You can ring in the New Year with food, fun, and festivities - even if you've got kids in tow. Thankfully, a handful of Chicago venues have kept families in mind by offering kid-friendly fun. Here are seven ideas for a festive Chicago-style New Year's Eve with the entire family.
Bowl a strike into the new year. Kings Bowl Lincoln Park (1500 N Clybourn Ave, c102) is hosting a royal family celebration this New Year's Eve. A variety of package are available including bowling lane reservations for families from 11 a.m. through 8 p.m., which includes bowling and shoe rental, food from Kings' scratch kitchen, sparkling cider and party favors. Champagne is available for the parents. A DJ will be on-site spinning the best tracks of 2015. Mock countdowns will also take place every hour from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. "Eat & Then Bowl" reservations are also available, which include dinner, followed by bowling. Pricing varies based on number of people in the group. kingsbowlamerica.com/lincoln-park/new-years-eve
Roll in the New Year with a raucous evening of Bingo. Head to Der Brew-Ha-Ha for a hilarious evening of dinner, dancing, drinking and, of course, bingo! At We Gotta Bingo, guests will meet a colorful cast of characters leading the evening in games and good-natured fun as two rival Chicago parishes, one Italian and one Irish, battle it in Bingoland. Since neither church can support the expanding congregation by itself, they've agreed to meet tonight to raise the needed money the best way they know how - playing Bingo! In between games, you'll have time for a delicious family-style Italian dinner and enjoy musical interludes where you'll hear the fine voices of competing parish choir directors and, let's not forget, dancing to the musical stylings of The Voekel Chords. The show begins at 7:30pm so you can ring in the New Year a bit earlier, at 10 p.m. and get the kids in bed by midnight. wegottabingo.com
Ring in the New Year... at noon at the Chicago Children's Museum. Join the Chicago Children's Museum on Navy Pier for Noon Year's Eve, a kid-centered celebration that will ring the new year in...at noon. Countdown with noise makers and avoid pre-midnight meltdowns. While you're there check out the Snow Much Fun exhibit: You'll enjoy all the best of snow with zero chill factor. Build a snow fort, throw snowballs, dress up a snowman and skate on the "ice" rink in your socks. chicagochildrensmuseum.org
Usher in the New Year with the animals at Lincoln Park Zoo's ZooLights. Open on New Year's Eve from 5 - 9pm, Lincoln Park Zoo's free ZooLights festival is a wonderful way to get outdoors and celebrate the blessings of 2015 while looking forward to the New Year. Enjoy live music, large-scale ice carving, and millions of twinkling lights throughout the zoo. Escape from the chill by visiting with your favorite animals, especially the crocodiles, pygmy hippos and meerkats at the Regenstein African Journey. The zoo will also be distributing complimentary festive hats, horns and party favors to visitors while supplies last! lpzoo.org/events/calendar/zoolights
Celebrate the New Year on the Lake Michigan aboard the Spirit of Chicago. Step aboard the Spirit of Chicago for a fun New Year's Eve lunch cruise. You'll count down to the new year just a tad bit earlier, at noon, with festive hats and noisemakers. Enjoy a buffet lunch and outstanding views of the snow covered city and icy lake. Cruise boards on December 31, at 11 a.m. Order your tickets today at spiritofchicago.com
Ring in the New Year with Blue Man Group. Blue Man Group will bring overjoy to the world this holiday season with four special New Year's Eve shows, to its ongoing run at Chicago's Briar Street Theatre (3133 N. Halsted). Kick off your New Year's Eve celebrations early with Blue Man Group's kid-friendly performances at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 31. Children will be transformed into members of the Blue Man Group band with pre-show face painting. Other festivities include a "midnight" countdown after the show, complete with party hats and noisemakers, and a special performance of "Auld Lang Syne" by the Blue Men. Blue Man Group will continue ringing in 2016 with additional New Year's Eve shows at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., which include festive party hats and a celebratory pre-show toast for attendees. Tickets may be purchased at the Briar Street Theatre by calling the box office at (773) 348-4000; by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 982-2787; or online at blueman.com/chicago.
Usher in 2016 with Family NYE Fun in Millennium Park. Little ones are welcome at Chi-Town Rising New Year's Eve early event at Millennium Park. Count down to the new year a tad earlier with festive, fun activities for the whole family. This year's theme is "Around the World for New Year's Eve," and activity stations will feature New Year's customs from countries around the world including China, Thailand, Denmark, Colombia, Lithuania. Egypt, Scotland, Japan and Italy. The Park Grill at Millennium Park will offer live entertainment including Kids' Karaoke with Bizar Entertainment from 3pm to 5pm, followed by an interactive performance by WTTW's Dr. Cool & Pride: The Big Show from 5pm to 6pm. The performance will build to the grand finale at 6pm - the Official Kids' Countdown Spectacular! chi-townrising.com/