From a dramatic cheese drop to live orchestra performances to a polar bear plunge, Wisconsin provides a variety of unique experiences to make your New Year’s Eve getaway special. Book a Wisconsin vacation rental to put you close to the action and provide a cozy place to return to after the party’s over. Browse this selection of top Wisconsin locations to find the perfect place for your crew to ring in the new year.
The whole family can celebrate New Year’s Eve in warmth and style at Milwaukee’s Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory. Dance the night away with DJs spinning the latest tunes in the Conservatory Annex, and watch magicians, fire eaters, and other entertainers perform on the center stage. Stroll the children’s activity area for face painting, balloon art, and special activities for kids of all ages. Tickets are available at the door, and you can buy food and beverages at the event. The evening ends early with a ball drop and light show at 9 p.m., so you can get your little ones into bed at a reasonable hour.
2. Three Lakes
If you’re up for a challenge, head to Three Lakes in Central Wisconsin for the annual New Year’s Polar Bear Plunge at Bonnie’s Lakeside. Locals and visitors take the plunge into icy Spirit Lake to support their favorite charities. Spectators also enjoy this festive event. After your chilly dip, Tavern on the Loop is where to go in Three Lakes to warm up with a delicious New Year’s Day dinner and spectacular views of Crystal Lake. If you’re in the mood for even more adventure, stop by the nearby trailheads for a thrilling snowmobile ride. A vacation rental makes it easy to stash your own snowmobile when you’re not out riding, or check out local outfitters for daily and weekly rentals.
For a nautical New Year’s Eve getaway, book a vacation rental in Manitowoc. The Wisconsin Maritime Museum hosts a fabulous New Year’s Eve bash with a different theme annually. The entertainment varies from year to year but always includes a DJ dance party and fireworks display at midnight. For a family-friendly celebration, head to the Manitowoc YMCA, and get your groove on with a dance in the gym and giant inflatables for the little ones. If fabulous food is essential to your celebration, Ryan’s on York and Harborside both offer hearty portions of local favorites for energy to party until midnight.
4. La Crosse
La Crosse, in the Mississippi Valley, offers a New Year’s Eve getaway with vibrant downtown nightlife plus easy access to winter outdoor fun, including ice fishing, cross-country skiing, and sledding. Don’t miss La Crosse’s annual New Year’s Eve fireworks display. Shows go off at both 6 p.m. and midnight, so everyone gets a chance to enjoy, and the bluff location means the beautiful display is visible throughout the La Crosse area.
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Wisconsin is famous for its cheese, and Plymouth honors the state’s dairy-land nickname with a cheese drop every New Year’s Eve right as the clock strikes 10 p.m. as a head nod to younger revelers. Plymouth’s party also includes cheese samples for all. Be sure to dress warmly for this event, because temps tend to run in the single digits and feel colder with the wind chill.
6. Prairie du Chien
If you’re looking for a drop a little more unique than cheese, Prairie du Chien is the place to be on New Year’s Eve. Prairie du Chien’s annual CarpFest sticks to midnight for its drop of a huge 40-pound frozen carp. Revelers are welcome to get closer to kiss the carp and bring in the new year with a little extra luck. The festival stretches for an entire week with games, bowling, family parties, and fun activities at various locations around town.
Kohler offers a smorgasbord of New Year’s Eve choices to make your getaway special. Savor a seven-course feast at the Immigrant Restaurant, or choose a casual dinner at Whistling Straits or Horse and Plow. Many area venues offer New Year’s Eve shows, and The American Club features heated horse-drawn carriage rides for something extra special. If you prefer an active New Year’s Eve, check out the ice bowling tournament as well as the annual sledding party in Ravine Park.
8. Green Lake
For a New Year’s getaway full of culture, take in the annual orchestra concert at Heidel House in Green Lake, then head to the ballroom for upscale partying into the new year. Alternatively, opt for a quiet dinner with your special someone at the Grey Rock with live music serenading you and a champagne toast at midnight. The Boathouse Pub is where to go in Green Lake if you prefer a casual atmosphere rather than something formal. This venue offers live entertainment, followed by hats, horns, and party favors for making a grand raucous along with the champagne toast.
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