The Most Affordable Cities to Celebrate New Year’s Eve

title graphic for the most affordable U.S. cities to ring in the new year

Many people flock to bustling metro areas to celebrate New Year’s Eve. It’s no wonder why people are drawn to the contagious energy of city life on this holiday: the bright lights, swarms of people, and endless nightlife to explore are the perfect way to end the current year with a bang. But, as appealing as watching the ball drop in New York City or gambling in Vegas may be, the cost of celebrating New Year’s Eve in the city can add up quickly. 

At Shane Co., we’re all about getting the most bang for your buck. So, we decided to take a look at which U.S. cities are the most affordable to ring in the new year.

We analyzed the 50 largest cities in the U.S., using a series of cost factors to determine which cities are the most and least cost-efficient for NYE. Our ranking factors included the cost of dinner for two, cost of transportation, cost of accommodations, cost of cocktails, and walkability. 

Read on to see where your city stacks up!

The Most and Least Affordable Cities to Celebrate New Year’s Eve

a U.S. map plotting the most and least affordable cities to celebrate New Year’s Eve

Residents of New York State have the best chance of saving money and the best chance of spending money on New Year’s Eve. Buffalo, New York, ranked as the most affordable U.S. city to ring in the new year. With a city score of 43.08 out of a possible score of 50, Buffalo is perfect for those who want a city celebration while going easy on the wallet. However, New York’s most famous city is where the cost of a New Year’s celebration is most likely to add up the fastest. New York City received the lowest city score of any city, earning only 16.25 points out of a possible 50. It’s clear that seeing the famous ball drop in real time comes at a price!

If you want a city-based New Year’s Eve celebration without the NYC price point, there are plenty of other affordable options. Following Buffalo’s lead is Salt Lake City, Utah, with a score of 41.04. Rounding out the top five most affordable cities for NYE are St. Louis, Missouri; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Memphis, Tennessee — all with city scores above 38. 

The Most Affordable Cities on New Year’s Eve by Cost

a chart listing the total cost of New Year’s Eve in the 10 most affordable cities

Next, we removed the walkability ranking factor and just tallied the individual cost factors (dinner, cocktails, accommodations, and transportation) in all 50 cities to determine the total cost of NYE in each city. Buffalo, New York; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, prevailed as the least expensive cities for celebrating NYE. The total cost for one night in each of the above cities is less than $290 — much easier on the wallet than New York City’s one-night cost of $551.85!

The Most Affordable Cities on New Year’s Eve by Category

a U.S. map showing the most affordable cities for New Year’s Eve by category

Lastly, we broke down our findings by category. As the most affordable city to ring in the new year, it’s no surprise that Buffalo, New York, has the lowest average cost for both accommodations ($109.85) and cocktails ($39.60). Memphis, Tennessee, our fourth most affordable city, has the lowest average cost for both transportation ($16.40) and a dinner for two ($53). While New York City may be the most expensive metropolis for celebrating New Year’s, the Big Apple dominates other cities with its shining walkability score of 88.3. 

No matter how or where you choose to celebrate the new year, Shane Co.’s jewelry is sure to enhance the occasion. Browse our jewelry by price to find the perfect style for you (and for your wallet).


We considered five ranking factors to determine which U.S. cities are the most and least affordable on New Year’s Eve. Each of the factors was graded on a five-point scale, with a score of five representing the most favorable conditions. We determined each city’s score from the total of its individual factor scores, which were weighted according to their impact on an affordable NYE. The sum of these weights is 10, which creates a total possible city score of 50.

The five ranking factors are listed below with their respective weights and source data:

  1. Average cost of dinner for two at a downtown restaurant

Details: Dinner includes appetizers, a main course, wine, and dessert

Weight: 2.00

Source: Expatistan

  1. Average cost of transportation

Details: Includes the average cost of an uber ride (with NYE surcharges applied) and a taxi ride by city

Weight: 1.75

Source: Uber & Expatistan

  1. Average cost of accommodations

Details: Includes the average cost of an Airbnb and a 1-night hotel stay by city

Weight: 2.25

Source: Expedia & Airbnb

  1. Average cost of cocktails at a downtown club or bar

Details: Includes the average cost of one cocktail multiplied by 4.4. According to, an average of 4.4 drinks are consumed on New Year’s Eve.

Weight: 2.00

Source: Expatistan &

  1. Walkability Score

Details: This ranking factor is not a cost factor; however, the walkability of a city impacts the level of affordability. The ability to walk from place to place eliminates additional rideshare or taxi costs. 

Weight: 2.00


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