A Countdown to Celebrating New Year’s in Wisconsin

Bright lights, festive music and over-the-top celebrations…there’s nothing quite like ringing in the New Year! Wisconsinites are known for throwing a good party so rest assured: wherever you celebrate here, you’ll be in good company. Here’s my countdown to a few fabulous ways you can welcome the arrival of 2017:

10. New Year’s Eve Bash (Manitowoc)

Manitowoc's New Year's Eve Bash

Head to the Maritime Museum in Manitowoc if good food and great music are two of your favorite things. Manitowoc’s New Year’s Eve Bash features that and more including: music, dancing, auctions, fireworks, raffles, jewelry giveaways, games, food, bars, free champagne at midnight, a photo station and much more. (December 31)

9. New Year’s Eve Celebration at the Domes (Milwaukee)

9. New Year’s Eve Celebration at the Domes

If you’ve never experienced the Mitchell Park Conservatory (more commonly referred to as “The Domes”), now is the time to round up the fam and partake in the fun on New Year’s Eve. And believe me when I say: Boredom is not in their vocabulary. Grownups and kiddos alike will have a blast during this magical evening of entertainment, which includes music performed by Garlic Mustard Pickers, magician Rick Allen, balloon twisters and face painters, children’s crafts, a balloon drop and so. much. more. (December 31)

8. Skyrockers New Year’s Eve Fireworks at the Bluff (La Crosse)

La Crosse Skyrockers
Fireworks during the summer are neat and all but we like to kick it up a notch ‘round these parts. Head to the Coulee Region and watch on as the colors burst over Grandad Bluff and light up the Mississippi Valley. (Various dates)

7. New Year’s Eve Festivities (Green Lake)
heidel house
Send 2016 out in style in Green Lake Country! It’s your celebration of choice at Heidel House: dance to a live orchestra and feast on steak and lobster with a Ballroom package, party the night away in the Boathouse Pub with no cover charge or have an intimate dinner at Grey Rock with a live pianist. (December 31 – January 1)

6. 17th Annual Original Northwoods Polar Bear Plunge (Three Lakes)

6. 15th Annual Original Northwoods Polar Bear Plunge

If you’re over the party thing, try plunging into a freezing cold lake (Spirit Lake to be exact) during a frigid Wisconsin January. A little scary, sure, but it’s for a totally awesome cause. The proceeds for the Northwoods Polar Bear Plunge benefit one of my favorite charities, Angel on my Shoulder, a non-profit for families coping with cancer. (January 7)

5. New Year’s Eve at the American Club (Kohler)

This is like one of those “choose your own adventure” books…except cooler. First, pick which dining option you’d like: You have The Wisconsin Room, Blackwolf Run, Horse & Plow, Whistling Straits, The Immigrant Restaurant or Cucina. Next, get the party started at either The Immigrant Restaurant with winery entertainment or The Horse & Plow with a live band. Finally, party the night away with the ones you love! (December 31 – January 1)

4. Droppin’ of the Carp (Prairie du Chien)

4. Droppin' of the Carp

Looking to experience something a little more…nontraditional? Then you’ll love this one. Join the small (but vivacious) Prairie du Chien community while it celebrates the new year by dropping a 40-pound frozen carp as the clock strikes midnight. Lots of other quirky shenanigans ensue i.e. fest-goers give “Lucky” a kiss for good luck. (Hey…it’s only weird if you DON’T do it.) (December 31)

3. Cool Fool Kite Festival (Milwaukee)
140 ft Mega Octopus Kite

Revel in this 30-year Milwaukee tradition of kite-flying and more at Veterans Park on Milwaukee’s Lakefront for the Cool Fool Kite Festival (say that 10x fast!). You’ll witness the Quiet Ice Carvers at work, go for a jaunt in a horse drawn carriage ride and relish some (free) hot chocolate, coffee and snacks. (January 1)

2. New Year’s Eve Extravaganza (Wisconsin Dells)

2. New Year's Eve Extravaganza

You didn’t honestly think I’d get through this list without mentioning the Dells, did ya? Not a chance! Celebrate the New Year – Wilderness Resort-style – with some of our favorite NYE pursuits: music, buffets, party favors, prize drawings, a midnight balloon drop and more! (December 31)

1. New Year’s Eve Cheese Drop (Plymouth)

1. New Year’s Eve Cheese Drop

To heck with the clichéd “ball drop.” When in Wisconsin, do as the Wisconsinites do! The highlight of the evening revolves around the dramatic “cheese drop” at midnight. You had us at “cheese”, Plymouth…well played! (December 31)

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