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Top 10 New Year’s Eve Destinations

We took a look at the most popular New Year’s Eve rental hot spots in 2010 so we could give you the skinny on the best places to be when we say goodbye to 2011. From a skiers torchlight procession in Big Bear to a wild street part in Edinburgh here are the top ten locations where FlipKey travelers spend the final hours of the year.

1. Big Bear Lake, California

Big Bear lights up the slopes to ring in the New Year at the annual Torchlight Parade at Snow Summit Resort. At 7 P.M. more than 250 skiers and snowboarders zigzag down the mountain carrying fluorescent torches to create a brilliant stream of light. Many of the revelers in the parade are equipped with outlandish holiday themed costumes to celebrate the New Year while cruising down the mountain. Enjoy a bit of night skiing and then head to one of the many New Year’s parties hosted by the local resorts for live music and champagne.

2. New York City, New York

The Big Apple is the hub of New Year’s celebrations in the U.S. with over one-million visitors piling into Times Square to watch the fabled ball drop as the clock strikes midnight. If you want to avoid the hustle and bustle of Times Square, then there’s a plethora of alternative options. You can buy a ticket to one of the many parties in downtown Manhattan, but make sure to plan early because the most popular tickets sell out fast! Or, you might choose to take part in the Emerald Nuts Midnight Run, a four mile race, starting in Central Park with a laser light show and Fireworks!

3. Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Nestled in the scenic Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg hosts a rousing New Year’s celebration with a lively pyrotechnic displays centered on the historic 407-foot tall Space Needle. During the hours leading up to midnight there is a spirited celebration at the base of the Space Needle with live music to keep the crowd entertained. Everyone anticipates the climax of the night when Midnight arrives and the ball drops from the Space Needle to signify one year passing to the next. Local businesses and restaurants provide great deals to keep the party going long after midnight.

4. South Lake Tahoe, California

Lake Tahoe is renowned for its incredible fireworks spectacle, which reflects stunningly across the lake and momentarily illuminates the entire area to welcome the New Year. This year promises to be even better with the arrival of the SnowGlobe Music Festival, featuring some of the best acts in electronic music like Bassnectar and Pretty Lights. In addition to the fireworks and music, Heavenly Ski Resort hosts an ice sculpting competition, while the Montbleu offers a different experience at their night club dance party.

5. Miami Beach, Florida

The Miami Beach club scene will be going full throttle throughout the New Year’s weekend as thousands of visitors arrive to take advantage of the warm weather and the city’s best parties. If you’re looking for something the whole family can enjoy, check out the 35 ft. neon Big Orange at the Parks Amphitheater as it rises to the top of the Hotel Intercontinental to drop at the stroke of Midnights. The Big Orange spectacle is followed by fireworks and a light show over Biscayne Bay. On the afternoon of the 31st make sure to see the King Mango Strut Parade, a satirical parade, boasting some of the wackiest and most hilarious costumes around.

6. Amsterdam, Holland

If you’re heading to Amsterdam to celebrate the coming of the New Year get ready to take to the streets and plazas with a bottle of champagne at your disposal. Hotspots include Dam Square, Niewmarkt and Rembrandtplein where kids and adults alike illuminate the streets with an abundance of firecrackers and sparklers. The city is easy to navigate on rental bikes, so explore a bit to find that perfect viewing bridge over the Amstel River for the city’s organized fireworks spectacle. Keep the night going at one of the many bars and clubs in Amsterdam’s notable party scene.

7. Las Vegas, Nevada

Every corner of the strip is stirring with energy on New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas. The strip closes at 6 p.m. and the streets fill with rousing partiers awaiting the midnight fireworks display. The show is an intense spectacle with fireworks launching from seven different casinos down the four mile strip including the MGM Grand, Aria, Planet Hollywood, Caesars Palace, Treasure Island, The Venetian and the Stratosphere. Freemont Street provides a different and enjoyable experience with a collection of various tribute bands like “Rolling the Stone” and “Fan Halen.” And of course the Las Vegas night clubs will be throwing incredible parties with some great artists and DJ’s.

8. Flagstaff, Arizona

Flagstaff hosts the college football Fiesta Bowl each year and rolls out various New Year’s Eve celebrations to accompany the storied game. The game will be held at the University of Phoenix Stadium on January 2 with a matchup between the Big 12 Conference Champion and the No. 1 BCS at-large selection. The Fiesta Bowl Block Party is Arizona’s best New Year’s Eve party and equipped with live music entertainment and multiple beer gardens sprawling down the Mill Avenue District in Tempe.

9. Edinburgh, Scotland

Touted as the “original and best,” the Edinburgh Hogmanay is a New Year’s Eve street party with a crowd of nearly 80,000 packed into the city center. The three day festival begins December 30 with the Torchlight procession from Parliament Sqaure to Carlton Hill Son et Lumiere followed by the street party on the 31st. The street party is one of Europe’s largest celebration with world famous DJ’s, outdoor bars and the famous midnight fireworks. The festival is followed by “The Loony Dook” on Jan 1st in which participants dive into the freezing River Forth! This is one celebration you won’t want to miss.

10. Rome, Italy

The New Year’s celebration also coincides with the La Festa di San Silvestro a gastro holiday feature dishes of Zampone and Cotechino accompanied by sparkling wine. The pork dishes are made to signify the richness of the coming year. After the ceremonial feast, Romans tend to congregate at the Piazza Popolo to enjoy classical rock music until the fireworks at midnight. On New Year’s Day there is a parade beginning in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican City that commences with the Pope’s blessing of the New Year. The parade ends at the Castel Sant’Angelo and is lauded for the performances of military and civil marching bands.