Southern Happenings That Will Actually Get You Excited For New Year's

Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

The South is home to more than a few glitzy, fireworks-studded soirees this New Year's Eve. As we turn our calendar pages, one year passing to the next, the South is ready to celebrate. It's one of the most exciting nights of the year, so we've rounded us some of the best Southern places to celebrate this New Year's Eve, plus a few of the best New Year's Eve parties and fireworks displays. The jewel in the calendar's proverbial crown, New Year's Eve is truly a night for festivities. From the Gulf Coast to Music City to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the South has events, parties, and festivals galore. We have fireworks, we have food, we have drinks, and we have cheer aplenty. With the combination of great friends, great fun, and immense optimism for the future, we can't wait for the night that invites us to look forward at what is to come and look back to appreciate the past year. Be sure to mark these New Year's Eve parties on your calendar. There is great fun to be had.

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First Night Alexandria

Couple watching fireworks
Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Alexandria, VA/ Washington, DC

First Night Alexandria is held in Old Town Alexandria each year. This family-friendly event runs from noon to midnight, with entertainment scheduled into matinee, primetime, and after hours programs. An all-access pass ticket provides entry to any performance throughout the event, prices are tiered and based on age, and free for children 2 and under. Families can also enjoy dazzling New Year's Eve fireworks on the waterfront. Above the Potomac River, fireworks spark and flare, blazing across the sky in celebration of the New Year. Bundle up in hats and scarves, pick a prime spot in a nearby park in full view of the water, and enjoy the evening's festivities.

Entertainment in various indoor venues in Old Town Alexandria, VA 22314 First Night Alexandria

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The Peach Drop

Atlanta Georgia
Raymond Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Atlanta, Georgia

After a hiatus since 2019, Atlanta’s favorite year-end event—the Peach Drop —a longstanding New Year's Eve tradition will resume in 2022. Held in Underground Atlanta, the Peach Drop celebrates the South's regional produce with a cheeky nod to the New Year's Eve traditions in NYC's Times Square. It's the largest New Year's Eve event in the Southeast, which means it the place to be NYE. Listen to the live performances, enjoy the fireworks, and prepare for confetti to rain down as the 800-pound peach makes its descent at midnight. Admission is free.

50 Upper Alabama St, Atlanta, GA 30303 Underground Atlanta

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Red Stick Revelry

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Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Join Baton Rouge for the annual Red Stick Revelry New Year's Eve event. There will be food, drink, and music galore. Live music starts at 8:00 p.m. with the Shaun Ward Xperience, an electric violinist playing modern Jazz, soul and R&B, at 9:00 p.m. funk and soul band Phat Hat performs, and finally, enjoy the red stick drop, which culminates in a dazzling fireworks show over the Mississippi River.

Davis S. Rhorer Plaza and North Boulevard Town Square, Baton Rouge, LA 70802 Red Stick Revelry

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Hotel Zaza

Hotel Zaza Houston
Courtesy Hotel ZaZa Houston

Houston, Texas

Have an elegant and low-key New Year's celebration at Houston's Hotel ZaZa. Near the Museum District and Rice Village, you'll be near plenty of attractions, but you may find that the sophisticated celebrations in the hotel entice you to stay put. Enjoy cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, a photo booth, and live music as you catch up with friends and while away the evening. Kick-start your New Year's resolution to be more adventurous, and try a new dish at dinner in ZaZa's in-house restaurant, Monarch.

5701 Main Street, Houston, Texas 77005 Hotel Zaza Houston | Museum District

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MoonPie Over Mobile

Ben A. Pruchnie/Stringer/Getty Images

Mobile, Alabama

Picture it: Downtown Mobile, 50,000 people gathering to celebrate the New Year, a laser light show, and—when the clock strikes midnight—a MoonPie drop. That's right. A 600-pound replica of the beloved sweet mimics the Time Square drop in NYC with that addition of a classic Southern spin. During MoonPie Over Mobile, the celebration begins with a ceremonial cutting of—you guessed it—the world's largest edible MoonPie (be sure to grab a bite) plus a second line parade in festive Mardi Gras fashion.

Downtown along Royal Street and St. Frances street, Mobile, AL, 36602 MoonPie Over Mobile

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First Night Raleigh

Katsumi Murouchi/Getty Images

Raleigh, North Carolina

This Raleigh event is paradise for music lovers. With an all-day pass (just $12!), you can enjoy hours of live music—almost 100 performances in countless locations across downtown Raleigh. There is also a Ferris wheel and children's celebrations, so the whole family is welcome. Enjoy counting down the hours until the lowering of the New Year's Eve classic, the Raleigh Acorn. First Night Raleigh's acorn drop has become a fan-favorite tradition in the Triangle.

City Plaza, 400 Fayetteville St., Raleigh, NC 27601 First Night Raleigh

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Jack Daniel’s New Year’s Eve Live: Nashville’s Big Bash

Jack Daniel’s New Year’s Eve Live: Nashville’s Big Bash

Peyton Dollar/Courtesy of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp

Nashville, Tennessee

Music City is hosting a free, start-studded concert with Brooks & Dunn, Kelsea Ballerini, and the Zac Brown Band, fireworks, and a midnight music note drop at the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. If you can’t make it, don’t worry, it will be televised on CBS and live streamed on Paramount+. Looking for an adult VIP experience? The Gold Circle Party at the indoor Nashville Farmers’ Market pavilion includes dancing, drinks, and snacks plus a special fireworks viewing area to bring in the new year.

Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, 600 James Robertson Pkwy, Nashville, TN 37243 Nashville's Big Bash

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Savannah City Market New Year’s Eve Celebration

Savannah Fireworks on the River

Jerry Harris

Savannah, Georgia

Savannah’s City Market in the Historic Landmark District will host free concerts and restaurants will be open later than usual on New Year’s Eve. City Market is a courtyard between two squares lined with shops, restaurants, and art galleries making it a lively gathering spot. Blocks away on the waterfront, there will be a River Street fireworks show.

City Market, 219 W Bryan St, Savannah, GA 31401 Savannah City Market New Year's Eve Celebration

09 of 13

Charleston Wonderland New Year’s Eve

Charleston Wonderland New Year's Eve

Charleston Wonderland

Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston Wonderland at Festival Hall in downtown Charleston is an all-access, “dress to impress,” NYE event. This all-inclusive ticketed event includes non-stop entertainment from live music and DJs, variety acts, cirque performances, photo booths, and an over-the-top balloon drop said to be the biggest in Charleston. Premium drinks and light appetizers are also included in the $195 ticket price.

Festival Hall, 56 Beaufain Street, Charleston, South Carolina 29401 Charleston Wonderland

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New Year’s Eve on Beale

Beale Street New Year's Eve Crowd

 Andrea Zucker / Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau

Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis’ famous Beale Street, lined with bars and restaurants featuring live blues, rockabilly, and soul music, will turn into a street party on New Year’s Eve. Tens of thousands are expected to attend for an evening of live music and performances ending with fireworks and confetti cannons at midnight. This is a 21 and over event. 

Beale Street, Memphis, TN 38103 New Year's Eve on Beale

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New Orleans New Year’s Eve

New Year's Eve Fireworks in New Orleans

Kathy Anderson/Courtesy of New Orleans & Company

New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans has something for everyone on New Years Eve, from live music, dining experiences, hotel-hosted ticketed parties, and even a parade. The Mardi Gras-styled Allstate Sugar Bowl New Year’s Eve Parade starts 2:30 p.m. at Elysian Fields Avenue and Decatur Street and ends at Canal Street around 5:00 pm. There are fireworks throughout the city, and to watch the Fleur De Lis drop at midnight, head to Jackson Square in the French Quarter.

Jackson Square, 751 Decatur St., New Orleans, LA 70181 New Orlean's New Year's Eve

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New Year's Eve With OO7


Asheville, North Carolina

Slide into the New Year like Bond, James Bond. All the glamour and drama of the world's favorite spy James Bond will be music to your ears with a New Year's Eve concert by the Asheville Symphony Orchestra, featuring vocalists Mikki Sodergren and Jonathan Christopher, showcasing musical hits from the 007 movie series. Beyond Bond, there's a wide range of music and entertainment in Asheville on NYE. For a completely different vibe, blue grass band Leftover Salmon will perform at the Salvage Station music venue along the French Broad river.

Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, 27 College Place, Suite 100, Asheville, NC 28801 Asheville Symphony Orchestra

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New Year's Eve 2023

New Years Eve hands of couple clinking with flutes of champagne and their friends holding sparkling bengal lights

Louisville, Kentucky

Celebrate at one of Louisville's biggest NYE parties—New Year's Eve 2023 with Tony and the Tan Lines and DJ K-Dogg at the Mellwood Art Center. General admission tickets are $85 and include cocktails, appetizers, and a Champagne toast at midnight. Between the 70s soul and 80s Miami Sound mashup from cover band Tony and the Tan Lines and the continuous hits spun by DJ K-Dogg, there's no excuse not to hit the dance floor before the clock strikes 12.

Mellwood Art Center, 1860 Mellwood Avenue Louisville, KY 40206 New Year's Eve 2023

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