Annual New Years Eve celebrations in the Southwest US

New Years Eve in San AntonioGet out of the snow and head for the warm Southwest for your New Years Eve celebration. There are some fantastic New Years Eve celebrations in the Southwest US that are growing every year. Here’s a sampling to get you planning your New Years party getaway:

If you want a family-style New Years Eve try out the Tempe Fiesta Bowl Block Party just southeast of Phoenix. Tempe, a college town, hosts a huge block party that starts before sundown and ends with a spectacular fireworks display.  Early in the evening you’ll see plenty of families strolling Mill Avenue. But later in the evening, the party gears up and is more of a typical New Years event.

You’ll find the block party entrance in the Mill Avenue district of Tempe.  Dubbed the Fiesta Bowl block party, it’s a celebration of community and of college football.  There’s plenty of music with two stages featuring name bands and “march-throughs” of the college marching bands. One of my favorite things to do is to get a balcony seat at Gordon Biersch Brewery and watch the revelry from there. Purchase tickets online.

Young adults love the gathering at the Scottsdale Ultimate Block Party. The event is held on Craftsman Court with gates opening at 6 pm. Enjoy this outdoor bash to ring in the New Year with all your friends. Enjoy bands, dj music, food, drink. A VIP entry is available  with special seating and dining.

Westgate Rocks Out in Glendale at Westgate City Center.  I went the first year and had a great time. The event grows every year. Adding to the atmosphere at Westgate is the Fountain Plaza with the huge dancing fountains. Restaurants such as Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville overlook Fountain Plaza. Westgate website.

Head to Flagstaff, Arizona in the pinewoods for a country New Years celebration. At the old Weatherford Hotel you’ll see a six-foot, 70-pound Pine Cone lowered twice on New Year’s Eve, at 10 p.m. and midnight. An eclectic mix of holiday music pours  from the Weatherford hotel’s balcony as the crowd counts down to midnight. Inside the historic Weatherford, the popular local rock ‘n’ roll bands perform.

For a more sedate celebration you’ll enjoy music in Phoenix. Partake in a favorite Phoenix tradition by celebrating New Year’s Eve with The Phoenix Symphony! Ring in the new year with musical good cheer and dancing melodies. And of course, the New Year’s tradition, Auld Lang Syne! Your ticket includes a complimentary glass of champagne. More on the Phoenix Symphony website.

Want something really wild?  The Las Vegas Strip has the big party with a few hundred thousand people celebrating the New Year right on the street. It will be quite an experience as you can expect to see wall to wall people that have each decided that starting the night at noon meant drinking way too much all day. There is a huge fireworks display at midnight and the electricity in the air is amazing. More on New Years in Las Vegas from travel writer Zeke Quezada.

I prefer a smaller celebration and so New Years in Reno might fit the bill. Travel writer,Stan White provides a great list of things for both adults and families to do on New Years in the Reno area. The fireworks at the ski resorts sound fantastic.  More on New Years in Reno

Last but not least head to Texas to Ring in the New Year San Antonio Style. I’m a great fan of San Antonio and love the Riverwalk area. You can Ring in the New Year with San Antonio’s biggest New Year’s Eve party downtown.  You’ll enjoy an amazing fireworks celebration at midnight from the 750-foot-tall Tower of the Americas. Spend your New Year’s Eve at the Celebrate San Antonio festival in downtown San Antonio.  Enjoy live music, entertainment, great food and libations.  The Celebrate San Antonio party is held on South Alamo Street between Market and Durango Street and in La Villita. More on Celebrate San Antonio.

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