AAA Travel Tips / 5 Places to Spend New Year's Eve

5 Places to Spend New Year's Eve

iStockphoto.com/SeanPavonePhoto
By Samantha Brown , Host of “Samantha Brown's Places to Love”
November 12, 2019
Today I’m thinking about one of the biggest nights of the year, New Year’s Eve. While it brings out the party animals and bucket-listers in droves, I always seem to hear the same thing from friends and family. Their main goal is to spend a relatively quiet and peaceful evening with the people they love: Ringing in the year in a memorable fashion, but not too memorable. I have to agree. Avoiding wild crowds seems like a great idea.
Here are several places to consider if you want to travel but are looking for a (relatively) peaceful New Year's Eve.
Charleston South Carolina
iStockphoto.com/Sean Pavone

Charleston, S.C.

A perfect getaway for a family or couple looking for a relaxing and quiet New Year’s celebration, Charleston, S.C., is known for its friendly nature, Southern charm, bed-and-breakfasts, historic neighborhoods, museums and stylish boutique hotels. The weather is usually mild, and there is a lot to do outside of visiting the various historic sites in the area. If you feel like a party, you can buy tickets for the USS Yorktown’s NYE Countdown, billed as the East Coast’s only aircraft carrier ball drop. The carrier, a decommissioned warship at Patriot Point Naval and Maritime Museum, is transformed into a unique venue for a celebration. You’ll enjoy live music inside the airplane hangar and atop the (heated) flight deck if you have VIP access.
ski skiing winter snow lift trail trails
Shutterstock.com/steve estvanik

Denver, Colo.

Yes, it’s a big city and not always quiet and peaceful. Denver, Colo., is on my list because of its laid-back feel and accessibility from either coast. The city and surrounding areas are jam-packed with things to do, making it an ideal New Year’s destination. First, the celebration centers around the downtown area (16th Street Mall) with fireworks, and while sparkling wine might be fine for many celebrations, I recommend you explore the microbreweries. The Denver Beer Triangle (Beer-muda Triangle) boasts more than six dozen breweries. You’ll have plenty of options to choose from and no shortage of beer selections. All of this within a few hours of some of the best ski resorts in the country, so you can wrap-up your trip with a few days of enjoying mountain air, skiing or snowboarding. Sounds like a winner to me!
Napa Valley Wine Train
Courtesy of Napa Valley Wine Train

Napa Valley, Calif.

I have to admit: I’d love to spend New Year’s in Napa Valley. You really can’t beat the wine, mild climate, amazing Northern California gourmet meals and tons of places to explore. While it’s pretty quiet in Napa during the holidays, there are plenty of events to keep you busy and sometimes wineries offer a dinner package that offer a full evening of food, wine and celebration. Better yet, you can book a ticket on the Wine Train for a pretty impressive New Year’s ball. Talk about unique, spending the occasion on a train sipping sparkling wine, playing casino tables, dancing and posing with your people in the photo booth seems like a great way to celebrate.
Hard Rock Hotel San Diego
Courtesy of the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego

San Diego, Calif.

While it’s not exactly quiet, ringing in the New Year San Diego-style can be grand and glamorous or more intimate and relaxing. You choose your speed and to-do list, and San Diego, Calif., delivers the experience. There are so many choices: Head down to a beach party on the bay, book your ticket aboard a luxury yacht or dinner cruise, make reservations for dinner and show, or book an evening at your favorite club or resort like the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego. While you’re likely to see fireworks on your cruise, you may want to return during the day for some whale watching. About this time of year gray whales can be spotted making their journey from Alaska to Baja. You’d have a very good chance of seeing them and starting your New Year off in a dramatic fashion.
Santa Fe New Mexico
iStockphoto.com/DenisTangneyJr

Santa Fe, N.M.

Probably the quietest city on the list, Santa Fe, N.M., is not known as a party town. That might make it attractive to a couple or family looking for a great experience without the crowds. What you get in Santa Fe is a unique canvas to paint your New Year’s celebration however you want. Take a stroll through Canyon Road to see the art galleries, explore the Georgia O’Keefe Museum, and see early Pueblo architecture at Puye Cliff Dwellings. There are plenty of events going on to make your New Year’s Eve memorable for all the right reasons.
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