If you’re planning to travel to Vegas, New York, or any other New Year’s hot spot, you probably know where to watch the ball drop. But these classic NYE party cities have much more to offer than their midnight celebrations! So when the fireworks are over (and you’ve fully recovered, of course), venture out and explore some other great neighborhoods. Here’s to starting 2013 with some wanderlust!
If you’re in the Windy City to ring in the New Year, you should certainly add Lincoln Park to your list of spots to scout. With attractions like Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago History Museum, and Lincoln Park Conservatory and many upscale shops and restaurants, there’s something for everyone in Lincoln Park by day. At night though, Lincoln Park transforms and becomes a haven for 20-somethings. Bars like Delilah’s and The Barrelhouse Flat stretch along Lincoln Avenue, offering cheap drink specials and specialty crafted cocktails.
There’s nothing that says “Happy New Year” like watching the ball drop in NYC’s famed Times Square—the iconic event has lured visitors from around the world since 1908. Once the calendar turns though, exploring some of the cultural offerings in the East Village should be at the top of your to-do list. Chefs have made this neighborhood a foodie haven with award-winning restaurants like Momofuku Noodle Bar, Milk Bar, and Terroir Wine Bar. At night, enjoy a cocktail at Amor y Amargo, and then continue to relish the East Village scene at late-night Polish delis around Tompkins Square Park.
Ringing in the New Year at the Cosmopolitan or ARIA will certainly be glamorous. But when you’re done partying at the casinos and clubs, ditch the strip and get back in touch with Mother Nature. Head to the Summerlin/Red Rocks area, a part of Vegas that stuns visitors with breathtaking views of mountains. Though it’ll be cold, hiking Red Rock National Conservation Area is certainly a great way to start 2013.
If you’re lucky enough to be in New Orleans, the French Quarter is the place to be when the clock strikes 12—Bourbon Street will be filled with people sipping on Hurricanes and dancing their way into the New Year. But the fun never really stops in New Orleans, so when you want to explore somewhere new, head to Frenchman Street. At spots like d.b.a. New Orleans or The Spotted Cat Music Club, you’ll hear amazing live jazz tunes and wonder why you didn’t spend more time on this side of town.
Watching fireworks over the ocean is one fabulous way to ring in the New Year. But if you want to explore more than just the beach, head to North Park (rated a "Top 20" Hipster neighborhood by Forbes) to enjoy the cafes, microbreweries, and nightlife. Craft brews and unique pizzas can be found at Urbn Pizza, and vegetarians can nosh on veggie burgers at Veg-N-Out. It’s a great urban alternative to California’s beachside city.
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Photo of Chicago courtesy of Shutterstock. Photo of New York courtesy of Shutterstock. Photo of Red Rock courtesy of Shutterstock. Photo of San Diego courtesy of Shutterstock. Photo of New Orleans courtesy of Dana Ward / Shutterstock.com.
Stephanie Ainza's a travel expert and Community Manager at the online travel site, Hipmunk. Her favorite travels have included backpacking across 10 countries in Europe, zip lining in Costa Rica, and food tastin' in New Orleans.More from this Author