Best Cities to Celebrate the New Year

Local businesses are notorious for hiking up their prices when big crowds are in town for a major event. That’s especially true for hotels, which can experience price increases of several hundred percent over the rest of the year. The last thing you want to do in the final hours of 2022 is ruin your finances over one night of entertainment when inflation will be pushing prices through the roof.

Fortunately, you have plenty of fun yet affordable options for celebrating #NYE2023. To help you decide where to count down to the new year, WalletHub compared the 100 biggest cities based on 29 key indicators of an epic New Year’s Eve celebration. The data set ranges from legality of fireworks to average price of a New Year’s Eve party ticket to forecasted precipitation for Dec. 31.

Fireworks over El Paso, Texas – courtesy of restaurantclicks.com

El Paso ranked in the top spot for the most affordable city to ring in 2023. Factors that contributed to this were the city’s low prices for New Year’s Eve event and party tickets, affordable dining options, cheaper taxi fares, and low-cost hotel options. The city also ranked high at #12 in safety and accessibility. Budget-conscious partiers won’t miss out on any fun, though. For those looking to dance the night away, The San Jose Ballroom, The Madrid Ballroom, and the Plaza Hotel all have festive celebrations planned, or head to the Hotel Paso del Norte for a masquerade party. All-you-can-bowl specials run through the night at Desert Strike Lanes and the Fort Bliss Centennial Club hosts a fun night of bingo and celebrations.

Other cities that ranked high in affordability: Durham, North Carolina; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Plano, Texas; Stockton, California; Glendale, Arizona

Waikiki beach fireworks – courtesy of hawaiiblt.com

WalletHub used several metrics to calculate the safety and accessibility of each city including their walkability, traffic congestion, flight delays, neighborhood security, DUI-related fatalities per capita, and car theft rate. Laredo, Texas came out on top in this category, but unfortunately got the bottom spot in entertainment. However, Honolulu just narrowly came in second for safety while earning a modest 29th place for entertainment—and who can complain about ringing in the new year in a tropical paradise? Tourists can enjoy a renowned fireworks display over Waikiki Beach, or hop on a boat cruise to dance and party the night away. Bourbon Street also hosts the Trap Gala NYE Ball that features live entertainment and a variety of music.

Other cities that ranked high in safety: Laredo, Texas; Jersey, New Jersey; Hialeah, Florida; Raleigh, North Carolina

Resolution Denver – courtesy of revolutiondenver.com

Most cities that ranked high in entertainment and overall experience came at a steep cost when it came to average hotel, ticket, and restaurant prices, ranking in the 80s and 90s for overall cost. Denver, however, keeps things fairly reasonable and falls just in the middle (#54) of WalletHub’s rankings for affordability. Ranking 6th overall and 12th for best entertainment, visitors and locals alike won’t miss out a great experience. Join a massive dance party at Resolution Denver, make your way through a bar crawl, take a spin around the ice at Skyline Park’s downtown rink, or enjoy a musical performance at The Fillmore. Families with children will also appreciate a special celebration earlier during the day on New Year’s Eve at the Children’s Museum on the Denver Marsico Campus, featuring a ball drop ever hour from 9am until 4pm.

Other cities for great entertainment: Las, Vegas, Nevada; Atlanta, Georgia; Orlando, Florida; San Francisco, California

Times Square – courtesy of usatoday.com

Not surprisingly, New York City took the top spot in entertainment which gave it the edge to lead in the best overall rankings, too. Nothing beats Times Square for New Year’s Eve, and despite the huge number of attendees, the Big Apple also ranked an impressive sixth when it came to safety. However, the most popular New Year’s Eve party in America comes at a cost. New York City ranked 98th (out of 100) for affordability. Times Square might be the most hashtag-worthy spot for ringing in the new year, but it’s certainly not the best if you’re a frugal partier seeking an equally grand experience. Still, if you can avoid the high cost of a hotel by visiting with friends or family, or if you live within a reasonable commuting distance to and from Manhattan, you can still take advantage of the festivities without breaking the bank.

— For a complete list of rankings, visit WalletHub.

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