Wondering where to go in Minnesota to ring in the New Year? Minneapolis is just one of the cities and vacation hot spots where you can enjoy up-north New Year’s celebrations just minutes from your Minnesota vacation rental. From metropolitan bashes to hometown fireworks displays over frozen lakes, these eight getaways in the Land of 10,000 Lakes know how to end the year right.
1. The Twin Cities, Minnesota
Choose a townhome or trendy loft as your New Year’s vacation rental to enjoy easy access to the countless New Year’s festivities in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. As the state’s capital and metropolitan center, this area has something for everyone, from the annual early countdown and family-friendly events at Edinborough Park to the annual masquerade ball at the Rogue. You can also join the party at one of the uptown bars and restaurants. For some classic New Year’s Eve fun, watch the crystal ball drop at International Market Square while watching performers and listening to live music during one of the country’s biggest New Year’s celebrations.
2. Burnsville, Minnesota
Situated just 15 miles south of the Twin Cities, this suburban city on the banks of the Mississippi is the perfect getaway for vacationers with kids. Head to Buck Hill for one of the state’s biggest family-friendly New Year’s parties complete with a highly anticipated fireworks display. Ski or snow tube down the runs until the clock strikes 12, and enjoy plenty of live music and entertainment. In the days leading up to New Year’s Eve, enjoy some shopping at Burnsville Center, or walk through spectacular holiday lights displays at Nicollet Commons Park.
3. St. Cloud, Minnesota
This bustling city in central Minnesota is host to the annual Thunder Over the Cloud New Year’s celebration featuring a big countdown and a fireworks display over Lake George. You can also step into the Warming House for some coffee and hot chocolate. St. Cloud State University also holds an annual Family Fun Fest with ice skating under the moonlight, inflatable games, bingo, and other kid-friendly activities. The Pioneer Place Theater, the Grands at Mulligans, and other venues are also known to throw some big parties with hors-d’oeuvres, live music, and plenty of champagne.
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4. Duluth, Minnesota
Celebrate New Year’s on the shores of beautiful Lake Superior at this Minnesota harbor town. Stop into the historic union depot for the New Year’s’ Eve Mayor’s Ball, one giant party with noisemakers, beer, and live music. Be sure to plan your vacation to catch the last day of the annual Bentleyville Tour of Lights, which includes a lighted castle and hundreds of other LED holiday displays, on December 28. This marks the early New Year’s Eve celebration, complete with a stunning fireworks display, hot chocolate, and marshmallow-roasting over the fire.
5. Rochester, Minnesota
This metropolitan area in southeastern Minnesota is a haven for private parties ranging from the annual New Year’s bash at Four Daughters Winery to dancing at Dooley’s and a laid-back celebration at The Tap House. Looking for New Year’s entertainment for the whole family? Hop on the Jolly Trolley for a tour of the best holiday lights displays in Rochester while listening to holiday music, or catch a Rochester Ice Hawks to end the year with a blast. On New Year’s Day, enjoy some winter hiking around Silver Lake.
6. Lake Mille Lacs, Minnesota
If you’re looking for a secluded resort town where you can enjoy laid-back end-of-year festivities and a bit of ice fishing, find a cabin vacation rental on the shores of sprawling Lake Mille Lacs. Stop by for a seafood buffet at Grand Casino Mille Lacs, or ring in the year at Buzzies on the Bay with some champagne and hors-d’oeuvres.
7. Bemidji, Minnesota
This vacation town in northern Minnesota empties out during the winter months, making it a great place to find vacation rentals for a quiet New Year’s getaway. North-woods restaurants, such as Bemidji Town and Country Club, offer up festive dinners on the 31st, and the Family New Year’s Eve Bash presented by the Bemidji Jaycees is an annual favorite with children’s activities and a balloon-drop countdown. You can also stop by the Buena Vista Ski Area for food, skiing, and snow tubing during the ski hill’s annual celebration.
8. St. Croix Valley, Minnesota
Find a snow-covered vacation rental near the St. Croix River in this region near the Wisconsin border for a laid-back New Year’s Eve without the crowds. The annual New Year’s Eve Extravaganza organized by Afton Alps is a popular choice if you want to ring in the new year while enjoying the crisp Minnesota winter. Gather around a bonfire, tear up the slopes until midnight, and watch the torchlight skiing parade while listening to live music. You can also sit back and watch an early fireworks display on the slopes. Of course, you can also pop a bottle of champagne in front of your cabin on the shores of the river for a more peaceful evening.
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