So … what are you doing for New Year’s Eve? You could always go to your neighbor’s party. You know, the one where there’s too much drinking, not enough protein and the weird cousins who want to do the sing-along. Or you could make an event of it and travel to one of the hottest destinations to ring in 2019. There are so many places to choose from in the United States and around the world that we called in an expert, Alexis Tiacoh of Expedia, to give us some tips on where the best parties are happening.
Where to Go
“New York, London, Paris, Sydney and Hong Kong are known for their uber-famous New Year’s Eve parties and tend to be the most popular,” Tiacoh says. “Last year we looked at where U.S. travelers would be spending New Year’s Eve and a majority of those destinations were close to home.” Those cities included:
- New York: There’s perhaps no more iconic way to ring in the year. More than 1 million people flock to Times Square and 1 billion people from around the world watch the broadcast to see the ball drop at midnight.
- San Francisco: Every year the city puts on a free fireworks display from barges located 1,000 feet out in the bay. The 15-minute show begins at midnight on New Year’s Eve.
- Denver: Whether you’re in the clean, crisp air of the Rocky Mountains or enjoying the New Year’s Eve Fireworks Downtown, you’re in one of the most magical places in the country.
- Orlando: The only thing more magical than the great outdoors is probably Walt Disney World, which has fun New Year’s festivities for children and adults. Epcot puts on an impressive light and laser show, and Magic Kingdom’s Fantasy in the Sky fireworks display is a must-see.
- Atlanta: Watch the peach drop downtown in the Southeast’s largest New Year’s Eve celebration.
- Seattle: There’s no feeling quite like watching fireworks spring out of the Space Needle, and you can see them from pretty much anywhere. Try Gas Works Park, Alki Beach, a rooftop or even aboard a ferry.
According to Expedia data, there are other places that are also trending for this New Year, so perhaps consider one of these alternatives:
- Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos and Cancun: Step out for a Mexican-style street party, or join the revelry at one of the restaurants ready to serve up a feast.
- Las Vegas: You thought Las Vegas was nuts on a Saturday night? Try New Year’s Eve, when the entire strip shuts down to cars, and partiers spill out into the night to see the over-the-top fireworks display.
- Miami: There are beaches galore where you can watch fireworks; seaside hotels also step it up with music, champagne and dancing. Bonus: You can do it all in your bathing suit!
- Honolulu: There are so many idyllic spots to ring in the new year, but the party’s happening at Kakaako Waterfront Park with entertainment, rides, food trucks and, of course, fireworks.
- Los Angeles: There are a million ways to celebrate in Los Angeles, whether you’re at the beach or in the hills. Or you can join local Angelenos downtown at City Hall for an all-night dance party.
- Bangkok: This party-ready city has festivities at the Central World Shopping Plaza (where you can watch screens of other celebrations around the world during the countdown), on the Chao Phraya River, Khao San Road and pretty much any rooftop you can access.
Plan Well and Early
Tiacoh says the “sweet spot” for booking the cheapest travel is 21 to 60 days in advance, with an average 5% savings. For hotels, if you book a standalone one, zero to six days out, you can save up to 30%, as hoteliers try to book unsold rooms—but you’re also taking a risk if everything’s sold out. You can also save money by bundling your flight and hotel reservations.
And if your idea of a great New Year’s Eve is to fire up Netflix, pour a glass of bubbly and fall asleep at 12:01 a.m., that’s fine too. There’s always next year.