Why Go: Thanks to Sundance, Park City gets its fair share of celebrity visitors, and where there are Hollywood types there are excellent restaurants, bars and clubs to meet their demands (try the Asian cuisine at Robert Valaika's Shabu). Park City also has a pretty 19th-century historic district that's strewn with colorful lights come the holidays-we dare you not to feel festive there.
What to Do: Of course, there's skiing for all levels; if you opt to stay at the Sundance Resort where fresh-faced directors-as well as old hands like Robert Redford-hang out during the film festival, you can go full-moon night skiing on their 450 acres of private slopes. After a New Year's celebration at Harry O's club -where Paris has been known to flash her furry snow boots-spend next day detoxing at the Homestead Crater. This 55-foot deep natural bowl in limestone rock filled with 90° mineral water is a perfect, subtly lit spot to soak out the toxins and start 2010 afresh.
Where to stay: Washington School Inn. New Year's rates are $295 if you stay until January 4. Also the filmmakers' favorite, the Sundance Resort from $299 per night.
Courtesy of the Homestead Resort
Why Go: They really knew how to throw a New Year's party in Frank Sinatra's day. If you fancy toasting 2010 in the singer's signature style, where better than the lounge and cocktail culture of Palm Springs to raise a glass?
What to Do: Spend daytime checking out the cool vintage shops along Palm Canyon drive (expensive Mid-Century Modern furniture at the Modern Way Gallery; affordable 20th century art, design and fashion at the Palm Canyon Galleria, and space-age architecture by the likes of William Cody, Richard Neutra and John Lautner. Or do both at once by heading to Trina Turk's store, which is in a 1960s Albert Frey–designed building. Grab a retro booth in the Amigo Room at the Ace, the place for strong (organic) cocktails and great music. Alternatively sip, snack and catch some rays poolside at the stylish Colony Palms Hotel. Looking for some kitschy holiday cheer? Head into the desert after dark for the WildLights Holiday Festival, where you'll find 350,000 lights (that's a lot of sparkle), wood-burning fireplaces, and tasty hot chocolate.
Where to Stay: Ace Hotel and Pool Club's Christmas rates start from $180 (includes one dinner/party), New Year's rates from $269.
Courtesy of the ACE Hotel
Why Go: The Big Easy's recovery post Katrina is a lesson in possibility (which is the perfect vibe at the advent of a new year.) Plus you can party hard in New Orleans-from alcohol-charged slushies on tap along Bourbon Street to martinis at the sophisticated Art Deco Sazerac Bar at the Roosevelt -safe in the knowledge that the city's signature sandwich, the po' boy, is the perfect hangover cure.
If all else fails, one could cling to the hope of a Brangelina spotting.
What to Do: Magazine Street is one of Nola's success stories, with a growing number of cool cafes, bars and shops; visit Trashy Diva to get that 1950s vintage starlet look, and pop into Dirty Coast for a fab selection of stylish graphic tees. Join the countdown at Jackson Square, where Baby Bacchus drops from the top of the Jax Brewery, then watch the fireworks over the Mississippi
Where to Stay: Chimes B&B on the edge of the Garden District has NY rates from $190 (three-night min. stay). While Terrell House B&B on Magazine Street offers rooms from $150.
Ethan Miller, Getty Images
Why Go: The reason for a New Year's celebration in Miami? Why, the nightlife of course.
What to Do: It's fun to browse the Design District's mix of contemporary and vintage shops, including designer Tomas Maier's store, but if it's the glitz, glamour and celebrity of South Beach you're after, then megaclub LIV at refurbished icon the Fountainebleau is the place to find it, with DJs like Erick Morillo on the decks and celebs like Kim Kardashian shaking her thing in one of its six private skyboxes. Or try your luck at the Louis bar-lounge at the Gansevoort -where local Lenny Kravitz is known to hang out. Be warned, if you plan to spend NYE at the hottest spot in town, you better have model good looks or the right connections to get your name on the list for the big countdown.
Where to Stay: The Townhouse Hotel offers the unlikely mix of style and affordability-so its rooms are selling like hotcakes. NYE rates for a three-night min. start at $295.
Why Go: Margaritas, music and Tex-Mex seem like mighty fine reasons to see in the beginning of 2010 in Austin.
What to Do: Stroll along south Congress Avenue for thrift shops like Uncommon Objects, which is crammed full of whimsical finds, as well as bars and clubs. Don't miss the retro cool of San Jose Hotel's bar-a good place to start off the evening with a beer and interesting local types-or the live music at one of the city's oldest venues, Continental Club which continues to jump with excellent musicians. If you're in town on the first Thursday of the month, there's also SoCo's First Thursday block party. Arty types will also enjoy Austin's First Night celebrations, a city-wide festival of arts on New Year's Eve.
Where to Stay: Super cool modernist hotel the Kimber Modern is offering a holiday rate of $225 (includ. breakfast, happy hour, wiFi, and parking).
Courtesy of the Kimber Modern
Why Go: You can enjoy the best of both worlds in Oahu by basing yourself in Waikiki Beach for surf and sun, then hanging out in bustling Honolulu-the last major city in the U.S.'s time zone to celebrate NYE.
What to Do: The city's Chinatown stores, galleries and bars have a party atmosphere on First Fridays when they throw open their doors, and offer free wine and great bargains from 5pm to 10pm. Be sure to check out Tatsugo Yoda's hip clothing store, Aloha Rag (now also open in West Village). Drink and dance at Honolulu's arty hangout the thirtyninehotel, then night owls can continue the party at after-hours club Asylum. If that scene's not for you, watch the fantastic fireworks over Waikiki Beach.
Where to Stay: Hotel Renew, a block from Waikiki Beach, from $212 for New Year.
Why Go: Don't dismiss the town of Jackson as rustic, it also has its fair share of chic. As well as the skiing (111 challenging runs and few lines at Jackson Hole), there's a thriving arts scene of around 40 downtown galleries.
What to Do: Start at the slick Oswald Gallery which shows both vintage collections by the like of Ansel Adams and contemporary work by experimental digital artists. Watch or take part in a winding line of skiers bearing torches as they glide down the mountainside in three resorts-Jackson Hole, Snowy King, and Grand Targhee-to celebrate the new year, or try to recapture a scene from "Doctor Zhivago" on a horse-drawn sleigh ride across the National Elk Refuge. Eat at Trio, a contemporary bistro run by three local chefs, with a great atmosphere and good views from its huge picture windows.
Where to Stay: Alpine House is pure Scandinavian cool. New Year rates from $150.
Courtesy of The Alpine House
Why Go: There are still good deals to be had in Vegas, where the economic downturn looked certain to make the strip a literal interpretation. But Sin City's partying never really stopped and the New Year is no exception.
What to Do: An impressive addition to the Vegas skyline is the CityCenter project, including hotels, retail spaces and plazas by a host of starchitects. The 500,000 square foot retail, dining and entertainment center, designed by Daniel Libeskind and David Rockwell, includes restaurants by Wolfgang Puck and Eva Longoria Parker's BESO VEGAS, and shops like Marni, Mimimoto and Louis Vuitton.
Unlike last year's disappointing ground-level fireworks, this year's $550,000 pyrotechnics will rocket from the Stratosphere tower, the MGM Grand, Planet Hollywood, Caesars Palace, Treasure Island and Venetian hotels, and the Aria Resort&Casino. And you can watch it from below with cocktail in hand, since it's legal to drink in the street.
Where to Stay: In Vegas, if you go budget go kitsch - Luxor Las Vegas Resort & Casino is a 30-story pyramid from $170.
Courtesy of the Las Vegas News Bureau