12 Top New Year’s Eve Destinations to Ring in the New Year

From Times Square to the Midwest to Southern California, here are a dozen destinations across the U.S. that will make for an amazing New Year’s trip.
Last updated May 31, 2023 | By Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore Edited By Michael Kurko
group of friends celebrating at new year party together

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Most Americans are familiar with New York City’s New Year’s Eve celebration — where hundreds of thousands of people pack their way into Times Square to watch a massive crystal ball drop.

While NYE in NYC is perhaps the nation’s most well-known way to ring in the new year, there are plenty of other incredible celebrations that kick off on December 31 around the country.

If you’re trying to narrow down where to spend the first hours of 2023, here are 12 destinations across the U.S. that are perfect for a New Year’s getaway.

New Orleans, Louisiana

f11photo/Adobe pubs and bars with neon lights in the French Quarter New Orleans

New Orleans is a blast any time of year but is a particularly hot destination to ring in the new year.

The weather will be warm, Bourbon Street will be packed, and visitors can gather in Jackson Square in the French Quarter to watch the famous fleur de lis drop at midnight.

If you’d rather spring for a quieter atmosphere, don’t count The Big Easy out. New Orleans is packed with incredible restaurants, many of which offer great deals for NYE dinners and drinks. Many hotels in town also have events planned to ring in 2023.

San Diego, California

Giuliano Maciocci/Adobe downtown San Diego

If bidding farewell to 2022 in southern California sounds good to you, San Diego is another New Year’s Eve hotspot.

Revelers can choose from a wealth of massive parties, from the Big Night San Diego Gala to the Ball on Broadway.

Bars and hotels in the city’s Gaslamp Quarter keep the party going until the wee hours, and visitors can even hop on a cruise to ring in 2023.

If you’re bringing the family, there are plenty of great events (and theme parks) to choose from as well — think LEGOLAND, SeaWorld, and the world-famous San Diego Zoo.

San Francisco, California

JFL Photography/Adobe San Francisco skyline with Oakland Bay Bridge at sunset

Heading up north a bit, San Francisco is the second California destination (but not the last) on our list.

Visitors can catch an incredible midnight fireworks show over the bay to ring in 2023, or head to any number of parties, attractions, and fine dining around the city.

If you’re looking for a show, you can head to the Golden Gate Theatre, San Francisco Playhouse, or the SF Jazz Center.

San Francisco also hosts a Fresh Start Festival, a three-day outdoor music event at The Midway from December 30 to January 1.

Plus, like many other cities on this list, SF offers cruises, delectable dining, and countless parties.

Chicago, Illinois

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe sightseeing cruise and skyline on the river

If you don’t mind the cold, Chicago is another top-notch destination for New Year’s Eve.

Visitors can head over to Navy Pier for breathtaking views of Lake Michigan and catch the firework show at midnight. There are also a few official parties on Navy Pier.

If you’re looking for something a bit different, Lincoln Park Zoo has a party with drinks, a DJ, games, and more.

Plenty of hotels and restaurants across the city are hosting parties or offering great deals. If you prefer a cruise, you can also take a boat on Lake Michigan or the Chicago River.

Disney World (Orlando), Florida

JHVEPhoto/Adobe Walt Disney World entrance arch gate in Orlando Florida

Disney fans should put visiting the parks in Orlando for New Year’s Eve at least once onto their bucket lists.

Visitors can expect the typical Disney magic — with rides, thrills, shows, delicious dining, and fireworks — with a bit of extra to ring in the new year.

Disney hasn’t put out its official notice with NYE plans yet, but in the past, Magic Kingdom and Epcot have stayed open until midnight.

There is speculation that Hollywood Studios will be open to welcome 2023 as well. If you don’t want to be inside the parks, there are also plenty of events at Disney hotels.

Atlanta, Georgia

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe Atlanta Georgia USA

Atlanta, Georgia has its own version of the ball drop — kind of.

After a three-year hiatus, the city is bringing back the much-loved “Peach Drop,” where a nearly 800-pound giant peach drops above Underground Atlanta. Tens of thousands are expected to come out for the celebration.

Aside from the peach, there are some incredible options around the city — from an after-hours party at the Georgia Aquarium to a Vegas-themed extravaganza at The Battery Atlanta.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Paul/Adobe Bellagio Fountains and The Strip in Las Vegas

Las Vegas is a party all the time — but visitors can truly expect the time of their lives if they happen to pop by on New Year’s Eve. The Strip will be shut down to traffic, making it like a giant block party for revelers to enjoy.

Whether you’re in town for the shows, the nightclubs, to try your luck at the blackjack table, or all of the above, Vegas is a great place to welcome a new year.

At midnight, the casinos also launch a coordinated fireworks display. And naturally, there will be no shortage of parties to choose from.

Los Angeles, California

John/Adobe Los Angeles skyline

The final California city on our list, Los Angeles, has a huge number of New Year’s Eve events (in fact, it may be difficult to narrow it down).

There are big parties (and fireworks to follow) in both Grand Park, which hosts an alcohol-free, family-friendly party until after midnight, and Marina del Rey, which sets off fireworks at 9 p.m. and midnight.

Another hot spot for those looking to dress to the nines is Prohibition in historic Union Station. The 1920s-themed event features burlesque dancers, live jazz, and an open bar.

Honolulu, Hawaii

SCStock/Adobe Diamond Head volcano including the hotels and buildings on Waikiki Beach

Just being in Hawaii to ring in the new year is a treat on its own. However, there are also plenty of parties, shows, and even luaus you can catch if you happen to be heading to Oahu.

Waikiki Beach will be offering dazzling midnight fireworks, visitors can catch the New Year’s Eve Luau at Hilton Hawaiian Village, and those who’d like to ring in the new year on the water can hop aboard Star of Honolulu’s midnight New Year’s Eve Dinner Cruise and Show.

Plenty of bars and restaurants on the island will also offer packages with open bars.

Nashville, Tennessee

andreykr/Adobe downtown Nashville cityscape at night

Nashville, naturally, will be ringing in the new year with some great music.

The city hosts an annual Music City Midnight celebration, a free event that features live music, a “Music Note Drop” at midnight, and a fireworks display.

This year’s event features performances from Brooks & Dunn, Zac Brown Band, and Kelsea Ballerini.

For those looking for a different sort of fun, there’s plenty to choose from — including a “Roaring into ‘23” 1920s-inspired event, a black-tie event at Sinema, an “Emo at Prom Night” party at Virgin Hotels Nashville, and much more.

Denver, Colorado

Matt/Adobe Union Station Denver Colorado

Colorado’s capital city has no shortage of New Year’s Eve events to choose from. For fireworks, the city has shows along the 16th Street Mall at both 9 p.m. and midnight.

Visitors will have their pick of parties — including a black-tie party at Mile High Station, the White Rose Gala at Ellie Caulkins Opera House, Clocktower Cabaret’s Annual New Year’s Eve Burlesque Bash, and much more.

Denver even has a New Year’s Eve bar crawl that kicks off at the Celtic Tavern.

New York City, New York

jonbilous/Adobe Madison Street and Lower Manhattan at sunset

We couldn’t round out the list without mentioning the Big Apple. If the crowds and chaos of Times Square isn’t your scene, there are so many other places to be in NYC to ring in 2023.

If you’re looking to catch some fireworks, you have plenty of options — including the famed Central Park, Coney Island, Prospect Park, and more.

Visitors can also hop aboard a New Year’s Eve cruise and watch fireworks from there. Most cruise packages include food, drinks, and incredible views.

Bars and restaurants all over the city will also be offering NYE packages, and some in Times Square may even offer a view of the ball drop.

Bottom line

Astarot/Adobe friends drinking champagne and celebrating New Year

Plenty of smaller cities across the U.S. have incredible New Year’s Eve events as well, but these 12 all offer something truly special.

As the new year gets closer, however, these hot destinations may be more difficult to book on a budget. They’re popular for a reason.

Before booking, be sure to check if you have any travel reward credit cards you can use to keep prices down.

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Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore is a seasoned freelance writer who also teaches writing courses at Rutgers University. She's based in Jersey City and enjoys travel, live music and, of course, spending quality time with her pup.