December is a great time to reflect on everything that happened in the year and look forward to a fresh start in January. While watching the ball drop and coming up with fitness resolutions are New Year basics, sometimes it’s nice to switch things up. Here are some offbeat New Year’s plans for 2018.

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Go Bowling With Buddies

Jim Gaffigan has a great bit about how bowling is an activity you do after you’ve done everything else. Situated right in the heart of Lawrenceville, Arsenal Lanes can be your first event choice, not your last. Support local business and get some exercise in while eating and drinking with friends. Reminisce about good times with friends between turns. Just be sure to call ahead and get there early as lanes fill up quickly.

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Host a Themed Party

A good rule of thumb is if you don’t like a holiday, host your own party so you can do it the way you want. Typical New Year’s parties revolve around glitter and sparkles — possibly 1920’s or Great Gatsby themes. Choose a theme that will jive with your group. Maybe it’s a western shindig or a Hawaiian luau (if actually going to Hawaii isn’t an option). Having a theme adds an extra element to any get together.

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Take a Quick Trip to Toronto

Toronto is quickly becoming a popular alternative destination to New York City. With an average flight time of 1 hour and 30 minutes, it’s a relatively close international getaway. Ring in the new year in Nathan Phillips Square (similar to Times Square), take a Gala Dinner Cruise, attend a mystery gala, or start the year off running a 5K through the city.

If weather permits, the drive from Pittsburgh to Toronto isn’t bad either. Niagara Falls is on the way as an extra sightseeing opportunity.

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Book an Airbnb With Friends Outside the City

Celebrate the new year in a new location. Book an Airbnb in rural Pennsylvania to get out the city. Take a break from the hussle and bussle of the holidays and disconnect for a weekend or overnight trip. Explore the beauty of the blue mountains of West Virginia. Check out Amish country in central Pennsylvania. Outside of Pittsburgh, the surrounding areas have a lot of beauty to offer as you recharge from your usual routine.

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Geek Out During a Movie Marathon

Don’t feel like going out or fighting the crowds? Stay in and enjoy your favorite movies. (What better time to spend 19 hours and 39 minutes watching all 8 Harry Potter movies?) Build a fort, stock up on your favorite movie candies, and plan your caffeine intake accordingly. If you’re not looking to host a serious marathon watching party, just snuggle up with a cup of cocoa, binge on Sarris candy, and watch your favorite Netflix series.

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Help Those In Need By Volunteering

Start the new year off right by giving back. There are many organizations in the city that can use a helping hand, especially around the holidays. Volunteer at your local food bank, help keep downtown clean, donate your time at a Carnegie library, or give blood at a blood drive.

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Treat Yourself With a Hotel and Spa Package

Get some rest and relaxation in with the last of your holiday vacation time. Book a hotel  and spa day by yourself, with close friends, or a significant other. Spend the day being pampered and preparing for new year. Several Pittsburgh hotels offer New Year packages with spa credits. Make 2019 the year of treat yo’ self with a spa day getaway.

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Craft Your Own New Year’s Ball to Drop

Feeling crafty? Make your own glittery ball to drop when the clock strikes midnight. Creating and setting it up is half the fun. Then you can host your own countdown and drop the ball at midnight or whenever the party ends.

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Go Out on the Town

As usual, Pittsburgh hosts many large events throughout the city. If you usually stay in or have a small get together with friends, maybe opt for a night on the town. Celebrate at Phipps Conservatory, Pittsburgh Children’s Museum, or the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium for family-friendly fun. Class it up at a New Year’s party hosted at Olive or Twist, The River’s Casino, or Revel and Roost.

Emily Munk

A Pittsburgh transplant, Emily moved to the city in 2016. She loves traveling, training for races, finding new places to eat (all for you, MadeinPGH readers), doing anything in the cultural district, and volunteering with Pittsburgh Young Professionals. In addition to being a MadeinPGH contributor, she is the senior content marketer for a Fortune 500 supply chain solutions company.

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