New Year’s Eve is the one party millions of Americans and people around the world say goodbye the last 364 days. A lot can happen in just one year, so people see the night as an opportunity to celebrate, even after splurging so much during the Christmas holidays.
What better way to splurge than to go on vacation? After all, NYE is special, so many Americans don’t bat an eyelash at the resolution to take loved ones to a premier destination. The rich can go literally wherever they choose when money is no object. But for the rest of Americans and international tourists who rather keep a close watch on their bank accounts, choosing the best city to spend NYE means carefully considering their options.
Everybody has their own preferences, but the following list may offer some guidance on the most expensive (and cheapest) American cities to spend NYE. However, at the end of the year, it’s probably more about who you’re with than where you are.
10. Orlando, FL
Orlando, Florida is a perfect NYE destination where parents can celebrate the night with their children. Orlando is infamous for the highly popular Disney World theme park and Universal Orlando, common tourist traps where people of all ages ride the roller coasters and death-defying rides. There is also the brand new Wizarding World of Harry Potter that attracts children and adult fans by the hundreds. Orlando in general is a high-cost vacation spot, and NYE is no different. Expect to pay more than $170 per night for just a 3-star hotel.
9. Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles is an incredibly popular destination for NYE, where people go to beat the consistent cold of San Francisco and escape the crowds of Las Vegas. One of the biggest attractions of Los Angeles is the entertainment industry and the place were thousands of A-list stars call home. LA features some of the oldest and most famous bars, clubs, and restaurants in the U.S. and, although hotel costs do go on the rise during the holidays, $194 per night is a welcomed price for many. Besides, the festivities of NYE make it easy for tourists and residents to splurge.
8. Atlantic City, NJ
Atlantic City in New Jersey is known for its gambling and active night life, but staying here during NYE won’t cost as much as the more popular Las Vegas. This destination is perfect for people in the northern U.S. who want to celebrate the year’s end without going too far from their neck of the woods. Casinos, boardwalk parties and beaches are all waiting. Of course, to compliment the casinos and parties, there are dozens of fine hotels that will cater to any need — only for an average of $234 per night; very reasonable considering the prices in cities at the top of this list.
7. Las Vegas, NV
NYE in Sin City is an opportunity many would never refuse to pass up. It has the reputation of being a 24/7 party, so when one of the biggest celebrations in the U.S. rolls around, the city explodes with activities and the hotels surge with tourists. Gambling, DJs, clubs and unlimited bottle service are all there.
After high rollers book their suites in some of the finest hotels in the world, they attend the massive block party on the strip. However, for the more modest tourists, standard hotel prices start at an affordable — but expensive— $238 per night.
6. Denver, CO
Denver, Colorado, is immaculate in the summer, surrounded by green-hilled suburbs, mountains and a taste of the American mid-west. They offer annual celebrations for many special occasions, including NYE, and they take the event as an opportunity to attract tourists with neighborhood amenities and hotels that are a little more affordable. The city boasts skating rinks, lighting ceremonies, and a spectacular firework display (it wouldn’t be a proper NYE without one). Hotel prices do increase around this time of year, but free events like the Downtown Denver Grand Illumination keep people happy. During NYE, hotels cost upward of $241 per night.
5. Charleston, SC
Most Americans choose the cities listed above and below to spend their NYE. But there’s hardly a better place to experience unparalleled southern comfort than Charleston, South Carolina. Charleston holds the number one spot for boutique hotels, charming bars and antique shops many people can’t resist looking into. The city overall retains much of its old-world style while offering residents and tourists high quality restaurants. They have their annual Rose Ball with live bands and some of the best bed and breakfasts in the southern U.S.
4. San Francisco, CA
Why would anyone want to go to San Francisco for NYE? It’s in northern California, one of the warmest states in the U.S., but its bay location on the oceanside makes for cold days even in the summer. However, San Francisco is home to some of the best tourist attractions in the world, like the Golden gate Bridge, its iconic steep streets, vibrant community and nightlife.
Once you get there, it’s hard to stop spending money after putting down over $320 dollars for a night’s stay in a hotel. Staying with friends will significantly cut down the cost.
3. New York, NY
New York City is home of one of the biggest NYE gathering in America, where the infamous big light ball drops down in the middle of Times Square. New York is an expensive city anyway, but the prices of accommodations go up during a night as special as NYE where tourists can’t resist visiting. Visitors could try eating cheap street hot dogs during their entire stay, or maybe even booking a few nights in a hostel.
But if you want your experience in The Big Apple to be one to remember, you’re going to have to shell out at least $385 a night for your hotel (and it may not be all that luxurious).
2. Miami, FL
Go to Miami, Florida, any time of the year for the massive beach parties, even when there isn’t a special occasion happening like NYE. Dance clubs, bars and restaurants with 5-course meals line the shores of their ocean-front properties and resorts. There are a lot of free activities happening in Miami, but the hotel costs alone will set you back an average of $404 a night. That’s more money than some people make in two weeks. Still, it’s probably worth it.
1. Honolulu, HI
Warmer cities are usually the most popular as Americans try to escape the winter cold. There’s no better climate than Honolulu, Hawaii, where the median price for 3-star hotels skyrockets to $438 per night. On average, December and January are the busiest months for Honolulu, compared to the summer months. Tourists flock to the island for its ocean views and beaches, and honeymooners line up to their many resorts. There are dozens of Luau beach parties that celebrate NYE, plus hundreds of outdoor activities. However, $438 is too much for some people to justify going there. Still, for some, it’s a small price to pay to celebrate one of the biggest nights in the year in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.