For most of us, the month of December means a packed professional and social calendar – between ticking everyone off our gift lists, making travel plans and wrapping up end-of-the-year work projects, we hardly have time to take a breath.
And before you know it, Christmas has come and gone and you realize you haven’t made a single plan for the last hurrah of the year, New Year’s Eve. So, you’re left scrambling to figure it out in the few days before the holiday, which can mean missing out on some of the coolest events.
This year, however, we suggest getting ahead of the curve and making your plans now so that you can rest easy as the 31st speedily approaches. There is no shortage of options in our great city (which can actually be a bit overwhelming), so we’ve hand-picked a few of the very best.
At this WBEZ Chicago event, you can celebrate New Year’s Eve as well as local culture and talent. Your $135 ticket includes fabulous cocktails and hors d’oeuvres of course, but the real highlight is the non-stop entertainment that features amazing local acts ranging from a storytelling jam brought you by The Moth to local genre-bending band Diana & The Dishes to unique local DJ Ayana Contreras. This is a great way to not only guarantee a fun and totally unique NYE experience, but to also support local radio and performers.
2. Key Concerts – Various Locations
If you secretly sort of loathe New Year’s Eve or the idea of dropping a pretty penny for a package deal, you should consider putting the focus on something besides the midnight countdown. Instead, get tickets to a concert so you can spend the last night of the year shaking your groove thang to great live music. Here are just a few of the musical events happening at local venues this New Year’s Eve…
- Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings – House of Blues
- Brandi Carlile – Thalia Hall
- Mucca Pazza – Chicago Athletic Association
- Robert Randolph and The Family Band – City Winery
- Windy City Soul Club – Logan Square Auditorium
If you would rather skip the boisterous party altogether but still want to mark the occasion with something special, think about reserving a spot for a lavish meal at one of Chicago’s many acclaimed restaurants. Several of the best dining establishments in town are offering prix fixe dinners that are sure to be as memorable as they are delicious…
- Analogue – New Orleans inspired food & craft cocktails at Logan Square hot spot ($120)
- Le Colonial – 3 courses of unique French-Vietnamese cuisine in the Gold Coast ($65)
- RM Champagne Salon – Prix fixe French fare (and bubbly of course) at West Loop hidden gem ($70 for dinner or $133 for dinner and after-party at Nellcote)
- Cherry Circle Room – A whopping 9-course prix fixe meal in former private lounge of the Chicago Athletic Association ($125 for early seating or $150 for late seating with champagne toast)
To really do it up big on NYE, you’ll want to plan a special meal as well as a swinging party… with as few location changes in between as possible. Get it all in one fell swoop at The Pump Room at Public Chicago. For $245, you’ll get a gourmet 6-course prix fixe dinner followed by a party that features a premium open bar, buffet and midnight champagne toast. And the best part is that your dinner table is yours until the evening ends, so you’ll have a place to rest your weary high-heeled feet and take a breather if need be.
5. Brew Year’s Eve – Salvage One
Chicago has a thriving and passionate craft beer scene and this is the perfect event for those who love it best. $135 tickets include passed hors d’oeuvres, a late night pizza buffet, craft cider midnight toast, and 30 different craft beers on hand. In fact, beer will be the only beverage available so you can feel comfortable geeking out about hops and malt among other revelers who are just as into brew as you are. And the location is pretty cool too – Salvage one is a beautiful, sprawling space full of salvaged architectural elements and vintage furnishings rescued from buildings all over the city.
It can be hard to wrangle your friends and nail down plans for New Year’s Eve, so this year, take the bull by the horns. Choose one of these fantastic events, tell your crew to get their tickets now and revel in the fact that you’ve successfully avoided last minute NYE panic.