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The Top 10 New Year's Eve Celebrations in the U.S., According to New Data

Ring in the new year with lots of cheer—and lots of people.

No holiday is more synonymous with a party than New Year's Eve. It's a time to say goodbye to the old and revel in the promise of the incoming year while the sound of champagne corks and noise makers swirl around you. Whether you want to start a New Year's Eve tradition or simply start the year in an epic fashion, Wallet Hub has compiled a report of the top 10 cities in the U.S. for New Year's Eve celebrations. The study factored in data points like cost, activities, dining options, the legality of fireworks, and if rain is in the forecast. These are the top 10 cities the study found are home to the best New Year's Eve celebrations in the U.S.

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The Best New Year's Eve Celebrations in the U.S.

10. Seattle, Washington

Space Needle New Year's Eve
Peter R Wang/Shutterstock

The Space Needle is the most iconic landmark in Seattle. It's also the center of the action on New Year's Eve when Seattleites flock to the Needle to celebrate. The televised event is Seattle's version of the Ball Drop in Times Square with a dazzling display of pyrotechnics filling the air. Prior to the fireworks, revelers can enjoy live music, dance parties, and light displays at Seattle Center. Other events include boat parties, galas, and live bands or DJs in just about every bar in the city.

9. Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles New Year's Eve Fireworks

Los Angeles is home to the rich and famous so it's no surprise that the city does New Year's Eve in a very big way. The sky will explode with color above Marina Del Rey with fireworks displays at 9 p.m. and midnight. From 7 p.m. to midnight, families can check out the Glow Party nearby at Burton Chace Park with face painting, music, and food trucks. Some of the best views of the fireworks can be found at restaurants with views of the harbor (be sure to make reservations in advance). There are also plenty of spots to set up a blanket or chair and watch for free—lucky for those Angelinos, it never gets too cold to be outside.

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8. Chicago, Illinois

Navy Pier Fireworks
Kunal Mehta/Shutterstock

The sky comes alive with dual fireworks displays above Chicago's famous Navy Pier and above the Chicago River on New Year's Eve. If that weren't enough, there are parties at the Lincoln Park Zoo, New Year's Eve cruises on the lake and river, live music, and galas throughout the city. If you're staying the night, be sure to check with your hotel, since many are hosting celebrations with food, drink, and entertainment included. From black tie events to pulsating dance parties, New Year's Eve in Chicago is a night to remember.

7. Washington D.C.

Noon Yards Washington D.C.

What could be more patriotic than welcoming the New Year in the nation's capital? You'll find family-friendly activities like train rides and bounce houses at the Noon Yards along with swoon-worthy, adult-focused events like the annual Black Cat New Year's Eve Ball. If you're wild about Harry Styles, don't miss the DJ spinning all of his tracks at Union Stage. Be sure to build in an extra day or two to tour some of the world's best museums since institutions like the Smithsonian are free.

6. Denver, Colorado

Denver Bar Crawl Celebration

The Mile High City was the most affordable destination to crack Wallet Hub's list of the best cities to celebrate New Year's Eve. There will be two fireworks shows at the 16th Street Mall (one at 9 p.m. and one at midnight), a New Year's Eve bar crawl, dazzling holiday light displays throughout the city, events like the New Year's Eve Black Tie Party, and more. Factor in Denver's stunning mountain backdrop and it's no wonder people look forward to celebrating here every year.

5. Atlanta, Georgia

Georgia Aquarium at Night
Rob Wilson/Shutterstock

It seems like the entire city of Atlanta gets into the action on New Year's Eve. From celebrations at the Georgia Aquarium (regarded as one of the best aquariums in the U.S.) to the afternoon Bubble Bash at the Children's Museum of Atlanta. The most famous event, however, is the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, one of the most exciting college sporting events of the country. Add in concerts, parties, and incredible dining options and you've got yourself the makings for an unforgettable New Year's Eve.

4. San Francisco, California

Fresh Start Music Festival in San Francisco

San Francisco ranked number four in the Wallet Hub study and it's easy to see why. The Golden Gate City offers a dizzying lineup of activities on New Year's Eve including a brilliant fireworks display that lights the sky above the iconic bay. The city is also hosting a number of concerts including the annual three-day outdoor Fresh Start music festival. Don't miss the chance to check out San Fransisco's food scene including the famous cioppino at Sotto Mare. Best of all, the city makes it easy to get around without a car with extended hours for public transportation.

3. Las Vegas, Nevada

Enchant Lighted wonderland

Las Vegas is so glitzy it looks like it's clad in a sparkly dress all year round, but Sin City takes it up a notch on New Year's Eve. In addition to being home to some of the most decadent resorts and restaurants in the world, Las Vegas is also one of the best places in the world to spend the holiday season, including New Year's. The spectacular lighted wonderland Enchant runs through New Year's Day and Area 15 is throwing an epic New Year's Eve party, complete with a toast at midnight. Wherever you go, it's up to you if you want to tell. Remember, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

2. Orlando, Florida

Fireworks in Epcot
Wagner Santos de Almeida/Shutterstock

Walt Disney World Resort is the place to be on New Year's Eve in Orlando, with an array of celebrations at Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, and Animal Kingdom. Expect fireworks, star-studded live performances, and opportunities to meet all your favorite costumed characters. This is an extremely popular event, so arrive early to secure your spot in the park before it reaches capacity. A Disney Park Pass reservation plus a valid ticket are required for entry.

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1. New York City, New York

New Year's Eve in Times Square
Ryan Rahman/Shutterstock

If you grew up watching the ball drop in Times Square as part of your annual tradition, it should be no surprise that New York City topped Wallet Hub's list of the best cities for New Year's. The city ranked close to the top regarding costs, but the available entertainment and dining options ensured New York City took first place. New Year's Eve in New York City is the party to end all parties. Each year, visitors in Time Square are regaled with live performances from some of the most legendary voices in music, the famous dropping of the ball, and a massive fireworks display. It's New Year's Eve for the ages.


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