When looking further afield for venues in the United States that are possibly a little more of the beaten track and somewhat less predictable places to welcome the new year I soon came across Minneapolis sitting on the banks of the Mississippi river, a city I had of course heard of, but knew relatively little about.
Turns out to be the largest city in the state of Minnesota, although not the state capital, that honour falls to St Paul, and with a heavy sports focus, being home to the Minnesota Timberwolves NBA team and Minnesota Vikings American football side, both of who have home games over the new year period, so another excellent reason to be in town at this time of year, especially as attending local sporting events always features highly on my to do list when visiting a new place for the first time.
As with most decent-sized US cities there is a big public event to celebrate new year's eve, and in Minneapolis this is the Crystal Ball event in the city's central International Market Square. The NYE 2014-2015 party gets underway at 8pm and features live music and entertainment throughout the evening, leading up to the countdown at midnight. The event is open to the public, but guests must purchase a ticket for entry. There is high possibility of selling out so it is recommended that guests buy their tickets in advance - you can get more details and secure your tickets here.
Another big event taking place this year is a masked ball, entitled A Masked Affair, at the Muse Event Center. This is one of the more unique new year parties, and includes champagne reception, complimentary hors d'oeuvres with surreal and fantastic live entertainment.
This year also sees the return of the Minnesota Orchestra's New Year's Eve concerts at Orchestra Hall, the first time these events have been held since way back in 1998. The 2 concerts, starting at 7 and 10pm, will feature a Gershwin theme and be led by highly regarded soprano Sylvia McNair.
Elsewhere there is always fierce competition among the city's clubs and bars to hold the loudest and liveliest party, which means plenty nights out to choose from - this year's top party venue selection includes Elixir Lounge, The Pourhouse and the Epic Event Center - get information and ticket details for these and many more parties and events here.
if you're looking for somewhere to eat out on new year's eve, whether as part of a quiet social evening with friends or as precursor to hitting one of the big parties, then Minneapolis has plenty of choices. Top rated venues include the famous SEVEN Steakhouse, Hell's Kitchen, Gorkha Palace and the Capital Grille. Us veggies are well catered for by the Ecopolitan Restaurant - see the full range of local restaurants and cafes here.
Places to watch live online - there is a decent selection of webcams in the city, including a few with good views of the skyline which should offer some good shots of the fireworks across the city at midnight:
If you're planning on visiting Minneapolis over the New Year period, then it will be exceptionally busy so you ideally need to be making your reservations as early as you can. You can search, check availability and book local hotels here.
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