Best cities for New Year’s Eve celebrations

In the hours leading up to the New Year, millions of Americans will head out to celebrations across the country.

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WalletHub compared 100 of the biggest cities based on 28 indicators to determine which locations are best for New Year’s Eve partygoers. If you’re looking to save money on party tickets, wine and a stay at a three-star hotel, you might have better luck outside of the East Coast. However, if Times Square is a priority for you, then you’ll have no choice but to travel to New York City.


Here are the top 10 cities for New Year's Eve celebrations, according to WalletHub's rankings based on entertainment and food options, costliness, safety and accessibility:

10. Philadelphia, Pa.

Philadelphia is one of two East Coast cities to make it on WalletHub’s top-10-cities list for New Year’s Eve celebrations. The City of Brotherly Love hosts a midnight fireworks show on the waterfront of the Rivers Casino, which can be viewed from land or on a boat cruise such as on the historic Battleship New Jersey. For people who rather start the year off with a laugh, comedian Dave Chappelle will be performing two showings at The Met Philadelphia. Various music performances will take place in the evening, from orchestras, jazz and a blues concert with Citizen Cope.

9. Miami, Fla.

If celebrating New Year’s Eve in a sunny beach locale is your idea of fun, Miami might be the city that’s right for you. The city hosts its own ball drop at midnight known as the “Big Orange Drop” in Bayfront Park, where a neon orange sign drops down at the end of the countdown. And since the weather hardly ever dips below 70 degrees, Miami offers unique outdoor activities that ring in the New Year in style, including megayacht and rooftop parties and a Chinese lantern festival at the amusement park Jungle Island.

8. San Francisco, Calif.

San Francisco offers abundant options for New Year’s Eve celebrants looking for a fun night out. Midnight fireworks on the waterfront at Embarcadero - Pier 14 is a popular go-to for some, while a balloon drop at Eve’s Waterfront provides a less noisy spectacle if you don’t count the DJ. If you’d like to start the New Year with as much excitement as possible, the Six Flags Discovery Kingdom will let you enjoy rides until 6 p.m. Alternatively, the Napa Valley Wine Train provides a unique dining experience aboard its historic vehicle for sophisticated travelers.


7. Orlando, Fla.

Celebrating New Year’s Eve in the “Theme Park Capital of the World” is one way to ensure you have an adventurous beginning to 2020. Dedicated events take place in Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and LEGOLAND Florida Resort. Downtown Orlando and International Drive provide diverse entertainment options for New Year’s celebrants such as poolside parties and its own version of the “Big Orange Drop.”

6. Atlanta, Ga.

Although the city of Atlanta will break its three-decade streak for the “Peach Drop,” there are plenty of other activities available for New Year’s Eve festivities. The Battery Atlanta is hosting a free, family-friendly bash that includes an inflatable ball drop, live concert and fireworks display. If getting celebrations done earlier in the day is what you prefer, the LEGOLAND Discovery Center has a Noon Year’s Eve filled with rides, build-and-play stations and playgrounds. For adults, Atlanta has a wide selection of bars and clubs fit for New Year’s partying.

5. Los Angeles, Calif.

Los Angeles is home to the West Coast’s largest New Year’s Eve celebration at Grand Park and The Music Center Plaza, which hosts live music, food trucks, photo booths, projection art and midnight fireworks. Since the City of Angels has so many celebrity residents as well, visitors get to pick from a variety of live performances including Dita Von Teese, Megan Thee Stallion, Kristin Chenoweth and Los Lobos. The historic Queen Mary ship also hosts a New Year’s Eve bash in Long Beach.


4. San Diego, Calif.

San Diego is a city that provides true Californian events for New Year’s Eve celebrants. At Temecula City Hall, visitors get to watch the “Grape Drop” at 9 p.m. for the East Coast and again at midnight for West Coast’s official new year. The city also sticks to its nautical roots with water-themed parties at the Catamaran Resort Hotel, Maritime Museum and assorted cruises. Wildlife lovers can opt for a “Soaring 20’s” party at the Living Coast Discovery Center, where visitors may partake in animal encounters and nighttime hikes or games.

3. Las Vegas, Nev.

If you’re looking for a city with over-the-top New Year’s Eve events, Las Vegas is sure to deliver on this front. Christina Aguilera, Third Eye Blind and Journey are a few music acts that are taking over the night with dedicated concerts. The city is also home to numerous Cirque Du Soleil productions, magicians and theatrical shows. Partiers can stop by The STRAT Hotel or pick from several other rooftop bashes. At midnight, a fireworks display is choreographed by the city’s many casinos.

2. Denver, Colo.

Denver can provide a fun New Year’s Eve celebration without all the unnecessary flash you find in larger cities across the country. Two separate fireworks shows will light up the sky in downtown Denver at 9 p.m. and midnight. Meanwhile, the historic Union Station is set to hosts three New Year’s Eve parties throughout the venue, including a disco light show, a Roaring '20s speakeasy and a glamour Champagne toast. Other locations throughout the city will host balloon and ball drops such as the Mile High Station, Neon Baby Denver and Four Seasons Hotel.


1. New York, NY

Watching the ball drop and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve live show in Times Square is a bucket list experience that welcomes a million people annually. However, New York City offers an assortment of other events outside of midtown including a firework viewing in the Seaport District, a midnight run in Central Park and a laser light show and circus sideshow in Coney Island. There’s also no shortage of parties and concerts in the city whether it be in a bar, lounge, boat cruise or large entertainment venue.