After the Christmas holiday season, it’s time to usher in the new year. Whether you’re looking for an elegant evening out on the town with your significant other, or craving an exciting day of celebrating with the whole family, the Keystone State has plenty of memorable options. Vacation rentals in Pennsylvania range from upscale lofts in Philly to rustic lodges in the Pocono Mountains. Consider these top eight cities in Pennsylvania for your New Year’s Eve getaway.
Also known as The Christmas City, Bethlehem knows how to put on a New Year’s Eve celebration as well. Since the city is home of Peeps & Company, its annual year-end events center around the brightly-colored marshmallow confections. Peepsfest is a two-day event at the Bethlehem SteelStacks that begins on December 30. Enjoy art, music, and cultural exhibits that are fun for the whole family. If you’re up for it, register to run in the Peepsfest 5k. Be sure you’re on hand for the highlight of the event: the Chick Drop. Join the crowd to watch the illuminated 200-pound Peep make its descent on New Year’s Eve.
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2. Kennett Square
The historic community of Kennett Square, located in southeastern Pennsylvania, goes all out for New Year’s Eve. Midnight in the Square features exciting food options, kid-friendly activities, live entertainment, and a laser light show every hour throughout the evening. The admission fee for the event is the donation of one non-perishable food item to benefit Kennett Area Community Service. Since Kennett Square is called the Mushroom Capital of the World thanks to mushroom-farming roots, a gorgeously illuminated 700-pound mushroom drops at midnight as the crowd counts down to ring in the new year. If you want to get the kids back to the vacation rental for an early bedtime, stop by the square around 7 p.m. for the raising and lighting of the mushroom.
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3. Pocono Mountains
The choice of where to go in the Pocono Mountains to celebrate the coming year can be a tough one, since the possibilities are seemingly endless. Head to the Split Rock Resort & Golf Club in Lake Harmony for an exciting celebration that welcomes the whole family. There’s live music for dancing, appetizers for snacking, and a balloon drop at midnight to usher in the new year. Before the big countdown, pack up the kids and drive over to Blue Mountain Resort in Palmerton for the Annual New Year’s Eve Tubing Party. Enjoy a buffet-style dinner, music, and snow tubing all evening long. The adults even get to enjoy a champagne toast at midnight, and the kids can keep tubing for an hour into the new year.
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Hershey, the Sweetest Place on Earth, gets a little sweeter on December 31 when a 12-foot, 300-pound Hershey’s Kiss is raised three-stories high at midnight in ChocolateTown Square. Admission to the event is free, and there’s live entertainment leading up to midnight, as well as a fireworks display after the Kiss reaches the top. If you’re not sure where to go in Hershey for dinner before your exciting night out, try the Chocolate Avenue Grill. Start the celebration early with a cocktail, and drop by Duck Donuts for dessert. Be sure to take a dozen back to the vacation rental.
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The Steel City packs in the events on New Year’s Eve, so there is no shortage of activities. The night starts off with a kick-off celebration, followed by a First Night Parade. Plenty of entertainment keeps you busy until midnight, from ice carving demonstrations and fireworks displays to comedy acts and dance performances. Stop by the community wishing tree at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh to hang your hope for the new year. In the city’s ongoing quest to be green, a 1,000-pound ball is raised at midnight, constructed entirely of recycled materials. It’s a sight to behold.
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Ring in the new year in the City of Brotherly Love for an experience that’s unforgettable. Watch the SugarHouse New Year’s Eve fireworks, set off over the Delaware River Waterfront at midnight, or bring the little ones out for the earlier performance at 6 p.m. For a great view of the fireworks, spend the evening at the Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest. Enjoy some ice skating, then take a break to eat and listen to the live music. For an intimate evening out with that special someone, visit the SugarHouse Casino. Take in live music and an open bar. At midnight, sip complimentary champagne as you watch the fireworks from a private viewing area.
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Celebrate New Year’s Eve at the state capital in Harrisburg. There are arts and crafts to keep the kids busy, while a live DJ spins some beats to keep the crowd going. A giant strawberry drops at midnight from the top of the Harrisburg Hilton, and there’s a stunning fireworks display over the city. Stop by the City Government Center for refreshments. If you’re looking for an adults-only event, spend the evening with Appalachian Brewing Company. There’s live music on two stages and plenty of beers on tap. Buy your tickets in advance, and enjoy complimentary champagne to toast to the new year.
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8. State College
Home of the Penn State Nittany Lions, State College hosts a Fire Night New Year’s Eve event on the University Park campus of Penn State University. Join in the Grand Procession that kicks off the event. Walk through Sidney Friedman Park, along South Allen Street, and across the Municipal Building Plaza to see the spectacular ice sculptures. Take a horse-drawn carriage ride, and take the kids to check out the reindeer. Craft workshops keep the little ones entertained, and while local vendors offer plenty of food to keep you sated. Take part in the 5k Resolution Run if you’re feeling adventurous, or go ice skating at the Pegula Ice Arena. The entire First Night event is alcohol-free, making it ideal for families.
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