San Francisco isn’t one to shy away from a good party, so it’s no wonder that New Year’s Eve brings a wide variety of special events. Whether you want to watch fireworks with the family, cruise the Bay with a special someone, laugh all night with friends or dance into 2014, San Francisco will not disappoint. In fact, the only downside is trying to sort through the endless options to find the perfect venue for your celebratory toast. To that end, here are five of the ‘best’ ways to welcome 2014 in San Francisco.
Best Way to Keep It Classy: New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball with the San Francisco Symphony:
If ball gowns and tuxedos suit you, this annual Masquerade Ball is one of the most glamorous events of the season. Held at the iconic Davies Symphony Hall, the evening includes a concert, after which the venue turns into a lively dance hall with complimentary bubbly and decadent desserts.
INFO: Doors open at 8 PM | Concert at 9PM | Tickets start at $85 | sfsymphony.org
TIP: Once the concert is over you can dance on the stage.
Best Belly Laugh: John Oliver at Cobb’s Comedy Club:
John Oliver, an Emmy-nominated writer and correspondent for “The Daily Show with John Stewart,” brings his irreverent humor to Cobb’s for a series of shows.
INFO: Dec. 28-31 | 7:30 PM and 10:00 PM | Tickets, $35 | cobbscomedyclub.com
TIP: 18-and-over | Two drink minimum per person.
Best Throwback: NOFX New Year’s Heave:
A classic band in a classic venue makes for a perfect pairing. NOFX formed in Los Angeles in 1983, broke through during the 90s and have remained a lasting force in independent music and the punk scene ever since. This New Year’s they bring their signature sound and style to the Warfield, one of San Francisco’s premier music venues.
INFO: Doors open at 8 PM | Event at 9 PM | Tickets, $40-$52 | thewarfieldtheatre.com
TIP: The restrooms are downstairs.
Best Free Activity: San Francisco’s Midnight Fireworks Show:
One of the city’s most beloved New Year’s Eve events. The main public viewing locations are on The Embarcadero between Mission and Howard Streets. The show can also be viewed along The Embarcadero near Washington Street and Justin Herman Plaza. To avoid large crowds, consider going to the top of a peak, like Coit Tower, revel at one of the bars or restaurants along the Embarcadero, or buy tickets to a Bay cruise.
TIP: This is a family-friendly event and there is a zero tolerance policy for alcohol.
Best Alternative Idea: Mission Bowling Club:
New Year’s doesn’t necessarily have to mean cocktail dresses and black ties. Mission Bowling Club, known as much for their food and drinks as they are their lanes, is in the process of planning their 2014 party. Last year’s event included, in addition to bowling, a dance party, raffle, champagne toast, photo booth and prix fixe dinner menu.
TIP: MBC hasn’t released details for NYE 2014 yet, so follow @MissionBowling for the latest scoop.
Best Place for 20-Somethings: Eye Heart SF Streets of San Francisco New Year’s Eve:
Once again, Eye Heart SF is turning the Ft. Mason Festival Pavilion into a Vegas-style, 21-and-over, large-scale, New Year’s Eve event. Highlights include music festival caliber production elements, world-class sound, lighting and visuals, a premium open bar for all guests, and views overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz.
INFO: 9 PM – 2 AM | Tickets start at $135 | eyeheartsf.com
TIP: Ticket prices go up December 9.
For more New Year’s Eve ideas, check out SF Station’s comprehensive New Year’s Eve Guide.
BONUS TIP REGARDLESS OF YOUR PLANS: Keep the Car in the Garage:
On New Year’s Eve, public transportation is a must. Luckily, San Francisco has many driving alternatives: MUNI rides are free from 8 PM on Dec. 31 until 6 AM on Jan. 1 and BART will be running extended hours. Cabs can be difficult to get, but rideshares like Lyft, Uber and Sidecar will help ease the burden. If you’re not already using these services regularly, make sure to download the apps ahead of time so you have them on hand.