Sick of that same old ball dropping or watching that same boring Dick Clark special every year? Get out of town and hit the road for something completely new. There are several destinations across America that throw the most unique New Years Eve bashes around- and you’ve never heard of them.
I’m not talking about New York or Vegas, where you’ll spend half of your evening squeezing your body through all-too-crowded spaces. I speak of the cities and towns across America that know the real meaning of New Years: how to bring it in with culture and style.
I’ve compiled a ‘top five list’ of these places across the country so those of you within driving distance can get away from the same old crowd and welcome 2009 the right way. (And as always, price is a consideration considering how much a glass of champagne and a rental tux costs nowadays).
1. New Orleans, LA
Head down to the Big Easy to catch a beautiful fireworks display on the Mississippi River, and then embrace the city’s celebration culture as the biggest party of 2008 spills out into the Quarter. New Orleans does everything a bit different, so don’t expect that same ole’ ball to drop this time around. This year, a grand gold and black fleur de lis will climb a 25 foot high pole above Jax Brewery as fireworks light up the Mississippi. And don’t forget to fill up on some savory Creole cookin’ before midnight.
Where to Stay: With budget in mind, the Frenchmen Orleans is a New Orleans Hotel just minutes from the festivities of the quarter, and offers comfortable accommodations for a night or weekend in the Big Easy.
2. Austin, TX
The mix of history and celebration in Austin guarantees anyone can have a unique experience over New Year’s weekend. The city’s official New Year’s celebration will take place all across the city, although most people will be partying on the city’s famed 6th Street. Live music and exhibitions will take place at Auditorium Shores, Cesar Chavez, City Hall, on South Congress, and more. At midnight, a fireworks display will explode high over Lady Bird Lake.
Where to Stay: We recommend the cozy Brava House Bed & Breakfast a retreat of urban serenity located in downtown Austin. You’ll appreciate the peace and quiet after experiencing a night out partying in one of the most exubrent cities in America.
3. Charleston, SC
Charleston is the perfect romantic city for a couple to ring in 2009. It posses the perfect combination of elegance, history and style that can make for a relaxing and celebratory New Year’s Eve.
New Year’s Charleston is a city wide, admission-free program that has something wonderful for everyone: comedy, African dancing, many forms of music including classical, gospel and jazz, children’s activities and so much more. Food vendors will be on hand to tempt your appetite and add to the celebration.
Where to stay: The Church Street Inn is a romantic 19th century Charleston Hotel, that possesses both history and luxury for an affordable price. It is located right beside the city’s historic public market.
4. Santa Cruz, CA
Relax while welcoming 2009 in the chill California town of Santa Cruz. Get a front row view of the Pacific at the Concunut Grove New Year’s Extravaganza as you sip champagne and make your New Year’s resolutions. Be sure to finish the night off by heading down to Beach Street to do some bar hopping as you get acquainted with Santa Cruz.
Where to Stay: The Coconut Grove offers a variety of ways to make room for groups’ specific needs and requirements within the Grand Ballroom and Sun Room.
5. Jackson Hole, WY
Ski into your new year at the winter paradise of Jackson Hole. This snow bum’s utopia offers a plethora of activities that will make your New Year’s Eve unique and memorable. Whether your vice is skiing, snowboarding, or dog sledding, Jackson Hole can push your new year off to an exciting and adventurous start. After your adventure, relax with a champagne toast while laying back in a hot tub while the snowy wonderland sparkles in the distance.
Where to stay: The Grand Targhee Resort’s Targhee Lodge, which is located directly in the base area of this fantastic all-season mountain resort.