New Year's Eve

Greet the '20s at a SoCal New Year's Eve Bash

The mega (and free) Grand Park bash is just one way to enter the '20s in style.

John McCoy

What to Know

  • Grand Park's free bash is billed as the biggest on the West Coast
  • Catalina Island, Long Beach, and Knott's all have fun afoot
  • Kid to-dos are happening, from Pasadena to a Santa Monica revue

Just when you finally settled into ending each year with "teen," along comes the '20s to shake up our worlds, or at least our words. For this century's teenagehood has now come to a close, and we're onto a new decade, one that deserves a boisterous, or at least exceedingly warm, welcome.

Where will you say hello to the next block o' ten, the fresh start-over, while rocking a party hat and possibly blinking eyeglasses, the sort of glasses that allow you to see through the pair of zeroes that are folded into the name of this new year?

Don all of your blinking frippery and make for...

Grand Park: The mega, pay-absolutely-nothing festival will again fill the DTLA space over several hours on Dec. 31. "The West Coast's Largest New Year's Eve Celebration" will feature live music (Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra is one group on the busy schedule, and there'll be DJs, too) and that cool 3D digital video mapping on City Hall. There's lots to know and review about what you can bring in, so check it out.

NYE at the Waterfront: So it isn't a true New Year's Eve hoopla without some pyrotechnics? And you're really actually looking for fireworks that are near the ocean, to add some extra glitter to your hope-filled festivities? Head for Long Beach, which will again have fireworks and more for the all-ages crowd. Face painting, jugglers, and food for sale will fill out the nighttime hours at this always-popular LBC must-do.

New Year's Eve Spectacular: Has your 2019 been a bit of a comedy? Best laugh away the old year with The Groundlings, as they perform, then raise a midnight toast with audience members. The party begins at 9 o'clock on Dec. 31 with bites and sips, then an improv show, then, the ringing in of the new year. Fold more merriment into 2020 by kicking it off with some laughs.

New Year's Eve at Knott's Berry Farm: The theme parks'll keep it rocking and roller-coaster-ing into the new year, but should you desire a little extra 2020-is-a-comin' oomph, be in Buena Park as Dec. 31 takes its final bows. For there shall be fireworks at the ride-laden play place, and DJs, and dueling pianos, and, oh yay, Peanuts characters, too. Oh yes, "special extended hours" will also make the occasion a happy one for revelers. Call it a fun night at Knott's with some sky-based sparkle on top. More info? Here.

New Year's Eve on Catalina Island: Taking a boat to a storied, out-in-the-ocean city, one that has a lot of 1920s-cool cachet, all to welcome the newest '20s-cool decade? That seems like a pretty darn perfect thing to do, if you like dressing up and dancing in historic ballrooms, like the one inside island's famous Casino Building, and watching the stars twinkle over the Pacific while holding a glass of bubbly. Find your sequin-iest gown and wave down a ferry to take you to Avalon pronto.

Gilded: This won't come as a shock to you, but 2019 is nearly over. And if "dance under a mega-of-size disco ball" was on your resolution list at this time last year, and you still haven't found a disco ball large enough to meet your requirements, take heart: The Theatre at Ace Hotel is throwing a swankified celebration that is all about dancing into the next 366 days (yep, there's a Feb. 29 in 2020, making it all the more special). Ready to shake it? Yes, disco ball devotees, you are.

Prohibition NYE presented by LEUNE at Union Station: Longing to truly go full flapper and visit the era that Lindy Hop'd its way into our cultural hearts a century ago? You can do just that at this annual, super-splashy, ultra-poshed-out shindig. Burlesque and live jazz will glam-up the evening, and a "premium open bar" will keep the stylish sips flowing. The vibe, if you hadn't guessed it? It's "Roaring Twenties," which seems particularly apt as we roar into our own '20s on Dec. 31.

Kid-Nice Celebrations: Including your tots in the fun is possible, thanks to a few family-okay'd hoedowns around the city. A pair of daytime to-dos are very much about the young'uns, with both Discovery Cube LA and Kidspace Children's Museum in Pasadena throwing Noon Year's Eve parties. If you're looking for an evening affair that's good for your whole kit and caboodle, head to the Santa Monica Playhouse's New Year's Eve Revue, which will take the stage twice on NYE. And at the LA Zoo? There's a Family New Year's Eve event, a happening that's coinciding with the sparkly, almost-over LA Zoo Lights.

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