From Chicago's extravagant NYE parties to fireworks on the water, there are plenty of things to do in Chicago for this New Year's Eve. Here's our list of some of the best places to get 2017 moving in the right direction.
NAVY PIER FIREWORKS & PARTIES, PLUS CHI-TOWN RISING
No New Year's celebration in Chicago would be complete without a trip to Navy Pier
. Enjoy all the entertainment, rides and attractions at this family friendly destination, and at midnight, watch a kaleidoscope of colorful fireworks
perfectly synchronized to inspiring music over Lake Michigan.
Also at Navy Pier is the annual Chicago Resolution Gala, the ultimate destination for kicking off 2017. With more than 30 bars, delectable buffet stations and access to the Grand Ballroom and the Lakeview Terrace, there are plenty of places to mingle and dance the night away.
To see and be seen, hit up Crystal Gardens New Years Eve, celebrating its 11th anniversary with special guest DJs and more than 20 premium liquor bars. Nosh on hors d'oeuvres and signature dishes at the food stations, and step out on the private terrace to watch the fireworks.
Last year a new New Year's tradition started and 90,000 stood by to watch! The mega outdoor event Chi-Town Rising returns and the star of the show is in fact, the Rising Star — an icon big and bright that spans 70 feet from tip-to-tip. See it rise up again 360 feet into the night sky. American indie pop band Saint Motel and Chicago's award-winning hip-hop artist Sir the Baptist will rock the crowd, while a stunning countdown culminates with a grand fireworks display over the Chicago River.
CHICAGO'S TOP HOTEL PARTIES
If you really want to party like a rock star there's no place better than one of Chicago's extravagant hotels.
Voted "Best Chicago New Year's Eve Party" by a number of media outlets, the annual Chicago Scene New Year's Eve Party at The Drake Hotel is over the top. With more than 2,500 guests dancing to Chicago's hottest DJs, four ballrooms, premium top-shelf liquor served at more than 40 fully staffed bars, a breathtaking balloon drop and a champagne toast at midnight, it is sure to please party goers. For the bespoke crowd, the hotel's New Years Eve Black Tie Party at Palm Court will have you indulging in Chef's small plates, food station delicacies and drinks.
At Big Night Chicago New Year's Eve Gala dance the night away with more than 3,000 fellow partiers with celebrity DJ ArkiTek and live bands such as The Breakfast Club providing the soundtrack throughout the multiple Palmer House Hilton ballrooms. While you're there, try your luck at the mock casino.
For an elegant affair beneath twinkling chandeliers, head to the luxurious NYE Soiree at Hilton Chicago where well-heeled partiers will be enjoying hors d'oeuvres, specialty martinis, live casino gaming, celebrity DJs and swirls of confetti at the midnight hour.
The NYE Soiree at JW Marriott Chicago rings in the New Year in the landmark luxury hotel designed by Daniel Burnham, where partiers will be dancing to live DJs and cover bands and toasting champagne to welcome 2017.
Wish you could party like a rock star? NYE at Hard Rock Hotel has just the thing. Enjoy everything from crowd-pleasing DJs to top-shelf amenities at this all-night party.
MUSIC & SPECIAL EVENT VENUES
Any night in the city is better with good, live music and New Year's Eve is no exception. Fortunately there are plenty of places to catch concerts throughout Chicago.
Listen to some blues with Joanna Connor Blues Band at Kingston Mines or head over to Logan Square Auditorium for The Empty Bottle Presents: Windy City Soul Club NYE party.
If pop-rock and folksy Americana is more your style, there's always something good going down at Thalia Hall — this year they present two WXRT shows, Houndmouth: Two Nights Before the Future with Durand Jones. Or head to Howl at the Moon Chicago for the piano bar's Champagne Supernova, a gourmet buffet dinner, champagne toast and party favors. Andy's Jazz Club is also offering dinner and a show with LDB and Billa Camp.
If you're looking for something out of this world, check out Voyager, A Journey to the New Year 2017. The annual NYE event takes places at Baderbrau Tap & Brewery this year, and will be an audio and visual journey as it has been in years past — think physical installations, video projection mapping, and live performance.
Chicago has some of the best restaurants in the country, so spending New Year's Eve having a festive dinner is a no brainer. Go grandiose at GreenRiver and finish the year with a multi-course, Michelin-star tasting menu studded with dishes like Fjord Trout Tartare with citron vinegar, soy dashi, and green apple, and Slagel Farms Dry-Aged Strip Loin with potato puree, bone marrow jus, and chanterelles.
From high to low. GreenRiver is nestled atop its building's 18th floor. The Izakaya Lounge at Momotaro — that's the the lower level drinking bar in the hot Fulton Market restaurant — is a subterranean den made for drinking. Their 4-hour, sake- and cocktail-filled premium open bar will flow into the night, with heavy passed hors d'oeuvres for fuel.
Neighboring in the West Loop, "Restaurant Row" is a showcase for more award winning chef spots: Sepia and Chef Andrew Zimmerman celebrate NYE with two seated dinner options; Salero transports diners to Spain with their prix-fixe picks that include pintxos, tapas and platos grandes; while Chef Stephanie Izard of "Top Chef" fame will transform Girl & the Goat into a Masquerade Soiree with favorite dishes and dancing.
Go casual and grab a bite along Navy Pier at Harry Caray's Tavern before catching the big lakefront sky show just outside. Another restaurant in the middle of it all? There's DMK Burger Bar & Fish Bar: they offer a $95 ticket to an open bar with signature bites, and a midnight toast to top off the front row fireworks views.
If you find downtown to be a hassle, neighborhood eateries have memorable meals planned. Frontier hosts a special New Year's Eve event with a whole animal (pig, goat, lamb and boar) meal package and a champagne toast at midnight.
Pair champagne foam and caviar with oysters at Dusek's, or let Chef Mindy Segal of HotChocolate treat you to old-school comfort food classics like Prime Rib and Baked Alaska. Not to be missed is the epic South Indian feast set for Fat Rice, when it does a sensory mashup they are dubbing SouthernMalayallisticChampagneAndFunkyMuzik complete with a Dirty South hip hop soundtrack.
BARS, LOUNGES & NIGHTCLUBS
A big part of most New Year's Eve Parties is having a few drinks with friends. What better place to imbibe than one of Chicago's premier bars, lounges or nightclubs?
For a party with spectacular views, make a reservation at New Year's Eve at ROOF on theWit where guests can enjoy a special party with extravagant food, dessert displays, a premium open bar and a midnight toast — 27 stories above it all.
Glittering city lights will be the backdrop to beautiful people packed on the dancefloor at the Cerise NYE Rooftop Dance Party atop Virgin Hotels Chicago.
At the Godfrey Hotel Chicago, guests can enjoy bottle service, a late night snack, live music and more in the IO Godfrey Lounge, an urban roofscape high above River North.
Another rooftop option — this one set amid gorgeous Lincoln Park — is the Disco Inferno at J. Parker, which promises panoramic views to go along with canpes, a dessert station and DJ music.
If drinking, not dancing, is more your thing then dress to impress for the Black Tie Affair at The Violet Hour. The James Beard-award winning cocktail haven will be rolling out a vintage bar cart for tableside absinthe demos, while two evening seatings will allow you to imbibe on a welcome drink upon arrival, choice of 13 classic Violet Hour signature cocktails, two punches, call drinks, beer offerings, wine and champagne.
And if lowbrow is more your thing, reserve a table AND a bowling lane at Lucky Strike where the New Year's Eve Soiree includes a buffet, desserts, premium drink package and, of course, great bowling.
DINNER CRUISES: FULL FIREWORKS VIEWS
The best view of the fireworks over Lake Michigan is from on the water. Book a dinner and fireworks cruise, which includes delicious dining, music, a champagne toast and, of course, unbeatable views of the midnight fireworks. These special cruises are offered through Entertainment Cruises on their Odyssey, Mystic Blue and Spirit of Chicago vessels.
Not every New Year's Eve event involves a champagne toast in a classy bar. Kids like parties too! Join Chicago Children's Museum
for its annual Noon Year's Eve. The festivities start at 11:15 a.m. with personalized crown making and celebrating with noise makers, confetti and a special countdown.
If museums or the crowd at Navy Pier aren't your thing, rock in the New Year at Brookfield Zoo's family-friendly Zoo Year's Eve 2017
celebration, featuring a live DJ in the Holly Jolly Theater. There are fun games, party favors, prizes and an early countdown at 8 p.m. At Hamill Family Play Zoo, guests can make noisemakers and also enjoy an early, kid-friendly countdown at 8 p.m.