New Year’s Day events in L.A.
The first Rose Parade in 1890 was staged to show off California’s sun-kissed climate. The tradition is still going strong, complete with elaborate floral floats, musical performances and marching troupes (not to mention the crowning of the fresh-faced Rose Queen and her court), but the celebration now draws more than a million spectators who line the streets of Pasadena.
No need to camp out in the cold to see the 129th annual Rose Parade firsthand this New Year’s Day. Instead, watch the L.A. tradition from home and mosey on over to Sierra Madre Boulevard and Washington Street in Pasadena to view the floats post-parade. Once the crowds have died down, view the floats close up. The stunning float showcase is a unique opportunity to see the intricate floral handiwork in person, from just a few feet away.
Gliding around an ice rink in your bathing suit and a pair of shades—only in Southern California, right? For New Year’s Day, the Downtown rink is hosting its twist on a polar bear plunge with a beach-themed bash. Just try not to fall, lest you want to feel an icy burn on your exposed bottom.
A couple times a year, Minimal Effort brings together some of the top talent in the underground house and techno scenes. They throw a helluva party that requires, well, minimal effort on your part to have a good time. Following its massive New Year’s Eve party, the quarterly concert series throws a high-octane recovery party at Station1640 the following night; it's free to attend if you bought a pre-sale ticket for the night before.
Swimmers across the city will take to the not-so-icy waters for the annual Polar Bear Plunge. Water and air temperatures on New Year's Day typically hover around 60 degrees, which is Arctic enough if you ask us. Spectate or dive in during meet-ups at Cabrillo Beach, Hansen Dam, Venice Beach and Huntington Beach, among others.
Still need plans for New Year’s Eve?
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 L.A.