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The Best New Year’s Eve Celebration in Every State

Here's where to ring in 2020 in every state in the United States.

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The countdown is on


Wondering what to do on New Year’s Eve? Whether you want to party ’til you drop or you have young kids and want to be snug in bed at midnight after ringing in the new year at one of these family-friendly celebrations, here are the best New Year’s Eve celebrations in every state.

Courtesy Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism

Alabama: Reelin’ in the New Year

Held at The Wharf in Orange Beach, the family-friendly Reelin’ in the New Year event, which runs from 5 p.m. to midnight, features a “marlin drop,” fireworks at midnight, music, and lots of fun activities for kids, like bouncy houses, a rock wall, and face painting. There’s also a confetti drop at noon for those who don’t want to stay up quite so late. Orange Beach’s marlin is one of our favorite funny things people “drop” to ring in the new year instead of a ball.

anchorage alaska new year's celebrationvia anchorage.net

Alaska: Anchorage New Year’s Eve Celebration

Downtown Anchorage hosts a fireworks celebration at Town Square Park on New Year’s Eve, but instead of waiting until midnight for the display, the skies light up at 8 p.m. The event starts at 5 p.m., and families can enjoy a dance party, 3-D light projections around the park, and a children’s ice gallery. Find out the tallest building in every state.

prescott arizona whiskey rowEndeavorMoorePhotography/Shutterstock

Arizona: Whiskey Row Boot Drop

It’s no Times Square ball, but Prescott does drop a six-foot lit-up cowboy boot down The Palace building’s flag pole as the New Year arrives, both at 10 p.m. and midnight. Located on Whiskey Row, the area rings in the New Year with a street party that includes a Ferris wheel as well.

Fireworks with silhouettes of people in a holiday events,ShanghaiYaorusheng/Shutterstock

Arkansas: New Year’s Eve Ball Drop

Downtown Fort Smith will light up for New Year’s Eve with all sorts of festivities, including live music and entertainment, local vendors, and a midnight ball drop followed by fireworks. To upgrade your New Year’s Eve, you can opt to hang out in the VIP room for a fee.

big night san diegovia sandiego.org

California: Big Night San Diego

Head to the Hilton San Diego Bayfront located at the base of the Gaslamp Quarter for the largest New Year’s Eve gala in the city, Big Night San Diego. The all-inclusive event includes drinks, a buffet, and entertainment in ten different party zones that feature bands and DJs. The fun kicks off at 9 p.m.

Denver New Year's Evevia denver.org

Colorado: New Year’s Eve fireworks

Enjoy two festive fireworks shows in downtown Denver, one at 9 p.m. and one at midnight. For the best views, head to the 16th Street Mall or party at The Woods rooftop restaurant at The Source Hotel, which will also have live music. The fireworks will be synced to music played by DJs along the 16th Street Mall.

first night hartford new year's celebrationCourtesy First Night Hartford

Connecticut: First Night Hartford

In Hartford, Bushnell Park is the place to celebrate New Year’s Eve with two fireworks shows: 6 p.m. and midnight. First Night Hartford is a more than 30-year-old alcohol-free celebration of the New Year through the arts with exhibits, performance groups, musicians, artists, and more. Be sure to eat these 13 lucky New Year’s foods on January 1.

delaware new year's eve celebrationvia riverfrontwilm.com

Delaware: New Year’s Eve Riverfront Family Fun

Now in its third year, Wilmington’s New Year’s Eve Riverfront Family Fun event starts at 6 p.m. along the Christina Riverfront, with a fireworks display at 9 p.m. Attendees can also celebrate with ice skating, food and drink, hot chocolate, family-friendly activities, and giveaways.

beach ballscourtesy Visit Panama City Beach

Florida: New Year’s Eve Beach Ball Drop

Imagine 10,000 inflatable beach balls falling from the sky at midnight, and you’ve got the idea of the New Year’s Eve Beach Ball Drop in Panama City Beach. This fun annual event releases the balls from nets over the streets of Pier Park and also includes two fireworks shows, music, and other live entertainment. Here’s the history behind why we drop a ball on New Year’s in the first place.

savannah city marketvia savannahcitymarket.com

Georgia: City Market New Year’s Eve

Head to the City Market area of Savannah for your New Year’s Eve celebrations in the Peach State. Located in the city’s historic district, City Market, long known as a popular gathering place and a hot spot for St. Patrick’s Day as well, hosts live music throughout the evening. Area restaurants are also open to take part in the festivities.

oahu hawaii new year celebration luauvia press.fourseasons.com

Hawaii: Earth, Air, Wind, and Fire Luau

Celebrate your New Year’s in true Hawaiian style, overlooking the Pacific at a luau at the Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina. The event will include hula and fire knife dancing, traditional makahiki games, a full buffet of traditional Hawaiian fare, and live music.

potatocourtesy Terry Welch

Idaho: Idaho Potato Drop

With Idaho, of course, known for its potatoes, it’s fitting that on New Year’s Eve Boise would host a potato drop. This event, held at the Idaho State Capitol, features live music, kids’ activities, an ice sculpture show, a tubing hill, and snowboarding. The potato drop and fireworks take place at midnight. Speaking of state capitals, see how many you can get right in this quiz.

Navy Pier FireworksAndrew S/Shutterstock

Illinois: New Year’s Eve at Navy Pier

Ring in the New Year at Chicago’s Navy Pier with the Fifth Third Bank Winter Wonderfest that runs from December 6 through January 12, 2020. The Wonderfest includes carnival rides, an ice skating rink, giant slides, and more. On New Year’s Eve, Navy Pier will also present a fireworks show at midnight.

countdown to noon children's museum indianapolisvia childrensmuseum.org

Indiana: Countdown to Noon

For families with younger children who want to celebrate the New Year without staying up until midnight, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis offers a fun alternative. On New Year’s Eve at noon, the museum hosts a Countdown to Noon, showering down confetti when the clock strikes noon, along with fun performances and the chance to create a time capsule.

iowa new year downtown countdownvia star1025.com

Iowa: Star 102.5 Downtown Countdown

Radio station Star 102.5 broadcasts live from the Embassy Suites in downtown Des Moines for the Downtown Countdown New Year’s Eve celebration. The event features an upscale dinner with chef stations, live music, a champagne toast, and Iowa’s largest balloon drop at midnight.

Disco ball in a nightclubThomsonD/Shutterstock

Kansas: New Year’s Eve Disco Party


The Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway will host a free New Year’s Eve Disco Party. The casino will have several live bands, including Disco Dick & the Mirrorballs and County Road. You can also check out the special New Year’s Eve buffet with prime rib and oysters on the half shell before heading back to enjoy gaming. There will also be drawings throughout the evening, giving away a $2,020 Free SlotPlay® or Table Free Bet. If you want to win, maybe give one of these lucky New Year’s traditions from around the world a try.

louisville NYE live celebrationvia nye-live.com

Kentucky: NYE Live! Louisville

Party it up at Louisville’s 4th Street Live entertainment district on New Year’s Eve with live music, dancing, lots of confetti, and the classic ball drop to ring in the New Year at NYE Live!. The event itself is free, but you can opt to buy all-inclusive food and drink packages to increase the fun factor.

nolacourtesy Rebecca Todd and NewOrleansOnline.com

Louisiana: Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve

New Orleans knows how to party and so it’s the perfect spot to host the Central time zone’s countdown to New Year’s for Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. Head to historic Jax Brewery for the festivities, which include fireworks, live music, and a “drop” of the New Orleans fleur-de-lis.

maine maple leaf drop new year celebrationvia tidesinstitute.org

Maine: New Year’s Eve Sardine & Maple Leaf Drop

What do you “drop” in Maine besides a ball? Why, a sardine, of course! At the New Year’s Eve Sardine & Maple Leaf Drop in Eastport, Maine, you can watch the sardine drop in front of Tides Institute & Museum of Art at midnight after watching a maple leaf drop an hour earlier at midnight Atlantic time since the town is right next to Canada. Apparently, kissing the sardine brings luck throughout the next year.

maryland first night talbot new year celebrationvia discovereaston.com/fnt

Maryland: First Night Talbot

A popular New Year’s Eve event for more than 25 years, First Night Talbot is a family-friendly celebration of the arts that takes place at five different event spaces across the city. The festivities conclude with a crab drop at 9 p.m. and midnight. The event is currently the only First Night celebration in the state.

first night boston new years celebrationvia boston-discovery-guide.com

Massachusetts: First Night Boston

Celebrate the arts in Boston on New Year’s Eve at First Night Boston, where families can enjoy an early fireworks display at 7 p.m. or hang around for the big one over Boston Harbor at midnight. The event also includes a parade down Boylston Street, ice sculptures, a figure skating show, and many different arts performances.

michigan motor city gala new year celebrationvia motorcitygala.com

Michigan: Motor City Gala

Located in downtown Detroit, the Motor City Gala is one of Detroit’s biggest and best New Year’s Eve celebrations. In a skyscraper called The Historic Fisher Building, guests can live it up with a live DJ, a champagne toast, and a balloon drop at midnight.

snowta Minneapolis new year'svia armorymn.com

Minnesota: Snowta NYE Festival

Minneapolis’s two-day Snowta NYE Festival, which spans December 30 and 31, plays host to fans of electronic music and features acts like Big Gigantic, Zeds Dead, and Ganja White Night. It takes place at the historic Armory where Prince filmed his music video for “1999.”

mississippi new year celebration elvis birthday festivalvia tupelo.net

Mississippi: New Year’s Eve in Fairpark

Tupelo celebrates New Year’s Eve in the city’s Fairpark. The event pays a birthday tribute to native son Elvis Presley (whose birthday is actually January 8), includes a ball drop, and even offers a giveaway of a Toyota Corolla to one lucky winner. The event runs from 7 p.m. to midnight.

silver dollar city new yearsvia tripadvisor.com

Missouri: New Year’s Eve Celebration at Silver Dollar City

Celebrate the New Year in a theme park at Branson’s Silver Dollar City, which rings in 2020 with six million Christmas lights and 40 rides and attractions, including the world’s fastest, steepest, and tallest spinning roller coaster, Time Traveler, as well as live entertainment. December 31 and January 1 are the last two regular operating days of the theme park’s season, so get in one more roller coaster ride! Find out some more theme parks that go all out for the holidays.

big sky resort montana new yearsvia tripadvisor.com

Montana: New Year’s Eve Fireworks

Imagine fireworks exploding over Montana’s beautiful skies and gorgeous scenery for a one-of-a-kind New Year’s Eve. Spend the day enjoying your favorite snow sports and then watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks show with the best seats located at Big Sky Resort. The event also features a parade, a New Year’s dinner dance, and live entertainment.

omaha new years eve fireworks spectacular lights festivalvia holidaylightsfestival.org

Nebraska: New Year’s Eve Fireworks Spectacular


Part of the Holiday Lights Festival in Omaha, the New Year’s Eve Fireworks Spectacular at the CHI Health Center is a festive way to celebrate the end of 2019 and the start of a new year. Each fireworks shell is choreographed to music composed specifically for the event. Tune in to Star 104.5 for the musical accompaniment.

las vegas new year's celebrationDominic Gentilcore/Shutterstock

Nevada: America’s Party

There’s a lot to choose from when it comes to New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas, but no matter what hotel you choose or party you attend, you can still enjoy the America’s Party fireworks show since fireworks are fired from the roofs of many different hotels across The Strip. The best views of the show are from Las Vegas Boulevard, which is closed to car traffic at 6 p.m. The event runs from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Check out more of the best cities in the world to spend New Year’s Eve.

first night portsmouth new years celebrationvia proportsmouth.org

New Hampshire: First Night Portsmouth

An alternative to traditional New Year’s Eve festivities, First Night, created in Boston, is alcohol-free, family-friendly, and highlights local arts. At the Portsmouth event, enjoy fireworks at 7:30 p.m., ice sculptures, puppet shows, juggling, live music, and more art exhibits and performances.

new jersey first night fireworksvia firstnightocnj.com

New Jersey: First Night

Like many East Coast towns, Ocean City celebrates the New Year with its First Night activities. The event includes a “first dip” into the ocean on January 1 and lots of activities on New Year’s Eve like carnival rides, live performances, a ventriloquist, storytellers, and fireworks on the beach at midnight.

taos ski valley new mexico new years eve fireworks celebrationvia tripadvisor.com

New Mexico: Torchlight Parade and Fireworks

Many ski resorts, including Taos Ski Valley, light up the night of New Year’s Eve with a free torchlight display of skiers going down the mountain. The resort concludes the night with fireworks over the mountains. Visitors can also opt to attend the resort’s Snowball party, with live music, a barbecue dinner, and a 9 p.m. ball drop.

new york city times square ball drop new years celebrationSimon Dux Media/Shutterstock

New York: Times Square Ball Drop

The most famous New Year’s Eve celebration in the United States, the Times Square Ball Drop includes live music from top acts, balloons, confetti, and the opportunity to get up close and personal with a million people packed in Times Square. Get a great view of the ball drop and escape the chilly weather at the Renaissance New York Times Square, which hosts a black-tie event with open bar, gourmet food, and live music. If that (understandably) seems a little much for you, ring in the new year with one of these 20 great New Year’s movies.

island of lights new year's eve celebration wilmington north carolinavia wilmingtonandbeaches.com

North Carolina: Island of Lights New Year’s Eve Celebration

On Carolina Beach’s boardwalk, families can enjoy a free festive party with a beach ball drop followed by fireworks to ring in 2020 at the beach. The family-friendly event begins at 9 p.m. and also includes dancing.

north dakota new yearsvia tripadvisor.com

North Dakota: New Year’s Eve

Each year downtown Bismarck rings in the New Year with local bars and restaurants offering special drinks and New Year’s menus. Residents can shop, go bar-hopping, or enjoy live performances from local musicians, awaiting the countdown to 2020.

Beautiful Christmas Light Decorations at Festival of Lights in CincinnatiAmi Parikh/Shutterstock

Ohio: Happy Zoo Year

Count down to 2020 with the animals at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. The Happy Zoo Year event runs from 5 to 9 p.m. and features an early fireworks display as its grand finale. Families can enjoy puppet shows, costumed characters, and the zoo’s Festival of Lights.

oklahoma opening night new years celebrationvia artscouncilokc.com

Oklahoma: Opening Night 2020

“Open” your New Year in downtown Oklahoma City with the grand Opening Night 2020 festival. Now in its 33rd year, Opening Night features food trucks, bands, and family activities with a midnight fireworks show. Earlier in the day, there’s also a 5K race to burn off some calories before the evening’s celebrations.

Hand pouring champagne from bottle into glasses with friends around him. Closeup of hand pouring white wine in flutes during party. Detail shot of new year’s eve celebration.Rido/Shutterstock

Oregon: Champagne Ball

If bars are your thing, you’re going to want to head to the Champagne Ball at the Hilton Portland for New Year’s Eve. This grand get-together features 18 bars to make sure everyone has a place to dance. There’s also a huge countdown to midnight with confetti cannons, a balloon drop, and party favors. Be sure to dress up for this one! Find out what the words to “Auld Lang Syne” really mean.

mushroomcourtesy Chester County Tourism

Pennsylvania: Midnight in the Square

For some quirkier New Year’s Eve fun, come watch a 700-pound lighted mushroom drop in the Mushroom Capital of the World, Kennett Square, as part of Midnight in the Square. The event is free and family-friendly and also features a live band. Restaurants and shops stay open late to accommodate the revelers.

ocean house rhode island new years celebrationvia oceanhouseevents.com

Rhode Island: New Year’s Eve Gala

Head to the beaches of Westerly, Rhode Island and The Ocean House hotel for Havana-style New Year’s Eve festivities as part of their New Year’s Eve Gala. The black-tie event includes a buffet, a live band, and an open bar. The upscale hotel also has a spa, a champagne bar with views of the Atlantic, and multiple restaurants.

south carolina yorktown countdown new years eve partyvia yorktowncountdown.com

South Carolina: Yorktown Countdown

Located just across the river from Charleston, the Yorktown Countdown takes place on the flight deck of USS Yorktown aircraft carrier. There are local bands and food stations, and you can explore the massive vessel—all with a backdrop of the Charleston Harbor.

south dakota new year's eve in deadwoodvia deadwood.com

South Dakota: New Year’s Eve Celebration

What would it have been like to celebrate New Year’s in the Wild West? You can get a hint when you spend the holiday in Deadwood, South Dakota. There’s a ball drop at the veranda of the historic Silverado Franklin Hotel on Main Street, a buffet at Grand Buffet, and lots of promotions to win thousands of dollars at area casinos. Find out the most historic hotel in your state.

memphis tennessee hard rock cafe new year'sevenfh/Shutterstock

Tennessee: Memphis Guitar Drop

The longtime home of Elvis Presley and known for its brand of blues, Memphis hosts a “guitar drop” for New Year’s Eve. On the city’s popular Beale Street at the Hard Rock Cafe, top acts perform, followed by the dropping of a ten-foot-tall guitar to signal that the New Year has begun.

Aerial Dallas LightsChristian Elliston/Shutterstock

Texas: Reunion Tower Over the Top NYE

Start your New Year off with a bang at the free Reunion Tower Over the Top NYE celebration in Dallas, which happens to be the only 360-degree, panoramic fireworks spectacular in the Central time zone. The event also includes food trucks, bars, and performances from American Idol contestants Jason and Michael Castro, as well as the Emerald City Elevation Band.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before Christmas. Salt Lake City, Utah, United StatesIrinaK/Shutterstock

Utah: The Last Hurrah

The largest New Year’s Eve celebration in Utah with some 30,000 people attending, the Last Hurrah is a free event at The Gateway in Salt Lake City with live performances, a pop-up bar with local distillers and brewers, food trucks, and a fireworks display. Or for a family-friendly option, pop by the New Year’s Celebration on Temple Square—it’s a free event with loads of singing and dancing.

spruce peak village stowe vermont new years celebrationvia tripadvisor.com

Vermont: New Year’s Eve Celebration

After a day of skiing, snowboarding, or just enjoying the white stuff, head to Spruce Peak village in Stowe to watch the annual Torchlight Parade while enjoying a warm cocktail from a local bar followed by fireworks. The village will also host a variety of family-friendly entertainment options. Find out which popular New Year’s resolutions experts say you shouldn’t make.

massanutten resort virginiavia tripadvisor.com

Virginia: Massanutten Resort New Year’s Eve Celebration

There’s something to do for all ages on New Year’s Eve at Massanutten Resort in McGaheysville, Virginia. The Lodge party hosts guests with live music and dancing and a champagne toast at midnight. Or you may want to enjoy nighttime snow tubing, available until midnight. There’s also karaoke at Hideaway Lounge, a Teen Night, and dinner at Campfire Grill.

seattle new year's celebrationShutterstock

Washington: Winterfest

Rock out to a live band inside the Seattle Armory and enjoy food and drink specials at area eateries at the free Winterfest – New Year’s Eve event that begins at 8 p.m. The fun is followed by a massive fireworks display at the Space Needle as the year turns to 2020.

Red apples with bright golden backgroundyaninaamira/Shutterstock

West Virginia: New Year’s Eve Apple Drop

If you like apples, check out this take on New Year’s Eve in Martinsburg, West Virginia, where everything is apple-themed. Feast on free apples, doughnuts, and apple cider while enjoying live music and family fun before an early apple drop at 6 p.m.

colourful balloons, golden, white, red, streamers isolatedMr. Tempter/Shutterstock

Wisconsin: New Year’s Eve at the Domes

Head inside Milwaukee’s Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory, also known as “the domes,” for a family-friendly way to welcome 2020. From 6 to 9 p.m., light shows will light up the dome while you enjoy a DJ, fire dancing, and magic shows. The fun concludes with a balloon drop at 9 p.m.

SPECTACULAR FIREWORKS OVER JACKSON HOLE WYOMING FOURTH OF JULYDarcy Jardine/Shutterstock

Wyoming: Torchlight Parade and Fireworks

All three ski resorts in Jackson Hole offer torchlight parades as skiers glide down the mountain holding torches, as well as fireworks for New Year’s Eve. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort offers a Glow Worm Parade for children 14 and younger, using glow sticks instead of torches. The resort also has a party at the top of Bridger Gondola afterward with live music, dancing, and champagne. Want ideas for where to travel in the new year? Here are 20 places travel experts recommend checking out in 2020.

Lyn Mettler
Lyn Mettler is an Indianapolis-based lifestyle writer, who has written for MSN.com, US News & World Report, FoxNews.com, TODAY Show online among others. She blogs about how to travel for less using miles and points on GotoTravelGal.com and is the author of "The Step-by-Step Guide to Earning Your Southwest Companion Pass."