As the end of 2014 approaches, it’s time to pick the perfect place to start your new year off on the right foot. No matter which part of the U.S. you’re in, you’ll find New Year’s Eve celebrations abound – but you don’t have to break the bank to celebrate in style. In fact, there are plenty of ways you can ring in the New Year for less than a fitting $20.15! Whether you’re starting 2015 in New York, Los Angeles or somewhere in between, check out these picks for a budget NYE in the USA.
New York, New York
Watching the ball drop from Times Square in New York is one of the most famed New Year’s Eve activities in the entire country. And best of all? It’s entirely free! There’s no cost to enjoy this outdoor celebration, though you’ll want to line up early for a premium spot to watch the ball drop.
If you’d rather bid adieu to 2014 while soaking up the Big Apple’s famed nightlife scene, you can join the NYC New Year’s Eve 2015 All Access Pub Crawl, with tickets priced at $20.15 per person. The pub crawl starts at 5 p.m. and runs straight through to 4 a.m., allowing plenty of time to say goodbye to 2014 and hello to 2015. The pass includes admission to a select number of local bars, plus drink specials like $3 draft beers and half-priced cocktails.
Another budget-friendly option? The free fireworks display at Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza, near the popular Prospect Park. A local tradition, the celebration kicks off with live entertainment and free cups of hot cocoa, perfect for keeping warm on the city’s notoriously chilly winter evenings. Festivities start at 11 p.m., though it’s recommended to come early if you’re looking for parking.
Los Angeles, California
Ringing in the New Year on the West Coast? Save yourself some cash by partying in Los Angeles’ Grand Park, where live music, DJs and photo booths set the stage for a New Year’s Eve you won’t soon forget. Larger-than-life projections on the neighboring City Hall buildings offer an interactive countdown to 2015, plus 30 food vendors will keep you satisfied with some of the best L.A. has to offer. Keep in mind this free New Year’s Eve celebration is also a family-friendly affair, so there is no alcohol allowed at the park. The festivities start at 7 p.m. and run past midnight.
Enjoy the last moments of 2014 under the umbrella of the Space Needle at the Seattle Center, where the city’s annual New Year’s Eve celebration starts off with a free concert by party band The NINES. Stick around ‘til midnight to catch Seattle’s largest New Year’s Eve fireworks display to date, set to an original soundtrack produced by a local radio station. The music and fireworks are free to enjoy.
Las Vegas, Nevada
You won’t have to look far to find something to do on New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas – even if you’re keeping your celebration on a budget. Skip the swanky VIP parties and instead head to Boulder Station, where you can party for free at your choice of two New Year’s Eve concerts. Of course, the entire Strip turns into America’s Party on New Year’s Eve, a free celebration where you can watch fireworks shoot from rooftops all along the Strip, but if you’d rather party indoors, head to the Stratosphere. Here, several free celebrations with live DJs help you end 2014 with a bang.
Free fireworks light up the night in Denver as 2015 dawns on the Mile High City, but if you don’t want to head downtown to see the light show, you can take in another view of the lights at the Denver Botanic Gardens. The park’s Trail of Lights runs from 5:30 to 9 p.m. and creates a whimsical air in this local favorite. Take a free hayride, wander through light tunnels and explore this area of Colorado for just $12.
After your adventure at the Botanic Gardens, skip the crowds lining up to watch the fireworks and instead head to Jake’s Food and Spirits for an underground celebration. This prohibition-themed New Year’s Eve soiree will feature 1920s-era cocktails to start 2015 off right, and there’s no cover – or password – needed to get in on the fun.
Key West, Florida
Everything drops on New Year’s Eve in Key West – everything, that is, except a ball. Instead, expect to find various bars hosting everything from a conch shell drop to a high heel shoe drop and even a pirate wench drop. An oversized lime wedge will also be dropped into a larger-than-life margarita to ring in the New Year. To end the night, fireworks shimmer off the waters of Blackwater Sound.
Stray off the beaten path on New Year’s Eve by spending your evening at Austin’s Rattle Inn, where you can Rattle In The New Year for free. A venue known for its local music, the Rattle Inn will be hosting plenty of local talent on New Year’s Eve to keep you entertained throughout the evening. Plus, you’ll still be close enough to check out the popular 6th Street shenanigans if you so choose.
(Main image: *Sally M* used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license)