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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Georgia: City Market New Year’s Eve
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.
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.
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.
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: 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.
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.
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.
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: 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
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.
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
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.
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’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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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: 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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.