After all the presents have been unwrapped, the insanely yummy Christmas cookies have been devoured and our holiday hangovers are finally cured, it’s time to slip back on that sparkly holiday dress and jump into the next celebration — New Year’s Eve! If you’re considering going a little bigger than usual with your NYE plans, maybe this is the year to take a spontaneous holiday weekend trip. No matter what you envision your perfect NYE looking like, you’ll find a #bucketlist idea on our ultimate list of New Year’s celebrations.
BEST CITIES FOR COUPLES
1. Miami, FL: Miami has a bit for everyone — singles and groups included — but South Beach is the ultimate fancy date night for NYE with your boo. It’s home to unique historic art deco architecture and best known for its around-the-clock nightlife. If there’s ever the perfect opportunity for you and bae to dress up and spend a night on the town, New Year’s Eve in Miami is it.
2. New York, NY: Even if you’re intimidated by the crowds swarming Times Square at midnight, you can still make the trip to Manhattan to ring in 2017, enjoying the city’s unparalleled restaurant and bar scene. Book a hotel far from Midtown and chart your own course away from the masses (most bars offer tickets for an open bar… partay) or brave the madness and share a once-in-a-lifetime experience when the ball drops in Times Square.
3. Turks and Caicos Islands: These 40 islands in the Atlantic Ocean are full of beach-view hotels, luxury shopping and delicious restaurants. If you and your S.O. live on or near the East Coast, Turks and Caicos is a particularly accessible and fabulous romantic island getaway. NYE cocktails on one of the best beaches in the world? Yes, please.
4. Lake Tahoe, CA: Lake Tahoe is the perfect escape for couples looking to welcome 2017 with a little adventure. The area offers prime opportunities for skiing, hiking, snowshoeing, wine tasting and more. Ski resorts in the area, like Squaw, Kirkwood and Mt. Rose, host (often super affordable) celebrations with unique entertainment, like a torch light parade and ice sculpting contest. Plus, you can’t beat watching fireworks reflecting on both the lake and powdery mountains.
5. Tulum, Mexico: Who said Mexico was only good for spring break? Tulum is a haven for relaxation and luxury, but if you’re hoping to stay active during your NYE getaway, you and your sweetie can also enjoy climbing the ruins at Chichen Itza (one of the seven wonders of the world), exploring the area’s four eco-parks, zip-lining or scuba diving in the Yucatan’s crystal clear cenotes, part of a beautiful underwater cave system. For a really special experience, go snorkeling among the sea turtles in Akumal.
BEST CITIES FOR YOUR WALLET
6. Scottsdale, AZ: In addition to being an affordable destination for New Year’s, Scottsdale was also named one of Travel + Leisure’s best girlfriend getaways, so book a flight and grab your best gal pal for an amazing weekend! Scottsdale is best known for its world-famous spas and golf course, but you can have a more down-to-earth trip. Enjoy the dry desert temperatures and amazing cultural offerings by visiting Camelback Mountain, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (housed in an old movie theater) and Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s former home.
7. Virginia Beach, VA: Virginia Beach celebrates the start of the new year with its signature Last Night on the Town events. The fun kicks off in the afternoon and goes on late into the night with everything from family-friendly activities to live music to a laser light show. Even better — all of the events are free!
8. Orlando, FL: Home to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, Orlando is (obviously) a major tourist destination throughout the year, so you know you can expect them to go BIG for their NYE celebrations. All of the city’s usual hot spots host New Year’s festivities, from major music acts to unforgettable fireworks displays, including Universal Studios, Disney World, SeaWorld and downtown Orlando.
9. Cincinnati, OH: Cincinnati is still one of the most under-the-radar cool cities to celebrate NYE. There are tons of events going on in the area’s sports bars, breweries, event centers and even bowling alleys! Three parties that’ll definitely have you singing this Midwest town’s praises are hosted by Rhinegeist Brewery, the Contemporary Art Center and BB Riverboats (yep, an adulting booze cruise!).
10. Sacramento, CA: If you’re a fan of fireworks, you’ll definitely want to check out Sacramento’s New Year’s Eve Sky Spectacular, which is one of the city’s favorite holiday traditions. While you wait for the free display to begin, check out street entertainment and grab dinner and drinks at *way* better prices than you’ll find in San Francisco or LA. If you’re planning an extended NYE weekend, there are also plenty of historic sites to explore here.
BEST CITIES FOR TRAVEL LOVERS
11. Honolulu, HI: Located on Hawaii’s Oahu island, Honolulu offers beautiful beaches and great nightlife throughout the year, but New Year’s Eve is an extra special time to visit. Honolulu pulls out all the stops when it comes to welcoming the new year, with amazing fireworks displays over both Waikiki Beach and the waterfront Aloha Tower Marketplace.
12. San Antonio, TX: San Antonio’s iconic Riverwalk is especially fun on NYE thanks to a full evening of live music and a spectacular fireworks display. This city is also well-known for its ethnic food and barbecue, so you can ring in the new year with some seriously delicious comfort food.
13. New Orleans, LA: In addition to being a hub for nightlife, New Orleans also ranks number one for people-watching, according to Travel + Leisure. So even if you don’t expect to be a party animal this New Year’s Eve, you’ll find plenty of quirky sights to hold your attention in this exciting city.
14. Charleston, SC: For New Year’s Eve with a side of Southern charm, there’s no better place than Charleston. Perfect whether you’re single or coupled up, this city plays the ideal host for a slightly calmer holiday celebration — though there’s no shortage of delicious dining and good cocktails. We totally understand if you forgo Champagne and toast to 2017 with a mint julep.
15. San Juan, Puerto Rico: New Year’s Eve festivities aside, San Juan is perfect for a winter getaway thanks to its signature beautiful weather. The colorful city is also known for amazing cocktails (try the coquito, which is similar to eggnog), casinos and resorts. For a little history, explore the beautiful cobblestone streets of Old San Juan.
Do you have a favorite NYE destination? Tweet us @BritandCo!