Ring in the New Year in Style: Best Celebrations Across America

Couple-with-champagne-toast.jpegRing in the New Year in Style Best Celebrations Across America


Americans love New Year’s Eve. In fact, more than half of the country will spend the evening at a party, restaurant, or bar, and 41 percent rate it as their favorite holiday of the year. Cities in the U.S. allocate millions of dollars into making the New Year special, with thousands of pounds of confetti, first-class fireworks, and plenty of popping bottles. With all of this merriment in store, how do you know where to go when the clock strikes midnight? Here are a few ideas to steer you in the right direction.

Celebration 1

The Original Ball Drop in Times Square: New York City

Every year in Times Square, over a million people gather at Broadway and 42nd Street in New York City to catch a glimpse of the iconic Waterford Crystal Times Square New Year's Eve Ball. But it’s not just the people that brave the crowds (and the cold) who get to experience the Times Square New Year’s Eve party. Close to one billion people tune in annually to watch the ball drop on TV.

Couple with champagne toast

Party-goers started celebrating New Year’s Eve in Times Square as early as 1904, according to the Times Square Alliance, but the tradition really didn’t get going until the New Year’s Eve Ball debuted in 1907. That first ball featured 100 25-watt light bulbs and weighed 700 pounds. Now, the Waterford sparkler has over 32,000 LED bulbs and weighs more than 11,000 pounds.

  • Make the Trip If You Love: Big crowds and equally as big entertainment. This year, attendants will get a chance to see plenty of A-list celebs and musicians perform as the clock ticks towards midnight.

  • Must-See Attractions: Check out the New Year’s Eve Wishing Wall at Times Square Plaza. There, you can place a New Year’s Eve wish on a piece of confetti that will fall into the heart of the square when the ball drops.


Celebration 2

Ring it in on the Strip: Las Vegas

Las Vegas New Year’s Eve is the place to be for people who like to party. From the iconic Vegas showgirls to a rich LGBTQ culture, there’s no denying that Vegas is the place to be for salacious entertainment! Each year, over 300,000 revelers gather along the Las Vegas Strip to count down, with casinos and bars offering next-level parties and entertainment for tourists and locals alike.


According to the city’s official travel site, partiers will also enjoy a choreographed fireworks display at midnight plus plenty of dazzling shows. Top-tier entertainers — Britney Spears, Celine Dion, David Copperfield, Blue Man Group, and Cirque Du Soleil— will host special New Year’s Eve parties along The Strip.

  • Make the Trip If You Love: Adults-only entertainment and next-level partying.

  • Must-See Attractions: Get a grade-A view of the Vegas fireworks on New Year’s Eve, plus an open bar and a parking pass, with the Eiffel Tower Experience at Paris Las Vegas.


Celebration 3

Party Like It’s Mardi Gras: New Orleans

There’s so much to behold on New Year’s Eve in New Orleans! Every year, thousands of celebrants gather at Jackson Square in the historic French Quarter to experience the ball drop The Big Easy way. Instead of a glimmering Waterford Crystal ball, New Orleanians cheer as the city drops a bedazzled fleur-de-lis and coordinates a one-of-a-kind fireworks display on the banks of the Mighty Mississippi.


New Orleans NYE Quote


Of course, this vibrant city puts on an extravagant firework show with Symphony in the Sky, featuring symphonic music tailored to the light show. This year, you can expect the NOLA New Year’s Eve spectacular to be bigger and better than ever, since 2018 marks New Orleans’ tercentennial anniversary celebrating 300 years of history and heritage.

  • Make the Trip If You Love: A warm-weather New Year’s Eve. The average high temperature in The Big Easy in December is 64 degrees. Pretty balmy, compared to the notoriously cold weather in Times Square!

  • Must-See Attractions: Don’t miss the annual Allstate Sugar Bowl New Year’s Eve Parade this year. This Mardi Gras-themed parade proceeds through the French Quarter and wraps up at Canal Street.  


Celebration 4

The Happiest Celebration on Earth: Disney World

Every day is like New Year’s Eve in the Magic Kingdom, but the Disney Countdown to Midnight is extra-special. The resort holds the magical celebration annually at Disney’s Contemporary Resort beginning at 8 p.m. on Dec. 31. Grown-ups can gather within the resort’s convention center to enjoy a royal, adults-only ball complete with libations and entertainment, while kids and parents enjoy a Pixar-themed party nearby.


If you’ve ever been to the Happiest Place on Earth, you know that no day in the park is complete without a world-class fireworks show. Naturally, Disney’s New Year’s Eve celebration is breathtaking. This year, the park will put on a fireworks display dubbed “Fantasy in the Sky” as guests sip champagne. Mickey ears are optional but encouraged.

  • Make the Trip If You Love: Family-friendly entertainment with all the bells and whistles.

  • Must-See Attractions: No trip to Orlando is complete without a visit to the park itself. Return to the Magic Kingdom on Jan. 1 for another special show. Just plan ahead since New Year’s Day is the second-busiest day of the year at the park.


Celebration 5

Heat Things Up: Miami

Miami NYE Fireworks

Miami Beach is one of the country’s hottest party centers, and for good reason. Its annual New Year’s Eve celebration is even brighter and more vivacious than any other night in Miami. The city itself treats residents to a world-class light show on the beach, and businesses along Ocean Drive go all-out planning extravagant parties.


To get the best view of the seaside fireworks, head out to the waterways. Plenty of tour boats and cruise ships host waterside events on the ocean, and there’s no better view of the festive spectacle. In typical Miami style, there will also be plenty of top entertainment, rooftop parties, and street performers to behold.

  • Make the Trip If You Love: Tropical temps in December. Miamians enjoy temperatures between 76 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit on New Year’s Eve. Sign us up!

  • Must-See Attractions: To get some serious Miami flavor, consider purchasing tickets to Pitbull’s VIP New Year’s Eve party at Bayfront Park in Downtown Miami.


Celebration 6

Soak Up Some Southern Charm: Charleston

We’re a bit biased since Charleston’s our hometown, but we can’t deny how much we love the festive feel of New Year’s Eve in the Holy City. Charlestonians get their pick from an assortment of New Year’s Eve celebrations, including the Decadent New Year’s Eve Party at Zero George Hotel and Charleston Wonderland featuring Charleston’s largest balloon drop at midnight.


We love Charleston’s unique ability to fuse historic charm with magnificent merriment. One of the best Charleston New Year’s Eve bashes takes place aboard the USS Yorktown. The largest New Year’s Eve celebration in Charleston, the Yorktown Countdown is jam-packed with musical entertainment and libations. You might even see a few ghosts onboard, too.


Charleston NYE Quote

  • Make the Trip If You Love: If you’re drawn to historic charm, Charleston is hard to beat. This is definitely our pick for fans of local history, culture, and architecture.

  • Must-See Attractions: Before you head out to your party of choice, consider hopping on a carriage ride for a tour of the town. There are many companies that offer regular tours around Charleston’s stunning historical districts.


Celebration 7

Color, Culture and Class: San Francisco

Architecture lovers of the West Coast, don’t despair! San Francisco is home to some of the most exquisite Victorians on the West Coast, and they have countless New Year’s Eve festivities, too. So where do Bay Area residents sip champagne when the calendar turns over to a New Year? The top New Year’s Eve party in San Francisco takes place at the Palace Hotel and features four separate rooms of DJs, live entertainment, and an open bar.


Not super keen on the party scene? San Francisco hosts a spectacular New Year’s Eve fireworks show along the famed Embarcadero. Each year, roughly 200,000 San Franciscans enjoy waterfront fireworks at midnight. Attendants enjoy all sorts of winter activities before the big show, including ice skating, cooking classes, and orchestra concerts throughout the city.

  • Make the Trip If You Love: Colorful, cultural festivities! The city puts on exciting holiday events and enriching cultural displays that celebrate the diversity in this amazing city.

  • Must-See Attractions: If you’ve never been to San Francisco before, you’ve got to take at least one ride on a cable car! Stop by Union Square on New Year’s Day to take a lap around the famed Union Square ice rink.


Celebration 8

Glitzy and Glamorous: Los Angeles

Throngs of tourists visit Los Angeles each year in hopes of catching a glimpse of an A-list celebrity, indulging in quintessential art deco architecture, and eating authentic Mexican food on Olvera Street. Some come at the end of the year for New Year’s Eve celebrations like no other. It should come as no surprise that the city of entertainment loves themed New Year’s Eve bashes, and costumes are a requisite!


For example, one of the most popular L.A. New Year’s Eve parties is Prohibition NYE at Union Station. Featuring theatrical burlesque, live jazz, and an open bar, this Gatsby-esque party comes with a strict dress code: feathers, fringe, and formal attire. You may also prefer to celebrate the old-fashioned way on the USS Queen Mary in Long Beach, featuring one of the largest fireworks shows in Southern California.

  • Make the Trip If You Love: Spotting celebs and celebrating the New Year in costume.

  • Must-See Attractions: If you decide to stick around the area for a few days into 2018, you can’t miss the annual Rose Bowl Parade on Jan. 1 in Pasadena, which is about a 25-minute drive from L.A. proper.


Celebration 9

A Light Show at Navy Pier: Chicago

Chicago New years eve fireworks

Deep dish pizza isn’t the only thing to love about Lake Michigan’s Windy City. Revelers get plenty of opportunity to celebrate the Chicago way on New Year’s Eve, too. Tourists and locals gather each year at Navy Pier to catch a glimpse of the city’s world-class lakefront fireworks at midnight.


Party-goers will find plenty of merriment along the lake this year, with exquisite, star-studded parties near the pier. For the best view of the New Year’s Eve fireworks, head to the historic Aon Grand Ballroom or Crystal Gardens for formal dining and festivities. You can’t beat the view aboard one of Chicago’s popular dinner cruises, either.

  • Make the Trip If You Love: Nightlife, snow, and fireworks in an urban landscape.

  • Must-See Attractions: Millennium Park is a bucket list item for almost anyone visiting Chicago for the first time, but it’s especially charming in the winter. Visit the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink through March of 2018 for free ice skating.

Celebration 10 


Bashes in Beantown: Boston

Bostonians know how to throw a party, and not just on St. Patrick’s Day. New Year’s Eve celebrants find plenty of excitement in Beantown at the end of the year. First Night Boston is one of the most popular New Year’s Eve celebrations along the Charles, and features fireworks, a parade, and live musical performances. The event takes place in two of the most popular areas of the city: Copley Square and Boston Common.


If you choose to ring in the New Year in this New England epicenter, you’ll enjoy expert ice sculptures, light shows, free figure skating at the Frog Pond Ice Rink, and a countdown to midnight at Copley Square. At 6 p.m., the People’s Procession Parade begins at the Hynes Convention Center and finishes at Boston Common. First Night Boston is the oldest New Year’s Eve event of its kind in the U.S. and will celebrate its 41st anniversary  this year.

  • Make the Trip If You Love: Family-friendly entertainment. Boston celebrates with “bedtime-friendly” New Year’s Eve fireworks, which begin at 7 p.m. on Boston Common.

  • Must-See Attractions: On First Night, many of the most popular Boston attractions offer discounts on admission. Take advantage of discounted tickets to local museums in Copley Square and Boston Common.


Wherever you decide to ring in the New Year, you’ll find a plethora of opportunities all over the country. Pick your destination and prepare for the celebration of a lifetime!