New Year’s Eve across the U.S. is one of the most popular times of the year to go out and celebrate. With gusto, Americans embrace the traditions of saying goodbye to the past year and welcoming in the new year.
All of the major cities in the U.S. go big for the last day of the year, but every city puts its own spin on it. From the center of Times Square in New York to the parties of Las Vegas, there are many ways to celebrate New Year's Eve in the United States.
For New Year's 2020–2021 celebrations, most big events were canceled, scaled back, or moved to a virtual format. Confirm the most up-to-date information with event organizers before finalizing your New Year plans.
New York City
New York City is the most famous place to spend New Year's Eve in the United States, thanks to the legendary party thrown every year in Times Square. Millions join in by television to watch the countdown in Times Square culminated by the New Year's Eve ball drop. However, there are many other ways to spend New Year’s Eve in New York if you don't care to join the crowd in Midtown.
You can gather with friends in a glitzy or cozy bar or club like the romantic Le Buodoir with Marie Antoinette-inspired decor, which was designed to look like the private chambers of the French Revolutionary queen herself. Or, check out the dance scene at Baby’s All Right in Williamsburg, offering an unpretentious dance party where you can get your groove on all night long, and come back for brunch the next day. There are typically plenty of New Year's Eve concerts and shows to attend and there are even New Year's Eve cruises along the Hudson and East rivers.
Los Angeles is the place to be if you want to skip the cold and check out the time-honored New Year's Day tradition of the Rose Parade in nearby Pasadena. The parade is always followed by the Rose Bowl football game, the oldest bowl game that is still operating.
There are plenty of celebrations ranging from Cleopatra's Ball at the famed Egyptian Theater to EVE at the Universal Studios in Hollywood. Or you could head over to Marina del Rey for a Glow Party and fireworks.
Chicago can be brutally cold at New Year's, but the city still throws some hot parties and offers some family fun, too. If you aren’t afraid of the chill, Chicago is a must-see on NYE.
Navy Pier is usually the place to be for family-friendly entertainment, rides, and attractions. At midnight, watch a kaleidoscope of fireworks perfectly synchronized to inspiring music over Lake Michigan.
And for something different, you could party at the Lincoln Park Zoo, which gets decked out in millions of glittering lights. Plus, enjoy ice carving, cash bars, a live DJ, giveaways, games, free carousel rides, and more. Kids are also more than welcome to the party.
New Year's Eve in Washington, D.C., is a spectacle with parties and specials at the large hotels and several fireworks displays. There are plenty of parties, balls, and bars for residents and visitors alike to enjoy in the nation's capital on New Year's Eve.
Beyond Washington, D.C., proper, there are family-friendly First Night celebrations in Washington's nearby suburbs. The family-friendly First Night Alexandria is one of the biggest, with live performances, great food, and fireworks at midnight, all with kids in mind. You can also go out to dinner for New Year's Eve at Washington, D.C., restaurants, many of which offer tasting menus and champagne.
The roster of high-rolling activity on New Year's Eve in Las Vegas is exhaustive, with blockbuster shows and loads of parties. On the last night of the year, the entire Las Vegas Strip is shut down to traffic and it becomes like one giant block party for more than 300,000 people. At midnight, the casinos launch a choreographed fireworks display.
For an adventurous way to celebrate, Sundance Helicopters will have a limousine pick you up and take you to your helicopter, where you can toast the New Year with champagne as you fly over the Las Vegas Strip while fireworks go off below.
Tropical Florida is always a good choice for ringing in a new year. Head down to Miami for a wild and glitzy New Year's Eve, or consider a New Year's Eve for the whole family at Disney World. If you are without the kids, it's not hard to find an alternative New Year's Eve party in Orlando. New Year's Eve at Universal Orlando Resort also holds an annual celebration, including non-stop dancing and entertainment throughout the night.
New Orleans is always up for a party. But for the biggest party of the year (after Mardi Gras, of course), head down to Jackson Square and spend New Year's Eve partying on Bourbon Street and listening to jazz music. Because New Orleans does everything a little differently, at midnight, “Baby New Year” will drop from its perch on the top of Jax Brewery Shopping Center followed by a fireworks show over the Mississippi and continued partying in the French Quarter.
In the morning, you can join in on the city's excitement as the annual Allstate Sugar Bowl football game takes place nearby at the Superdome.