Nontraditional New Year’s Eve Parties

If you are like me and put all of your effort into Christmas, only to be blindsided by the fact that there is another holiday merely days after, welcome to the last minute club. In years past, New Year’s Eve has been a blur of all you can drink bashes at bars with cheap, sugary “champagne” and glittery paper crowns, teetering on 4″ heels while running for a cab at 2am. Now, we have to beg, borrow and steal sitters and pay insane surge pricing if we want to celebrate in a big way? Not so. Here are a few ideas for New Years Parties that don’t require a bottomless Uber account or giving your first born up for a sitter.

For the KidsKohl Children’s Museum

Tickets- $35/person, Members $25/person; tickets required for children 12 months and up

I am not the mom that is willing to suffer the wrath of a too-tired kid on New Years Eve, nor am I the mom who is willing to deal with a cranky kid on New Years Day. I want my kiddos well-rested but still able to enjoy a traditional celebration. Kohl Children’s Museum, the North Shore mecca of all things educational and entertaining, is continuing the tradition of celebrating the end of the year in a child-friendly style. There will be two party times this year, inevitably due to the popularity of this party in years past. Times are 8:30am-11am (geared towards younger kiddos, with Wendy and DB performance) or 12:30pm-3pm (complete with a DJ & dance party). Best part? They have a massive confetti drop which you don’t have to clean up.

For the Early Birds- Untitled Eve of the Eve

Doors open at 6:30pm; Set menu is $75 or regular menu available. Reservations strongly recommended; entrance is complimentary.

My husband and I randomly stumbled upon this party last year, and we were so enthralled that we insisted on coming again. Eve of the Eve is my new celebration instead of New Years Eve. Taking place on December 30th, this bash is for the pros- hotel reservations are available, transportation is reasonably priced and readily available, and prices aren’t totally inflated…not to mention that your sitter won’t think twice about accepting a booking the night before the big party.

Untitled is hands down my favorite locale in Chicago. They have everything- racy entertainment, custom craft cocktails, decor that is almost painfully chic, a menu that is upscale yet unpretentious and music that rivals any main stage in the area. Will Tilson, a Wilmette native and astonishingly young, will be crooning his special brand of Blues and Soul on stage (he is simply incredible- if you closed your eyes, you would swear he is one of the OGs of blues). Want entertainment that is a little more lively? There will be Cabaret and Burlesque performances throughout the night.

For the Party “Animal”- Zoo Year’s Eve at Lincoln Park Zoo (21+)

OR Zoo Year’s Eve Brookfield Zoo (family-friendly)

If you aren’t one for a too-crowded bar scene, stretch out at the Lincoln Park Zoo! You pay a reasonable admission and purchase beverages a la carte while wandering around the grounds. There will be a live DJ spinning tunes throughout the evening plus free carousel rides and entertainment. The Zoo Lights will be on full display, and there are pre and post parties throughout the weekend.

If you have the kids in tow, head to Brookfield Zoo for a similar celebration. The party is free with zoo membership or paid admission, party starts at 6pm with a NYE countdown at 8pm.

For the Super Sleuths- Safehouse New Years Eve Around the World

Reservations recommended, all ages welcome until 9pm; 21+ after 10pm for Bond Ball. If you haven’t hit up the Safehouse with your family, this is the time to go! This covert, undercover location in the heart of Chicago is a young sleuth’s dream- the restaurant is covered with paraphernalia related to all things spy. First mission? Figure out how to get in! They will be ringing in the New Year with comped sparkling grape juice for the young ones, and hourly “around the globe” drink specials for the young at heart.

However you decide to celebrate the New Years Eve, please drive safely and don’t stress about those resolutions- 80% fail by February anyways 🙂 Cheers!