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New Year's Eve Destinations in
New York City
New York City is still the place to be on New Year's Eve. New York remains the central point for celebrations across the United States.
Few places rival the atmosphere of New Year's Eve in New York City, home to one of the night's most memorable New Year’s Eve events, the Times Square Ball Drop. Since 1907, the iconic ball, a 12-foot glittering sphere weighing 11,875 pounds, is dropped each year on the stroke of midnight from a flagpole on top of One Times Square. Cramming into the New York City Times Square to watch the ball drop with fellow tourists from all over the world is something everyone should do once. They say that you haven’t really celebrated until you’ve frozen your extremities and lost your voice screaming while that ball drops above you.
Yes, it’s freezing and crowded, but attending the most famous NYE celebration in the world is a must-do and indeed a once-in-a-lifetime event. Each year sees 1 million people pour into Times Square where in recent years stars like Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber have performed. Other entertainment includes, a pyrotechnic lightshow and the popular New Year's Eve Wishing Wall, where party goers can write down their hopes for the New Year. The main area (from 42nd Street to 47th Street) is usually packed by 3pm, and the rest fills up well before 11pm.
There’s also a limited amount of public restrooms in the area, and leaving to grab some food nearby means giving up your spot. If you prefer to escape the crowds, then consider booking a table at one of the bars or restaurants overlooking the Square. You might even consider a boat cruise from New York Harbor, where you'll get a great view of the midnight fireworks set off from Liberty Island.
For a more local New Year’s Eve experience, you can party in the Meatpacking District by buying a Meatpacking District All-Access Pass. The pass allows for access to normally exclusive clubs as well as buffet dinners and DJ performances. For something more sedate, make a reservation at one of the many great restaurants in New York that serve up memorable meals for the final dinner of the year. New York City has countless restaurants, bars and nightclubs buzzing with their own Big Apple-style New Year’s Eve parties, guaranteeing that the “City That Never Sleeps” lives up to its reputation.
America's theme park capital, Orlando, offers plenty of options for seeing in the New Year, with the city's legendary Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld all open until 1am on New Year's Day.
Each spot has its own pick of entertainment and events for New Year’s Eve, from parades, cruises and parties to concerts and ice cage dancers.
Universal Citywalk hosts a huge New Year's Eve event with live bands. And you can even feel like you are in New York City, as the Times Square ball drop is showcased on large screens.
As for that New Year’s Eve tradition, a fireworks display can be taken in whether you’re within the Magic Kingdom or at Lake Eola Park.
As a family-friendly destination, Orlando has a lot of options for a family NYE celebration, but few destinations are as perfect as Disney World, where daylong celebrations culminate in an explosive midnight fireworks display. Cirque du Soleil performances, dance parties, raining confetti and live entertainers also keep the whole family entertained all day and night.
Home to one of the nation's best New Year's Eve fireworks displays, the Mississippi River over New Orleans erupts in festivities as the clock strikes midnight. The biggest NYE event of the evening is a fireworks display that lasts for a good 15 minutes and along with the famous Fleur de Lis Drop where, just like the Times Square Ball drop, an oversized object is dropped from the roof of the Jax Brewery on Jackson Square.
However the night is only just getting going with parties in the streets bustling into the early hours and some even until the sun comes up, with live music in the bars and clubs in the city's French Quarter.
Whistler makes the perfect location for an action-packed New Year's Eve with some great winter adventures. Here you can spend the day skiing or snowboarding, then check out the free Festival of Lights exhibit at Millennium Place, followed up by a moonlit ice skate on the icy lakes to kick start the celebrations.
Whistler village hosts a number of New Year's Eve events, with free entertainment, live music and arts in the conference centre. The village square has fire dancers, DJs and an extravagant fireworks display at midnight. If you’re looking for a different way to celebrate NYE you can have dinner with a view on the summit of Blackcomb mountain where you'll be able to watch the fireworks from 6,000 feet (1,829 meters) high.
If you happen to be in Mexico's capital for New Year’s Eve you can be expected that the night will be pretty quiet early on as most locals stay at home and eat with family members. As the night goes on the party really heats up for the final day of the year though with most of the crowds heading to Zócalo, the city's main gathering point, around 9pm for a street festival. Here there are fireworks, dancing and music and traditionally people bring along empty eggshells filled with confetti and colourful liquids. There is also plenty of partying going on in another neighbourhood, the Zona Rosa. For something a bit more sedate on NYE, have a late-night dinner at one of the trendy restaurants in the hip Condesa neighbourhood.
Nowhere on earth does nightlife like Las Vegas and with “Sin City” already having the glitz, glamour and lavish indulgences, it’s a natural destination for New Year’s Eve celebrations. The biggest night of the year sees over 300,000 people descend on the party capital, reinforcing its status as a perennial party town.
If you are in Las Vegas for New Year’s Eve you can count on packed casinos, performances by major acts and parties hosted by celebrities, as well as plenty of dancing in the street. Yes, they have a street party on The Strip in Vegas for NYE!
Every year The Strip gets closed off to motor vehicles and thousands of pedestrians take over the famed Las Vegas Strip to create a promenade where you can drink, mingle and watch fireworks shot off from surrounding rooftops throughout the night. The midnight fireworks show is fired from the roofs of the MGM Grand, Aria, Planet Hollywood, Caesars Palace, Treasure Island, The Venetian and the Stratosphere. There are also live bands, and laser-shows turning the area into a giant street party. Hotels, clubs and bars all over the city have massive celebrations and take it to the limit with special shows with famous music acts often hitting the stage. Be aware though that many lock their doors around the midnight hours, so you'll need to decide whether you want to be in or out.
Of course the Las Vegas Strip is not the only place to be with the Downtown Las Vegas Fremont Street Experience bringing confetti and an electronic fireworks display on the canopy at midnight.
Whether you're gambling away the past year's savings, hanging out at Bellagio's famous dancing fountains or partying into the early hours, Las Vegas does its hard-partying reputation proud over the New Year.
Miami has a plethora of New Year’s Eve celebrations, mixed up with the sun, surf, sand and sexy scene that the city is known for.
Miami is a town that needs no excuse to party, so it's no surprise that South Beach is absolutely crazy on NYE. Miami’s New Year’s Eve celebrations include some of the top names in music at the three-day-long Orange Drive Miami Music Festival, which kicks off on 30 December. The Festival is held on the sands along South Beach’s Ocean Drive, which includes a fireworks display on the beach at midnight on New Year’ Eve. Other places around Miami to head to include Bayfront Park, which has a free concert with another midnight firework display over Biscayne Bay. Something else of interest is the “drop” of the 35-foot neon “Big Orange” down the side of the InterContinental hotel.
Some of the hottest tickets in town are for the world-class nightlife venues that continue on well into the night and while most of the places generally close by 3am, some of the big clubs in Miami will keep pumping until 5am. The prime clubs for New Year's Eve in Miami include Opium, Mynt, Nikki Beach, Mansion, Prive, and Crobar. These clubs are always sure to draw their share of celebrity invitees, including major pro sports stars and models, as well as rap and R&B artists. This being Miami, don't expect too much rock music as Latino, hip-hop and salsa rule the day.
Key West is Florida’s southernmost city and has unique NYE celebrations, with three only-in-Key West events. This winter destination displays a trio of crazy drops to showcase Key West’s unusual take on the Times Square countdown tradition. One of these includes a costumed pirate wench descending from a ships mast, set to the sound of booming canons and the cheers of spectators and the ship’s pirate crew. Another one happens on Duval Street, where thousands of people gather to watch a gigantic manmade conch shell descend from the top of Sloppy Joe’s Bar. And if those two aren’t enough, more crowds congregate just down the road for the Red Shoe Drop, where local drag queen legend, Sushi, is lowered in a massive red high heel from above the Bourbon Street Pub. A Key West New Year’s Eve celebration really needs to be seen to be believed.
New Year's Eve in Hawaii is sure to be a party worth waiting for. People often congregate on the beach, with a fireworks display illuminating the beachfront at Waikiki. The beachside bars and clubs are pumping for NYE, with theme nights, open-air music concerts and boat cruises all offering unique ways to party into the early hours. One of the last places in the world to enter the New Year, it is actually possible to see two New Year’s Eve’s in the one day, by partying it up in Australia, New Zealand of parts of Asia and then catching a flight to Hawaii to do it all again...
Long gone are the days when the most exciting thing to do at Niagara Falls was keep your eyes peeled for a daredevil plummeting over the cascades in a barrel. The Falls are now the site of one of the biggest outdoor New Year’s Eve parties in Canada, when more than three million lights on a four-mile route feature in the "Winter Festival of Light" and the midnight fireworks display is set against one of the world's most impressive backdrops. The annual Winter Festival of Lights is held from 3 November to 31 January each year
More than 30,000 people gather in Queen Victoria Park to eat, drink and enjoy the free New Year's Eve Concert. Both the 9pm and midnight fireworks are so much a part of the country's NYE tradition that they are televised throughout Canada.