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15 Best U.S. Cities for New Year’s Eve

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Countries all around the world have their New Year’s traditions.

In the United States, customs abound, from watching a crystal-covered ball drop in New York’s Times Square and drinking sparkling spirits at midnight to eating black-eyed peas and making resolutions on Jan. 1.

A study by the personal finance website WalletHub estimated that some 125 million Americans will travel for the New Year’s holiday this year, the majority by automobile. Half plan to spend New Year’s Eve with family or friends.

Sixty-four percent of celebrants will spend at least $50 on food and drink. In New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, a couple will shell out an average of $872 to enjoy dinner and a show.

Auto thieves will be busy at the turn of the year. The study noted that New Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve are the first and fourth most popular U.S. holidays for them to make off with your car.

As to those New Year’s resolutions, the second Friday in January looms. According to WalletHub, that’s known as “Quitters Day,” when 23% of Americans admit that they failed to accomplish any resolutions they made, including exercising more and eating healthier. 

For Americans intent on traveling at year-end, WalletHub determined the best spots for celebrating New Year’s Eve by comparing the 100 most populated U.S. cities across three key dimensions: 

  • Entertainment and food, including New Year’s Eve popularity, legality of fireworks and restaurants per capita;
  • Costs, including restaurant meal expenses, the lowest price per three-star hotel room on New Year’s Eve, and beauty salon and haircut costs;
  • Safety and accessibility, including walkability, neighborhood security and forecasted precipitation on Dec. 31.

Analysts evaluated those dimensions using 26 relevant metrics, and graded each one on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most favorable conditions for New Year’s Eve partiers. They then determined each city’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score.

“When choosing which city to spend New Year’s in, it’s important to consider a variety of factors, from the activities offered to how big the crowds will be to what weather you can expect,” WalletHub analyst Cassandra Happe said in a statement. 

“The biggest concern has to be the cost. Hotels and restaurants may hike their prices significantly for the holiday, which puts an extra strain on people’s wallets after they have already been hit hard by inflation.”

See the accompanying gallery for the 15 top cities for New Year’s Eve.

(Credit: Adobe Stock)