A dozen downtown Salt Lake City venues open their doors—and their arms—to welcome revelers for not just one day, but two. But beyond that, from December 26 to the 31, EVE Winter Fest offers an embarrassment of riches of performances and activities, from DJs and big bands for grownups to bounce houses and play rooms for kids. You can hit all fo it with the American First All-Access Pass. A grand DJ-fueled party which includes the Mirror Ball drop, takes place on the final two nights. Click here for tickets.
Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is the site of an epic fireworks display as 2016 turns into 2017. The free spectacle in the Inner Harbor Ampitheater starts at 9PM and features live music. Additionally, the Pandora ice skating rink the Inner Harbor is open until 12.30AM, so there’s plenty to do beside watch the light show. If you’re willing to shell out some cash, though, you can get a more private perch on a 21+ dinner cruise that leaves port at 9.30PM. The $179 price gets you hors d'oeuvres, a buffet dinner, a premium open bar, and a DJ-accompanied midnight champagne toast at midnight. Another non-landlubber option is a cruise on the Raven, a yacht featuring snacks and drinks at an additional cost, and views of the fireworks from the open top deck. There’s plenty for kids to do, too. Earlier in the day, from 10AM to 2PM, the Maryland Science Center plays host to free activities, from live music to crafts to a noontime ball drop.
(Baltimore Office of Promotions & The Arts)
When it comes to family-friendly new year celebrations in Florida, you likely instinctively think Orlando. Think again. Turns out, Panama City Beach has one of the nation’s biggest kid-minded New Year’s jamborees. The main event is the Beach Ball Drop, which is perhaps best explained as the ocean side version of the Times Square ball drop, complete with fireworks an LED-lit beach ball descending from an 80-foot stainless steel tower as midnight falls. But about those kid-friendly goings-ons—at 8PM, as fireworks light up the sky, 10,000 beach balls will fall from nets stretched across a Pier Park, an open space located across steps away from the Gulf of Mexico’s shoreline.
(Visit Panama City Beach)
Whistler’s Village on Canada’s west coast hosts a sprawling family-friendly New Year celebration. The alcohol-free setting is a destination for light shows and live entertainment, including plenty of activities for kids ages 3 to 13 and a dance party for older teenagers. Wristbands that give access to all the venues cost $12.50 in advance, or $15 when purchased December 30 or 31. Once the kids head to bed, grownups can enjoy an electrifying fireworks show as well as a special edition Fire and Ice Show, a popular Whistler attraction involving daredevil skiiers soaring through rings of fire. Seriously. The Resort Municipality of Whistler is providing free public transit within Whistler from 6PM on December 31, 2016 to 4AM on new year's day.
(Courtesy Destination British Columbia)
This is a huge year for Canada. The country marks its 150th Anniversary of Confederation while the city of Montreal celebrates its 375th Anniversary. The Euro-chic city, never one to hesitate when it comes to throwing a party or staging a festival, is going all out to mark the start of this monumental year. The New Year's Party kicks off at Old Port and Place Jacques-Cartier at 7PM with DJs, then the main event--a showcase of local musicians, largely electronica and hip-hop--gets underway at 10PM. From there, it's countdown to midnight, marked by a magnificent fireworks spectacle. DJs will keep people dancing on into 2017 with music until 2AM.
(Montreal en Fetes)
Leave it to Nashville to throw an boot-stomping, music-fueled party to ring in the new year. The Jack Daniel’s Music City Midnight at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park is a free public shindig, complete with live music by some of Nashville’s biggest stars, Keith Urban not least among them. About 150,000 people gathered for last year’s event and given that Capitol Mall is a bigger location than the site of the past years’ parties, this is sure to be blowout.
(Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp.)
We can’t think of a better place to usher in the future than in a setting that evokes the past, like Alexandria, Virginia, where the streets are lined with 18th century houses. The town’s First Night, now in its 22nd year, is a grand street party with more than 100 performances—from classical musicians and rock guitarists to dozens to keep the kids amused, from magicians to face painters. Fireworks mark the start of 2017.
Port Clinton, Ohio is a pretty small coastal town (population 6,000), but they celebrate New Year’s Eve in a big way. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Walleye Drop, a nod to the fish locals catch on Lake Erie. The celebration might sound like something out of a Tim Burton movie, what with the highlight being a 20-foot-long, 600-pound fiberglass fish dropping from the sky like the Times Square ball, but thousands of people from around the world go to bear witness and sample all kinds of walleye delicacies, from chowder to popcorn, and even wine. As if that isn’t quirky enough, there’s also the annual “Rock, Paper, Scissors” championship.
(Bill Gordon Photomaker Studios )
Nobody ever accused Portlandians of having too little fun. The city’s biggest party this year is Vote for Dancing, a full-on, no-holds-barred multi-day dance party at Jimmy Mak’s, one of the Northwest’s most notable jazz venues. Live performers and DJs run the gamut from indie rock to electronica to heavy metal tributes. There's even a yoga teacher for those looking to welcome the new year with a deep breath.
Massachusetts. Florida, and California are all states with world renowned beach towns. Michigan, however, holds its own in the waterside resort vacation game. From skiing to wineries to shopping to regular symphony performances and other musical concerts, Traverse City, Michigan, on the northern coast of Lake Michigan, has all the fixings of a beach town. On the new year, the city hosts CherryT Ball Drop, a grand street party with live music in it downtown. It offers the Midwest version of a ball drop to ring in the new year: an illuminated cherry descending as the clock counts down. The only cost is a donation of canned goods.
(Courtesy Traverse City Tourism)
One of the world’s most wondrous sites, Niagara Falls, is the backdrop to a free New Year’s Eve concert in Queen Victoria Park featuring a roster of Canadian musicians. There will be food and drinks for sale as well as a kid-free outdoor pavilion. Anywhere, however, is a good spot for viewing the fireworks display that lights up the Falls as the new year arrives. Festivities begin at 8PM.
(Courtesy Niagara Parks)