Seven US spots to celebrate the best New Year’s Eve

The Times Square Ball Drop is one of the most popular events, but there are other cities that offer unique experiences to greet the new year

Confetti flies around Times Square as people welcome the New Year, on January 1, 2023.
Confetti flies around Times Square as people welcome the New Year, on January 1, 2023.ANDREW KELLY (REUTERS)
Alonso Martínez

Several cities in the U.S. partake in New Year’s Eve celebrations, promising unique and unforgettable experiences. While the renowned Times Square Ball Drop in New York captures global attention, these destinations offer unique experiences to usher in the new year while enjoying local food, beautiful music and amazing firework displays.

New York City, New York

The New York Ball Drop event is one of the most iconic celebrations of the holiday in the world. Every year, around a million people gather in Times Square to celebrate New Year’s Eve. The Ball drop is also watched live by around a billion people in the U.S. and around the globe.

If you don’t want to be around the crowd, there are still plenty of options to enjoy the night in the city, like the fireworks show that can be seen from Brooklyn Bridge, the several events that are hosted in different parks, or the dozens of new year parties in bars and clubs around the city.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Sin City is also one of the best cities to experience New Year’s Eve, especially for those who want to admire a massive display of light with the amazing sets of fireworks that fire off when the new year begins. The Las Vegas Strip is closed to vehicles during the night so the pedestrians can enjoy seeing the city lights while celebrating. Those who want an unforgettable experience can visit the world’s tallest wheel, the High Roller, and enjoy the stunning views the city has to offer.

The High Roller Observation Wheel in Las Vegas.
The High Roller Observation Wheel in Las Vegas.Tayfun Coskun (Getty Images)

New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans has become one of the best cities to celebrate New Year’s Eve, with its unique parade on Decatur Street, and the impressive fireworks shows that lights up the Mississippi River (which can also be enjoyed from the Mississippi River Boat Cruise). The city also has a tradition similar to the Ball Drop: on Jackson Square, attendees await the drop of the Fleur-de-lis with live music, creating a special party for all. Of course, visitors can also walk through Bourbon Street and find the ideal place for a party.

Atlanta, Georgia

A similar ball drop takes place in Underground Atlanta: the peach drop. A 362 kilogram peach falls over the district on the Peach Fest, where hundreds of thousands gather to enjoy a massive party. On the streets, local food and drinks are offered, while live shows are performed throughout the night and the first hours of the new year.

The peach drop in Atlanta, in 2023.
The peach drop in Atlanta, in 2023.Paras Griffin (Getty Images)

Austin, Texas

With Austin being one of the most exciting cities in the United States today, its New Year Eve vibe is unique, giving locals and visitors a long list of options to enjoy. There’s the Austin Ball Drop, which gets bigger every year, but also you can visit one of the dozens of decked-out bars, music presentations, enjoy the local food or even go to the beach to enjoy a bonfire and enjoy the fireworks.

Honolulu, Hawaii

If you want a different New Year’s Eve experience, Honolulu is the ultimate choice. One of the main highlights is the fireworks display on the Waikiki Beach area, which is seen by locals and visitors who gather on the beach to see the lights. Some venues may host special New Year’s Eve luaus with traditional local music and cuisine, while there are also cruise options for those who want to celebrate in the ocean. The beautiful local traditions mixed with the energy of the eve gives everyone something to enjoy.

Fireworks on the beach in Honolulu.
Fireworks on the beach in Honolulu.400tmax (Getty Images)

Chicago, Illinois

The Windy City is also becoming one of the biggest cultural centers of the United States, which means there are plenty of options to celebrate New Year’s Eve. There’s the Chicago New Year’s Eve Ball, or the fireworks on Lake Michigan, which can be seen from Navy Pier. The riverfront area is filled with special events, being one of the most popular locations to celebrate. Lincoln Park Zoo offers a more family-oriented celebration with carousel rides, ice skating and other activities.

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