Say goodbye to 2023 and ring in a brand new year with fireworks, cocktails and an endless parade of rowdy celebrations. Some cities are partying harder than others. So make plans now to visit one of these hot U.S. destinations to welcome 2023 in style.
As can be expected, the biggest city in the United States has one of the most elaborate New Year’s Eve celebrations in the world. Most of the attention is on Times Square for the annual Ball Drop at midnight. It’s a notoriously crowded and frigid experience that’s best left to those looking to cross the event off their bucket lists.
You’re better off joining a party at Mango, Copacabana or another Midtown club. Otherwise, book a cruise on the Hudson River and enjoy the serenity of the water underneath the bombast of the fireworks overhead. Another fireworks display will be seen above the grass and trees of Central Park. Top restaurants will be busy, so make reservations early, especially among the collection of trendy restaurants at Hudson Yards by the river.
The Big Apple is also known for entertainment, and that’s especially true on holidays. Hamilton and other Broadway shows will wrap up well before midnight, allowing plenty of time to celebrate before the countdown begins. Radio City Music Hall hosts a post-Christmas spectacular featuring the famous Rockettes early in the afternoon. Meanwhile, The Strokes are scheduled for the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Phish is playing five nights at Madison Square Garden Dec. 29-Jan. 1.
Sin City always feels like a party, but things go up a notch on New Year’s Eve. The world-famous Strip closes down to traffic, with the four-mile stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard open to pedestrians only. The massive block party is perfect for watching fireworks erupt from the rooftops of seven casinos.
Las Vegas is a mecca for entertainment and always draws big-name stars to headline concerts and nightclub events for end-of-the-year festivities. Maroon 5 traditionally plays a pair of shows in Vegas, but is switching venues to The Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan. Other high-profile New Year’s Eve shows include Bruno Mars at the Park Theater’s Dolby Live, Usher at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Lizzo at Virgin Hotels, The Go-Go’s at the Venetian Theatre and Kristin Chenoweth at the Smith Center. David Lee Roth plays the House of Blues in a show the singer promises will be among the last of his career.
The December weather is relatively mild for New Orleans, making the city a welcome alternative to colder parts of the country for New Year’s Eve. But that’s not the only reason to visit the Big Easy. Bourbon Street will be packed with revelers, who can legally bring drinks outside while celebrating. Make a point to visit Jackson Square, where you can watch the Fleur-de-Lis Drop from the top of Jax Brewery or see national acts perform live during Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve broadcast. No ticket necessary to watch.
If you prefer to stay indoors, there will be hundreds of parties all over town. One of the biggest is the Big Night New Orleans Gala at the Hyatt Regency. Otherwise, hop on board the Natchez for a steamboat cruise underneath the fireworks on the Mississippi River.
Even if you play it by ear and simply wander the streets of the French Quarter, you can’t go wrong with New Orleans for New Year’s Eve. The next day, football fans will be eager to check out the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Feel the heat on New Year’s Eve with the warm weather and global culture of Miami. Crowds will pack Biscayne Boulevard for the annual Orange Drop, almost like Times Square but without the frigid temperatures. However, the Dreamland electronic dance music festival, taking place over four nights on NYE weekend (Dec. 30-Jan. 2) will be the hottest ticket in Miami Beach.
Take one of the numerous cruises that will travel the bay and coastal waters, offering the perfect view of firework celebrations around the city. Miami’s notorious nightclub scene will be busy all night long, including E11even, LIV and Club Space. Looking to stay close to South Beach? The Fontainebleau hotel traditionally hosts one of the hottest parties of the year with big-name headliners.
Keep things cool with a New Year’s Eve celebration in San Diego. The Southern California city will host holiday parties at its busiest hotels and hotspots, including Big Night NYE at the Hilton Bayfront, a beach party at the Catamaran resort and the Black & Gold bash at the Maritime Museum.
Expect clubs in the vibrant Gaslamp district to be especially lively, including Omnia and Onyx. Meanwhile, rooftop bars like the Pool House and Altitude Sky Lounge will have incredible views of the city to check out the action. Just a few blocks away, Waterfront Park, Seaport Village, and other spots along the bay will have perfect sightlines for watching midnight fireworks. For a true luxury experience, book a yacht tour with champagne and hors d’oeuvres. Electronic dance music fans will party over two nights (Dec. 30-31) with OMFG! at the Pechanga Arena with a deep lineup of DJs.
San Francisco is home to one of the largest New Year’s Eve celebrations in the country as more than 200,000 spectators gather to watch fireworks from the waterfront. For a more comfortable environment, make a reservation at a rooftop bar with unobstructed views such as Dirty Habit or Charmaine’s. Hotels like the Palace and Westin St. Francis are known for hosting some of the biggest parties in the city.
For something completely different, celebrate on an aircraft carrier at the U.S.S. Hornet Sea, Air & Space Museum in Alameda. However, the historic multi-level Regency Ballroom takes pride in hosting MOANY or the “Mother of All New Year’s” parties. Detour to wine country where you can see Kenny G perform at the Blue Note in Napa. Darren Criss, meanwhile, will ring in the new year by performing with the San Francisco Symphony. EDM fans will want to see Kaskade at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.
Celebrate a Texas-sized New Year’s Eve in Dallas. Find the right spot in Ferris Plaza, Lubben Plaza Park or another part of downtown for watching the panoramic fireworks display at Reunion Tower. City Hall Plaza is one of the busiest spots with food trucks and live music.
Otherwise, stay indoors at one of the hottest parties around town. Champagne Life: Royalty Masquerade & Casino is a Roaring ’20s-inspired bash at Aloft Love Field. Dress your best for the Dallas NYE Ball at Crowne Plaza or the NYE Decadence Ball at the Lorenzo Hotel. Lights All Night is a two-night rave-style party with deadmau5, Above & Beyond and other DJs pumping electronic dance music at Dallas Market Hall Dec. 30-31. If you just want to see some football, the Cottonbowl is New Year’s Eve afternoon at AT&T Stadium.
Like New York, Chicago is freezing during New Year’s Eve, but the cold weather doesn’t stop the Windy City from celebrating in style. Predictably, most of the in-demand events are indoors. The Drake, JW Marriot, W and Congress Plaza are among the hotels hosting spectacular celebrations.The Sneaker Ball at the Doubletree Alsip is a hip-hop party in black-tie attire. If you dare to brave the outdoors, there’s a “Crawl ’til the Ball Falls” beer drinking crawl from 6pm to 2 a.m.
Blue Man Group hosts a special late-night performance at the Briar Street Theatre with a midnight countdown, party hats and a sing-along rendition of Auld Lang Syne. Music fans can also check out Goose at the Riveria Theatre and String Cheese Incident at the Auditorium Theatre. Comedian and ventriloquist Jeff Dunham plays the Allstate Arena.
Arizona’s largest metropolitan area knows how to party on New Year’s Eve. Check out the music of Sublime with Rome at Tempe’s Marquee Theatre, Straight No Chaser at the Mesa Arts Center or a special performance by the Phoenix Symphony.
Seeking something more formal with Prohibition-era style? Try the Great Gatsby Ball at the Queen Creek Botanical Gardens or the Gatsby’s House party at the Renaissance downtown. If you’re not the type to plan in advance, you can’t go wrong wandering in and out of bars in the downtown districts of Tempe or Gilbert.
If you’re down with driving outside city limits, Prescott has an illuminated cowboy Boot Drop at midnight on Whiskey Row while even farther north, Flagstaff has its famous Pinecone Drop. Numerous events also surround the annual Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium on January 1. If sports aren’t your thing, wind down from the festivities with an all-day happy hour on New Year’s Day at the Sorso Wine Room in Scottsdale.
Austin has a thriving nightlife scene, but the city’s biggest New Year’s Eve bash (“Austin’s New Year”) is an all-day family-friendly celebration on Auditorium Shores. There’s plenty of food and entertainment, but no alcohol. And fair warning, the fireworks happen early at 10 p.m. Other vantage points include the overlook near Pennybacker Bridge, Zilker Metropolitan Park and Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge.
Live music can be enjoyed throughout the city all night long, especially at Austin City Limits Live or the Paramount Theater. Austin’s famous bar and BBQ scene will host events throughout the evening but for something more refined, try the Gatsby’s House party at the Hilton. It includes an open bar, DJs and dance areas.
Los Angeles has no shortage of New Year’s Eve parties throughout its sprawling metropolitan area. Check out the annual N.Y.E.L.A. celebration at downtown’s Grand Park where a fireworks show takes place over City Hall with performances headlined by Steve Aoki. If you prefer waterside scenery, there’s nothing better than Burton Chace Park at Marina del Rey, which actually holds two fireworks shows: one at midnight and another earlier at 9 p.m. for families who don’t want to stay out late.
Theme parks will also be welcoming 2023 in style. Disneyland in Anaheim throws a colorful NYE bash with a 16-minute fireworks spectacular and a World of Color holiday show on the water at California Adventure. The EVE event at Universal Studios is like three-parties-in-one, each with their own fireworks show.
For those in Long Beach, a fireworks display erupts over the Queen Mary, the historic sister ship to the Titanic, now permanently docked as a hotel. Beer lovers will enjoy a “Back to the ’80s” bash at the Old World Biergarten in Huntington Beach. If you want to rock, check out a performance by hair metal favorites L.A. Guns at the iconic Whiskey A Go Go. Prefer sports? The Lakers host the Portland Trailblazers at the Staples Center. Stick around for the Rose Bowl game and parade on January 1 in Pasadena.