New Year's Eve parties in Los Angeles
Find the best New Year's Eve parties in LA with our list of the city's most celebratory soirees.
Tue Dec 17 2013
Figuring out what to do for New Year's Eve in Los Angeles can be a challenge—should it be a black-tie affair? A laid-back shindig? A dance-til-morning marathon with music to match? To help suss out where you want to be when the ball drops, we've put together a list of the city's best events—from lavish and pricey to casual and, yes, free. Here, the best New Year's Eve parties in LA.
- Price band: 2/4
With a world-renowned DJ like Laidback Luke sonically steering the party ship, a promoter and venue don’t need much else in the way of themes, props or gimmicks to ensure a raging and memorable night out. Part international superstar DJ (like George Clooney in People’s Sexiest Man issues, he holds a seemingly permanent spot in DJ Mag’s top 100 DJs ranking), part remix master (known for his treatments of "Blurred Lines" and "Thinking of You"), Laidback Luke will weave a body-rocking tapestry of electro, techno, breaks and bass for a dance-oriented crowd of 1,400 who want to roll into the afterhours without being joined by the second coming of candy ravers that a mega-rave might attract.
- Price band: 2/4
Why settle for simple earthly delights when you can make your last night of 2013 extra terrestrial? Partiers at the will rage and writhe under more than just mirror balls as a galaxy and solar system, vortex of smoke, spinning lights and a massive stageside spaceship transform the historic Avalon into a multisensory space odyssey. And while booty-shaking robots, aliens and astronauts donning led-lit spacesuits are sure to animate the otherworldly atmosphere, it’s Ministry of Sound resident Fedde Le Grand’s infectious electro (Put Your Hands Up For Detroit), DJs Sultan + Ned Shepard progressive house and—fingers crossed—a rumored back-to-back set between the two that will serve as dancefloor g-force and cause revelers to begin year 2014 lost in bass.
- Price band: 1/4
- Critics choice
If steep VIP fees or formal galas make you want to stay home, then Bootie is your best bet. This party doesn’t charge a giant cover or encourage dressing to the nines for the night. Instead, it embraces the true spirit of NYE (it’s messy!) by welcoming an unpretentious crowd of 1,100 to let their hair down, dance their faces off and playfully twerk and sing to mashups galore. And to further inspire reluctant travelers to get off the couch and into its playful world, Bootie LA will gift its famous mashup mixtape to first 500 people who get the party started.
Getting out for New Year’s Eve can become one of the priciest dates of the year—especially if you have to pony up for a babysitter. But this year, one of LA’s newest parks (most known for its food truck gatherings, lunchtime yoga sessions and summertime concerts) promises to be one of the most family-friendly—and affordable—NYE destinations in the city. Flanked by the LA Music Center and City Hall, every inch of this three-block greenspace will be covered in culture, including City Hall, which will be used as a 22-story canvas for projections of photo-booth pics taken onsite, 3D projections and a countdown. Crowds will rock steady to a soundtrack of old-school hip hop, jazz and soul by DJs Seano & Daedelus; classic soul and R&B inspired vocals by Myron & E; and merengue, punta and cumbia-infused beats by Buyepongo. Celebrated artists Geoff McFetridge and Mike Murphy, known for his mind-bending portraits of iconic figures, will live-paint for the crowd. And for those who simply can’t ring in the new year without a flute of champagne or two, a cash bar will be erected at this al-fresco affair.
Hundreds of chiseled chests will be on display at this free toga party, hosted by a dragtastic Medusa. Though attendees are encouraged to rock toga-wear, the vibe will be more Game of Thrones than Animal House. Dozens of go-go gods will serve as eye candy on a column-flanked dancefloor, and warriors of the night's watch will stand guard on one of the most storied patios in boystown. Resident DJ Dawna Montell will kick out feel-good EDM hits for the masses while queens wishing to be treated accordingly need only to purchase VIP wristbands to skip the lines and drink from the sweet nectar of a hosted bar.
- Price band: 3/4
Mass Pleasures, the company behind some of the classiest (if over-the-top, but hey, that's kind of the point) sex parties in the city, offer an upscale, discreet and confidential swingers experience for the kinky couple (or sufficiently sexy single lady) with money to burn. Attendees can mingle, flirt, swing and sex the night away in a safe, secluded location (the exact address of which will be given to ticket-holders 24 hours before the event). A "basic" pass for couples, which means BYOB (bring your own ballgag?) ain't bad—a standard, all-inclusive pass is a bit more, and "hot single ladies under 35" pay nothing at all. Hilariously enough, there's also a "single ladies standard pass" for somewhere around $50—we're not sure how exactly they decide who makes the free cut. Bottle service ups the cost to the thousands, and VIP bottle service is even heftier. Although you won't be clothed for long, ladies both hot and standard should arrive in cocktail dresses, and gents should avoid jeans. And don't forget your masks!
- Price band: 2/4
In this rebooted version of the arena concert, the crowd wields glowstick app-enabled phones (instead of lighters) and keeps inflatable zebra-striped donkeys, AKA zonkeys, bouncing overhead (in lieu of beach balls). Hosted by LED, one of SoCal’s biggest rave makers, this massive boasts a lineup that would make Coachella proud: Boys Noize, Feed ME, Madeon, GTA, DJ Snake and Brazabelle will play big-sound EDM anthems for a pumped 18 and up crowd.
- Price band: 1/4
For those who maintain an active nightlife throughout the year, big party holidays can feel offputtingly bloated and overdone. If you’re looking to pound it out on the dancefloor rather than be entertained with blinking LED screens, costumed performers or celebrity antics, this stripped-down dance party of 300 at the King King is your fuss-free jam come New Year's. San Francisco’s Legendary DJ David Harness—along with Tony Powell, Zach Hill and Lacey I.Q.—will serve a continual dose of deep and funky house into the afterhours, only breaking to make a modest champagne toast at midnight.
- Price band: 3/4
The new year is all about self-awareness. So why not use the last hours of 2013 to bathe in indulgent anonymity? Replicate the sultry fun of Eyes Wide Shut at this masked party steeped in twisted, opulent design and populated with stilt walkers, tarot card readers and face painters. Indulge in custom made, hand-rolled cigars (you pick the blend), cava, wine, molecular tapas and desserts. Then dance it all off to DJ-spun pop, rock, hip-hip and house in this multi-roomed, Philip Starck-designed space that lets you find your type of reveler (effervescent souls will gravitate toward the pink Patisserie, vixens to the blood-red lit Rojo) despite the many masks.
- Price band: 3/4
Baz Lurhman revived The Great Gatsby in a big way this year, and a slew of LA parties will go Gatsby for NYE. But our pick for flapper-esque fun is A Little Party Never Hurt Nobody at the retro Emerson Theatre. With its canopy of edison bulbs, gilt-lined mirrors and rich mahogany velvet seating, this venue just begs for fringe-wearing revelers to kick up their heels. Join burlesque dancers, 450 vintage cocktail-clad partiers, DJ Jayceeoh (winner of VH1’s master of the Mix) and likely, a celeb or two as they partake in a limitless premium bar that would make Gatsby proud. Also, look for the evening’s Gatsby-like benefactor, Mr. Emerson, who will be slipping through the crowd to pass out Creative Recreation gift cards. And when the first beats of Fergie’s "A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got)" drops? Make a bee-line for the dancefloor—it’s sure to ignite infectious lose-your-mind dance and debaucherous spirits.
- Price band: 4/4
You can hit up the W’s Rooftop anyday of the year, but with its 360 degree downtown skyline-meets-Hollywood-Hills view, this trusted destination still serves as a stellar locale for NYE. Inside, the night is made special not by LED walls or caged dancers, but by DJ talent that knows how to capture the energy of a party and elevate care-free rug cutters to the next level of joy. Listen for Bixel Boys (who have been compared to the Chemical Brothers), purveyors of feel-good house; headliner Goldroom; and the deep-beat sets by Syntax. Or, steal away for a pensive, one-on-one moment with nature or a makeout sesh in a cabana alongside the wetdeck—this is New Year's in LA, after all.
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