The Best New Year’s Eve Celebrations in the US

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Turns out, you don’t have to be in Times Square or Vegas to have an incredible New Year’s Eve—Tennessee, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, and many other states all host amazing parties too! 
Whether you want to keep it lowkey or find the swankiest ballroom to dance the night away, there’s a party on this list just for you. Say goodbye to the past year and start fresh with the most fun—and sometimes unconventional—celebrations across the US.
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Read on to discover the best places to celebrate New Year’s Eve in the US.

Lake Tahoe, California 

If you’re ready to ditch the city celebrations and find something a bit more crunchy, Lake Tahoe is the place for you. Many of Lake Tahoe’s mountain resorts host tons of outdoor winter activities, like skiing, tubing, sledding, and snowshoeing.
Heavenly Mountain Resort also hosts an all-day party every weekend during December, going out with a bang on the 31st—literally. With face painting, video games, live performances, and fireworks, there’s enough action to keep the whole family satisfied. There’s even a “Gondola Ball Drop” in Heavenly Village.

Miami, Florida 

New Year’s Eve doesn’t have to be freezing cold—not in Miami, anyway. South Beach is known for its lively beach parties, and the New Year’s celebrations are no exception. 
With tons of hotel parties, beach events, yacht soirees, and fireworks cruises, there’s no shortage of excitement. End the night with the countdown party and midnight fireworks at Bayfront Park—or keep the party going at Miami’s many bars!

Key West, Florida

So you want a warm New Year’s, but big parties aren’t your thing? Try Key West—it has all of the local island vibes and beachy temperatures that are a perfect backdrop to a tropical New Year’s Eve. 
Local bar Bourbon Street Pub hosts an annual New Year’s party that has attracted tourists for years. Instead of a ball drop, a local drag queen, riding on a red high-heel, is lowered from the balcony.
If that’s not unique enough for you, here are a few other New Year’s Eve “ball drop” alternatives in Key West:

Nashville, Tennessee

They don’t call it Music City for nothin’—Nashville’s Jack Daniel’s Music City Midnight is non-stop big-name performances for over six hours. Hosted in downtown Nashville, the night features dozens of local food trucks and vendors, so you can experience Nashville’s best fares and craft beer all night long. 
Of course, the night ends with the dropping of a giant music note at midnight. The best part? It’s free!
If big concerts aren’t your scene, Nashville is home to dozens of live music venues, clubs, and hotels with incredible parties of their own. 

Atlanta, Georgia

Who needs a ball drop when you can watch a giant Georgia peach drop? The downtown shopping and entertainment district Atlanta Underground hosts a free New Year’s bash every year. 
With carnival rides, live music, street performers, local food and drinks, and DJs, you can celebrate the new year all day long. Stay for the peach drop and fireworks at midnight!

New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans may be known for its legendary Mardi Gras celebrations, but its New Year’s party is nothing to be overlooked. As a year-round party destination, New Orleans offers its usual festivities—like Bourbon Street nightclubs and carrying adult beverages in the streets. But on December 31, the live music goes on all night long
Jackson Square in the French Quarter hosts the city’s main celebration, ending the night with fireworks over the Mississippi River—and a giant fleur-de-lis descending at midnight. 
If the raging parties downtown aren’t your style, you can celebrate on a riverboat cruise or at various music venues and restaurants throughout the town. 
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Chicago, Illinois 

Chicago is an underrated New Year’s Eve destination, but it has endless options to offer. The main party, Winter WonderFest, takes place at the iconic Navy Pier, which delivers big family fun in the form of carnival rides, giant slides, ice skating, train rides, and other attractions. The party ends with fireworks over Lake Michigan.
The Chicago Resolution Gala is also a popular option, taking place in Navy Pier’s Grand Ballroom. Take in the skyline views while eating unlimited appetizers, sipping on beverages, and dancing the night away—with 3,000 other guests. 

Oahu, Hawaii

Forget the traditional New Year’s parties—why not welcome in the new year with a traditional luau? The island of Oahu has something for everyone. Here are a few ideas for your island celebration:

Boston, Massachusetts

Boston hosts the famous First Night celebration—the ultimate family-friendly (and alcohol-free) New Year’s Eve party. With ice sculptures, a parade, live music, dance classes, theatre shows, and the midnight countdown in Copley Square, there’s no shortage of free fun to be had. 
Boston launches a huge fireworks show over Boston Harbor at midnight. Here are the best viewing spots: 
  • North End’s Christopher Columbus Park
  • Downtown Waterfront
  • Fan Pier in the Seaport District
  • East Boston Harborwalk 
  • Charleston Waterfront
  • Castle Island
There’s also plenty of alternative options in Boston, with dozens of harbor cruises and live entertainment all over the city.

Cape Cod, Massachusetts 

If you’re looking for a quiet, romantic way to celebrate, Cape Cod is your best option for a New Year’s Eve worthy of a Hallmark movie. Book a few nights at one of the many bed and breakfasts for a more mellow New Year’s getaway. 
Or take in the winter scenery by strolling the picturesque towns of the area, like Chatham, Provincetown, and Sandwich. End the night curled up in front of a fireplace, welcoming the new year with hot chocolate or champagne.
If you need a more family-friendly option, the quaint downtown of Chatham also has an alcohol-free First Night festival with heaps of entertainment options for kids and adults.

San Francisco, California

Of course, a city as unique as San Francisco also offers a host of New Year’s Eve celebrations. The bayfront fireworks show isn’t one to miss. Luckily, the city has plenty of great watching spots, like Twin Peaks, the Embarcadero waterfront, or—of course—the Golden Gate Bridge. 
Boat dinners and cruises are also popular options for catching spectacular views.
If you fancy getting dressed up and dancing the night away, San Francisco also offers plenty of New Year’s Eve balls. The most popular ball, Passport to the World, features DJs and an open bar!

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