Wondering what you’ll get into on New Year’s Eve this year? We’ve got you covered with a list of the 8 absolute best places to spend New Years in the USA (plus honorable mentions)!
The 8 Best Places to Spend New Years in the USA
These cities are known for their rockin’, rollickin’, and rambunctious celebrations on NYE each year, but each one offers a slightly different vibe and setting.
Whether you’re up for partying with millions in Times Square or want to ring in the new year in the Big Easy or watching the giant orange drop in Miami, there’s a NYE party out there for you.
Here are the 8 best places to spend New Years in the USA:
- New York City, NY
- San Francisco, CA
- Las Vegas, NV
- New Orleans, LA
- Nashville, TN
- Miami, FL
- Niagara Falls, NY
- Orlando, FL
We’ll show you what to expect in each one and share some honorable mentions dropping unexpected objects and offering great entertainment options after the list of the best.
1. New York City, NY
The country’s most famous and well-known place to be for New Year’s Eve is undoubtedly Times Square, New York City. It’s packed, it’s loud, and it’s a lot of fun!
If your idea of ringing in the new year involves massive crowds of partygoers from all over the world, you’ll love the vibes at Times Square on December 31.
Over a million people will join you to welcome the new year on Times Square and in restaurants, diners, clubs, and bars downtown. The whole thing is televised!
Concerts, dance and cultural performances, contests, and a digital Wishing Wall displaying user-submitted resolutions all lead up to the much-awaited ball drop at midnight.
Tip: Dress warmly and eat before you go! Get there by 3PM for the best ball drop viewing chances (there are no food vendors). You can see the ball from 43rd-59th Streets (the lower the number, the better).
2. San Francisco, CA
The San Francisco Bay is where you’ll get to catch one of the nation’s most incredible fireworks displays on New Year’s Eve along with midnight balloon and confetti drops, music, and drinks.
Some of San Francisco’s best hotels, like W Hotel, host black-tie NYE parties and balls where you can dress up and enjoy an open bar, dancing, and live music all night long.
There are party booze cruises through the Bay and you can check out music venues and clubs all over town (especially The Fillmore and The Warfield).
If an awesome fireworks show is all you need for NYE, head south of the Ferry Building by the San Francisco Bay Bridge for the best views of a stunning show right at midnight.
Public transportation means no need for a designated driver and the BART, SF Muni, and Caltrain all have extended NYE hours and routes!
Tip: Book a party boat cruise for amazing views of the NYE fireworks and awesome camaraderie and drinks right on the boat as you travel along San Francisco Bay.
3. Las Vegas, NV
When it comes to doing New Year’s Eve right, no one does it better than Vegas, baby! You’ll find the city decked out in sparkle, lights, and their best attire for this special night.
As far as making your plans for the night, you can’t go wrong here with so much to do.
From hanging out at intimate cocktail lounges to mega parties with free-flowing booze and live music from big-name acts, it’s all here.
Several Vegas casinos do their own synchronized fireworks displays to music and you’ll have an excellent vantage point from just about anywhere on the Strip.
The casinos, bars, restaurants, and clubs are all vibrant and alive on December 31!
You can even head to a hotel/casino rooftop bar for great views of the fireworks shows at midnight.
Treat yourself to the Las Vegas Club Crawl if you really want to do it up right with a 2-hour pregame party and all-night drinking specials and games.
Tip: Park before 6PM, which is when the Strip closes to traffic. The earlier, the better – spots fill up quickly on a huge party night like NYE!
4. New Orleans, LA
New Orleans is known for its charm and lively nights in famous areas like Bourbon Street in the French Quarter. On New Year’s Eve, it’s almost like Mardi Gras!
Jackson Square is where the main party is on NYE in NOLA. Nestled in the French Quarter, this is base camp for revelers and where you’ll be able to see the Fleur de Lis drop at midnight.
You don’t have to stay anchored on the spot, though. The entire Quarter has restaurants, bars, and clubs with their own NYE festivities like music, drinks, and yummy food.
Most of the crowd centers around the French Quarter, but people will slowly roll out to the riverfront close to midnight for the best views of the fireworks displays over the Mississippi.
New Orlean’s best hotels also offer their own balls and parties on this night with open bars, delicious food, midnight champagne toasts, and live music or DJs to keep the party going.
Tip: Make restaurant reservations in the French Quarter if you want a more laid-back NYE that’s still right amid all the action. Many have their last seating around 9PM.
5. Nashville, TN
Music fans (not just country!) will enjoy spending New Year’s Eve in the lively and up-for-anything Music City.
Downtown Nashville lights up with activity – music, contests, black-tie parties, pub crawls, and all-around revelry that puts many other cities to shame.
You’ll spend the night meandering all over Broadway, checking out the honky tonks, bars, and restaurants along the way to fuel your NYE.
The streets are shut down and absolutely crawling with people having a good time.
Stop by one of the nearby club’s New Year’s Eve balls or parties and pay admission to score drinks all night, live music, and special menu options.
Get there early for good parking and to check out the Nashville New Year’s Eve Mega Pub Crawl (starts at 2:30PM). Games, drinks, free gifts, and tour guides make it a ton of fun!
You can even attend a black-tie ball or masquerade party (L.A. Jackson) with great music while you wait for the stroke of midnight, the music note drop in Bicentennial Park, and a traditional champagne toast.
Tip: Grab VIP tickets to a party or club for NYE in Nashville for a classier (but still incredibly fun) experience that’s a little less crowded. Drinks, buffets, photo booths, and dancing are often included.
6. Miami, FL
You’ll get to watch an outrageously large, illuminated orange descend precisely at midnight (it’s Florida, after all) while you’re surrounded by revelers, music, and good vibes as you ring in the new year in Miami.
Downtown Miami transforms into a gigantic party on December 31 with back-to-back concerts, parties happening at clubs and restaurants all over, and fireworks with the orange drop at midnight.
It’s free to join the Bayfront NYE party downtown with general admission and doors open at 6PM.
If you want the VIP experience (champagne toast, open bar, private restrooms, and the best fireworks views), it’ll cost you $250+.
Miami also has tons of rooftop bars and oceanfront restaurants that make perfect places to watch the NYE fireworks and feel part of the scene without being as crowded in.
Tip: Use a ride-share service or public transportation (Bayfront Park Metromover station is directly outside the venue) to get here for the easiest NYE experience.
7. Niagara Falls, NY
It might sound like it doesn’t belong on this list of amazing places to spend NYE in the USA, but Niagara Falls really is the perfect spot for a festive night like this.
On the American (New York) side of Niagara Falls, you’ll be able to catch fireworks shows that will blow your mind, a fun guitar drop, midnight balloon and confetti drop, drinks, music, and more.
The Hard Rock Cafe in Niagara Falls, NY is where you’ll find the party focused. Live music, specials on food and drinks, party favors, and a livestream of the Times Square ball drop make it the place to be.
When it’s close to midnight, head out on the deck to watch the amazing fireworks display that commemorates the new year. There are 2 shows – one around 8:45PM and one right at midnight.
Tip: Head up to the Observation Tower deck if you can for the most amazing views of fireworks at midnight. The gorge wall is another great spot to catch the best views!
8. Orlando, FL
Celebrate at one of Orlando’s famous theme parks or right in the heart of the city on New Year’s Eve. It’s one of the best places to spend New Years in the USA!
It’s not just the theme parks showing out for NYE in Orlando – it’s also the hotels, museums, bars, and restaurants. But there’s a reason so many flock to the parks on December 31.
Most parks stay open late to ring in the new year with fireworks, music, rides, and food. The displays are impressive and can be seen outside the parks.
You can also head to a black-tie party or join the revelry at one of Orlando’s restaurants or bars for awesome camaraderie, food, music, and drinks in a covered area.
Live music and performances dominate the evening all over Orlando, from Universal Studios and Disney Springs to Downtown and South Orlando.
Tip: While tickets can be pretty expensive to celebrate inside Orlando’s best parks, you can watch the fireworks displays from almost any part of the city for free.
We’ve looked at the 8 best places to spend New Years in the USA, but these cities deserve an honorable mention for their cool NYE traditions and huge parties.
- Key West, Florida: Watch a drag queen in a giant red high heel drop at midnight, plus a lime drop into a massive margarita, a huge conch shell drop, a pirate wench drop, and champagne midnight toast
- Buffalo, New York: Massive NYE celebration with the nation’s 2nd-largest ball drop (after NYC) and concerts from Roosevelt Square with all-night parties after midnight
- Mobile, Alabama: Watch a giant Moon Pie drop at midnight with free concerts, contests, and grab a slice of a giant Moon Pie on the Gulf Coast
- Boise, Idaho: See a huge potato (GlowTato) drop at midnight with live music, art, fireworks, and food vendors at the Idaho Statehouse on NYE
Things to Consider
What else should you know about to make the most of your New Year’s Eve, no matter where you decide to spend it? Here are some good tips and considerations to keep in mind.
- Dress for the destination. New Year’s Eve weather in Miami is vastly different from celebrating in NYC, so dress according to where you’re going. Bring a jacket when in doubt!
- Know where you’re going. Letting NYE plans fall together as the night progresses isn’t a good idea if you’re going to a huge city-wide party or celebration. Know where you’re going and get there well in advance – as early as 3PM for NYC or 6PM for Las Vegas.
- Consider getting VIP tickets. You’ll find clubs, bars, hotels, restaurants, and even city-sponsored events are a little bit more enjoyable when you spring for VIP tickets. Drinks, food, comfy seating in less-crowded spots, better views of fireworks and drops, and free party favors are all potential perks.
- Figure out bathrooms and food situations. Some places don’t have food vendors or public restrooms set up for the big celebration (like New York City), so you’ll need to eat something filling before you go and make sure to use the restroom.
- Plan your parking. Parking is always a bear on NYE, so check maps and forums to find good spots to park before you head that way. Some places, like Vegas, shut down a wide area ahead of the party and require you to come get a parking spot well in advance to be close by.
Frequently Asked Questions
Having an absolute blast on New Year’s Eve is easy when you’re prepared with answers to all your burning questions. Check out the FAQs to learn more!
Where is the best New Year celebration in the USA?
Many will say the best New Year celebration in the USA is on Times Square in New York City - millions attend this worldwide-televised event for the famous Waterford crystal ball drop at midnight.
But cities like San Francisco, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Nashville, Miami, Niagara Falls, and Orlando are also known for having some of the best NYE celebrations in the nation!
What city has the best New Year's celebration?
The 8 cities with the best New Year’s celebrations are New York City, San Francisco, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Nashville, Miami, Niagara Falls, and Orlando. But don’t let this list limit your options!
Honorable mentions for the best places to spend New Years in the USA include Key West (hilarious midnight drops), Buffalo, Mobile, and Boise.
Where is the best place to countdown in the US?
The best place to countdown to the new year in the US is Times Square in NYC because there are millions of others celebrating with you in person and millions more watching at home.
You get to watch the massive crystal ball drop at the stroke of midnight with a blast of confetti and enjoy great music and performances by big names all night long.
Where is best to spend New Year's Eve?
The best place to spend New Year’s Eve is in a spot that has the vibes you’re looking for, whether that’s rowdy and wild or laid-back and easygoing.
Some of the cities with the best NYE parties are NYC, San Francisco, and Las Vegas.
Where is the biggest New Year's Eve party?
The biggest New Year’s Eve party is undoubtedly in New York City around Times Square. Every bar, club, restaurant, and street is in full-on party mode on December 31 with balls, parties, music, dancing, drinks, and food.
Celebrate in the Best Places to Spend New Years in the USA
Ringing in the New Year is a lot more fun when you’re doing it with others who are intent on having a good time.
Great fireworks shows, flowing booze, yummy food, dance-able music, and a spirit of fun and camaraderie is what makes these cities the best places to spend New Years in the USA.
In these 8 cities – New York City, San Francisco, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Nashville, Miami, Niagara Falls, and Orlando – you’re guaranteed to enjoy the final night of the year to the fullest.