City Plaza | Jump around and enjoy a performance from the Durham-based group that formed at NC Central University.  
  • Sonny Miles | 10:30 p.m.-12 a.m. | Main stage, City Plaza | See the final show before the Raleigh Acorn Drop from the artist that fuses the classic with the contemporary in a way that feels universal.


  • Disco Roller Rink | Fayetteville St. at Morgan St. | 2-11 p.m. | Bring your own skates or rent them onsite at the groovy roller rink. 🛼 
  • Funky Ferris Wheel | 2-11 p.m. | Fayetteville St. at Hargrett St. | Get a bird’s eye view of downtown from the Powers Great American Midways ferris wheel. 🎡
  • Children’s Celebration Acorn Drop | 7 p.m. | City Plaza | Enjoy an early acorn drop and some fireworks so that you can get the kids home in bed before the midnight celebrations. 🎊
  • Gold Leaf Sleigh Rides | 8-11 p.m. | Morgan St. at Fayetteville St. | Slay the holiday season with a picturesque horse-drawn sleigh ride, courtesy of Gold Leaf Carriages.

Tickets are all-inclusive + priced at $12, but will increase to $16 the day of the event

Free tickets 

Want to get involved? Artsplosure is looking for volunteers for Raleigh’s First Night Celebration on Fri., Dec. 31. Volunteer opportunities are from 2-11 p.m. + those who choose to volunteer are granted free admission to all events. Sign up here.