9 Southern Happenings that will Actually Get You Excited for New Year's
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 Texas Hill Country 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, 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.
First Night Alexandria
Alexandria, VA/ Washington, DC
First Night Alexandria is held in Old Town Alexandria each year. With tickets (just $20 for adults, free for kids 12 and under) families can enjoy countless concerts and kids events throughout the afternoon. 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.
The Peach Drop
The 27-year-old Atlanta tradition continues this New Year’s Eve with the city’s favorite year-end event, the Peach Drop. 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 this 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.
Red Stick Revelry
Baton Rouge, LA
Join Baton Rouge for the first annual Red Stick Revelry New Year’s Eve event. There will be food, drink, and music galore. Bring the family for kids’ activities in the afternoon, then a sing-along with the mayor of Baton Rouge, and finally, enjoy the red stick drop, which culminates in a dazzling fireworks show over the Mississippi River. You won’t want to miss this brand new tradition and, to ensure that you don’t, the event's Web site includes a countdown clock.
First Night Virginia 2017
Celebrate the end of 2016 with a family-friendly extravaganza in Charlottesville. First Night Virginia is the area’s annual community arts celebration, and it has been one of the region’s favorite festivals since 1982. Held on the historic Downtown Mall, visitors can enjoy live performances from comedy to indie rock music. There will be family activities aplenty, so bring the whole crew.
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, and 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.
The Galt House
Enjoy New Year’s Eve at The Galt House and take your pick of festive events to ring in 2017. Choose between three different party packages (two of which include a stay in an executive suite) to customize your visit. Peruse the ‘Take a Chill’ package, the ‘Party Hardy’ package, and the ‘Blackout Affair’ package to see which best appeals to your celebratory instincts. The two former packages include entrance to the 80s-themed New Year's Eve Dance Party with live music and a DJ, and the latter includes an evening party at Rivue, the hotel’s restaurant and event space on the 25th floor.
MoonPie Over Mobile
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.
First Night Raleigh
This Raleigh event is paradise for music lovers. With an all-day pass (just $10!), you can enjoy hours of live music—almost 100 performances in countless locations across downtown Raleigh. There is also a Ferris wheel, an Andy Griffith movie marathon, 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.
Tallahassee Downtown New Year's Eve
Tallahassee’s Adams Street springs to life on New Year’s Eve with food, music, and fireworks. The free event includes music from Wanderfoot, duo Mary & Aaron, plus concert headliners The New 76ers. Families will enjoy kids’ areas replete with bouncy houses and children’s music. Round out the evening with Florida fireworks at midnight.