New Year’s Eve deals: Front-row, distinguished and out of town

New Year’s Eve parties are filling up fast, and the hottest spots are likely to go soonest. Whether you want to be as close to the ball as possible or plan to avoid the crowds, there are plenty of deals out there. New York City is always a top spot, with people from around the world soaking in live what many only see on television. But, that’s just the start. See below for a few suggestions on where to spend the final moments of 2009.

1. At the center of the action
There is only one place to celebrate New Year’s Eve: Times Square. But, to cram into the small spaces available (relative to the number of people, at least) and wait half a day or longer is an absolute nightmare. One of the top spots is at the Crowne Plaza, which offers a great view of the action. For $400 a person, you can watch the biggest celebration of the year from a private street-level viewing area and attend the hotel’s New Year’s Gala. The menu includes jumbo lump crab, Maine lobster salad and a grilled tenderloin with truffle celeriac mashed potatoes and is followed by a fantastic party. If the party isn’t enough, stay for two nights, starting at $1,998 (includes gala access for two).

2. The upscale alternative
Not even a mile away, you could experience a much different New Year’s Eve. Down on the southwest corner of Central Park, The Pierre will host a celebration in Two E, the hotel’s new bar and lounge. The corks will begin to fly at 9:30 PM, and the party will run past 2 AM. Access is surprisingly affordable for such a legendary property, with tickets for reserved tables at $125 a person and general admission only $75. Tuxedos and formal attire, according to The Pierre, are “very appropriate,” although they aren’t required.

3. Far, far away
If Manhattan isn’t your style, try Florida. The WaterColor Inn is hosting several parties, with fireworks over the Gulf of Mexico, dancing and a champagne toast. And, a hangover bar will be available to help you take the edge off. If you need something a bit more subdued, try the WaterColor’s AAA Four Diamond restaurant, where you’ll be entertained by a jazz duo and a meal to be remembered. Separate activities are available for the kids, so make the most of the last night of 2009!

Need a few more ideas? Click here for some upscale alternatives.