Miami, the beating heart of Florida's sunshine coast is the state's party capital all the year round, and New Years Eve is no exception with crowds hitting the bars, hotels and restaurants for one huge city-wide party before watching the countdown and midnight fireworks at one of the many private displays of the major pyrotechnic spectacular over the Biscayne Bay. Miami City and Miami Beach have a load of parties to choose from so you're pretty much guaranteed to find something that takes your fancy.
For me Miami is one of the United States iconic cities - I'm from the generation that grew up with Miami Vice of course - and the white sand beachfront with high rise skyscrapers right along the waterfront create a fantastic scenic backdrop that always reminds me of Surfer's Paradise, one of my favourite places on the planet (I am of course conscious that Miami was doing it first!) and with the buzzing nightlife it would be a fantastic place to see in the new year.
The main public event in Miami for new year's eve, and one that has survived the budget cuts that have curtailed similar events in many US cities, is the big midnight fireworks display over Biscayne Bay. They are located in the area on Ocean Drive and 8th Street.
The iconic Big Orange is the focal point of the new year party at Bayfront Park, the dropping of which from the roof of the InterContinental Hotel is the focal point of the evening's events that includes free live music leading to the big countdown and spectacular fireworks at midnight.
One of the biggest shows for live music on new year's eve for the last 2 years was hosted by Pitbull in Miami, performing live and hosting the Fox network's New Year's Eve Special in a show titled "Pitbull's New Year's Revolution" in Bayfront Park.
The waterfront areas draw huge crowds on NYE and each year there is a massive range of famous beach party events, including the big one at Fontainebleau Miami Beach.
Away from the beach and into the city as well the Miami nightlife comes into it's own on New Years Eve like no other time as the city strives to cement it's reputation as the nation's party central. Top venues include Mansion, Cameo Nightclub, Mokai, Opium Nightclub, Kaffe Krystal, Wonderland, Tabu, Bongos Cuban Cafe, La Covacha and Club 50, and all of the big bars and clubs compete to hold the biggest and brightest new year party
Another option many people opt for is to take to the water and join one of the new year cruises on Biscayne Bay, a great way to do something a little different as well as securing yourself one of the best possible vantage points to watch the fireworks.
I really like the look of the gala events offered by Island Queen Cruises where you can spend the evening on an all-inclusive basis with premium bar and fabulous fine dining menu on one of their 3 luxury yacht, the Biscayne Lady, the Venetian Lady and the Floridian Princess. Another good option is the New Year's Eve Fireworks Gala cruise on The Musette Yacht, with live music and full buffet on climate-controlled decks.
There is also a New Year's Eve Fireworks Dinner Cruise being offfered on board the Lady Windridge, a luxury cruise that includes dinner, premium open bar, party favors, DJ entertainment, stunning views of the Miami Fireworks Show and a champagne toast to 2017 at midnight!
For sports fans, new year's eve this year also sees The Orange Bowl college football game taking place at the city's Sun Life Stadium.
For eating options, many diners will head to one of the many beach-side restaurants, such as Los Parrilleros, Te con Te, Layali Miami Mediterranean Restaurant and Hookah Lounge, Positano Ristorante Italiano or the Ajiacos Grill Colombian Restaurant. Miami has a huge range of restaurants, with seafood an obvious speciality, but most cuisines are amply catered for - check out local restaurant listings and reviews here.
Places to watch live online, including live views over Biscayne Bay, as well as streams from Downtown Miami and South Beach:
The new year's eve special will be screened live as part of FOX's New Year's Eve special, broadcasting live on the east coast from 8pm, with west coast stations, including San Francisco, being shown the show on a delay. Live stream to follow, but will probably be on this link:
If you're planning on visiting Miami or Miami Beach over the New Year period, then be advised it is popular as many northerners head south for the warmer climate so it's well worth making your reservation as soon as you have your plans set - click here for the best Miami hotel deals.
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