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From luxurious parties at Chicago's top hotels and sumptuous sit-down suppers at award-winning restaurants to live music at historic night spots and immersive experiences at out-of-the-ordinary venues, there are so many unique and memorable ways to ring in the New Year in Chicago.

Here are some of our favorites.

1. NAVY PIER: Take the Party to the Waterfront

Fireworks 

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 fireworks perfectly synchronized to inspiring music over Lake Michigan.

Chicago Resolution Gala

The annual Chicago Resolution Gala is the "it" New Year's Eve event at Navy Pier. With more than 30 bars offering unlimited drinks, tasty buffet stations and access to the Grand Ballroom and the Lakeview Terrace, there are plenty of places to mingle and dance the night away—and to take in unrivaled views of those fireworks we mentioned. Tickets are $119, with VIP tickets starting at $139.

Crystal Gardens New Years Eve

To see and be seen, hit up Crystal Gardens New Years Eve, celebrating its 12th anniversary with special guest DJs and more than 20 premium liquor bars. Nosh on hors-d'oeuvres and signature dishes at various food stations, and step out on the private terrace to watch those fabulous fireworks. Tickets start at $99, with VIP options up to $1,592.

Navy Pier: 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago, IL 60611, (312) 595-5300. 

2. TOP HOTELS: Live it up in Luxury

New Years Party at JW Marriott in Chicago

NYE Soiree at JW Marriott

This NYE Soiree rings in the New Year in the luxury hotel designed by legendary Chicago architect Daniel Burnham. Dance to live DJs and cover bands, while toasting the arrival of 2019 with champagne. General admission tickets are $125, and VIP tickets $145. Discounted hotel rooms are also available starting at $174/night. JW Marriott: 151 W. Adams St,, Chicago, IL 60603, (312) 660-8200.

Drake Hotel - Chicago Scene New Year's Eve Party

Voted "Best Chicago New Year's Eve Party," this event is the ultimate in extravagance. With more than 3,000 guests dancing to Chicago's hottest DJs, five ballrooms, premium top-shelf liquor served at more than 40 fully staffed bars, a breathtaking balloon drop and a champagne toast at midnight, this party will undoubtedly fill you with enough New Year's spirit to last the entire year.

General admission is $145 - $175 and includes access to three ballrooms of entertainment, four hours of open bar service, appetizers, a champagne toast, and party favors. VIP ticket options start at $165 - $200 and include access to five ballrooms and 5.5 hours of open bar service. Reserved tables with bottle service start at $235 per person and go up to $3,295 for a group of eight. Drake Hotel: 140 E. Walton Pl,, Chicago, IL 60611, (312) 787-2200.

Congress Plaza Hotel - Chicago New Year's Ball

At New Year's Eve Ball, you'll dance the night away with more than 3,000 fellow revelers under the musical stewardship of celebrity a DJs that play throughout the multiple Congress Plaza Hotel ballrooms. With multiple bars and buffets, you'll spend less time waiting in line and more time on the dance floor. Ticket prices $79 GA & $119 for VIP. VIP Table options are also available. Discounted hotel rooms for only $139/night. For More Info, visit: www.NewYearsEveParty.com. Congress Plaza Hotel: 520 S Michigan Ave, (312) 427-3800.

New Year's Eve Soiree at Hilton Chicago

For an elegant affair beneath glittering chandeliers, head to the luxurious New Year's Eve Soiree at Hilton Chicago, where well-heeled partiers enjoy hors d'oeuvres, specialty martinis, live casino gaming, celebrity DJs and more, well past the stroke of midnight.

General admission tickets start at $119 and include all-inclusive access to a top-shelf cocktail reception, a pasta buffet, hors-d'oeuvres, desserts, party favors and more. VIP tickets start at $155 and include longer access to meal and bar packages and entrance to the VIP ballroom with exclusive entertainment. Hilton Chicago: 720 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60605, (312) 933-4400.

Swissotel Chicago - Ballroom Blitz NYE 2019

Ring in 2019 at Chicago's newest party spot on the river! Get your ticket now because this will be the hottest ticket in town featuring multiple ballrooms of entertainment, top-shelf cocktails, a variety of hors d'oeuvres, pasta bar, custom martinis, premium champagne, online raffles benefiting a good cause, celebrity DJs, live cover band, live video mixing, midnight confetti storm, table service, + so much more. And to top it off they are including a complimentary pre-party and post party in the ticket price. Not to mention discounted hotel rooms at only $169/night! Ring in NYE 2019 at this luxurious event! Early bird special of only $125. Tickets go up soon. For more info visit, www.NYE-Chicago.com. Swissotel Chicago: 323 E Upper Wacker Dr, (312) 565-0565 
 

W Chicago - City Center - New Year's Eve Gala 

Celebrate New Year's Eve in Style at the ultra-trendy, W Chicago - City Center! This event will have you hopping from room to room with multiple party areas. Enjoy the evening with an all-inclusive package featuring top-shelf drinks, buffets, champagne, party favors, midnight celebrations, and more. Take an elevator home with discounted hotel rooms at $169/night. Early Bird Tix at $125 GA & $145 VIP. For more info visit, www.ChicagoNYEparty.com. W Chicago City Center: 172 W Adams St, (312) 332-1200 

3. SPECIAL VENUES: Put the 'Extra' in 'Extraordinary'

Crowd at Lincoln Park Zoo's ZooLights in Chicago

Zoo Year's Eve at Lincoln Park Zoo

Need a break from the typical bars? Grab your crew and head to the zoo. Spend an after-hours evening at the Lincoln Park Zoo, which will be decked out in millions of glittering lights. Plus, enjoy ice carving, cash bars serving beer, wine and champagne, a live DJ, giveaways, games, free carousel rides and more. Tickets start at $10. Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614, (312) 742-2000.

Brew Year's Eve at Architectural Artifacts

Ditch the champagne and celebrate the new year with some local brews. This event features 10 Chicago breweries and 25 different craft beers, butler-passed hors-d'oeuvres, and a selection of craft cocktails and wine. Live music will be playing throughout the venue, the upscale architectural salvage emporium Architectural Artifacts. The artsy Ravenswood space offers plenty of unique photo opps, with your beer in hand, of course.

Ticket prices TBA on Nov. 1, 2018. Architectural Artifacts, 4325 N Ravenswood Ave, Chicago, IL 60613, (773) 348-0622. Learn more about Chicago's craft beer scene.

Blue Man Group New Year's Eve Celebration

Although known nationally, Blue Man Group has become a bit of a Chicago tradition. This special New Year's Eve performance at Lakeview's Briar Street Theatre includes a post-show rendition of Auld Lang Syne, a countdown to midnight with complimentary party hats and noise-makers, and, naturally, a New Year's toast. Main floor tickets range from $99-$79, and balcony tickets from $59-$99. Here's s fun tidbit: The first five rows of the theater are the "poncho section." To put it another way, things are going to get messy! Briar Street Theatre, 3133 N. Halsted St., Chicago, IL 60657, (773) 348-4000.

Entertainment Cruises

The best view of the fireworks display over Lake Michigan is from the water. Book a dinner and fireworks cruise, which includes dining, music, a champagne toast, and unbeatable views. These special cruises are offered through Entertainment Cruises on their Odyssey, Mystic Blue, and Spirit of Chicago vessels. Entertainment Cruises, NBC Tower, 455 N. Cityfront Plaza Dr., Chicago, IL 60611, (866) 391-8439.

4. BARS & LOUNGES: Swanky or Sporty—but Always Boozy! 

Interior of Barcocina in Chicago

New Year's Eve Party at Barcocina

This hip spot is buzzing year round, and New Year's Eve will be no different. Barcocina has a spectacular party in the works, featuring an open bar, complimentary hors-d'oeuvres, and live music from one of Chicago's top DJs. Tickets start at $89 and VIP options are available. Barcocina, 2901 N Sheffield Ave., Chicago, IL 60657, (773) 687-9949

All That Glitters New Year's Eve at The Stretch

Chicagoans love sports -- and sports bars. So celebrate with the locals at hometown favorite, The Stretch Bar & Grill, nestled right in the center of Chicago's Cubs haven, Wrigleyville.

A live DJ will be playing the hottest house, hip-hop and Top 40 sounds, you'll enjoy a 5-hour drink and food package, and the live countdown to midnight will be screening on all 14 TVs as you sip on a complimentary glass of champagne. General admission tickets are $65. VIP table packages also are available for groups of 2, 4, 6 and 8. The Stretch: 3485 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60657, (773) 755-3980.

Rock Around the Clock at The Hard Rock Cafe

You're basically guaranteed to have a late night at this raucous, till-4-am bash. The celebration includes a 4.5-hour premium cocktail reception and appetizer buffet station with a soundtrack by the official Chicago Bulls DJ, DJ Metro, playing nothing but the best Top 40 and retro hits. Tickets start at $99. Hard Rock Cafe: 63 W. Ontario St., Chicago, IL 60654, (312) 943-2252.

New Year's Eve 2019 at Rock Bottom

End the year right at this popular dance party. The River North spot will be going all out this year, offering revelers a premium liquor package, private bartenders and cocktail servers, appetizers, party favors, a champagne toast at midnight, and more. Tickets are $80. Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery, 1 W.Grand Ave., Chicago, IL 60610, (312) 755-9339.

5. MUSIC VENUES: Jazz, Soul, Indie? Pick Your NYE Playlist

Exterior of the Green Mill Lounge in Chicago
 

Green Mill - Battle of the Saxes

This grande dame of the Chicago Jazz scene will be hosting a "Battle of the Saxes" this New Year's Eve, with the likes of Ed Petersen and Eric Schneider headlining. The price of admission includes a champagne toast at midnight. Doors open at 7 p.m., the cover is $30. Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway St., Chicago, IL 60640, (773) 878-5552.

The Scene: Explore Uptown

Galantis at Aragon Ballroom

Galantis, the electronic dance duo from Sweden, will bring their signature sounds to the Aragon Ballroom this New Year's Eve. The majestic theatre will be transformed into a massive dance party as party-goers dance the night away at this standing-room-only show. Tickets start at $55. Aragon Ballroom1106 W Lawrence Ave, Chicago, IL 60640.

Rod Tuffcurls and the Bench Press at The Vic

These high-energy rockers are sure to have the whole crowd on their feet. The mega-popular local cover band will be playing all your favorite hits, old and new, at this end-of-the-year bash at The Vic in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood. Tickets are $45. The Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield Ave., Chicago, IL 60657, (773) 472-0449.

Champagne Supernova at Howl at the Moon

Howl at the Moon is a relaxed piano bar in Chicago's River North neighborhood.  The first of your two celebration options is Champagne Supernova, which includes guaranteed reserved seating, tickets for six premium drinks, a two-hour dinner buffet, and a complimentary bottle of champagne per table for your midnight toast. Ticket prices are $120. Alternatively, you can opt for Just Dance, which guarantees entry but not seating, provides tickets for three premium drinks, offers light appetizers and a complimentary glass of champagne at midnight. Tickets are $65. Howl at the Moon, 26 W. Hubbard St., Chicago, IL 60654, (312) 863-7427. 

The Scene: Explore River North

RJD2 at Sleeping Village

The beer-focused bar and music venue in Chicago's Avondale neighborhood will host RJD2 to wrap up the year. The hip-hop musician combines different elements to create a moody, soulful sound that's all his own. Tickets are $45. Sleeping Village, 3734 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, IL 60618.

Guided by Voices at Bottom Lounge

Kick off the new year with indie rockers Guided by Voices. The subterranean venue in the West Loop neighborhood is the perfect complement to the group's garage/punk-rock inspired sound. Tickets are $50, VIP tickets are $85 and include a signed, limited-edition poster. Bottom Lounge, 1375 W. Lake St., Chicago, IL 60607, (312) 666-6775.

Greensky Bluegrass at Riviera Theatre

End the year with a night of bluegrass at the Riviera Theatre. The show will be the grand finale of a four-night run and feature three full sets of Greensky Bluegrass. Tickets for the night are $55. Riviera Theatre, 4746 N. Racine Ave., Chicago, IL, 60640.

6. RESTAURANTS: Eat the Best at the Best

Frontier

Dish at Frontier Restaurant in CHicago

For something entirely out of the ordinary, head to West Town, one of Chicago's most vibrant, artistic and hip neighborhoods. There you'll find an unusual meat-eater's nirvana. Frontier is famous for its selection of wild game and not-your-mother's-Sunday-roast offerings. Think a whole roasted alligator, for example, or a crispy antelope leg. For Frontier’s annual New Year’s Eve Party, expect a smoked whole animal feast (pig, boar, lamb, goat), oysters, salads, sides, a dessert buffet, a midnight champagne toast, DJ, and premium open bar.  The early bird price is $85. Frontier: 1072 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60642, (773) 772-4322.

The Scene: Explore West Town

Smith & Wollensky

Exterior of Smith & Wollensky's in Chicago

Enjoy your last meal of 2018 with sweeping river views. This downtown steakhouse will be serving their winter dinner menu, along with specials and premium holiday wines by the bottle and glass. They'll also have a wide selection of champagne and sparkling wines on hand for toasting. Smith & Wollensky318 N. State St., Chicago, IL, 60611, (312) 670-9900.

Crab Cellar

End the year with an endless feast. At the Crab Cellar, guests will be treated to never-ending Alaskan King Crab and Prime Filet and a glass of sparkling wine for $99.95 (plus tax and tip). Located just downstairs from Oyster Bah, Crab Cellar is a cozy, seafood-centric spot tucked away Lincoln Park. Crab Cellar: 1962 Halsted Street Chicago, IL 60614, (773) 248-1737.

Pelago

This upscale Italian spot will be celebrating its 10th anniversary on New Year's Eve. Guests can choose between two seating times and menus. The lobster and truffle menu will be served from 5-9 p.m., and the white truffle menu will be served from 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Between courses, guests can dance to live music. Pelago: 201 E. Delaware Place, Chicago, IL 60611, (312) 280-0700.

Somerset

Dish from Somerset restaurant in Chicago

Kick off the new year at this trendy spot in the Gold Coast neighborhood. The American-focused restaurant will be open all day on New Year's Eve with their full dinner menu, plus seasonal additions from Michelin-starred Chef Lee Wolen. The best part? Your room for the night could be right upstairs. Somerset is tucked inside the trendy Viceroy Chicago, which also features a luxe rooftop bar. Somerset: 1112 N. State St., Chicago, IL, 60610, (312) 586-2150.

Monnie Burke's

The new kid on the block is making its mark in Pilsen. New Year's Eve at Monnie Burke's will include live music, a special menu and a champagne toast at midnight. Reservations are now open, with more details coming soon. Monnie Burkes: 1163 W. 18th St. Chicago, IL 60608, (312) 243-2410.

Eataly

A pile of cheese at Eataly
Stephanie Bassos Photography

Indulge in all things Italian at NYE at Eataly: Mezzanotte. The all-inclusive bash will feature unlimited food and drinks, including bites from all of Eataly's second floor restaurants. Sample authentic favorites like never-ending fresh pasta & risotto, pizza napoletana, arancini, mozzarella, and focaccia. Italian wine, cocktails and house made beer will be flowing (plus a Prosecco toast at midnight). Tickets are $125. Eataly: 43 East Ohio Street, Chicago, IL 60611.

Alinea

Lincoln Park's Alinea is the poster child for innovative, modernist cuisine. This three-Michelin-starred restaurant ranked in 13th place among the "World's 50 Best Restaurants" for 2018. In the same year, it was voted "Outstanding Restaurant "in the United States by the James Beard Foundation. It goes without saying, then, that your taste buds will be doing a happy dance if you decide to book NYE dinner here. Innovate and celebrate with a multi-sensory 14- to 16-course menu that's currently in the works. Prepaid reservations are required for 2-6 guests, with prices ranging from $395-$425 per person, plus supplements. Alinea: 1723 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614.

The Scene: Explore Lincoln Park

Prime & Provisions Steakhouse

S'mores dessert at Prime & Provisions Steakhouse in Chicago

Celebrate in style at this sleek steakhouse. Starting at 5 p.m., Prime & Provisions will be offering an a la carte menu filled with favorites and a celebratory chef's holiday menu. Reservations are now available for parties large and small. Prime & Provisions: 222 N. LaSalle St., Chicago, IL 60601, (312) 726-7777.

Tavern on Rush

Welcome 2019 at the buzzing Tavern on Rush, located in the heart of the bustling Gold Coast. Choose from classics off their regular dinner menu, with a steak and seafood focus, or try their New Year's specials. Dinner will be served in the bar area and dining room. The kitchen will be open till 1 a.m. and diners can enjoy festive decorations, party favors and a complimentary champagne toast at midnight. Tavern on Rush: 1031 N. Rush St., Chicago, IL 60611, (312) 664-9600.

7. KID-FRIENDLY: Celebrations for all ages

Christmas lights at Brookfield Zoo's Holiday Magic in Chicago

Chicago Children's Museum Noon Year's Eve 

Located at Navy Pier (which is a bonus, since its oozing with activities for kids), the Chicago Children's Museum hosts an annual Noon Year's Eve, with festivities beginning at 11:00 a.m. This event features fun activities such as personalized crown making and noise-making, not to mention confetti and a special countdown. Chicago Children's Museum: Navy Pier, 700 E. Grand Ave., Chicago, IL 60611, (312) 527-1000. 

The Scene: Explore Navy Pier

Zoo Year's Eve 2017

Want to escape the crowds? Then head to New Year at Brookfield Zoo's family-friendly 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. Brookfield Zoo: 8400 W. 31st St., Brookfield, IL 60513, (708) 688-8000.

New Year's Eve Family Cruise

Celebrate the start of a new year on an all-ages afternoon cruise aboard the Anita Dee II. Take in stunning views of the skyline while enjoying a live DJ and a full bar with cocktails for you and mocktails for the kids. Tickets start at $10. DuSable Harbor, 200 N Breakwater Access, Chicago, IL 60601, (312) 543-9798

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Chicago Children's Museum
700 E. Grand Ave.
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Odyssey Lake Michigan (formerly Odyssey Cruises)
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JW Marriott Chicago
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The Green Mill
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Blue Man Group
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Navy Pier
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