What to Know
11:59 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 31
Santa Monica Pier
Free to see
How big, size-wise, does your New Year's Eve countdown need to be?
Should the final minute of the year pop up in a tiny box on the corner of your computer screen, all so you can follow along with counting down?
Should the remaining moments of the old year be splashed across your television, all so everyone in the room can see the numbers?
Or do you prefer it when the dwindling seconds of the year we're all bye-bye-ing stand several stories high, on the side of the world's very first solar-powered Ferris wheel, so that people several blocks away can see that the new year is just a few winks away?
If the final choice is your preference, and you'll be in Santa Monica on the last night of 2018, you're in some kind of happy luck: The Pacific Wheel at Santa Monica Pier's Pacific Park will display the last 60 seconds of 2018 in shimmery LED magic.
Well, not "magic" per se, but when 174,000 LED lights are lending oomph to your midnight countdown, it isn't difficult to believe there's a little extra enchantment in the air.
Pizzazz-filled patterns and shimmery LED-created "confetti" will play a pretty part in the event, further upping the oomph.
And we weren't joshing about the "several stories high" bit. The people behind the Pacific Wheel say that the countdown numbers will be 90 feet tall, a number that's deserving of both a "wowza" and a "whoa."
Also wonderful and full of heart? Look for "Happy New Year" to be displayed in over a dozen languages after the countdown is complete. The approximate start time? Look at the wheel at 12:05 a.m., give or take.
No worries, though, if you'll be at party, across town, or the globe, or tucked up in your bunny slippers at home, for here's something rather rad: You can watch a live stream of the Pacific Wheel, as you can at any time of the year.
Is this free to see? Of course.
Is this all full of ocean-close wonder and amusement park-y grandeur and some celebratory splash as we enter 2019? All that and more.