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New Year’s Eve Bucket List: 26 Fun Things to Do on NYE

With the end of another year, now is a great time to reflect on everything that’s happened in the past 12 months. It’s also a great time to plan for the upcoming year and create new goals and resolutions.

It is true that many people start making resolutions after midnight, but to make the most of the last day of the year, here are some bucket list items that you should mark off your list before the ball drops at midnight.

It is important to note that some of the ideas we have given require you to go out. You should check in advance if the place where you want to go is open and enjoy the new year responsibly.

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New Years Eve Bucket List: Fun Things to Do on NYE

Fun Things to Do on NYE

Create a Gratitude Jar

Creating a gratitude jar is a fantastic way to remember the past year and reflect on all the good things that have happened. This is also a fun activity to get friends and family to join in on, so everyone can bond and create memories together.

To create a gratitude jar, you will need a mason jar or other container, a pen, and slips of paper. Instruct each person to write down something good that happened during the year on the slips of paper and then place them in the jar. On New Year’s Eve next year, you open the jar and remember all the good memories. This is a great way to start the new year with a positive attitude.

Host a Game Night

Playing board games with friends and family is a great way to bond and create new memories. It can also be a great way to bring everyone together to celebrate the new year. Plus, hosting a game night is a great opportunity for everyone to introduce their friends to their favorite games.

If you want, you can provide all the board games for the party, but we think it is most fun if everyone brings one game with them and then see how many games you can get through before the clock strikes midnight.

Watch the Sunrise

Despite the fact that this extends past when the ball drops on New Year’s Eve, watching the first sunrise of the new year is truly a bucket list item that cannot be missed. You can pack some snacks and drinks and head out to your favorite outdoor spot. Enjoy the beautiful sunrise and take in the moment with your friends and family.

Write a Letter to Your Future Self

Similar to the gratitude jar, writing a letter to your future self is a great way to document the present and set goals for the future. Additionally, setting a date for when you read the letter and reflecting on how far you’ve come in the year is a great motivation to reach your goals.

 Make sure to include words of encouragement, advice, and any important memories that you want to remember. Store the letter in a safe place where you can easily access it and read it when the time is right.

Have a Movie Marathon

Hosting a movie marathon with friends and family is a great way to make the most of the last day of the year. You can pick a theme and a selection of movies so that everyone has something to enjoy, make snacks and drinks that go with the theme and spend time talking about the movies and plans for the new year.

Themes can include classic movies, new releases, movies based on books, movies about friendship, and even more!

Go to a Masquerade Ball

Attending a masquerade ball is a fun way to have a festive new year celebration. Everyone can dress up in their finest costumes and masks and attend a ball filled with music and dancing. It’s the perfect way to ring in the New Year in an incredibly unique way.

To find a masquerade ball, you can look on social media like facebook to find events near you. Organizations like the library will also offer events like masquerade balls that you can attend with a small donation.

Dinner at a Fancy Restaurant

Dressing up to the nines and indulging in a delicious meal is a great way to celebrate the beginning of a new year. Be sure to make a reservation in advance to ensure you get a table. And don’t forget to bring the camera to capture the memories!

The great thing about dining out during a holiday is that many restaurants will have special pre-fixe menus for the occasion as well as entertainment.

Create a DIY Spa Night

A DIY spa night is the perfect way to relax and unwind before the start of a new year. It is a great way to de-stress and take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Plus, it’s a great way to spend time with friends and family and enjoy some pampering. Having a DIY spa night on New Year’s Eve also sets the tone for the following year, helping you to start off on the right foot.

DIY spa activities can include creating homemade facial masks from natural ingredients, giving manicures and pedicures, and indulging in a hot bath with essential oils. Other activities such as yoga, meditation, and aromatherapy can also enhance the DIY spa experience.

Attend a Silent Disco

Attending a Silent Disco is a great way to get out of your comfort zone and try something new. It’s an opportunity to have a night of fun without worrying about the loud noise of a traditional dance club. Silent Discos are also a great way to meet new people and enjoy a unique event. Plus, it’s a great way to ring in the new year and celebrate new beginnings. 

Finding places that host silent discos is similar to finding masquerade balls, some bars and clubs may also offer this as a special event for New Years Eve, so it’s worth looking on your favorite clubs website to see if they’re hosting a silent disco.

Visit a Karaoke Bar

A visit to a karaoke bar is always a special experience, but it becomes even more special on New Year’s Eve when the atmosphere is even more festive. Karaoke bars often have special themes and events for New Year’s Eve, so it’s worth checking out what they have to offer. Plus, it’s a great way to show off your singing skills and ring in the new year with a bang.

Many cities have karaoke bars to choose from, and some even offer private rooms for you and your party, so you can sing your heart out without having to worry about anyone else hearing you. Karaoke bars are a great way to celebrate New Year’s Eve with friends, family, or that special someone.

Host a New Years Eve Party

While we’ve suggested a few gatherings to choose from, a classic New Years Eve party is always a great option. Invite your friends and family over and party the night away. Play some music, dance, and ring in the new year with those closest to you.

Enjoy some snacks and drinks, and don’t forget to make a toast at midnight. After all, it’s the perfect way to end the year and celebrate the beginning of a new one.

Have a Fondue Night

Fondue nights are a great way to celebrate the new year. Everyone can enjoy the delicious melted cheese or chocolate and dip their snacks into it. It’s the perfect way to end the night and ring in the upcoming year.

If you don’t have fondue equipment, The Melting Pot is a great place to head to enjoy some fondue. While as of writing no special menus have been announced, The Melting Pot does typically have special menus for holidays.

Host a Murder Mystery Party

Murder mystery parties are a great way to bring people together and have some fun. They are also a great way to ring in the new year and celebrate with friends and family. With a murder mystery party, everyone has a chance to dress up and pretend to be someone else.

Some websites offer kits to set up your own murder mystery party, but you can also write your own. This allows you to customize the details of the murder mystery party to make it more interesting and tailor characters and situations

Join a Virtual New Year’s Eve Event

Virtual New Year’s Eve events are a great way to celebrate the holidays with family and friends who live far away. These events offer a variety of activities from virtual parties to virtual games, so you can be social and have fun from the comfort of your own home.

Organize a Book Swap

Organizing a book swap at the beginning of December and reconvening on new years eve is a great way to celebrate the holidays and share the joy of reading with one another. It can be a great way for everyone to stay connected and find new books to read.

If you would like to do this in a fun way, you can put everyone’s names in a bowl or jar, and each person can pick out a name to give their book to. Everyone can bring their favorite book in advance to make this move more smoothly.

Go Mini Golfing

Mini golfing on New Year’s Eve can be a great way to have fun and relax with family and friends. It is a unique way to spend the holiday and can be an enjoyable experience for all ages. Mini golfing also offers the opportunity to play a lighthearted competition with friends and family as you enjoy the festivities of the night.

Plan a Scavenger Hunt

If you have a large family or group of friends, planning a competitive scavenger hunt can be a great way to spend the holiday. Everyone can work together to find items on the list and compete for prizes. It can also be a great way to explore the city and have a bit of an adventure.

You can also get premade scavenger hunt itineraries on sites like Groupon or Let’s Roam if you’d rather leave the planning entirely to the professionals. All you have to do is book them and you’re off on your day of adventure.

Host a Potluck Dinner

Hosting a potluck can be a wonderful way to bond with friends and family. Everyone can bring a dish to share and enjoy a delicious meal together. Plus, it’s a great way to get to know people better and build relationships.

One unique potluck idea is to have everyone create and bring a dish from their heritage, this gives you the opportunity to learn more about different cultures and their cuisines. Everyone will have something to share and the evening is sure to be a hit. Another great idea is to include dishes that are thought to bring good luck in the new year like noodles for longevity and prosperity, pork to bring more wealth into your life, and dumplings to release the old and welcome the new.

Visit a Theme Park

In our opinion, it’s a must-do activity to spend New Years Eve at a theme park at least once in a lifetime. Not only do many theme parks offer firework shows, but they also usually have special entertainment and activities. It’s a great way to get the family together and have a memorable experience.

If you choose to spend your New Years Eve at a theme park, it’s a good idea to arrive early as most theme parks tend to hit capacity early in the day. If you start feeling tired, you can always grab a bite at one of the restaurants and rest your feet for a while.

Create a Time Capsule

A time capsule is a very popular activity for New Year’s Eve, and it’s easy to see why! You and those around you can use them to forever mark some of the memories that have shaped your year.

Things you can put in a time capsule include photos, letters, cards, memorabilia, and other meaningful items. It’s a great way to remember the good times and look forward to the future. 

Join a New Year’s Eve Run or Polar Plunge

Taking part in a run or polar plunge is a great way to celebrate the new year and mark the beginning of a new chapter. It’s an opportunity to challenge yourself, get out of your comfort zone, and make lasting memories with your friends and family.

Polar plunges and new year’s eve runs can usually be found in local newspapers and event listings. Additionally, you can look online for events in your area. Websites such as Eventbrite, Meetup, and Facebook often list a variety of these events.

Visit a Planetarium

Planetariums often have some incredibly unique new years eve parties to celebrate another trip around the sun. These events are usually open to the public for a small fee and can include activities such as stargazing, laser shows, and guided tours. Planetariums are also a great place to make memories with friends and family.

Have a Beach Bonfire

In the case that there are beaches near you that are open at midnight, making a bonfire while the clock strikes midnight is absolutely unforgettable. Gather a group of friends, bring some snacks and drinks, and enjoy the view of the stars while toasting marshmallows. Make sure to stay safe and be aware of any fire safety regulations.

Create a Vision Board

Having people over and creating vision boards is a great way to spend the last hours of the year with one another and to look forward to what the new year has in store. This also gives everyone the opportunity to talk over their plans and goals for the coming year.

You can either provide the supplies for vision boards (if you’re on a budget, you can get many supplies at The Dollar Tree) or have everyone bring their own. Once the supplies are ready, people can get started on their vision boards. Encourage them to think big and be creative. After all, this is the start of a new year and anything is possible.

Create a Trivia Night

Trivia nights are a great way to bring everyone together for a fun, interactive experience. You can provide plenty of questions to make it interesting, and you can even make it a little bit competitive by awarding prizes for the first person to get all the questions right. Everyone will be able to bond, get to know each other better, and have some fun.

While you can choose trivia questions about any topic, some fun options can be about the past year, or even questions relating to your friend or family group, recounting memories you all shared in the past year.

Watch Fireworks

It would be unfair not to mention the most classic option for a New Year’s Eve celebration: watching fireworks! Whether you shoot them off yourself (where legal) or head out to somewhere hosting a fireworks celebration, fireworks can be an exciting way to usher in the new year.

Some places that typically offer firework displays in and near Orange County are Disneyland, Universal Studios, and the Queen Mary. For a full list of New Years Eve events in Orange County, visit our article here!

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Morgan Mulac
Morgan is an avid writer about her journeys and enjoys sharing the beauty California has to offer. She is dedicated to using her writing skills to share her passion for travel with others and to help them discover the best places to eat while on vacation, no matter where she is.