New Year's Eve events in Chicago

Ring in 2018 with our guide to Chicago's best concert, events and things to do this New Year's Eve

Redmoon's New Year's Eve Revolution
Photograph: Al Zayed

New Year's Eve is always one of the most exciting days on the calendar, but it's also a holiday that comes with a certain amount of pressure. Ringing in 2018 is a momentous occasion, whether you decide to toast its arrival in a wine bar or dance the evening away in one of the city's music venues. To make sure it's a memorable evening, you need to snag tickets or get a reservation at one of the Chicago's best restaurants while you have the chance. Allow us to help you plan your best celebration to date with our guide to all that New Year's Eve in Chicago has to offer.

New Year's Eve events

New Year's Eve parties
Things to do

New Year's Eve parties

Make plans for the last (and biggest?) night of the year

New Year's Eve concerts
Music

New Year's Eve concerts

All the killer shows you should be dancing at on NYE

New Year’s Eve dinner specials
Restaurants

New Year’s Eve dinner specials

Treat yourself to a decadent multi-course meal on the final day of the year

Chi-Town Rising won't ring in 2018
News

Chi-Town Rising won't ring in 2018

There'll be no giant star rising up the side of a hotel this December

New Year's Eve photos

Our favorite photos from Chi-Town Rising 2016
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Our favorite photos from Chi-Town Rising 2016

Here's what the Loop looked like as 2017 arrived

NYE at the Hilton 2013 photos

NYE at the Hilton 2013 photos

Mike Posner and Bad Boy Bill ring in the new year.

Official Playboy NYE 2012 photos

Official Playboy NYE 2012 photos

Hef throws a New Year's party at the Hilton.

Windy City Soul Club NYE 2012 photos

Windy City Soul Club NYE 2012 photos

A northern soul New Year's at Logan Square Auditorium.

Big Freedia at Empty Bottle NYE 2011 photos

Big Freedia at Empty Bottle NYE 2011 photos

Ass everywhere, ass-ass everywhere!

Archive New Year's Eve stories

Chi-Town Rising lights up the skyline on New Year's Eve
Things to do

Chi-Town Rising lights up the skyline on New Year's Eve

It may have downsized its festivities and gone back on its promise of being a free, public event, but the inaugural Chi-Town Rising celebration ended up being a pretty decent New Year's Eve spectacle. Thousands of attendees bought tickets and showed up to stand in front of the Hyatt Regency, taking in musical performances, fireworks and the gradual ascension of a 70-foot tall star tricked out with a video screen. While you're busy completing your list of New Year's resolutions, take a look at our photos from the first (and probably not last) Chi-Town Rising party.

Chicago is getting a riverfront New Year's Eve celebration
News

Chicago is getting a riverfront New Year's Eve celebration

Chicagoans have always been content ringing in the new year watching the ball drop in New York City on TV. This year, the city is getting its very own gaudy outdoor New Year's Eve celebration on the riverfront, an event that aims to make Chicago a holiday destination. For those tired of the usual concerts, hotel parties and house soirees, it's an opportunity to go outside and observe the holiday in the freezing cold. The party will take place on the north and south sides of the river between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive, featuring multiple stages of live music, a fireworks display, a live broadcast on NBC 5 and a midnight countdown that will feature a giant star ascending 36 stories up the side of the Hyatt Regency Chicago building. It also boasts a groan-worthy name: Chi-Town Rising.  The downtown spectacle is being produced by Arena Partners, a private company founded by John Murray, the man behind Chicago's failed 2016 Olympic bid and who also helped bring the NFL Draft to the city last April. The Tribune reported that the budget for the inaugural event is "well into seven figures," adding that Murray does not expect to make a profit in the first year (access to the event will be free, but there will be private parties in surrounding restaurants, bars and hotels). Organizers have lofty expectations for the event, estimating 100,000 attendees and framing it as a way to draw tourists to the city. Accordingly, Chicago's tourism bureau, Choose Chicago, and the Illinois

5 exciting New Year's Eve celebrations in Chicago
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5 exciting New Year's Eve celebrations in Chicago

1. New Year's Eve at Izakaya Lounge Most New Year's parties don't serve sushi, but most bashes don't occur in the basement bar of one of Chicago's favorite Japanese restaurants. Just below Momotaro, the Izakaya Lounge throws a party complete with sake, beer, cocktails and wine, along with two dinner buffet stations and passed hors d'oeuvres. An upgrade to VIP gets you table-side appetizers, express entry and a bottle of champagne. All guests greet the New Year with a champagne toast. 2. Voyager 2016: A Journey to the New Year If the recent release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens makes you wish that you could travel to space, this party might just satisfy your desires. Voyager 2016 starts with an idea: What if NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft crash landed on a planet deep in reaches of space—and what would it find? Party your way through this art installation featuring drinks, DJs (including street artist Hebru Brantley) and mind-bending light effects. 3. New Year's Eve Soiree at The Westin River North Want to welcome the new year along the Chicago River, near the landmark Marina City Towers at the Westin River North? Snag tickets to this New Year's Eve Soiree and you'll enjoy dazzling scenery, a 4.5-hour top-shelf cocktail reception with no lines, a loaded buffet complete with hors d'oeuvres and desserts and a confetti storm and champagne toast at midnight. Plus, you'll have great views of the fireworks at Navy Pier and Chi-Town Rising. 4. Reaction New Year's Eve 2015: Skril

Chi-Town Rising reveals its full music lineup
News

Chi-Town Rising reveals its full music lineup

If you want to see some chart-topping pop stars at Chi-Town Rising, you'll have to watch a YouTube video on your phone. Today, the inaugural outdoor New Year's Eve celebration revealed the remainder of its music lineup, on the heels of last month's announcement that Chicago (the band) and American Authors will headline the event. The rest of the bill announced today includes local acts such as the NuBlu Band, Carlito Olivero, Kweku Collins, Radio Free Honduras, JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound, the Heard and the O'My's. Chi-Town Rising's plan to hoist a gigantic star up the side of a building on New Year's Eve seems designed to draw direct comparisons to the ball drop in Times Square—an event that will include Carrie Underwood as its headlining performer this year. While it's great that local acts will get the chance to perform at the public celebration, it seems like organizers could have spent a bit more of the privately funded event's reported "well into seven figures" budget on higher profile performers—the kind of names that might actually attract out-of-town visitors to the city. Unless you've been dying to hear "25 or 6 to 4" just before the stroke of midnight or can't get enough of the ubiquitous commercial ditty "Best Day of My Life," Chi-Town Rising's live music lineup leaves something to be desired. If you must see a great band on the last day of 2015, you're better off spending some cash on tickets to one of the many New Year's Eve concerts in Chicago.  

Chi-Town Rising is selling tickets for its formerly free festivities
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Chi-Town Rising is selling tickets for its formerly free festivities

Does a free, public New Year's Eve celebration with fireworks and performances by bands like Chicago and American Authors sound too good to be true? Apparently it is. Once billed as "free to the public," Chi-Town Rising has become another private celebration, albeit on a much grander scale than most. Earlier this month, organizers began selling $150 tickets for access to "Broadcast Boulevard," the location of the event's main Countdown Stage on Upper Wacker Drive between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive. Organizers have also been offering up $99 tickets that give attendees access to the "Corona Beach House," a private party that will take place across the Chicago River at 225 E North Water St. The Tribune confirmed that the lineup of bands that was once slated to perform on a public stage in Pioneer Court has now been moved to the main Countdown Stage, which can only be accessed with the purchase of a ticket to "Broadcast Boulevard." According to a tweet from Chi-Town Rising organizers, a free viewing area for the festivities will be in Pioneer Court, but it seems you'll need binoculars if you actually want to see the acts playing on the other side of the river. When Chi-Town Rising was initially announced, organizers estimated 100,000 people would show up to participate in the festivities. Though the number seemed lofty at the time, it seems especially generous now that organizers are charging for access to the main event. We sincerely doubt that 100,000 people will pay

Chi-Town Rising reveals its full music lineup
News

Chi-Town Rising reveals its full music lineup

If you want to see some chart-topping pop stars at Chi-Town Rising, you'll have to watch a YouTube video on your phone. Today, the inaugural outdoor New Year's Eve celebration revealed the remainder of its music lineup, on the heels of last month's announcement that Chicago (the band) and American Authors will headline the event. The rest of the bill announced today includes local acts such as the NuBlu Band, Carlito Olivero, Kweku Collins, Radio Free Honduras, JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound, the Heard and the O'My's. Chi-Town Rising's plan to hoist a gigantic star up the side of a building on New Year's Eve seems designed to draw direct comparisons to the ball drop in Times Square—an event that will include Carrie Underwood as its headlining performer this year. While it's great that local acts will get the chance to perform at the public celebration, it seems like organizers could have spent a bit more of the privately funded event's reported "well into seven figures" budget on higher profile performers—the kind of names that might actually attract out-of-town visitors to the city. Unless you've been dying to hear "25 or 6 to 4" just before the stroke of midnight or can't get enough of the ubiquitous commercial ditty "Best Day of My Life," Chi-Town Rising's live music lineup leaves something to be desired. If you must see a great band on the last day of 2015, you're better off spending some cash on tickets to one of the many New Year's Eve concerts in Chicago.  

Chi-Town Rising is planning an even bigger New Year's Eve celebration
News

Chi-Town Rising is planning an even bigger New Year's Eve celebration

As you've likely heard, Chi-Town Rising—the large-scale, televised, outdoor New Year's Eve celebration that debuted in 2015 and drew a reported crowd of 90,000—is returning to downtown Chicago on December 31. This time around, organizers are focused on making the event "bigger, better and even more accessible to Chicagoans and visitors alike," promising more viewing areas, a fireworks display and the return of the gigantic Chicago star, which will scale the side of the Hyatt Regency Chicago at midnight. In a press release, event organizers Arena Partners revealed that all outdoor viewing areas on both the north and south side of the Chicago River will be free and open to the public. In 2015, Chi-Town Rising was initially pitched as a free event, but in mid-December, organizers began selling $150 tickets that granted guests access to "Broadcast Boulevard," the center of the festivities at the foot of the Hyatt Regency—those who didn't purchase a ticket were able to watch from a plaza across the river. This year, Chi-Town Rising will feature a variety of ticketed parties at indoor venues around the city (including the Hyatt Regency and Howells & Hood), featuring musical entertainment, refreshments and views of the outdoor festivities. Returning attractions from last year's event include the free Family Countdown Celebration in Grant Park, which provides live entertainment and a “Halfway to Midnight” countdown for kids who can't stay up until the star rises. New to this year'

Chi-Town Rising New Year's Eve celebration announces headlining musical acts
News

Chi-Town Rising New Year's Eve celebration announces headlining musical acts

New Year's Eve is just over five weeks away, which means it's time to decide which party you'll be attending. One option is the inaugural Chi-Town Rising, a free, outdoor New Year's Eve celebration that will take place along the river between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive. While attendees wait for the 70-foot-tall star to be hoisted up the side of the Hyatt Regency Chicago at midnight, they'll be treated to musical entertainment spread across three stages. Today, organizers announced two acts who will perform on the event's main stage, which will be in front of the Hyatt Regency. Long-running soft rockers Chicago (the band, obviously) will close out the evening, right after a set from pop-rock act American Authors. A mainstay of easy-listening radio and your dad's record collection, Chicago (which features four original members) was recently nominated for induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Brooklyn band American Authors is best known for its song "Best Day of My Life"—you've heard it if you've watched commercials within the past year. Performances by both bands will be included in the Chi-Town Rising TV special, which will be broadcast locally on NBC 5 and Telemundo Chicago. If your New Year's Eve tradition already included listening to "25 or 6 to 4," you might as well go stand out in the cold and watch Chicago play it live.  

Flume and Zeds Dead headline Reaction New Year's Eve 2016 lineup
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Flume and Zeds Dead headline Reaction New Year's Eve 2016 lineup

Last year, local promoters React Presents (the folks behind festivals like Spring Awakening, Mamby on the Beach and Freaky Deaky) staged a gigantic two-day New Year's Eve party in Rosemont, hosting a lineup that included EDM heavy hitters Deadmau5 and Skrillex. This year, Reaction New Year's Eve is returning to the Donald E. Stevens Convention Center on December 30 and 31, with a new batch of electronic artists, hip-hop acts and DJs in tow. Australian producer Flume and Canadian electronic duo Zeds Dead headline the festival on Friday and Saturday night, respectively. The rest of the lineup is similarly heavy on EDM, including sets from Dillon Francis, Tchami, Mr. Carmack and Bondax. Hip-hop also has a strong presence at the two-day fest, with Anderson .Paak, Danny Brown and Gucci Mane in attendance. Local acts like Noname, Kweku Collins and Smino are also represented, lest you forget that you're attending an event on the outskirts of Chicago. Single day and two-day tickets to the festival are on sale now—you'll pay $79 for one day or $99 for both. VIP and Platinum passes are also available if you think private bars and express entry are worth a few extra bucks. If you prefer bass drops to the traditional New Year's Eve ball drop, take a look at the full Reaction New Year's Eve lineup below and prepare for a year-end music festival to remember. Friday, December 30 FlumeAnderson .Paak & the Free NationalsDillon FrancisDanny BrownMr. CarmackNonameKweku CollinsAir Sine (Zeb

Comments

9 comments
Telesto A

Danger!!!  It is horrible, terrible rotten luck for the new year to hug and/or kiss a woman at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve!  It doesn't matter if she's a cheerleader, a Hooters girl, a movie actress (yes, even if she's Sandra Bullock, Natalie Portman, Rosario Dawson, Emma Watson, or whoever's your favorite), a track star, a basketball star, or if she's 300 pounds, it is still horrible, rotten luck to hug and/or kiss her at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve!  In fact, hugging and/or kissing a woman, even a cute hot babe, at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, will guarantee you a whole year in which your entire world will literally crumble like a sandcastle being flooded by an incoming high tide on a windy day.

Derby C

Come to Derby in Lincoln Park for a Gatsby New Year!  Details & Ticket info available at www.derby.ticketleap.com/nye/