Some of the absolute best places to visit on New Years Eve 2018 are right here in North America. Here’s an overview of some of the best New Years Eve 2018 festivals across Canada and the United States.
Perhaps the most timeless, and certainly the most widely known New Years celebration, takes place in New York City. December 31st turns Times Square into an impossibly loud, bright, bustling swarm of people. No wait, that’s New York in general.
New Years Eve 2018 is a whole other level of crazy. The idea of being shoulder to shoulder with upwards of a million strangers can be a rather unsettling thought – especially if you happen to be from some quaint Canadian suburb, like me. So if you are thinking of braving the mob there are some things to keep in mind. The most obvious is to get there early. The festivities begin at 6:00PM EST, but people start arriving in the afternoon just to get a good spot. That said make a plan for yourself regarding when and how you will be getting to Time’s Square. Certain roads actually get shut down in the hours leading up to the celebrations, so be sure you know how to get around. And definitely bundle up. You will probably be out in the cold for a long time.
So what is it about New York that still makes it one of the best places to visit on New Years Eve 2018? What convinces close to a million people to brave the cold and the crowds each year? Well, in spite of the general insanity that revolves around NYC at this time of year, the celebration itself really is spectacular. A schedule, containing a list of the entertainers performing that night should be posted on the Times Square website later this month. However, ABC has thus far confirmed Camila Cabello, Nick Jonas, and Sugarland to be performing in Times Square for the 2018 celebrations. At midnight, the iconic Ball drops and the sky lights up with one of the most famous firework displays on the globe.
If this is your first visit to New York City, be sure to check out our recent post: How to Showcase New York City to Visitors.
The New Years Eve 2018 pyrotechnic display at Niagara is absolutely a sight worth seeing. Each year fireworks explode over the water, first at 9:00PM EST, then again at midnight. Meanwhile the already impressive waterfalls are bathed in an array of neon lights, giving the water a strangely psychedelic appearance. Nearby at Queen Victoria Park, a series of musical performances takes place, and unlike Times Square where there are no refreshments or public bathrooms, the park offers a number of food and drink stands. According to the Niagara Falls website, their New Years Eve 2018 celebrations are set to include performances by Mariana’s Trench, Simple Plan, Jess Moskaluke, and the James Barker Band. Though the celebrations here are can’t compare with the scale or general press coverage as those in New York, Niagara offers the same sense of celebration without packing you shoulder to shoulder with approximately a million strangers. That isn’t to say the Falls are not a popular attraction. Each year they convince thousands upon thousands of locals and tourists alike, that Niagara Falls is indeed one of the best places to visit on New Years Eve 2018.
The Falls are in fact so popular at this time of year that you’ll probably have trouble parking if you get there later than 8:00PM EST. And the crowds at Queen Victoria Park may not be one million strong, but make no mistake, they are genuinely massive. Traffic in the general area surrounding the Falls becomes particularly chaotic at this time of year so consider taking public transit, and regardless of how you get there, dress warmly. Even in the summer, being near the water makes everything around it that much cooler. In the winter, the pleasant mist that drifts out of the Niagara gorge can turn into an icy flurry of cold air and snow. For that reason I cannot put enough stress on how important it is to check the weather in advance and dress accordingly.
Canada’s capital city offers a whole day of festivities to say goodbye to 2017. This year was the nation’s 150th birthday, and to commemorate the milestone, the city of Ottawa is hosting the “Canada 150 Closing Party on the Hill.” An outdoor skating rink and a variety of dance performances are offered throughout the day, so for families with children looking to spend a day of outdoor fun on the ice, Ottawa might just be one of the best places to visit on New Years Eve 2018. That said, the actual Closing Party begins at 9:00PM EST with a laser and pyrotechnics show. The finale of the evening is a performance by Canadian rapper and record producer, Kardinal Offishal. If you’re a fan of hiphop, winter sports, or you just happen to be particularly patriotic this could be the event for you.
Walt Disney World
The best part of winter is probably the holidays. And for decades Walt Disney World has been known as one of the most famous, and perhaps even one of the best places to visit during the this time of year. It stands to reason then that they’d have a massive celebration to end the year. Spending New Years Eve 2018 at Disney is going to be vastly different than in New York, Niagara, or Ottawa. For starters, it won’t be nearly as cold. Good thing too, because if you plan on spending New Years at Disney, you need to prepare for a lot of walking outdoors. Performances by Cirque du Soleil and a variety of musical guests all lead up to a brilliant fireworks finale in the Magic Kingdom at midnight.
The park is best known as a family destination, but offers a number of New Years Eve 2018 events catered to older audiences as well. Disney’s “Countdown to Midnight” is advertised as an “adult-exclusive New Years Eve 2018 celebration.” The event requires prior registration and specifies a formal dress code. But for families with children, almost any other portion of the park is an appropriate place to spend New Years Eve 2018.
Last but by no means least on our list, is San Francisco. The city’s yearly fireworks display over the San Francisco Bay Bridge is reputed to be genuinely stunning. The waterfront display attracts hundreds of thousands of onlookers each year, and certainly makes our list of best places to visit for New Years Eve 2018. In addition to lining up along the sidewalks surrounding the Bay Bridge, viewers have the option of taking a cruise to view the fireworks up close. A number of such cruises offer drinks, and live entertainment to make your evening that much more comfortable. There are also quite a few restaurants with views of the fireworks, many of which offer New Years Eve 2018 discounts to patrons who understandably want a full stomach to go with the pyrotechnic display. As with all the other festivals mentioned previously, it is always a good idea to plan ahead. The restaurants near the Bay Bridge for instance, fill up rather quickly, so making a reservation if possible is a good idea. Public transit is also the recommended means of travel since traffic in the general vicinity is expected to be truly chaotic.
It should go without saying, but New Years Eve 2018 is an occasion that marks new beginnings. As such it’s associated with a sense of hope. Whether we actually go through with them or not, there’s a reason so many of us pledge to adopt good habits or kick bad ones around this time of year. We’re hoping that this year we’ll find the will power to be our best selves, and leave whatever failures or grievances we may have experienced in the past.
If your city is not on this list, discover New Year 2018 events near you at Chillwall, and have a very happy New Year.