It's never too early to start planning for New Year's Eve, especially if you want to get in on one of the city's biggest parties. Live large and dance the night away in a ballroom at a Chicago hotel or cozy up for a more intimate affair at a local cocktail lounge. Some of these parties even include midnight buffets, so you needn't worry about making brunch plans the next day (unless you want to, of course). Check out some of the most extravagent and creative places to kiss 2017 goodbye with our guide to Chicago's best New Year's Eve parties.
RECOMMENDED: Our complete guide to New Year's Eve in Chicago
New Year's Eve parties in Chicago
Step into the Congress Plaza Hotel for an evening of all-inclusive drinks, DJs, cover bands, buffets and more at the Big Night Chicago New Year's Eve Gala. The party takes place throughout the hotel's ballrooms, featuring multiple dance floors and rooms where you can mingle with sharply-dressed attendees leading up to the customary midnight celebration.
Forget about champagne, cocktails and wine—New Year's Eve deserves to be celebrated in the company of fellow beer geeks and a selection of 25 local craft brews. Attendees will sip suds from the likes of Goose Island and Hopewell while enjoying passed hors d’oeuvres and a selection of five signature cocktails. When the clock strikes midnight, a late-night pizza buffet will help you avoid a nasty New Year's Day hangover.
If you've ever wanted to see the Navy Pier New Year's Eve fireworks from the front row, you won't find a more prime spot than the annual Chicago Resolution Gala. Taking place in Navy Pier's Grand Ballroom, the party features more than 30 bars where guests can enjoy unlimited drinks, a fully-stocked buffet and DJs (including the Chicago Bulls' DJ Metro) spinning tunes in the main hall.
If you're the kind of person who requires an exorbitant New Year's Eve affair, look no further than this party for 3,000 guests at the historic Drake Hotel. With 40 bars, three ballrooms and four hours of complimentary bar service included with the general admission ticket, you won't have trouble staying occupied (and hydrated) before the gigantic midnight balloon drop.
Chicago Sport and Social Club rings in 2018 with a four-hour drink package, appetizer stations, a special guest DJ and buckets of bouncing balls. The New Year's Eve party takes place at SPiN Chicago, the subterranean Ping-Pong lounge that boasts enough space to show off your serve and hit the dancefloor.
Celebrate New Year's Eve at Little Goat Diner, which will be reconfigured to accommodate a dance floor and several bars serving drinks from local breweries and cocktails. This year's theme is a ’70s disco dance party, complete with food stations and hors d'oeuvres (if they're serving period-accurate cuisine, expect some fondue).
Spend an evening partying in the Hilton Chicago's ballrooms while enjoying a four-hour cocktail reception, hors d'oeuvres, a pasta buffet and more. VIP attendees will be able to "gamble" in a fantasy casino, while everyone else can hit the dance floor and wait for the midnight confetti storm. Your ticket also includes access to pre- and post-New Year's Eve parties.
With ballrooms, buffets, cocktails and DJs, the Marriott's New Year's Eve party has all the trappings of a hotel celebration. If you're looking for a lavish Loop celebration complete with a generous drink package (not to mention discounted hotel rooms), this soirée is a fine way to kick off 2018 in style.
Virgin Hotels Chicago's rooftop is closed for the season, so this year it's welcoming the New Year in its Commons Club lounge and restaurant. Guests can opt for a bar package with passed hors d'oeuvres or upgrade their ticket to include a three-course prix fixe dinner.
LondonHouse opens its ballroom for an evening of cocktails, live music from a '90s cover band and passed hors d’oeuvres. Tickets include a drink package, party favors and access to a midnight breakfast buffet—you won't even have to wake up early to get brunch in the morning.
Spy-themed speakeasy SafeHouse Chicago throws a groovy celebration of the New Year, inviting agents from across the city to its Shag-a-delic Dance Party. The party features a variety of different cocktail specials, a “Random Open Bar" that serves complimentary drinks for short periods of time and sparkling wine toasts at 11pm (midnight in New York) and midnight. Wear a disguise and you could win a cash prize if you're deemed the best-dressed male, female or couple.
Ring in 2018 at Theater on the Lake. The Lincoln Park venue features floor-to-ceiling windows where you'll experience gorgeous panoramic views of the Chicago skyline and Navy Pier firework display. Enjoy an upscale evening complete with an all-inclusive five-hour premium drink package, food stations, a midnight champagne toast and countdown, with party favors and dancing.
Party Noire curates this end of the year bash at Promontory, which invites guests to step back in time to the Black Metropolis, inspired by an Afrofuturistic vision of Chicago's future. DJs Rae Chardonnay and Lisa Decibel will provide the music, while attendees enjoy an open bar, passed hors d’oeuvres, snacks from local Hyde Park shops and a midnight champagne toast. Make sure you show up dressed to the nines (there's a mood board on Party Noire's website if you need some inspiration).
J. Parker's scenic rooftop hosts this Roaring ‘20s-themed bash, which asks attendees to come dressed to impress in their best Gatsby-era attire. DJ Kareem will spin tunes throughout the evening, while guests enjoy an open bar, passed appetizers and a midnight toast. Of course, if you don't feel like going home after the party, you can reserve a room at Hotel Lincoln.
When Hard Rock Cafe says it's going to rock around the clock, it means it. This New Year's Eve party goes until 4am—long after many other parties have corked the champagne and put attendees in cabs home. Guests will receive two rounds of appetizers, a four-and-a-half hour cocktail reception and some party favors. Naturally, there'll be music provides by Chicago Bulls DJ Metro and a lineup of hip-hop, house and Top 40 DJs.
ROOF on theWit gives guests the Monte Carlo experience on New Year's Eve, with fresh oysters, a Wagyu beef tenderloin carving station and gaming tables set up 27 floors above the streets of Chicago. Guests will enjoy an open bar, music from DJ Flipside, a complimentary midnight toast and themed desserts like chocolate cigars and poker chip macarons.
Spend the final hours of the yeat at one of Chicago's premier destinations for gin-based cocktails, where you'll enjoy an open bar and the debut of Scofflaw's winter menu. When you're not sampling the handcrafted beverages, you can try some hors d'oeurves, dance to DJed tunes and take selfies during the midnight balloon drop.
Kristin Kaza and Audio Jack—the duo behind the monthly Slo 'Mo party at the Whistler—throw a New Year's Eve celebration at Waydown in the Ace Hotel, with special guest DJ King Marie. Expect a heightened version of the queer-friendly, R&B-soundtracked party accompanied by a complimentary bar menu, bites and a special cocktail created for the evening.
Once again, Big Star welcomes the new year with the help of some friends from Munster, Indiana. Beer from Three Floyds will be flowing throughout the night, including some rare cellar beers that you won't find on tap anywhere else in the city. There will also be a rocking soundtrack and dishes from Chef Julie Warpinski for you enjoy while you're knocking back some hoppy beverages.
This annual New Year's Eve party imagines what might happen if an alien race explored the music and culture contained on the gold disc affixed to the NASA's Voyager space probes. The theme for 2018 is "Dune," reflecting on the sci-fi trope of a desert planet with projection-mapped imagery and music programmed by 1833, AMFM and TRQPiTECA.
Dance you way into the New Year to the soothing, upbeat sounds of Northern Soul, Motown and hot local cuts as the Windy City Soul Club DJs fill the Logan Square Auditorium with rug-cutting tunes. There won't be any laptop DJs in the house—this party is 100 percent vinyl.