Tis’ the year to procrastinate, eh? It’s December and you still haven’t decided what you’re going to do for New Years Eve. Heck, you barely started your Christmas shopping. Well it’s not too late to plan a relaxing winter getaway that will help release the tensions from all this holiday hubbub. At LocalGetaways we put together some special holiday hotel deals and combined them with our top picks for fun end-of-the-year events for friends, couples, and families. Think of it as a present to yourself for being such a wonderful person all year.
New Year’s Eve Fireworks, San Francisco
If this crummy economy has you pinching pennies, you can still join the crowd for a free New Years Eve fireworks celebration in San Francisco. At exactly midnight a huge fireworks display will launch from barges located 1,000 feet out in the bay from the intersection of The Embarcadero and Mission Streets, and—barring fog—can be seen all along the Embarcadero (the best viewing is along The Embarcadero from Mission Street to Folsom Street). All the bars along the bay will be going strong throughout the night, so wear sensible shoes and join the party.
Now if you really want to impress your date, book two tickets for a NYE Hornblower dinner cruise on San Francisco Bay. Perks include the absolute best view of the fireworks display, a four-course seated dinner, an open bar (hello endless champagne), party favors, and a dance band. Sure, tickets are a bit pricey, but what a party! Hornblower is also offering an Old Sacramento NYE cruise, with a front row seat to the midnight fireworks show over the Tower Bridge, free-flowing house champagne, and dancing.
Dancin’ & Romancin’ in Mendocino
If I had to define holiday romance, it would be cuddled up by the fireplace with your lover at a cozy lodge on the Mendocino coast, drinking brandy and eggnog while wrapped in a wool blanket, warming up from a day of whale watching and hiking along the ruggedly beautiful coastline. And this NYE the Samba Jamba 8 piece dance band will be rocking all night long at the Caspar Community Center for your dancing pleasure. Heck, there’s even a complimentary champagne toast at midnight.
Family NYE Celebration, Monterey
If there was ever a reason to let the kids stay up late, it’s the First Night New Year’s Eve festival in Monterey. The hugely popular event, which runs from 3pm through midnight, is packed with entertainment for all ages, including 75 performers and artists at 25 indoor and outdoor venues. Highlights include live music from local and regional artists (everything from folk to bluegrass, Brazilian jazz, classical, Irish, reggae, and blues), as well as magic shows, clowns, art activities, and a countdown to midnight. At only $22 per person for a full day’s entertainment it’s a fantastic deal.
NYE Fireworks in Lake Tahoe
This year Tahoe’s top NYE celebration is the Northstar Resort’s annual Fire & Ice New Year’s Eve Party. The celebration starts at 2pm with DJs, live bands (including Led Zeppelin 2 – The Live Experience), smores, ice skating, a Ripperroo Parade with noisemakers and beads, and plenty of food and drink specials. At 9pm there’s a fireworks show, and then the party really gets started. Combined with a few days of skiing it’s a great way to start the new year.
Fantasy of Lights, Los Gatos
If you’re from the Midwest or East Coast you’ve probably done this as a kid: Drive to the county park to see their annual holiday light extravaganza, where the entire park is transformed into a luminous wonderland with thousands of twinkling lights, animated displays, and holiday music. Well the West Coast’s version is at Vasona Lake County Park in Los Gatos, where they’re celebrating their 11th anniversary of Fantasy of Lights—it’s one of the most popular family holiday traditions in the South Bay.
Among the displays are the Tunnel of Lights, a pirate ship with booming cannons, and Dinosaur Den with a T-rex, and an erupting volcano. This being America, you don’t walk through it, you drive, so everyone stays warm and toasty as the kids go ooh and aah. The cost is $15 per car and the proceeds go directly to park improvements and recreational programs, so it’s all in the spirit of giving. The display runs nightly from 6 to 10pm through December 31.
If you have your own tips on New Year’s Eve getaways that you’d like to share, feel free to add your own comments to our blog below. We’d love to hear from you.
And for more insider tips on California activities and tours, California vacation spots, California tourist attractions, California vacation packages, and California inns, B&Bs, lodges, hotels, and restaurants, explore LocalGetaways.com, where you’ll always find best California travel deals.