Don't want to spend a ton of cash on New Year's Eve? Congratulations, you're an astute, fiscally responsible adult who knows how to have a good time within your means. Being cheap is enough reason to celebrate -- just look at those fools who drop $200 to $15,000 for a party at a crowded big name hotel nightclub to see an overrated DJ perform. Four hours of intangible pleasure are not worth four or more months of the credit card consequences.
It's been a long year and an even longer month, so why blow money you don't have on one night of partying like you're LeBron and Wade after winning the NBA Championships? It's true that Miami is brimming with fabulous options to ring in 2013, but here are the ones you can do for F-R-E-E.
Big Orange New Year's Eve Celebration At Bayfront Park
New York City may have the Big Apple dropping on New Year's Eve, but we have a Neon Orange rising to the top. The 35-foot Orange perched on the side of Downtown's InterContinental Hotel begins its 400-foot ascent at 6 p.m. (You may recall that Mayor Tomas Regalado renamed the thing "La Gran Naranja" in honor of the 500th anniversary of Florida's discovery by Ponce de Leon).
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With music by Tony the Hitman, this is probably your best bet for a free dance party. The pre-show festivities begin at 7 p.m. and the main show begins at 9 p.m. "La Gran Naranja" reaches the top at the stroke of midnight and culminates with a fireworks display and laser light show over an ever-glistening Biscayne Bay.
Monday, December 31, 7 p.m., Bayfront Park, 301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-358-7550; bayfrontparkmiami.com.
City of Miami Beach New Years Eve Celebration
They say that ringing in the New Year on South Beach is something you should do once in your lifetime. In fact, the folks at Condé Nast Traveler chose it as as one of the top worldwide New Year's Eve events. Yes, it's risky business going anywhere near the beach on such a huge holiday, but it's free and off-your-couch fun, so who cares? Gather on the beach and enjoy views of the firework show with the sea breeze blowing through your hair -- sounds like straight out of a movie magic.
Monday, December 31, Ocean Drive and 8th St., Miami Beach, 305-673-7400, orangedr.com.
Noon Year's Eve
Can't find a sitter on New Year's Eve? Don't feel bad, you can still have some fun, even if it's a few hours early. Those with munchkins can head over to Miami Children's Museum for games and arts and crafts. The kiddos will also have their own countdown to the balloon drop so they won't miss out on the experience. While this event isn't entirely free (it's free with paid admission to the museum), it's a great way to tire the kids up so you can enjoy the nighttime revelry.
Monday, December 31, 10 a.m to 3 p.m., Miami Children's Museum, 980 MacArthur Causeway, Miami, 305-373-5437, miamichildrensmuseum.org.