Things to do in Chicago: New Year’s Eve Edition

Now that Christmas has passed and presents have been opened (or maybe returned), it’s time to get crackin’ on those New Year’s Eve plans. Finally, a tumultuous 2016 has come to an end–we’ve been ready to usher in 2017 for what seems like forever. Luckily, with Chicago being Chicago, there’s no shortage of alcohol, parties, fireworks, and good times all around to celebrate the new year. Here’s a few events that are guaranteed to kick off your year with a bang!


Chi-town Rising

Upper Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60601


After having its inaugural celebration last year, Chicago’s outdoor NYE bash has been re-vamped for a second year. In a tribute to Chicago’s rebirth from the ashes of the 1871 fire, a 70-foot-tall LED star will ascend to the top of the Hyatt Regency at midnight and will be accompanied by a magnificent fireworks display. This year’s event provides more free viewing space on both sides of the Chicago River, immediately east of Michigan Ave. Musical acts performing during the evening include Indie Pop band Saint Motel, Sir the Baptist, DJ Sye Young, and Jim Cornelison. Tickets to the event are free, but you’ll need to register to secure your spot. If you would rather stay warm and toasty indoors, you can watch the whole event on NBC 5 and Telemundo Chicago.

Goat Down Tonight

820 W Randolph St, W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607


If you’re feeling a bit nostalgic for past times, Little Goat Diner in West Loop will be reconfigured on NYE to feature a 70s’ themed disco dance floor, complete with a disco ball and DJ. Food stations and hors d’oeuvres will most likely be 70s’ appropriate with a unique modern twist (as executive chef Stephanie Izard is known for). Along with champagne and cocktails, craft beers from local breweries will also be served. Tickets are a bit pricey at $125 a pop, but it might be worth it for the atmosphere and the endless food and drinks.

Big Night Chicago New Year’s Eve Gala

17 E Monroe St, Chicago, IL 60603


Held at the swanky Palmer House Hilton Hotel, Big Night Chicago is an event for those who are feeling dressy and want a more exclusive New Year’s Eve experience. Tickets start at $139 and are all-inclusive of food, drinks, and entertainment, but you can pay more for VIP service and private rooms.


Voyager 2017: A Journey to the New Year

2515 S Wabash, Chicago

A one-of-a-kind event, Voyager 2017 is for those who are looking for an otherworldly experience. In 1977, NASA launched Voyager twin-probes into the unknown darkness of outer space. Attached to the side of each spacecraft is a golden phonograph record containing sounds and images of the diversity of life on Earth, intended for whatever intelligent life finds these probes. This 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. Combining art installations with live music in the expansive Baderbräu Brewery, guest will be able experience projection mapped landscapes and enjoy and open bar while taking in sets from R&B singer JMSN, hip-hop artist Masego, the Slo ‘Mo Party DJs and electronic producer Edamame.




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