Hotel Congress, Tucson

New Year’s Eve Festivities – Arizona Style

By: Bryn Bailer

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December 7, 2017

Ring in the New Year with unique holiday happenings.

About the author

Bryn Bailer

Bryn Bailer

Native Tucsonan Bryn Bailer is an award-winning journalist, former newspaper reporter, current-affairs junkie, and a firm believer in indecision. (At least she thinks so.) Her work has appeared in various publications, including The Dallas Morning News, Arizona Highways, Arizona Daily Star, international news service Agence France-Presse, scads of lifestyle magazines, and curiously, the English-language financial magazine Czech Business Weekly.

Think New Year’s Eve, and you may envision glittery party hats, Champagne toasts and watching the Times Square ball drop on TV. But those wanting to ring in 2018 in a more distinctive way have a variety of Arizona events to choose from that are anything but predictable.

New Year’s Eve Block Party at Hotel Congress, Tucson

Each year, this block party features a different theme. Past events transformed the historic Hotel Congress into a 1920s speakeasy, Old Las Vegas and Studio 54 – and this year’s festivities will take guests around the world in vintage Pan Am style. Stop by for a pint at an Irish pub as you wind your way around the other spaces of the hotel, which will be transformed into landmarks in China, France and India, among others.

Celebrate at the Copper Queen Hotel, Bisbee

In the late 1800s, Bisbee was a mining boomtown, fueled by the region’s rich veins of gold, silver and copper ore. With miners came rowdy entertainment, including scores of brothels and saloons in its infamous Brewery Gulch.

A few steps away from the Gulch, you’ll find the Copper Queen, a grand old hotel that has been in continuous operation since 1902. This year kicks off the first annual New Year’s Eve Street Dance, which will take place in front of the hotel and host three bars and a live DJ. Before, during and after the masquerade-themed event – 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. – the Copper Queen offers plenty of opportunities to eat, drink, make merry (and rest up afterward).

Great Pinecone Drop at the Weatherford Hotel, Flagstaff

Flagstaff’s painstakingly restored Weatherford Hotel opened its doors on New Year’s Day, 1900 – and still takes center stage at year’s end. Its Great Pinecone Drop has become a Flagstaff tradition, now attracting upwards of 8,000 revelers.

Streets are closed, a DJ presides over the outdoor crowd and there are fireworks and dancing galore. The evening’s highlight is the countdown drop of a 6-foot tall, LED-lighted pinecone from the hotel itself.

Whiskey Row Boot Drop, Prescott

Over the centuries, Prescott has been many things: a mining camp, ranching community, railroad town and the first capital of the Arizona Territory. Today it’s known for its well-preserved Victorian homes and charming small-town atmosphere.

On New Year’s Eve, thousands of residents and visitors flock to the middle of Prescott for its free family-friendly street party, which flows along the neon-splashed streets of historic Whiskey Row.

Attractions include all-night DJs, barrel bonfires, carnival games and a Ferris wheel. Be sure to stay for the Boot Drop – the lowering of a 6-foot-tall electrified cowboy boot from the historic Palace Building.

Deuce of Clubs Drop, Show Low

Show Low’s New Year’s Eve celebration is low-key and a favorite among locals – although others are welcome to join in to enjoy fireworks, fire pits and food vendors.

At midnight, organizers drop a 6-foot-tall, electrified deuce of clubs playing card – the lowest-ranking card in suit, which figured into a historic, high-stakes card game and resulted in the naming of the city itself.

New Year’s Eve Family Fun Night, Yuma

Most New Year’s Eve celebrations are geared to adults, but this celebration is open to revelers of all ages. Here you’ll find family games, inflatable bounce houses, face painters, music and dancing. This year’s party has a “superheroes” theme, and attendees are encouraged to dress in costume.


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