If you are lucky enough to be in Texas on New Year’s Eve, you may have a hard time deciding what to do with so many options at hand. The Lone Star State offers everything from swing and blues concerts to family-friendly events with arts and crafts and daytime ball drops, as well as late New Year's Eve parties with champagne toasts. There is something for everyone to do the night the calendar changes to 2020; make sure to check a venue's age requirements before heading out.
Dance to Swing and Blues in New Braunfels
Head over to the oldest dance hall in Texas, Gruene Hall, which was built in 1878. Located in New Braunfels in the scenic Texas Hill Country, Gruene is the perfect spot to ring in the new year. This historic district features the best artists annually for a night of dancing and fun. In 2019, enjoy a swing, blues, and rhythm and blues concert with Charley Crockett (with Vincent Neil Emerson as the opening musician)—your ticket includes some tamales and popcorn, and you can purchase champagne. Note: New Year’s will be celebrated at 11 p.m. since there is a law in New Braunfels prohibiting the consumption of alcohol past midnight.
Celebrate With Kids and 1940s-Style in Fredericksburg
For some free family fun in the Texas Hill Country, check out the two events that make up the City of Fredericksburg New Year’s Eve Countdown to 2020, located at Marktplatz park in the historic city center. From 4–6 p.m. there will be a children's event which includes arts and crafts, face painting, food and drinks, music, a dance performance, and the first round of the ball drop. An all-ages gathering takes place from 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., featuring live music from Groove Night—a party band out of Austin—food, and a midnight ball drop. The party will go on rain or shine; bring chairs and blankets and settle in for a festive night.
In 2019, Fredericksburg also has the USO-Style New Year’s Eve Hangar Dance at the Hangar Hotel, a unique place that displays model planes, airplane keepsakes, and teaches visitors about the 1940s and United Service Organization's history. The event will have big band music by Bill Smallwood & The Lone Star Swing Orchestra, swing dance lessons, a 1940s costume contest with prizes, a photo booth, and more. You can also enjoy some refreshments at the Pacific Showroom’s Tiki Bar with bamboo and thatched roofing, eat some cornbread, and have fun with party favors.
Austin celebrates the holiday with a free event at the Auditorium Shores park downtown. The fun begins at 7:30 p.m. on December 31, 2019, at Vic Mathias Shores and gets exciting with a fireworks finale at 10:00 p.m.
Additional places in Austin to spend the festive night include at the Belmont nightclub downtown, which for New Year's in 2019 will have three bars, heated and tented outdoor spaces, dancing and live DJs, and dance performances. Plus there's a silent disco with various genres of music you'll hear through colored LED wireless headsets, a photo booth, and of course, champagne at midnight, along with a balloon drop.
The Alamo City rings in the new year in various ways. In 2019, the New Year's Eve at the Howl at the Moon venue offers packages for those 21 and over which you can cater to your desires and budget, depending on whether you would like seating and a dinner buffet, a champagne toast, or dancing. The fun takes place at the River Walk, the city's 15-mile (24-kilometer) urban waterway.
San Antonio also has a bar crawl each year as the calendar changes: For 2019, visitors can enter 4–6 bars downtown and the ticket comes with not only drinks but live music, champagne and appetizers, food and drink specials, a ball drop, and more.
Experience a Big Bash or the Symphony in Dallas
In the tradition of "saving the best for last," one of the largest parties in Dallas occurs on the final day of the year. The free gathering as big as Texas itself—called the New Years' Eve in Dallas: Party on the Plaza—is held at City Hall. If you're planning to spend the holidays in Dallas, this bash put on by VisitDallas is one you definitely don't want to miss. For 2019, you'll find live entertainment by American Idol favorites CASTRO, plus the Emerald City Elevation Band, and you can enjoy drinks, food trucks, and a fireworks show.
If you are seeking something a little different, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra is having a concert and after-party on December 31, 2019, in the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. Listen to waltzes from the Strauss dynasty, and later in the evening, honor the New Year at the Meyerson ‘Til Midnight after-party.
On the late December holiday in Houston, the fun starts with the "Noon Years Eve," an event in which kids do a countdown to noon. Presented by the Texas Children's Hospital West Campus from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., this event is held at CityCentre, a destination in the Memorial City neighborhood with entertainment, shopping, and dining.
Another way to greet 2020 in H-Town is on New Year's Eve when CityCentre will feature a dance band called A Sure Thing, followed by a countdown to midnight and a one-minute rooftop fireworks show (if the weather permits). Since many people usually attend, take advantage of ride-sharing services and allow extra time for parking.
On December 31, 2019, in the Adobe Horseshoe Theatre & Event Center in San Elizario, about a 30-minute drive from El Paso, check out the New Year's Eve Party which is sure to entertain visitors and locals. The event includes live entertainment, a champagne toast, and an open bar, and the venue will have private parking.
If you are in El Paso, the award-winning Mesa Street Grill—which typically serves steak and seafood—is hosting a New Year's Eve masquerade party with dinner, drinks, live music, and more. Contact the restaurant for further details.
In Galveston Island on the Gulf Coast of Texas, locals and travelers can celebrate the coming of the new year at a variety of venues. The San Luis Resort, Spa & Conference Center is hosting the Among the Stars New Year's Gala on December 31, 2019, where you'll find an award-winning four-course dinner, a bar, live music by Password Band, and a champagne toast and party favors as midnight approaches.
Or, put on vintage clothes and party on the rooftop patio in honor of the holiday at a Roaring 20s NYE Party at The Tasting Room. Expect a DJ, a midnight ball drop, and drinks and appetizers included in your ticket price.