Splashy Fun: The Big New Year's Eve Bashes

Where will people by gathering in their paper pointy hats this Dec. 31?

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Queen Mary
    Fireworks over Long Beach? It's a New Year's Eve tradition. Another NYE favorite: A frou-frou party aboard the Queen Mary. The 2013-2014 affair takes on a voyage-around-the-world theme.

    If ever a holiday needed a comforting arm around its shoulders and a steaming cup of lemon tea, it's New Year's Eve.

    Not simply because it is the occasion on which people are said to famously overindulge. Rather, the night takes some knocks. Lots of knocks. Have you heard someone say, over the past week, "I'm not into New Year's -- there's too much build-up and pressure to have fun?"

    Was that person you?

    Yeah, we've all had the uncelebratory Dec. 31, the one where we were stuck in a corner while wearing a pointy paper hat as we got chatted up by some acquaintance we felt only so-so about.

    But here's a thought: What if you put more care into choosing the corner you get stuck in on New Year's Eve? What if, in fact, you chose a splashy party that was all about fireworks or art or music and not about the same ol' deal you've tried before?

    Going big on New Year's Eve, at least once, has a high chance of being a hoot. Give it a whirl? There are several places around SoCal that'll do the whole spectacle thing, including...

    Grand Park: This one has the cool 'n new factor, if only because Grand Park remains so dang cool 'n new. It's called NYE LA, there shall be art installations, there shall be food trucks, there shall be face painting, and it shall be free. Oh, and we didn't even mention the 22-story 3D projections on City Hall. There'll be 22-story 3D projections on City Hall. Go big in 2014, we think is the message here.

    Queen Mary: So this is an idea whose time has come, settled in, and will stay, we hope. LBC's big boat is throwing a dress-up NYE "voyage" of sorts. Various parts of the ship'll recall the exotic ports where the boat once stopped fifty or sixty years ago. Neato? Totally. There are stayover packages, too, in case you want to bed down on the boat for the night.

    Universal CityWalk: If you haven't yet greeted the next year standing under a rain of "thousands of pounds of confetti," this is the moment you finally take that partyriffic path. Music, fireworks, and all the club-and-restaurant scene of the hilltop destination'll be in full flower. The price? This is interesting. Think drive-in movie theatre: General admission is $75 a car, which includes the CityWalk party and parking. It's $30 an adult without parking, and there's a VIP deal, too.