If you’ve stayed home the last few years and ordered in Chinese food to watch the ball drop on New Year’s Eve – it’s time to shake things up and usher in 2012 with a little excitement.
Here are five affordable and festive destinations that might just become an annual tradition.
Talk about an amazing backdrop to ring in the New Year. Join 40,000 other revelers in Queen Victoria Park – the main area to view the magnificent falls – for a concert and two brilliant fireworks displays. The event kicks-off at 7:30 p.m. with fireworks going off just before 9:00 and again at midnight. Click here for more information on the concert.
If you’d rather stay warm and celebrate New Year’s Eve inside – call Niagara Falls Tourism at 1-800-563-2557 for a list of events happening at establishments around the area.
Bang for your buck: Stay just a block away from the festivities at the Comfort Inn Clifton Hill. The hotel features a pool, free continental breakfast and kids stay free 18 and under with an adult. We checked out the dates of Dec. 30 – Jan. 1st and found rates starting at $197 for a room with two standard beds. Click here for more.
Surround yourself with southern hospitality this New Year’s Eve by celebrating in the historic coastal city of Savannah. Whether you want to spend the night outside listening to music or on the river – there are plenty of options. Head to City Market for an outdoor street party, which features live music that starts at 9:00 p.m. and goes well after midnight. No reservations and no tickets required.
For some beach action, check out Tybee Island, located just 20 minutes east of Savannah. Enjoy the fireworks display at midnight from the pier or from the beach. If you’re feeling up to it the next day, start 2012 with a bang, by taking a dip in the Atlantic Ocean during the island’s annual Polar Bear Plunge. It’s sure to cure any hangover that might be lingering.
Bang for your buck: If you want to see the sights and avoid the crowds - Savannah Riverboat Tours is a perfect option. Their New Year’s Eve dinner cruise sets sail at 7:00 p.m. and returns at 9:00. Tickets for adults are just $48.95.
Accommodations around the city aren’t that much more. You can reserve a room at the Baymont Inn and Suites Savannah Garden City, located just three miles from the historic district, for $60.00 a night. Go to Savannahvisit.com for more information on lodging and events.
Known as the “Live Music Capitol of the World” – the city of Austin, Texas certainly knows how to energize a crowd, and this year is no different, but instead of leaving the kiddos behind – bring them along and celebrate "Austin’s New Year" (ANY).
It started last year when the city came up with a family-friendly event featuring food, art, film and of course plenty of live music. The theme is “family-friendly, downtown, non-alcohol New Year’s Eve event.”
The event starts at 5:00 p.m. and wraps up at 10:30. After you put the kids to bed, head over to 6th street, known as “the heart of Austin’s live music scene.”
Bang for your buck: Located just minutes from downtown, the Crown Plaza Hotel has rates starting as low as $90.00 per night for a standard room. Check out AustinTexas.org for more information on accommodations and events. Key West, Florida Ringing in the New Year without the kids?
Why not go to a place where any goes --Key West. Whether you’re dressed up or dressed down, it doesn’t matter on Duval Street where all the revelry takes place. Celebrate in the southernmost city at Sloppy Joe’s Bar where they have their annual dropping of the conch shell, or set your sights on “Sushi,” the town’s most famous drag queen as she descends in a six-foot red heel shoe from the balcony of the Bourbon Street Pub.
If you’re looking for all-night fun, this is the place to go. Plus, its toasty warm and you don’t need a passport.
Bang for your buck: Because New Year’s Eve is such a popular event in Key West, a lot of the hotels are booked up, and the ones that are not fully booked, are pretty pricey. So we suggest going in with a few friends on a vacation rental. Check out VBRO.com for more information.
The party is so big in Las Vegas they shut down the entire Vegas Strip to accommodate the tens of thousands of people who come to Sin City to usher in the New Year. Known as “America’s Party” this year’s theme is “Party Las Vegas.”
The festivities are free and include a spectacular fireworks display, but remember if you don’t want to spend the whole night outside, get into a hotel before 11:00 p.m. That’s when they stop letting people in.
If the Strip isn’t for you, make your way to the Fremont Street Experience, a pedestrian promenade located in downtown Vegas. Here you’ll find the Viva Vision light show featuring millions and millions of lights and 14 hours of live music on three different stages. You must be 21 years old to attend. Admission is $30.00.
In true Vegas fashion, the possibilities for New Year’s Eve in this city are endless. You just have to find the event that is right for you and your wallet. Click here for more information on New Year’s events happening in Vegas.
Bang for your buck: Just like Key West, rooms are booking up fast and prices are a bit higher than usual, but we did find a good deal at Circus Circus located on the north end of the Vegas Strip. Starting at $219.00 per night, you can get a king room from Friday Dec. 30 – Sunday Jan. 1. If you want some more affordable places to stay, look beyond the Strip. We found rates at the Alexis Park Resort, just a half-mile from all the action, for as low as $158.00 per night.
There's no better way to start the year off with festive celebrations, and ringing in 2012 and saving a bundle makes it even better.