With New Year’s Eve fast approaching, cities around the country are already getting ready to put out the welcome mat for the last big party of the year. While everyone has a favorite American city to ring in the New Year, some destinations stand out just a little more than others, whether it’s because it has the best family-friendly events, it has the most extravagant pyrotechnic shows or even has the best weather. If you’re still looking for a place to celebrate the arrival of the New Year or simply curious to know what other cities have planned to mark the end of a very memorable year, here are five of the best cities in the U.S. to ring in the New Year.
Although most of the country is expected to experience frigid weather on New Year’s Eve, Honolulu may enjoy a daytime temperature of around 80 degrees and a balmy 68 degrees at night. As one of America’s most popular year round destinations, the capital and largest city of Hawaii is expected to draw many travelers seeking warmer weather as it hosts a number of lively New Year’s Eve events. This includes a child-friendly party at the Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center with a fun-filled New Year’s Eve-like celebration at noon, an impressive, admission-free fireworks show over Waikiki Beach, gourmet dinner cruises and hourly fireworks displays beginning at 9 p.m. at the New Year’s Eve Party of the Year at the Aloha Tower Marketplace, named the Hawaii’s Best NYE for six consecutive years.
Other notable NYE events in the Honolulu-Waikiki area include the Pink Party at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, the Kahala Countdown at the Kahala Hotel and Resort, a Casino Royale Extravaganza at Lux and a New York-styled NYE party at Addiction Nightclub at the Modern Honolulu. For a quieter evening to celebrate this festive day, many of the city’s best restaurants will be offering a special NYE menu, including Tropics Bar and Grill at Hilton Hawiian Village, the Beachouse at Moana Surfrider, Japengo Waikiki at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki and an extravagant luau at Aulani.
For many Americans, Las Vegas may seem like a fairly tacky destination to ring in the New Year. But in reality, the city with nicknames like the “City of Lights” and “Glitter Gulch” becomes even more dazzling for New Year’s Eve. At 6 p.m., the world famous Las Vegas Strip will be completely closed to vehicular traffic, thereby creating enough room for an enormous street party with over 300,000 people expected to attend. The highlight of this mega-event is as the clock strikes midnight, when fireworks will be shot simultaneously from the rooftops of seven major Vegas casinos including the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, Caesars Palace and the Venetian for a breathtaking display of pyrotechnics.
Once named the world’s best city for New Year’s Eve, Las Vegas has plenty of other festivities going on to ring in the New Year. For instance, popular singer-songwriter Bruno Mars will headline the NYE show at the Park Theater at the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino, Maroon 5 will host another major NYE party at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, Elton John will perform his classic hits at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace and Sting will appear at the Chelsea, inside the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
Additionally, in downtown Vegas, there will be a 21 and over street party at the Fremont Street Experience and a host of big name music acts are slated to appear at some of the best Vegas nightclubs, such as Calvin Harris at Omnia Nightclub, Major Lazer at Wynn Las Vegas, Ludacris at the Light Nightclub, the Weeknd at the Marquee and Drake will take the stage at Hakkasan Nightclub’s NYE Celebration.
The legendary Mardi Gras on Bourbon Street may be New Orleans biggest and most famous party of the year, but the good times will definitely be rolling on New Year’s Eve. Festivities begin early in the day, with kid-friendly events like the Louisiana Children’s Museum New Year’s Eve countdown and Zoo Year’s Eve at the Audubon Zoo. Later in the day is the crowd-pleasing Allstate Sugar Bowl New Year’s Eve Parade and the Allstate Fan Fest in advance of the Allstate Sugar Bowl, one of the most prestigious college football games to be held January 2 at the city’s Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Naturally, many of the finest New Orleans restaurants will be open for New Years Eve, with some very popular spots like GW Fins and Broussard’s offering Reveillon Dinners, a New Orleans holiday tradition that dates back to the 19th century. But the party really gets started in the Crescent City at night, with the biggest party in Jackson Square, featuring live music, the leur de is drop at midnight and a spectacular fireworks show over the mighty Mississippi River.
Additionally, the Steamboat Natchez will be hosting a NYE party, as well as the National WWII Museum, with music from the Victory Swing Orchestra and perhaps most important of all of, the lively bars and live music venues across the city, particularly on Frenchmen Street, the Central Business District and in the historic French Quarter, particularly on Bourbon Street, where the party will be going strong well into the wee hours of New Year’s Day.
New York City
With a tradition that stretches back more than 100 glorious years, the incomparable celebration in New York’s Times Square is unquestionably the world’s most famous New Year’s Eve street party. Each year, an estimated one million revelers gather together to rejoice in the signature moment of the occasion, as the countdown to midnight commences, heralding the lowering of the iconic New Year’s Eve ball from the rooftop of the former New York Times Building at One Times Square.
For many Americans and visitors from around the world, the New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square is an event to experience at least once in a lifetime and one of the top events to check off from someone’s ultimate bucket list. But this high profile extravaganza isn’t the sole reason why New York City is such a phenomenal place to ring in the New Year. Indeed, America’s largest and greatest city will be hosting hundreds of other celebrations, including NYE parties at leading nightclubs like 1 Oak, Haus Nightclub and Marquee New York, as well as the New York Philharmonic Orchestra at the Lincoln Center, Phish at Madison Square Garden and the 10th annual Kwanzaa Celebration at the Apollo Theater.
Other New Year’s Eve suggestions include dining at one of the many outstanding restaurants, family-friendly events like boat cruises in New York Harbor and the massive pyrotechnic show from Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, with multiple vantage points throughout the city.
Of all the major American cities in which to ring in the New Year, Orlando is likely the most family-friendly. After all, as the Theme Park Capital of the World, the city offers so many family-friendly venues in which to enjoy the festivities of the day and dazzling fireworks displays at night. On the other hand, the city also nicknamed The City Beautiful offers plenty of options for those 21 and over, with premiere 21+ NYE events at Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando, along with several top nightclubs across Orlando.
For many visitors, the place to be for New Year’s Eve is obviously the Magic Kingdom, the world’s most visited amusement park, with plenty of fun things to do including classic Disney rides and attractions like the Pirates of the Caribbean and the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade, friendly Disney characters, live entertainment and not one, but two spectacular fireworks shows – at the magically illuminated Cinderella Castle and over the Seven Seas Lagoon. Additionally, Walt Disney World will also host a New Year’s Eve celebration for the 21 and over crowd at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, featuring great food, live music, DJs, libations and more.
Not to be outdone, Universal Orlando will also host its own high profile events, such the Macy’s Holiday Parade and a 21 and over NYE celebration at Universal CityWalk, as well as the always popular theme park attractions like the charming village of Hogsmeade and the new Diagon Alley, both at Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter.