Nothing says New Year’s like Times Square and the ball dropping at midnight. If you plan in advance and are well prepared for it, the city can be a source of wonders for those wishing to end the year with a bang. One of the major attractions of spending New Year’s Eve in New York City is that most of the entertainment is free, right out on the streets. Times Square transforms into a world of lights on the 31st, with Broadway show performers, laser lights and fireworks bringing the streets to life. If you arrive in Times Square by 7:00 p.m., you will receive complimentary masks, hats and balloons; starting at 8:00 p.m. there’s an hourly countdown that includes performances, confetti and New Year’s wishes from celebrities.
If a crowd of a few thousand people doesn't sound too appealing, NYC also has other places where you can gather to celebrate the end of the year in style. A popular option is a New Year's Eve cruise. Nearly all of New York City's party boats offer special New Year's Eve packages, offering such features as live music, DJs, open bars, complimentary buffet dinners, free champagne toasts and party favors--not to mention a great view of the fireworks.
If lights are your thing, Las Vegas won’t disappoint. The self-styled partying capital of the world, Las Vegas comes alive in a number of ways to celebrate the end of the year. The Fremont Street Experience is the center of the celebrations, with a countdown led by the mayor and a number of musical shows that include tribute bands, virtual fireworks and clips and acts on the giant screen. Stages are spread throughout the area, and several bands play live throughout the night. Theaters, hotel lounges and nightclubs around the city also offer their own end-of-the-year parties, which often include live music, free-flowing drinks and upscale performances. Stars often have special concerts on New Year's Eve, and many lead their own parties at the casinos’ main celebration halls. Tickets sell well in advance, so plan accordingly.
A popular choice among celebrities during the holiday season, Aspen offers you the chance to immerse yourself in a winter wonderland for New Year's Eve. Hotels and restaurants offer gala dinners, and ski lanes are open well into the night. Up until 8:00 p.m., skaters can have fun for free at the Silver Circle Ice Rink at Wagner Park. After that, you can stick around for a bonfire and a DJ, or head to Aspen Mountain to see the fireworks.