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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 an incomparable view of those fireworks we were talking about. Tickets are $125, with VIP tickets starting at $146.

Crystal Gardens New Years Eve

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 various food stations, and step out on the private terrace to watch those fabulous fireworks. Tickets range from $99, with VIP tickets ranging to $1,592 depending on which option you choose.

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

2. TOP HOTELS: Lap Up the Luxury

New Year's Eve at JW Marriott Chicago

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 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, this party will undoubtedly fill you with enough New Year's spirit to last the entire year. For the bespoke crowd, the hotel's New Year's Eve Black Tie Party at Palm Court will have you indulging in chef prepared small plates, food station delicacies and signature drinks. General admission is $135 - $175; VIP ticket options start at $155 and go up to $195. VIP Reserved Tables With Bottle Service in the French Room, Drake Room, Venetian and Georgian Rooms for groups of 4 to 50 range from $205 - $265. And Velvet Rope - VIP Reserved Tables with Bottle Service in the Gold Coast Ballroom and VIP Grand Ballroom for 6-10 people per table range from $1750 - $3500. Drake Hotel: 140 E. Walton Pl,, Chicago, IL 60611, (312) 787-2200.

Palmer House Hilton - Big Night Chicago New Year's Eve Gala

At Big Night Chicago, you'll dance the night away with more than 3,000 fellow revelers under the musical stewardship of celebrity a DJ and a line up of live bands that play throughout the multiple Palmer House Hilton ballrooms. While you're there, try your luck at the mock casino. Tickets range from $120–$220. Palmer House Hilton: 17 E. Monroe St., Chicago, IL 60603, (312) 726-7500.

NYE Soiree at Hilton Chicago

For an elegant affair beneath glittering chandeliers, head to the luxurious NYE Soiree at Hilton Chicago, where well-heeled partiers enjoy hors d'oeuvres, specialty martinis, live casino gaming, celebrity DJs and swirls of confetti at the midnight hour. General admission tickets are $125, and VIP tickets $155. Hilton Chicago: 720 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60605, (312) 933-4400.

NYE Soiree at JW Marriott

This NYE Soiree rings in the New Year in the landmark luxury hotel designed by Daniel Turnham. Dance to live DJs and cover bands, while toasting the arrival of 2018 with champagne. General admission tickets are $125, and VIP tickets $145. JW Marriott: 151 W. Adams St,, Chicago, IL 60603, (312) 660-8200.

NYE at Hard Rock Hotel 

Want to party like a rock star? NYE at Hard Rock Hotel has just the thing. Enjoy a 4-hour top shelf hosted cocktail reception, live DJs, buffet, hors d’oeuvres and delicacies, exclusive giveaways and even a Playmate Masquerade Lounge at this all-night party. General admission tickets are $174, with VIP options starting at $450. Hard Rock Hotel: 230 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60601, (312) 345-1000.

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

Voyager New Year's Eve Chicago

Voyager, A Journey to the New Year 2018

"[I]magine what might happen when an alien civilization on a planet far, far away from our own discovers the Voyager spacecraft, and studies the content of its golden record. Inspired by what they have learned about Earth's art, music and culture, they create an event to celebrate the best of what humanity has to offer." That event is Voyager: A Journey to the New Year 2018—an annual NYE adventure which will be taking place at Baderbrau Tap & Brewery this year. It's an out-of-this-world experience for all five senses — think physical installations, video projection mapping and live performance. Tickets are $75. Not bad for a quick trip to another planet. Baderbrau Tap & Brewery:  2515 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago, IL 60616, (312) 890-2728. 

Brew Year's Eve

Brew Year's Eve is just the ticket for craft beer aficionados—and aficionado wannabes. With Chicago's ever-evolving craft brewing industry, it was only a matter of time before someone had the great idea of ditching the champagne and celebrating with signature brews. Even better, this event takes place at Architectural Artifacts, an upscale architectural salvage emporium with objects curated from around the world (you may want your very own limestone corbel or cast-iron gargoyle, so don't forget your check book!). Not only does this event feature the likes of Goose Island and Half Acre, but you'll enjoy paired hors d’oeuvres, a selection of five cocktails, and a pizza buffet when the clock strikes midnight. The price of admission is $135, $50 for designated drivers.Tip: Architectural Artifacts: 4325 N Ravenswood Ave, Chicago, IL 60613, (773) 348-0622. Learn all about Chicago's craft beer venues and happenings!

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 $69-$59. 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.

The Scene: Explore Lakeview

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, Sporty—and Always Boozy! 

Violet Hour

RM Champagne Salon

Standing just across the street from Soho House in the West Loop, you'll find a discreet cobblestone alley that winds its way to the doors of RM Champagne Salon. This nightspot is magical whatever the time of year, but particularly in the winter, illuminated as it is with tiny twinkling lights. You truly will feel as though you've stumbled upon a well-kept secret. Adding to its mystique this NYE is a decadent celebration package and drink portfolio that includes an expansive passed food menu, ultra premium drinks, fine wine and champagne, party favors and, of course, an exclusive guest list. Pre-sale and general admission tickets range from $95-$110. RM Champagne Salon: 116 N. Green St., Chicago, IL 60607, (312) 243-1199.

The Scene: Explore the West Loop

The Violet Hour

Dress to impress for the Black Tie Affair at The Violet Hour, a modern day speakeasy you could quite easily miss while strolling down Wicker Park's Damen Avenue. Once inside, however, heavy velvet drapery frames an exquisitely luxurious, dimly lit interior you simply won't want to leave. This James Beard award-winning cocktail haven will be rolling out a vintage bar cart for tableside absinthe demos, while two evening seatings offer you the opportunity to sip on 13 classic Violet Hour signature cocktails, two punches, call drinks, beer offerings, wine and champagne. The Violet Hour: 1520 N. Damen Ave., Chicago, IL 60622, (773) 252-1500.

The Scene: Explore Wicker Park

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 60-inch TVs as you sip on a glass of champagne. VIP Table Seating packages also are available for groups of 2, 4, 6 and 8. General admission tickets are $65. The Stretch: 3485 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60657, (773) 755-3980.

The Scene: Explore Wrigleyville

Chicago Social New Year's Eve Party at SPiN

For a taste of how the locals party on New Year's Eve, head to the Chicago Social New Year's Eve Party in the trendy River North neighborhood. With SPiN, an underground hotspot co-founded by actress Susan Sarandon, as its venue, this is the place to celebrity watch and be seen. It features an outdoor heated patio, two levels with fully stocked bars, private lounges, an expansive dance floor and even ping pong tables. The event offers a 4-hour premium drinks package, gourmet appetizer stations, DJs, interactive installations, and, of course, a midnight champagne toast. Tickets range from $75 – $3,125. SPiN Chicago344 N. State St., Chicago, IL 60654, (773) 635-9999.

The Scene: Explore River North

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


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, Eric Schneider and Willie Pickens headlining. The price of admission includes a champagne toast at midnight. Tickets are $30. Green Mill: 4802 N. Broadway St., Chicago, IL 60640, (773) 878-5552.

The Scene: Explore Uptown

Kingston Mines - New Year's Eve Celebration

Another lauded Chicago institution, Kingston Mines celebrates the arrival of 2018 with the bluesy sounds of the Joanna Connor Blues Band. The price of admission includes hats or tiaras, leis, noisemakers, horns and a festive balloon drop at midnight. Tickets for this live music event are $35. Kingston Mines: 2548 N. Halsted St., Chicago, IL 60614, (773) 544-5442.

The Scene: Explore Lincoln Park

Windy City Soul Club NYE Party

Empty Bottle regulars Windy City Soul Club will be heading to Logan Square Auditorium to celebrate the New Year with the best soul dance party you might ever experience. Think Northern Soul, Motown-style greats and regional hits. And they'll be playing all original vinyl! Would you expect anything less from Chicago's hipster Logan Square neighborhood? Tickets are $15-$20. Logan Square Auditorium: 2539 N. Kenzie Blvd., Chicago, IL 60647, (773) 252-6179.

The Scene: Explore Logan Square

Twin Peaks at Thalia Hall 

Venerated Pilsen musical venue Thalia Hall will be hosting indie Chicago band Twin Peaks this New Year's Eve, with a 21+ show showcasing the band's third album, Down In Heaven. As Thalia Hall explains, "Whether sneering or pleading, aggressive or impatient...it is a record all about feel: heartbreak, forgiveness, anger, jubilation, re-invention, growth." Tickets range from $30-$40. Thalia Hall: 1807 S. Allport St., Chicago, IL 60608, (312) 526-3851.

The Scene: Explore Pilsen

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

6. RESTAURANTS: Eat the Best at the Best

Dusek's Board and Beer

GreenRiver

There's no better excuse than NYE to indulge in a major way. And GreenRiver's multi-course, Michelin star rated tasting menu will help you do just that. Fjord Trout Tartare with citron vinegar, soy dashi and green apple, anyone? Or maybe Slagel Farms Dry-Aged Strip Loin with potato puree, bone marrow jus and chanterelles. Your taste buds will definitely thank you for booking this Streeterville spot. Choose from a 5-course 6:00 - 7:30pm dinner seating ($85) with optional wine pairing ($45) or a 6-course 9:00 - 10:30pm dinner seating and midnight champagne toast ($135) with optional wine pairing ($55). GreenRiver: 259 E. Erie St., Chicago, IL 60611, (312) 337-0101.

The Scene: Explore Streeterville

Frontier

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 set menu price is $85. Frontier1072 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60642, (773) 772-4322.

The Scene: Explore West Town

Alinea

Lincoln Park's Alinea is the poster child for innovative, modernist cuisine. This Michelin Guide 3-star rated restaurant ranked in 15th place among the "World's 50 Best Restaurants" for 2016. 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- to16-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

Dusek's

Lying to the southwest, Pilsen is a vibrant neighborhood with strong Hispanic roots and an active artist community. It's also known for great food, with Dusek's topping the list. This New Year's Eve you'll be able to take decadence to a whole new level with Dusek's tasting menus prepared by Michelin-starred Chef Henry Hill,. There are two seating options: a 4-course tasting menu at 6:30pm ($65) and a 7-course tasting menu at 9:30pm ($85). Need to whet your appetite? Here are a few of the dishes being cooked up this NYE: Oyster with Champagne Espuma and Caviar, Bone Marrow Crusted Scallop on the Half Shell, and Passion Fruit Panna Cotta with Caramelized White Chocolate, Macadamia Nut Nougatine, Meyer Lemon-Prosecco Espuma. Dusek's1227 W. 18th St., Chicago, IL 60608, (312) 526-3851.

The Scene: Explore Pilsen

7. KIDS: Because They Like Parties Too!

Holiday Magic Brookfield Zoo

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 11:15 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 at ZooLights

From 4:30-9pm kids of all ages can celebrate New Year's amid magical illuminated trees and an exotic menagerie at Lincoln Park Zoo. You'll also get complimentary festive hats, horns and party favors to add to the family fun. Lincoln Park Zoo: 2001 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60614, (312) 742-2000.

The Scene: Explore Lincoln Park

 

Related Listings

Kingston Mines
2548 N. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 544-5442

Chicago Children's Museum
700 E. Grand Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 527-1000

Brookfield Zoo/Chicago Zoological Society
31st St. and First Ave.
Brookfield, IL 60513
(708) 688-8000

Odyssey Cruises
Navy Pier
Chicago, IL 60611
(888) 957-2634

Hilton Chicago
720 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 922-4400

JW Marriott Chicago
151 W. Adams St.
Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 660-8200

The Green Mill
4802 N. Broadway St.
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 878-5552

Blue Man Group
Briar Street Theatre
3133 N. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 348-4000

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

Mercury, Chicago's Skyline Cruiseline
112 E. Wacker Dr. on Chicago's Riverwalk
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 332-1353

Mystic Blue Cruises
Navy Pier
Chicago, IL 60611
(888) 957-2634

The Drake Hotel
140 E. Walton Pl.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 787-2200

Hard Rock Hotel Chicago
230 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 345-1000

Crystal Garden
700 E. Grand Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 595-5436

The Violet Hour
1520 N. Damen Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 252-1500

Dusek's
1227 W. 18th Street 
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 526-3851

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