Looking for something to do this New Year’s Eve that you won’t cost a fortune? There is plenty to do this December 31 in the Midwest for $20 or less per person. Here are some of them:
Purchase your First Night tickets in advance, and they’re only $15 ($18 the night of the event). From 6:15 p.m. until 11:15 p.m. over 30 performances take place on eight stages throughout downtown Springfield. Fireworks start at 8 p.m.
When the clock strikes midnight the fireworks begin at Navy Pier.
Slide down Stargazer Tube Hill over and over again from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. for only $16. They supply the tubes and their Magic Carpet lift takes you to the top of the chutes so you don’t have to walk to the top of the hill.
Gather at Patrick Henry Square beginning at 9 p.m. for music, food and a beer/wine garden. Stay for the fireworks and watch the watermelon 18 foot, 500 pound “Watermelon Drop.” Free admission.
At New Year’s Eve on Georgia Street (250 W Georgia Street) enjoy entertainment, food trucks and drinks. At midnight an Indy Car hoisted high above descends to a countdown. Family-friendly activities will take place inside the Entry Pavilion at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Dance to the 70s band The Travoltas from 8:30 p.m. through the countdown to midnight at the Quad Cities Waterfront Convention Center in Bettendorf, Iowa, for $20. Hotel packages are also available at the adjacent Isle Casino Hotel Bettendorf.
The illuminated ball drops at midnight at the intersection of Washington Street and Front Street.
At the free New Year’s Eve Ball Drop in the North James Street Plaza, enjoy entertainment beginning at 9:30 p.m., fireworks, and the ball drop at midnight.
At the second annual Bridge Drop, enjoy family-friendly daytime activities. In the evening, local restaurants, bars and shops provide activities and entertainment. The celebration concludes with the bridge drop and fireworks at midnight.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
The Subway Hot New Year’s Eve Celebration, which has moved this year to Calder Plaza, includes live entertainment and a midnight ball drop.
Traverse City, Michigan
Three dollars or three non-perishable food items (which benefit Northern Michigan families) buys you admission to the CherryT Ball Drop. Entertainment begins at 10:30 p.m.
There is limited ticket availability for Midnight on Main, so get your tickets early. You must be 21 or over to gain access to the gated area, which includes beverage tent and live entertainment. Michigan’s largest New Year’s Eve Ball drops at midnight.
Port Huron, Michigan
Port Huron will welcome in 2015 with the New Year’s Eve Anchor Drop from the top of the McMorran Tower. Enjoy live music, a beer tent, and free open skating.
Admission to the Family New Year’s Eve Party at Lebanon Hills Visitor Center is $8 per person if you preregister by December 30 and $10 at the door. Children 5 and under are free. The party runs from 5 to 8 p.m. and includes candlelight hiking, snowshoeing, ice skating, sledding, bonfires, and more.
The Annandale New Year’s Eve Ball Drop takes place at Clock Tower Park in downtown Annandale.
Snowshoe or walk by the light of the moon and candle luminaries from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. during the New Year’s Eve Candlelight Event at Lake Carlos State Park. A Minnesota State Park vehicle permit is required ($5 per day).
St. Louis, Missouri
Only $12 gets you into First Night® in Grand Center, where you can ring in the New Year with music, storytellers, magicians and other performers. The party starts at 6 p.m. on the Main Stage at Grand and Lindell and ends with fireworks at midnight.
Early purchase of tickets to Columbia Eve Fest are $6 ($8 at the door). Children 6 and under are free. Walk from entertainment venue to entertainment venue.
For $10 admission, enjoy entertainment from 5 p.m. until midnight at First Night Columbus.
First Night Youngstown is a family event with entertainment at various venues, fireworks at both 9 p.m. and midnight, and a ball drop at Covelli Centre. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for students.
Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin
Droppin’ of the Carp festivities begin at 9 p.m. and includes a bonfire music and food. The countdown for the lowering of the carp starts at 11:59 p.m.
What better way to ring in 2015 in Wisconsin than with a New Year’s Eve Cheese Drop? Hot chocolate will be served in the Plymouth Arts Center plaza from 11:45 p.m. until 12:15 p.m. The Big Cheese drops at midnight.
Happy travels in 2015!
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