Whether you’re looking for a secluded cabin in the woods or a luxurious urban vacation rental, Maine is a fantastic place to spend New Year’s Eve. This New England state’s coastline is lined with scenic beaches, and the mountain areas are packed with natural beauty and outdoor activities such as skiing and snowmobiling. Dotted with plenty of charming towns and thriving cities, Maine is known for exceptional seafood restaurants, eclectic bars, and vibrant entertainment venues. There is no shortage of Maine vacation rentals that are just a quick drive from the state’s best attractions for partying or relaxing. Here are eight of the best places in Maine to spend New Year’s Eve.

1. Portland

If you’re seeking New Year’s Eve parties, nightlife, and big city amenities, it’s hard to beat Portland. It’s Maine’s largest city, and it’s known for excellent restaurants, bars, and music venues. Blue is one of the most popular venues in the area, and it’s a fantastic place to celebrate the end of the year. This intimate venue hosts a variety of rock, jazz, and folk artists, as well as the occasional comedy show. If you’re not sure where to go in Portland for larger concerts, Port City Music hall regularly hosts well-known touring bands. Empire is another unique venue that serves Chinese food and dim sum downstairs and hosts concerts and events upstairs. The restaurant/venue has been known to host New Year’s Eve dance parties in the past. For a more low-key New Year’s Eve experience, go to Specialty Sweets Downtown, where you can satisfy your sweet tooth while counting down to midnight.

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2. Orono

Home to the University of Maine, Orono is a college town, and roughly two-thirds of the population consists of people between the ages of 18 and 34. However, visitors of all ages can appreciate this thriving town. As you might expect, there are plenty of New Year’s Eve party options available, but there are also plenty of attractions for those who prefer a more laid-back celebration. Surprisingly, Orono is known for its excellent variety of restaurants. The Bear Brew Pub is a great place to celebrate with the locals, especially if you enjoy good beer. There is a brewery tasting room with many taps, a deck, and a variety of delicious comfort cuisine. Woodman’s Bar and Grill is another popular watering hole, featuring an eclectic cocktail menu, a variety of craft beers, and classic American food.

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3. Brunswick

Home to Bowdoin College and the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick offers an excellent combination of art culture and college town fun. If you’re not sure where to go in Brunswick when you arrive, take a walk along the “Mall,” which is what locals call the town green, and enjoy ice skating on the local rink. Brunswick is home to an incredibly diverse array of restaurants, including options for Japanese, Greek, Indian, Mexican, Thai, and much more. The Brunswick Tavern is an excellent upscale restaurant that has been known to host annual New Year’s Eve parties complete with special menus for the occasion.

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4. Rockland

Rockland boasts a wide variety of nightlife options, as well as some more casual dining establishments. If you opt for a vacation rental in Rockland, you should have no problem finding a New Year’s Eve event to fit your speed. If you want to get your party on, head to the Myrtle Street Tavern, a favorite watering hole among the locals. In addition to sampling a variety of drafts and spirits, you can enjoy playing pool, singing karaoke, and possibly even catching some live music. For a more sophisticated night out, head to Sammy’s Deluxe for exquisite comfort food in a welcoming environment. The menu includes a variety of decadent desserts, artisan cocktails, and fine wines, so you can really celebrate New Year’s Eve in style.

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5. Bangor

Bangor is a city that knows how to do New Year’s Eve right, and it’s the perfect spot to look for a vacation rental if you’re seeking family-friendly fun for the holiday. The city hosts an annual New Year’s celebration called Downtown Countdown. It’s free and open to the public, and there are many different events to enjoy, including live music, themed 5K road races, delicious food, and good company. Enjoy champagne toasts as midnight draws near, and experience the camaraderie of an entire city counting down together. While you’re in town, be sure to enjoy a meal at Timber Kitchen and Bar, a trendy hangout with an upscale yet comfortable decor. The diverse selection of food is fantastic and made from local ingredients.

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6. Bar Harbor

Located on Maine’s Mount Desert Island near Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor is one of the state’s most popular vacation destinations. As you might expect, the area is busiest during the summer season, but there is still plenty to do and see during the winter. Usher in the new year with some artisan cocktails and craft brews at the cozy Leary’s Landing Irish Pub. For a delicious New Year’s Eve meal, head to McKay’s Public House. The restaurant/bar puts up decorations for the occasion, and you can choose from a wide variety of fantastic meat, seafood, and vegetarian dishes, as well as a huge wine list and plenty of creative cocktails. For some entertainment, check out what’s playing at The 1932 Criterion Theatre. In addition to showing first-run Hollywood films, the beautiful venue also hosts music and dance performances.

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7. Bath

Bath is a charming mid-coastal city that’s known for its eclectic downtown Front Street area that’s full of unique shops and restaurants, as well as its convenient central location to other popular Maine attractions. It’s a very special place to spend New Year’s Eve, as the town has an annual tradition for the holiday. Every New Year’s Eve at noon, the town gathers at City Hall to sing “Auld Lang Syne,” a traditional folk song that’s sung to bid farewell to the old year and welcome in the new one. After the song, they ring the historic Paul Revere Bell and serve refreshments in the auditorium. Following the festivities, start the new year right with an exquisite meal at J R Maxwell & Co. The restaurant is located on Front Street in the downtown area, and the menu includes decadent surf and turf offerings such as prime rib, scallops, steak, and the famous Maine lobster.

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8. Biddeford

Biddeford is a vibrant town that has plenty to offer in the way of nightlife and food. If you’re undecided on what to do in Biddeford when you arrive, head to Bar Piano, and enjoy an upscale cocktail or cigar in a swanky lounge. For dinner and drinks before the countdown, head to Banded Horn Brewing Co, a brewhouse and tasting room in a 150-year-old Pepperell Mill that’s known for its exceptional craft beers. When it’s time to celebrate, go to Mulligan’s to have some drinks and shoot some pool with the locals. It’s a great atmosphere, providing the comforts of an Irish tavern in a historical building with modern amenities, menu items, and drinks.

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