While Chicago is definitely a hot spot for New Year’s Eve celebrations, other cities in Illinois also offer exciting festivities and events. After settling into your Illinois vacation rental, head out to see the holiday lights and balloon drop in Schaumburg, or join in on the street festivals in the college town of Carbondale. From cultural performances in Rockford to comfort food in DuQuoin, Illinois has much to offer locals and tourists seeking fun on New Year’s Eve. When making your holiday plans, consider these destinations in Illinois when ringing in the new year.

1. Springfield

Opt for a vacation rental in Springfield, and set your New Year’s Eve at the state’s capital. Treat the kids to an all-day, family-friendly event — First Night Springfield — so they can make craft projects and musical toys to play at midnight, and enjoy food from the vendors and entertainment from the bands that line the streets near the capitol building. Adults may prefer spending a humorous evening at Donnie B’s Comedy Club or a few brews at Boondocks Pub before viewing the midnight fireworks display in downtown Springfield.

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2. Chicago

Chicago offers plenty to do year round, but with the holiday lights still in place and fireworks going off at midnight, the city comes alive for multiple New Year’s Eve celebrations. Spend the day riding the Ferris wheel at Navy Pier, or dance the night away in the Grand Ballroom at the annual Chicago Resolution Gala. Find just the right souvenir while you’re shopping on the Magnificent Mile, and dine at the quaint cafes along the way. At Crystal Gardens, you can ring in the new year with guest DJs whose music can be heard for miles, and satisfy your appetite at food stations and beverages. If you’re wondering where to go in Chicago for a fancy hotel party, attend a New Year’s Eve soiree at the Drake Hotel, the Hilton Chicago, or the JW Marriott.

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3. Schaumburg

If you’re wondering where to go in Illinois to see a ball drop, Schaumburg hosts the Legoland Discovery Center’s Balloon drop right in the heart of the Park District. Let the kids explore the Legoland Discovery Center, or opt for an adults-only celebration with drinks and dancing at the Salsa Party at Entre Bar and Grill.

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4. Carbondale

Carbondale is known as a college town during the school year, but it knows how to provide family-friendly entertainment, too. Join in the New Year’s Eve festivities by listening to the blues in the streets at the town’s center, where kid-friendly activities are abundant. Treat the kids to lunch at Fat Patties for juicy homemade hamburgers or dinner at Quatro’s Deep Pan Pizza if they’re in the mood for some Italian cuisine. Ramp up your evening plans with a salsa night at the Newell House, complete with a midnight champagne toast. If punk music is your style, stop in at Hangar 9 for a punk rock show and beverages.

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5. DuQuoin

A vacation rental in DuQuoin puts you in the heart of southern Illinois, where you can enjoy comfort food at Alongi’s Italian Restaurant or a ribeye sandwich at the Corner Pocket before you head out for your New Year’s Eve celebration. St. Nicholas Brewing Company hosts its annual New Year’s Eve Blues Fest, with live music, drink specials, and dancing into the wee hours of the morning.

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6. Joliet

If you’re feeling lucky, head over to Harrah’s Casino in Joliet to ring in the new year. The casino offers more than just gambling during its New Year’s Eve party — there are live performances from nationally known musicians, along with midnight buffets. If gambling isn’t your thing, head over to the Chicago Street Pub for an Irish-themed festival, or stop in at Juliet’s Tavern for some locally brewed beer.

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7. Naperville

Naperville is the place to be when you’re looking for a vacation rental that’s close to kid-friendly activities, such as the annual Bubble Bash at the DuPage Children’s Museum. Let the kids explore and experiment at the museum during the day. Plan for an exciting adult-only evening at Meson Sabika, Catch 35, or Topgolf, where you can dine on American cuisine and take part in champagne toasts at midnight.

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8. Rockford

Wondering where to go for some culture on New Year’s Eve? A vacation rental in Rockford puts you within close proximity of the Coronado Performing Arts Center as well as the Nordlof Center. Take in a play, an orchestra performance, or even the midnight performance of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” when you spend your New Year’s holiday in Rockford. Before the show of your choice, grab Mexican fare at Lucha Cantina or farm-to-table cuisine at GreenFire to fill your bellies. After a dose of arts and entertainment, stop in for a nightcap at the New Year’s Eve parties held at Oscar’s Pub and Grill and the Aragona Club.

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