New Year's Eve: Find Your SoCal Celebration Spot

Grand Park is a biggie, and free, but it all depends on the flavor (and fireworks) you seek.

What to Know

  • Monday, Dec. 31
  • Grand Park, Queen Mary, Universal Studios Hollywood...
  • Most parties start in the evening, but Kidspace is a daytime event

If you haven't decided upon your uplifting motto yet, for 2019, best delay your appointments for the day, and your errands, too, for the new year is nearly here.

Of course, "2019 will be a dream" or "make the scene in 2019" or something else affirmative, aspirational, and rhyme-y will probably do. Good? Good enough?

Now that you've got your motto ready, you have the additional time needed to plan where you'll be on New Year's Eve.

As always, in this great and vast and multi-happening-ing land we call Southern California, there are many merry parties to choose from, so it all depends upon whether you want to be dressy, or warm, or pay admission, or not. 

Some of the majors sounding the noisemakers on Monday, Dec. 31? Don your paper hat and make for...

Grand Park: "The Park for Everyone" will once again host a mega bash in DTLA. N.Y.E.L.A. is free, it's incredibly well-attended (yep, arrive early, at 8, if you can), and the entertainment is awesome: Aloe Blacc and Maya Jupiter are two of the artists set to welcome 2019. Be sure to look to City Hall, where lights famously twirl and dazzle to the delight of the crowd below.

The Scene

Want to find new things to do in Los Angeles? The Scene's lifestyle stories have you covered. Here's your go-to source on where the fun is across SoCal and for the weekend.

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Union Station: Prohibition NYE is sashaying into its lucky 7th year, so if that feels fortune-tastic to you, as you greet the next 365 days, buy a ticket at once, then find an outfit that has a lot of vintage glamour to it (definitely the vibe of this fancy-pantsy party). The setting also has that vintage touch, making this a throwback, look-ahead soirée of the tallest order.

Universal Studios Hollywood: The name of this attraction-packed, theme-park-tastic to-do? It's EVE, but the fun can begin well before evening, if you decide to enter the ride-laden location for a few thrilling spins. Fireworks, music, and several celebratory spots around the park are on deck. Need some magic for 2019? Visit the wand shop in Wizarding World before the new year arrives.

Queen Mary: The theme of the annual whoop-di-do on the landmark ocean-liner shouldn't surprise any fan of its historic vibe: It's "Past & Present," meaning that the sumptuous settings'll have that bygone elegance while the music, eats, and other touches will be contemporary. And, yep: There shall be fireworks, "off the stern of the ship at midnight," further adding to the romance. Your ticket to the LBC bash? Don't set proverbial sail without it.

Kidspace Children's Museum: The "kid" in the moniker of this beloved museum reveals that we're not about to discuss a late-late lark, the kind of wingding that pushes into the wee small hours. Rather, the museum's popular Noon Year's Eve is a daytime celebration, complete with balloon drop and noisemakers. One note? Rose Parade prep is nearby, so plan accordingly.

LA Zoo: There is a family-oriented festivity, though, that's happening later in the day on Dec. 31, and it will raise the joy at Griffith Park's beastie-est bastion of animal cool. Yep, LA Zoo Lights are still on, which will lend glow to the night, as will sparkling cider for the tots, hats to wear, dessert, a carousel to ride, DJ tunes, and more. Tickets? You'll want yours before you arrive.

Pacific Park: Guess what's going to countdown to midnight, beginning a minute beforehand? You got it: The world's only solar-powered Ferris wheel, the Pacific Wheel, located at Santa Monica Pier. It's free to see, of course, and you can watch a live stream at home, if you're jammied-up. Here's a look back at the countdown to 2018, on, yes, the final day of last year.

Your Favorite Restaurant or Bar: Is your go-to neighborhood tavern throwing an intimate shindig? Is your local eatery placing the paper hats at each place setting? Spots across SoCal will be celebrating, like Angel City Brewery, which will toast at midnight with, you guessed it, beer (make that Bir Royale Champagne Beer). Oodles of other regional places will have great food, drink, and later hours, but give a ring first, to make sure they're ringing in the new year.

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