Washington DC takes it's responsibilities as the nation's capital city very seriously, and on New Years Eve until relatively recently this would manifest itself as the requirement to provide the most spectacular fireworks displays anywhere in the country. Crowds would head towards Capital Hill and the National Washington Monument to watch the fireworks light up the city skyline and all of it's famous landmarks.
You should be aware however that in recent years, as austerity bites, there haven't been any official fireworks displays on the National Mall (if they can't even manage to keep the government's basic services running effectively then I guess it's a little too much to expect a properly organised public party...)
Crowds will however still gather there to celebrate, especially if the weather is fine, but if it's a large public display you're looking for then there are other places in the DC area with their own large fireworks - these include First Night Alexandria, First Night Leesburg and New Year's Annapolis, Maryland, where the crowds gather to watch the festivities on the City Dock.
Even without official fireworks there will still be smaller displays across the city from hotels, bars and private parties, so if you can find yourself a vantage point on higher ground or perhaps one of the restaurants with a rooftop terrace then you should have some good panoramic views across the city when midnight arrives.
In a city this size though there is a plethora of parties to choose from and most diversionary tastes will be adequately catered for. The Big Night DC lays claim to being the biggest New Year's Eve Gala anywhere in America, and backs it up with a party that includes 15 different themed party areas, a myriad selection of full, open bars, live bands and top-name DJs, all in a fantastic venue at the Gaylord National Harbor Resort that offers the significant additional benefit of views over the Potomac River, Georgetown and Old Town Alexandria.
The James Bond New Year's Eve Gala at the Washington Plaza Hotel is another signature DC new years event, entering it's 13th year to welcome in 2016. This promises a red carpet, celebrity experience with 5 international buffet stations, premium open bar and a midnight champagne toast and balloon drop. For a little extra the Presidential Suite ticket will get you access to exclusive additional areas as well as a gourmet seated dinner.
For a somewhat more down-to-earth experience then many of the younger crowd in DC choose to see in the new year with a bar crawl around the city's many hostelries - the NYE Crawl 'Til The Ball Falls Bar Crawl is the iconic event in this genre and is reputedly a decent night out, even if it does dramatically reduce you chances of still being vertical come midnight! Ticket details to follow.
Elsewhere, 360 Nightlife presents their annual Masquerade Ball at MXDC, 600 14th St. NW Washington DC. This event features a hour long open bar and MXDC catered hors d'oeuvres from 9 to 10 PM, a champagne toast at midnight, and complimentary masquerade masks. DJ LS spins the best in music on 2 floors in this upscale downtown venue - tickets are available here.
Other top venues in DC with great parties this year are the 9:30 club, Bethesda Jazz and Blues Supper Club, The Birchmere, Black Cat, Blues Alley, Echostage, The Fillmore, Iota and The Stage Theatre.
Another option many people go for in DC is to take a cruise on the Potomac, giving you guaranteed access to some of the most spectacular views the capital has to offer. The Odyssey Cruise on the Potomac offers live entertainment and dancing, an open premium bar option, champagne toast at midnight plus of course the backdrop of the iconic illuminated monuments. Really is a shame there aren't any fireworks!
An alternative cruise option is provided by Spirit Cruises with the Spirit of Washington NYE Dinner. This event includes dining, dancing to DJ entertainment and sipping your favourite cocktails with a Premium Open Bar Package and more - looks like a fantastic evening!
If you're looking for dining options then as you would expect Washington has the full gamut of possibilities to choose from, with all international cuisines catered for. Top restaurant options include the Old Ebbitt Grill, Morton's the Steakhouse, Zaytinya, Rasika Indian and Marcel's. You will need to make your table reservation way in advance though, and expect it to be a little pricier than usual - check out the full range of DC eateries here.
Places to watch live online, including fabulous live streaming views from the Washington Monument and the National Mall:
If you're planning on visiting DC over the New Year period, then early reservation is strongly recommended as the top venues will fill up fast. You can search, check availability and book local hotels here.
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