Hot Spots for a New Year

On your mark, get set, celebrate! Here are some happening places where you can ring in the New Year with a bang.
Wanda McKinney

Get that confetti ready, pop the cork, and pucker up to blow your own horn, because it's time once again to plan your New Year's bash. The possibilities are endless in the South, from watching fireworks to taking a cruise to hibernating in a fine hotel. Here are some excellent Southern selections for saluting the year's last day and the beginning of the next 365.

Charleston, South Carolina―Marion Square
A family-friendly activity takes place at the downtown square annually with the "Happy New Year, Charleston!" event. Admission is free and includes dancing, music, street performances, children's activities, and more. Visit www.charlestoncvb.com for times and events.

Asheville, North Carolina―Biltmore
Enjoy the beautiful Biltmore estate―all dressed up for the holidays―by taking a candlelight tour of the mansion. Follow with dinner (reservations only in the fabulous Stable Café), and then lay your weary head down in a luxurious room of your own at the Inn on Biltmore Estate; www.biltmore.com or 1-800-411-3812.

St. Louis, Missouri―The Gateway Arch
One if by land, two if by riverboat. Come on down to The Gateway Arch, and take a 3½-hour dinner cruise, which includes entertainment and a Champagne toast at midnight ($75); www.gatewayarch.com or 1-877-982-1410.

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma―Downtown
Catch the city's annual Opening Night celebration, which features some of Oklahoma's best musicians, dancers, and performers. A mere $8 in advance ($10 day of the event) pays your way to listen to the music all night long; ages under 5 are free. For more information visit www.artscouncilokc.com, or call (405) 270-4848.

Orlando, Florida―Disney World
The Magic Kingdom sets the stage for a spectacular send-off for 2007. Fireworks explode with great pomp and circumstance from behind Cinderella Castle. You'll see extra-special pyrotechnics at the Wishes nighttime spectacular; www.disneyworld.com or (407) 939-6244.

New Orleans, Louisiana―French Quarter
Stay at The Windsor Court Hotel, where the lobby turns into a seasonal wonderland each year; www.windsorcourt hotel.com or 1-888-596-0955. On New Year's Eve, watch the gumbo pot drop over the Jax Brewery roof, and enjoy live music and fireworks; www.neworleansonline.com.

Nashville, Tennessee―Gaylord Opryland Resort And Convention Center
Bask in the glow of A Country Christmas, starring the Radio City Rockettes; a frozen wonderland called ICE! featuring How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss; and the Masquerade Gala on New Year's Eve. Especially not to be missed: the 2 million Christmas lights that put the Griswolds to shame; www.gaylordhotels.com/gaylordopryland or 1-888-999-6779.

A NOTE TO OUR READERS:
"Hot Spots for a New Year" is from the Home for the Holidays 2007 issue of Southern Living. Because prices, dates, and other specifics are subject to change, please check all information to make sure it's still current before making your travel plans.