Ball dropping in Times Square is New York’s thing. In Chicago, we ring in the New Year with amazing views of the Magnificent Mile, local rock and roll, our glittering skyline and nods to our frothy Prohibition past. In other words, when it comes to New Year’s Eve celebrations in Chicago, you can find just about any party to fit your style. Here are some of the most fun, festive and unique ways to ring in the New Year.
Doors Open: 10pm
Though it’s a relative newcomer to the list of Chicago’s rock venues, Lincoln Hall has cemented its reputation as a top live music destination. Bolstered by great food and one of the best sound systems in town, Lincoln Hall is the smart choice for “party like a rock star” celebrations. For the last party of the year, the venue books hot rock or dance-friendly acts and keeps the atmosphere festive well past midnight after balloons or confetti drops on the Auld Lang Syne singing crowd.
(Departs from Navy Pier)
Ticket Prices: $80-$100
Not even the dead of winter can dull the beauty of Chicago’s skyline at night. The best view is from Lake Michigan, which is what makes the Odyssey Cruises’ New Year’s Eve dinner easily the party with the best view. Dinner, a bar package and live music are part of the fancy-schmancy package for the evening, and though champagne toasts and canapés can be found at parties all over the city that night, none of them will have a panorama of Chicago from the lake with fireworks exploding overhead.
Hours: Mon-Fri 4pm-2am; Sat 11am-3am; 11am-2am
Styled after Prohibition-era hangouts, Fat Cat throws their Roaring ‘20s party no matter what year it says on the calendar. Though partiers love the special New Year’s cocktail menu and the swinging, upbeat music, Fat Cat’s real NYE draw is costume contest. Flappers, Zoot Suits and tilted fedoras are the dress code of choice, and winners take home a prize from the bar. Once the judging is done, Fat Cat’s photo booth stays packed all evening with stylish guys and gals trying to capture a memento of the evening.
Doors Open: 8:45pm
The glittering glass building in Chicago’s Gold Coast regularly hosts killer parties for the deep-pocketed crowd. This formal event gives you an excuse to dust off your best looking threads since The Wyndham’s party is one where everyone brings their A-game style-wise. The glamorous views, tasty food and top shelf drinks make for a high-spirited celebration, and the live band and DJs in various ball rooms give guests the option of lounging in style or dancing the night away as the new year approaches.