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10 Wacky and Wonderful Places to Spend New Year’s Eve

The countdown is on! Ring in 2024 at one of these quirky events

spinner image fireworks burst in the background as bethlehem pennsylvania drops a giant glowing peep for new years
Visitors can celebrate the new year with a giant yellow chick at the PEEPS Chick Drop in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Jeff Fusco/AP Images for Just Born Quality Confections

What are you going to do to make this year’s New Year’s Eve special? Watch the ball drop in Times Square? Been there. Join millions of revelers on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro for the world’s largest party? Bor-ing. Declare your love for Sally? Harry beat you to it. No, you need fresh ideas for 2024. Here are 10 great weird and wonderful ways to ring in the new year.

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spinner image new years in boise idaho is celebrated by dropping a giant winged potato
An illuminated GlowTato signals the new year in Boise, Idaho.
Sarah A. Miller/Idaho Statesman via AP

The Idaho Potato Drop​ 
Boise, Idaho

​Soon enough, your New Year’s resolutions will have you saying no to carbs. Before you swear off spuds, embrace the tater at the 11th annual Boise celebration of the mighty Idaho-grown potato. To celebrate this famous crop drop, Boise will once again host the free event on the grounds of the Idaho State Capitol for thousands of spectators waiting to watch the 2,000-pound illuminated GlowTato signal the new year. 

What else: Purchase VIP (which, of course, stands for “very important potato”) tickets for a reserved space near the drop, craft cocktails and complimentary appetizers.

Where to stay: The Courtyard Boise Downtown is less than a mile from the event. Yes, its bistro serves french fries.

spinner image david benson cleans the giant acorn he sculpted for raleigh north carolinas new years acorn drop
A 10-foot-tall acorn drops in City Plaza at the Raleigh Acorn Drop in North Carolina.
AP Photo/The News and Observer, John Rottet

Raleigh Acorn Drop​ 
Raleigh, North Carolina

​Sometimes you feel like a nut, especially on New Year’s Eve. For more than two decades, Raleigh has paid tribute to its nickname (“City of Oaks”) by dropping a giant, 10-foot-tall acorn in City Plaza. Prep for the big eve with a full day of fun, including a children’s celebration in the early afternoon, Ferris wheel rides and local food vendors.

What else: The Acorn Drop and festivities are all part of Raleigh’s annual First Night celebration, which features live performances in many downtown locations. Tickets are $16 for adults, $12 for children ages 6-12 and admission is free for children under the age of 5.

Where to stay: The StateView Hotel, walking distance from the lovely campus at North Carolina State, is about a 10-minute drive to the Acorn Drop.

spinner image 2023 red shoe drop in Key West, FL
A giant high-heeled red shoe kicks off the new year in Key West, Florida.
Florida Keys News Bureau

​​The Red Shoe Drop​ 
Key West, Florida

​For the past 25 years, entertainer Gary “Sushi” Marion has descended at midnight in a giant high-heeled red shoe in front of the Bourbon Street Pub. Sushi retired after last year’s drop, but the show will go on this year with a new star, Christopher Peterson, and the same epic pump. (Fun fact: The heel is 4 feet tall.)

What else: Thousands crowd onto Duval Street to see the shoe drop, but there are other celebrations planned in Key West: a lowering of the pirate wench at Schooner Wharf Bar, a conch shell drop at Sloppy Joe’s Bar and a “key lime drop” at Sunset Pier.

Where to stay: Rooms fill up fast, and prices go up for NYE, but if you want to stay near the shoe drop, try the Duval Inn, within walking distance of the festivities, or the Southernmost Beach Resort on Duval Street. 

spinner image the stage of nashville tennessees new years party the nashville big bash
Nashville hosts a star-studded musical celebration on New Year’s Eve.
Getty

Nashville’s Big Bash​ 
Nashville, Tennessee

​​Three huge acts — Thomas Rhett, Lainey Wilson and Lynyrd Skynyrd — will play the main stage at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park on NYE, headlining a free country ’n’ rock night filled with music, fireworks and revelry. For those who want to feel like they get the most out of their experience as they two-step (or air guitar) around downtown, the Gold Circle Party Package includes VIP access and lodging.

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What else: Most cities feature a drop at midnight, and Nashville is no different. Befitting the town’s Music City moniker, a music note drop happens at midnight. 

Where to stay: The Grand Hyatt Nashville is just over a mile from the park, and most rooms have a great view of the city. 

spinner image on new years plymouth wisconsin drops a giant wedge of bellavitano cheese
A lighted wedge of cheese brightens the celebrations at the Plymouth Arts Center in Plymouth, Wisconsin.
John Enockson

Sartori Big Cheese Drop​ 
Plymouth, Wisconsin

​If some of these celebrations sound a little too bland and not nearly cheesy enough for you, why not give Wisconsin a try? Ring in 2024 on a brisk, cold night under a huge lighted wedge of BellaVitano Gold lowered at 10 p.m. (Why 10 p.m.? Family town, family event, family hours.) Although it’s not a real wedge of cheese, the first 250 families at the celebration get a bag of Sartori cheese. After the drop, live music continues inside the Plymouth Arts Center (PAC) through midnight.

What else: Get fired up starting at 8:30 p.m. in the PAC Greatroom listening to live music from the 1950s and ’60s by the tribute band II Cool.

Where to stay: The Baymont by Wyndham Plymouth is about a six-minute drive from the Plymouth Arts Center. 

spinner image for new years in mobile alabama a giant moon pie is dropped
Visitors can see a 12-foot-tall MoonPie drop in Mobile, Alabama.
AP Photo/AL.com, Mike Brantley

MoonPie Over Mobile 
Mobile, Alabama

​To quote Jasper Beardsley of The Simpsons, “Moon pie … what a time to be alive.” You’ll feel just that special if you make your way to Mobile for the annual NYE MoonPie drop. The entire day at Mardi Gras Park is MoonPie-themed: a noon drop for kids; an evening “cutting of the MoonPie,” with bites of the world’s largest lunar confection; and at midnight the countdown and drop of the 12-foot-tall MoonPie itself.

What else: This year’s headliners are a truly great collection of artists celebrating 50 years of hip-hop: Yo-Yo, Dana Dane, Big Daddy Kane, Slick Rick and Rob Base.

Where to stay: The Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel is steps from Mardi Gras Park and all the fun. 

spinner image in princess anne maryland new years is celebrated with the muskrat dive
Marshall P. Muskrat ­— a real stuffed muskrat — descends at midnight in downtown Princess Anne, Maryland.
Carrie Samis, Main Street Princess Anne

​​Midnight Muskrat Dive​
Princess Anne, Maryland

​On NYE, do you want to whirl and twirl and tango? Do you want to go singin’ and jinglin’ a jangle? Do you want to do the town and do it right? Then you need, as any Captain & Tennille fan knows, some muskrat love. You’ll find this in historic downtown Princess Anne, where they celebrate NYE with a “midnight muskrat dive.” Marshall P. Muskrat ­— a real stuffed muskrat — will once again be dressed in a high hat and cape as he drops (slowly, safely) from 30 feet in the air while the clock strikes 2024. The night will certainly feature food and music and possibly really bad Groundhog Day jokes, which, you know, are silly. Muskrats rule, groundhogs drool.

What else: The Princess Anne Historic District boasts approximately 270 structures of significant historical heritage. So get ready to read some pretty interesting placards.

Where to stay: The Henson hotel is located on the campus of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in the heart of town.

spinner image all hail the glowing new years peep at the bethlehem pennsylvania new years celebration
A glowing PEEPS chick brings in the new year in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Matt Smith/The Express-Times via AP, File

PEEPS Chick Drop 
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

PEEPSFEST. The place to be is the SteelStacks campus at 5:30 p.m., when they lower a 400-pound, 4-foot-9-inch lit PEEPS chick to celebrate the new year. Yes, tickets are required, but they’re only $5. What do you get for that? Gift bags for kids under 12, a s’mores kit and live music after the drop. 

What else: SteelStacks is a 10-acre campus that has repurposed the former home plant of Bethlehem Steel and turned it into a community arts and events site — one that can handle a 400-pound PEEPS chick, obviously.

Where to stay: Many of the downtown hotels are likely booked up, so try Candlewood Suites Bethlehem South, about a five-minute drive from campus.

spinner image people assemble in Eastport, Maine to watch the maple leaf drop
Both a maple leaf and a sardine are part of the celebration in Eastport, Maine.
Russ

Sardine & Maple Leaf Drop
Eastport, Maine

“Go East, Young Man” is not just a song by Elvis Presley. It’s also a directive on how to honor both the U.S. and Canada on NYE. Eastport, Maine — the easternmost city in the U.S., which sits along the Canadian border — holds two drops each year: a maple leaf drop to honor our northern neighbors at 11 p.m., and a sardine drop to honor the fishing town itself at midnight.

What else: At the Tides Institute & Museum of Art, revelers will sing “O Canada” at 11 p.m. and “Auld Lang Syne” at midnight. 

Where to stay: The Kilby House Inn Bed and Breakfast on Water Street is near the historic waterfront, town center and all the NYE action.

spinner image Chile drop in Las Cruces, New Mexico
A 19-foot sparkly chile pepper is lowered at midnight in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Tides Institute & Museum of Art

Chile Drop
Las Cruces, New Mexico

You want something spicy on New Year’s Eve? (Besides a jalapeño margarita, obviously.) Head to downtown Las Cruces, where you can ring in 2024 as celebrants lower a 19-foot chrome chile pepper covered in 2,400 sparkling LED lights. The party starts before then, around 9 p.m., with local musicians, food vendors (chiles rellenos, tacos, hot chocolate) and family entertainment.

What else: Before the chile drops, the crowd is asked to guess whether this year’s chile pepper is red or green — always a hot topic, since the debate as to which color chile is best rages daily in the Land of Enchantment, as New Mexico is known.

Where to stay: The new Courtyard by Marriott Las Cruces at New Mexico State University is centrally located and near the action.

Editor's note: This article was originally published on Dec. 12, 2022. It has been updated to reflect new information. 

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