Beautiful mountain ranges, evergreen forests, coastlines, lakes, and rivers provide stunning backdrops for an unforgettable New Year’s Eve in the state of Washington. From the brilliant flamboyance of big city celebrations to the alluring charms of small-town festivities, Washington has end-of-year merriment to suit every lifestyle. Near many Washington vacation rentals, you can find festive gatherings, astounding fireworks displays, luxurious meals, and romantic cruises. Here are the top New Year’s Eve getaways in the state of Washington.

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1. Seattle

The most spectacular fireworks display in Seattle bursts forth from the top of the iconic Space Needle, and people from all over the city gather to watch it. For a close-up view, head up to the peak of the Space Needle itself, and watch the lights while you enjoy a six-course dinner at the Sky City restaurant or participate in the dance party on the observation deck. You can also join the merrymakers watching the display from the base of the Space Needle at the Seattle Center.

The Seattle Indulgence is a huge New Year’s Eve bash that takes place at the Seattle Center’s EMP Museum. Alternatively, join the beachgoers who light warming fires in the fire pits at Alki Beach Park in West Seattle, and watch the fireworks from across Elliot Bay. Another popular spot that many photographers use to get good sighting of the fireworks is Kerry Park on Queen Anne Hill. Waterways Cruises on Lake Union offer New Year’s Eve rides with views of the fireworks from an eastern perspective along with dancing, drinks, appetizers, and a midnight champagne toast.

Argosy Cruises on Piers 55 and 56 offer similar cruises on Elliot Bay with closer views of the colorful display. If you prefer great music to fireworks, check out the Resolution electric music show at the WaMu Theater in Soho or the Artist’s Home Annual New Year’s Eve Celebration of Jazz at Neptune Theater in the University District.

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2. Tacoma

Tacoma celebrates the close of the year with its First Night Tacoma New Year’s Eve Festival. The event, which takes place in the Downtown Tacoma Theater District, combines outdoor and indoor activities from early evening until midnight. It kicks off with a parade, featuring giant puppets, costumed characters, and marching bands. When the parade culminates, entertainment and music pops up on multiple stages. Activities include ice skating, museum tours, special fun races, a tent for kids, and, of course, a fireworks display. When you get hungry, head for Tacoma’s renowned restaurant, the Pacific Grill, which offers special New Year’s Day menus for brunch and dinner.

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3. Olympia

Take the kids early to the Hands On Children’s Museum for some family-friendly New Year’s Eve fun. Where to go in Olympia includes many local venues that offer lively music along with a countdown to midnight. For DJ-spun rock and disco with a midnight balloon drop, head for the Brotherhood Lounge. The Swing Wine Bar and Cafe offers live performances by regional and national musicians. Dress up for a semi-formal buffet dinner at the Red Lion Hotel restaurant. If you have a taste for finely-crafted brew, try the 3 Magnets Brewing Company New Year’s Eve Beer Pairing dinner. Check out the State Theater for a play production followed by a champagne toast, and the Olympia Ballroom for a dance event known as Illumination. The morning after, join the brisk thrills as an observer, or participant in the annual New Year’s Polar Bear Plunge in nearby Lacy.

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4. Spokane

The city of Spokane lies in eastern Washington near the Idaho border, and the biggest annual event near your Spokane vacation rental is First Night Spokane in the downtown area. Numerous local businesses contribute to this immense celebration, which includes a special Kids Night Out at the Spokane Convention Center with face painting, hat making, and live dancing performances. The 5K Resolution Run Course is a race along the Spokane River waterfront. Among other outdoor activities are ice carving, ice skating, carousel rides, and bonfires with hot chocolate. The event culminates in a New Year countdown and spectacular fireworks display.

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5. Kennewick

Kennewick is part of the Tri-Cities area of Kennewick/Pasco/Richland in south-central Washington. Where to go in Kennewick begins with the First Night Tri-Cities, which takes place at the Gesa Carousel of Dreams. This family-friendly event features activities for children such as face painting, inflatable bounce houses, laser tag, and carousel rides. Entertainment includes plenty of clowns, stilt walkers, magic shows, and fantasy characters in costumes. For a truly unusual end of the year activity, check out the New Year’s Eve Bull Bash in nearby Richmond. This features 30 bull riders competing for a large cash prize. Enjoy a sumptuous meal, live music, and a midnight champagne toast at the R.F. McDougall’s New Year’s Wake in Richmond.

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6. Port Townsend

The city of Port Townsend lies in a gorgeous location at the north end of the Olympic Peninsula at the entrance to Puget Sound. The Jefferson County Historical Society presents the annual First Night Community Celebration on New Year’s Eve in and around Port Townsend City Hall. This family-friendly event features a festival of short films, live music, dancing, and children’s games and activities. It finishes with a fireworks display after dark. For adult festivities, check out the dance party at the Cellar Door, or the New Year’s party with live bands at the Siren’s Pub.

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7. Bellingham

The beautiful city of Bellingham, which is in the northwest corner of Washington near the Canadian border, offers New Year’s Eve celebrations for all ages. The Bellingham Country Dance Society hosts their annual New Year’s Eve Gala and Party at the Eagle’s Hall. This event includes a potluck dinner, dancing, and live music. The Jansen Art Center holds a yearly Manhattan New Year’s Eve event, which features jazz music and simulates a classic Manhattan supper club. After an elegant meal and an auction of artwork, participants watch a live stream of the New Year’s Eve festivities at New York’s Times Square. For a less formal event, check out the New Year’s Extravaganza with rock music and dancing at the Wild Buffalo.

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8. Everett

For New Year’s Eve fun that your kids are sure to enjoy, join the Daytime Party or Family Night to Remember at the Imagine Children’s Museum in Everett. The whole family can feast on a special New Year’s Eve meal at Emory’s on Silver Lake. For a spectacular view and some fine Italian cuisine on New Year’s Eve, try Lombardi’s Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar on the Everett waterfront.

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