I write a fun MSN travel blog. Here’s my list of 8 ways to celebrate New Year’s and the Mayan mayhem in 2012, which you can also read below:

2011 2012
Apparently the Mayans predicted we will all die in an impending 2012 doomsday. Might as well have a good time while it lasts. So here are 8 ways you can celebrate our planet hurtling ever closer to mass destruction:


#8) New Year’s in Narnia

Location: Chinatown, Vancouver, BC

The Keefer Bar invites you to “Step through the wardrobe and into fantasy this New Year’s” as the bar transforms into a Narnia-themed wonderland.

This party will have the obligatory DJ, a champagne toast at midnight, Chinese tapas, and “other fun surprises.” If I close my eyes and imagine who will go to this party, I envision a bar full of happy, well-fed, shut-ins.

Cost: $23.10 in advance, and $30 at the door

#7) VIP Club Crawl

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Vegas VIP is a “luxury Destination Management Company” that will give you the celebrity treatment as they escort you through Las Vegas’s flashiest clubs. Vegas VIP specializes in planning “the perfect night for any age range, party size, style or taste.” They offer luxury limo, Hummer, or party bus outings to golf courses, restaurants, casinos, concerts, nightclubs, and strip clubs, where they provide roped off tables, bottle service, and the protection/companionship of a 7-foot tall bodyguard named Duane.

Vegas VIP typically handles large groups, corporate events, birthdays, reunions, and, of course, two limos full of goon-drunk stag night buddies who enjoy throwing money at lithe young dancers who really just want to chat and get to know you better while sitting on your lap.

Cost: varies (and expect to drop a lot of obligatory tips)

#6) Rent a cottage on the coast

Location: Sunshine Coast, BC

If you’re near Vancouver this New Year’s, take the 40-minute ferry over to Gibsons and rent a Sunshine Coast cottage for a night or two. It’s a fun way to start your year off by breathing in some crisp clean air.

As one example, this cliffside cottage overlooking Pender Harbour is still available for New Year’s. It’s a nice new post and beam design, leather chairs, cable TV, a wood stove fireplace, BBQ, soaring ceiling, soaker tub, and a big kitchen with an island for you to create a sumptuous party feast.

Cost: $150/night


#5) The hotel-wide party at the Waldorf

Location: East Vancouver, BC

The Waldorf is hipster heaven, an infamous old hotel from the ‘50s that’s been reimagined as a “creative compound where contemporary art, music, food and culture convene under one roof.” It’s best known for its Polynesian-themed Tiki bar which features classic black paintings by Edgar “the father of black velvet” Leeteg, plus a curved ceiling that’s designed like a flickering Twilight Sky that makes you believe you’re walking barefoot down a Hawaiian beach.

But that’s just one party room among many this New Year’s Eve, as the entire hotel becomes a playground. The entertainment includes:

The Best Party DJs In The World (party goes till 4 a.m.)

– grand illusions by Travis Bernhardt, a magician and “Master of the Supernatural”

– free fortune teller readings by “Soothsayer” Madame Petrovna

– Our Country’s most enchanting young skaters perform for your pleasure on an indoor ice rink. These “beauties on ice” will skate to live music inspired by David Lynch films

Plus you can’t enter some areas of the hotel unless you’re wearing a mask. So bring your favourite Jason goalie mask or wear the mask you get in your complimentary Gift Bag.

Cost: $45 advance, $60 at the door. Vancouverites are notoriously last-minute so I expect most hipsters will be coughing up the latter.

#4) Pub crawling through Nova Scotia

Location: the Maritimes

Sometimes you just have to state the obvious. Maritimers like strong grog and fiddle bands. If you’re in, say, Cape Breton this New Year’s Eve, you’re in luck. Close your eyes, walk 20 meters in any direction, and you’ll fall through the doorway of a pub filled with some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.

Cost: Maritimers are extraordinarily generous so you’ll find it hard to buy your own drinks there

#3) Hit the ice in L.A.

Do what my friend Erin is doing:

Step #1: from 7 to 10:30 pm, watch the Vancouver Canucks play the L.A. Kings at Staples Center in downtown L.A.

Step #2: quick change in your rental car

Step #3: ring in 2012 at a kitschy Hollywood lounge like the Dresden (as seen in Swingers), or the Whitehorse Inn (it’s like a basement family rec room from the ‘70s)

Cost: $57-$170 for the hockey game

#2) Music and fireworks in Niagara Falls

New Year’s in Toronto is a blast. You have tons of options for great neighbourhood celebrations like CityTV’s free New Year’s Eve bash & outdoor concert at Nathan Phillips Square. But if you want to try something new with the kids, take them to Niagara Falls, one of the world’s modern wonders. Niagara Falls hosts Canada’s largest light festival and their outdoor New Year’s Eve party will be electric. It draws a huge crowd…expect 40,000 people in attendance. The festivities start at 6:30 pm in Queen Victoria Park, and you can watch performances by “some of Canada’s best known musical artists,” and there are “two fabulous fireworks shows – at 9:00PM and Midnight.”

Cost: free

#1) Watch ‘New Year’s Eve’ on New Year’s Eve

Location: Montreal

Here’s a meta-idea: celebrate New Year’s Eve by watching actors pretend to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Directed by cheese-meister Garry Marshall, it stars so many Hollywood names (Halle Berry, Jessica Biel, Jon Bon Jovi, Abigail Breslin, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Robert De Niro, Zac Efron, and Katherine Heigl), that the movie is bound to suck. But who cares? You’ve come to the AMC Forum to snicker at the movie with your friends while drinking hot toddies from smuggled Thermoses. For extra fun, take a swig any time a character does a movie cliché.

Cost: $13.50 plus whatever you spend on a Thermos

Those are just 8 ideas out of 8 billion. How are you celebrating New Year’s?

— Ken Hegan

Bing: unusual New Year’s Eve traditions

Read all of Ken’s MSN travel stories here and follow Ken to victory on Twitter 

Ken has been a guest of Vegas VIP, The Waldorf, The Keefer penthouse, and Blue Orca Cottage, and denies all room charges, wrongdoings, and lawsuits

Images from Alex Slobodkin, The Keefer, and The Waldorf