New Year’s Eve in Chicago offers a little something for everyone. You can go all out, partying well into the New Year, or you can enjoy a romantic dinner and toast midnight with a view. You can chill at a dive bar with friends or you can take the kids out for an early, family-friendly celebration. You can even get a head start on the festivities at the popular Eve of the Eve gala at Union Station.
If you want to dress to impress and ring in the New Year in style, upscale options abound in Chicago. One possibility is to head to the lounge at the top of the John Hancock Building, where the attached restaurant offers a New Year’s Eve package including dinner, full bar, dancing, and a prime view of the midnight fireworks over Navy Pier. For another view of the fireworks, you could opt for a Lake Michigan cruise which will also offer dinner, drinks and dancing before the show. If you’d rather stay on dry land, many hotels and nightclubs host parties that feature live music, an open bar and a champagne toast at midnight.
On the other hand, if you are on a budget (or just prefer something more low-key), there are plenty of dive bars and neighborhood pubs that will charge little to no cover. Pick up a copy of the local Red Eye paper to scope out drink specials. Many restaurants, including those that allow you to bring your own wine with low or no corkage fees, will also offer a quieter alternative to the bigger parties. Just be sure to make reservations in advance.
There are even a few options perfect for kids. On December 31, Navy Pier hosts a family friendly fireworks show; leading up to the show at midnight, kids can enjoy the Pier’s rides and games while the adults can samples some drinks from the onsite pubs and restaurants. The Chicago Children’s Museum also offers a “Noon Year’s Eve” for kids and their parents during the day on December 31
- Katie Aune