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10 Best Places in the U.S. to Celebrate New Year’s Eve

Your guide to ushering in 2022.

Well, it’s finally time to say goodbye to 2021. After muted celebrations last year, the thought of partying on the streets, attending concerts, dining in restaurants, and counting down the seconds is exciting. If you haven’t crossed the Ts on your holiday travel plans yet, we have the best destinations in the U.S. to ring in the new year right here.  

But note that due to the Omicron variant, there’s a surge of COVID cases across the United States. Dr. Anthony Fauci urged Americans to stay away from large New Year’s gatherings, saying, “There will be other years to do that, but not this year.” 

If you do plan to go out on New Year’s Eve, be safe: wear a mask (preferably a KN95), get tested ahead of time (and after), socially distance, and stay outside or in well-ventilated facilities. Also note that many cities are re-evaluating their New Year’s plans and scaling back events–so there are chances that some events may get canceled. Keep your bookings flexible and think of backups. And maybe, just maybe, stay home and watch TV.

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New York City

The Times Square New Year’s Eve ball-drop and party is back! The celebration went virtual last year, but the city is welcoming people again to join in the street party–though due to Omicron, it’s been scaled back. Only fully vaccinated people will be allowed to attend and those who aren’t able to get vaccinated due to disability will need to provide a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours. Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve is also part of the plan. 

Those who can’t attend can watch the live broadcast on television or the internet. Check out the list of parties happening in Times Square here.

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Las Vegas

WHERE: Nevada

Ain’t no party like a Vegas party! Travel to the city this year and see the Strip glittering more than usual. 

ARIA Resort & Casino’s festive lobby display is all about chocolate with a 6-foot gingerbread man, trees made with macarons, and sugar-filled candy canes. At the Bellagio’s botanical garden, a 42-foot fir is lit up with 7,000 LED lights. Kids and adults will love Enchant, a Christmas light maze and market that’s running until January 2, 2022. 

At The Cosmopolitan, you can watch Maroon 5 performing live and watch the fireworks from the Ice Rink. The Venetian Resort has planned a variety of dining experiences for New Year’s Eve; Plaza Hotel & Casino has a special fireworks viewing party and stay package; ABSINTHE is opening the Green Fairy Garden to the public after 10 p.m. Bruno Mars, Cirque du Soleil, Lizzo, Rupaul’s Drag Race, and Farrell Dillon are other events to be excited about.

Nevada has a state mask mandate that requires everyone, regardless of vaccine status, to wear masks indoors. You can check more information here.

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San Juan

WHERE: Puerto Rico

Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve will have its first-ever Spanish language countdown live from Puerto Rico this year. Roselyn Sanchez will co-host the event with Ryan Seacrest that’s being hosted at the Puerto Rico Convention Center and the DISTRITO T-Mobile.  A performance from San Juan native Daddy Yankee is also on the cards. Check out the full line-up of events planned here.

San Juan is celebrating its 500th anniversary this year, so it’s definitely a great time to visit. 

Puerto Rico requires everyone to mask up indoors and in outdoor spaces with more than 50 attendees. There are also guidelines for event spaces and hotels that you should be aware of.

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San Francisco

WHERE: California

Watch fireworks over the Bay from a cruise, attend the New Year’s Eve International Ball at Press Club, or go bar hopping to the most popular pubs and venues—San Francisco is planning to raise the roof this New Year’s Eve. There are tons of live shows, events, parties, and culinary experiences to choose from, and if you’re in the city, you won’t be too far from the action. 

San Francisco requires everyone 12 and above to show proof of vaccination to enter restaurants, bars, gyms, and clubs. Masks are required in public spaces for even those who are fully vaccinated. Learn more here.

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WHERE: Florida

Walt Disney World is back with its New Year’s Eve specials. Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be open until midnight this year and fireworks are expected at these parks. Arrive early in the day and enjoy the attractions to make it a fun-filled holiday. In addition, LEGOLAND is planning kid-friendly fireworks at 8 p.m., and Universal Orlando Resort has holiday specials going on.

Want to take it to the streets? There is a James Bond-themed party at Enzian Theater, Hollywood New Year’s Eve Bash at Icebar, an improv show and party at SAK Comedy Lab, and exclusive events planned at JW Marriott, Waldorf Astoria, and The Ritz-Carlton. Check out other attractions scheduled for the last day of the year here.

Walt Disney World Resort requires all guests (2 and up) to wear face masks indoors regardless of vaccination status. It’s optional outdoors.

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WHERE: Texas

Austin’s New Year celebration went virtual last year with eight local bands performing in iconic city venues. This year, there are multiple performances and bashes scheduled for the evening. 

There’s a live DJ until 2 a.m. at The Belmont; cocktail bar The Roosevelt Room is hosting a ‘20s New Year’s Eve; Lenoir is taking it up a notch with a 10-course menu with wine pairings; and arcade bar Cidercade has all-you-can-eat pizza, midnight toast, arcade games, and confetti cannons planned. 

Music lovers will find local artists playing in spots around town, too. You can attend singer Bob Schneider’s New Year’s Eve Party at The Paramount Theatre, dress up for the NYE 1981 – You Make My Dreams (Come True) at Hotel Vegas, or cheer for Austin-based band SPOON at ACL Live with a complimentary champagne toast and live countdown.

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WHERE: Florida

The holiday season has taken over party central this year—Miami Zoo is glittering, Miami City Ballet brought The Nutcracker to life with more than 100 dancers, and Santa’s Enchanted Forest and Pinecrest Gardens have turned magical with lights and whimsy. 

There’s a lot more planned for New Year’s Eve. Let’s start with Miley’s New Year’s Eve Party hosted by Miley Cyrus and Pete Davidson. It will air live from Miami on December 31st and it will feature industry bigwigs such as Doja Cat, Gwen Stefani, Sting, and AJR.

Luxury hotel Fontainebleau Miami Beach is hosting a sparkling New Year’s Eve party with Doja Cat and Alesso at its oceanfront poolscape. On the rooftop of W Miami Downtown Brickell, another glamorous NYE party with a four-hour premium open bar is set to welcome 2022 in style. Then there’s also the four-day Dreamland festival (also being called “Queer-chella”) with pool parties, yoga sessions, and a host of performances, including by headliners Kim Petra and Sofi Tukker.

You can also welcome 2022 aboard Poseidon Ferry and watch the fireworks from the cruise, or bid adieu to the year with “Cuba Under the Stars 2”, an outdoor musical theater show at Miami International Mall that celebrates Cuban culture.

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WHERE: Tennessee

New Year’s Eve is a big deal in Music City. After hush-hush celebrations without any audience last year, the city is back with the New Year’s Eve Live: Nashville’s Big Bash. The five-hour event will be broadcast live on CBS and revelers at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park have a treat with a lineup of performances, fireworks, and Music Note Drop. It’s free to attend, but visitors will require proof of vaccination or a negative test result. Headliners include Dierks Bentley, Zac Brown Band, and Sam Hunt.

You can also head to Assembly Food Hall where Skydeck on Broadway will have Lady A, Riley Green, and Carly Pearce entertaining the crowds (tickets required). 

There are tons of parties happening around town—Grand Hyatt Nashville, The Pool Club, Franklin Theatre, and Hard Rock Cafe are a few of the hosts to these grand events. You can always see holiday light displays at Wilson County Fairgrounds and Cheekwood Estate & Gardens. Check out the full load of holiday harmony events happening in the city here.

Some businesses may require people to wear a mask or show proof of vaccination in Nashville. Read the latest guidelines here.

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WHERE: Colorado

There are going to be fireworks along the 16th Street Mall; a black-tie party with six hours of open bar at Mile High Station; a NYE special bar crawl raking revelers to a range of parties; open bar, live DJ, and ball drop on 66-foot LED screen at McGregor Square Plaza; and a family-friendly holiday light display at Hudson Gardens & Events Center and Denver Zoo. These are just a few things that Denver has planned for locals and visitors this year, and you can pick your favorite here.

A public order requires everyone 2 and above to wear face coverings indoors. It is in effect till January 3, 2022.

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WHERE: Massachusetts

The walkable city will be brimming with events on the last day of the year. First Night Boston 2022 has been a tradition since 1975 and it celebrates the city’s culture with musical performances, ice sculptures, parades, and fireworks. Say goodbye to 2021 on a New Year’s Eve Cruise, watch the fireworks over the harbor at midnight, scroll along the waterfront to marvel at creative ice sculptures, or attend one of the dozens of parties being hosted in the city—there will be no dearth of free and ticketed festivities this season. 

The city of Boston requires everyone to wear masks indoors.