The 2013 curtain is quickly drawing to a close and as we ready ourselves for 2014, there’s one very important decision we need to make: Where to celebrate! In Southern California, that decision is far from easy, because there are so many tempting options out there. Should we go mellow and do some Yurt glamping in Santa Barbara? Or go elegant with a Black and White Masquerade Ball? Or treat the family to a Disneyland New Years? There are more stellar NYE choices in SoCal than we could possibly name, but we’ve still managed to pull together a list of some of the best ones out there. So take a look and start making your plans…because 2013 deserves a spectacular send-off, don’t you think?
1. Welcome in the New Year surrounded by nature at El Capitan Canyon. Rent a cedar cabin, safari tent or the deluxe Adventure Yurt and glamp away 2013. Aside from relaxation, beach cruising and (perhaps) treating yourself to a massage, El Capitan Canyon will also have special New Years activities for guests, including a sparkling wine tasting and stargazing with the Canyon’s archeoastronomer. If this sounds like a lovely way to ring in your New Year, just call (866) 352-2729 for reservations. Address: 11560 Calle Real, Santa Barbara.
2. Another grand New Year’s Eve plan in Santa Barbara is to attend El Encanto’s fabulous dinner and the hipper than hip Mad Men-themed bash (only the second dinner seating includes the Mad Men party). Dress up in your finest mid-century wear and enjoy a gourmet feast and a party that’s sure to be a gas! Details: First Dinner Seating: 5:30–7:00 pm/Price: $125 per person with sommelier wine pairing and $85 per person for dinner only. Second Dinner Seating: 8:00–10:00 pm/Price: $270 per person with sommelier wine pairing and $195 per person for dinner only. A champagne toast and tickets to the New Year’s Eve party are included in the Second Dinner Seating price. Address: 800 Alvarado Place, Santa Barbara.
3. If you’d like to zip back in time even more (to the Roaring 20s to be exact), head to the Bacara Resort & Spa’s Miró oceanfront restaurant for their Great Gatsby NYE party. The whole restaurant will be transformed into a spiffy 1920s lounge with gourmet food stations, a live DJ and Champagne, of course. Channeling your inner Daisy and Jay is highly encouraged. Tickets are $150.00 per person and are going quickly. Address: 8301 Hollister Avenue, Santa Barbara.
1. For an unforgettable NYE with family and friends, LA’s Grand Park is hosting a FREE doozy of a New Year’s extravaganza. From 6:00 pm to 12:30 am, the park will be filled with art installations, a “live” photo booth, entertainment, food trucks, a real-time feed from New York’s Times Square and a projection-countdown that covers 22 stories of City Hall. This really captures the angeleno spirit, so if you’re in the downtown LA area and looking for some free fun, this is the ticket. Address: 200 North Grand Avenue, Los Angeles.
2. Universal City Walk is always electrifying and festive when it comes to the holiday—and this year’s New Year’s Eve Countdown Bash keeps the tradition going. While the party is no longer free (see below for prices), the party is even grander than usual with live music and DJs, a simulcast of the Times Square ball drop and a huge fireworks display that will be visible from all the concert areas when the clock strikes midnight. There will also be food available from all of the City Walk restaurants (everything from the legendary Pink’s hotdogs to Buca di Beppo italian). Details: Tickets are $15 for admission only, $55 for admission and self-parking and $65 for admission and valet. Address: 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City.
3. If a genuine party is more your NYE scene, you won’t be disappointed in L.A. You can get a little swanky at the Rockwell Table & Stage in Los Feliz where the California Feetwarmers will take the stage (think 1920s/30s Dixieland Jazz). The theme of the New Year’s party is Gatsby, so put on your snazziest duds. Address: 1714 Vermont Ave., Los Angeles.
For a slightly bigger party, hit up the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood for the 5th Annual Cleopatra’s New Year’s Eve Ball. This glamorous bash goes from 9:00 pm2:00 am and features DJs, Go-Go Dancers, five fully staffed bars, dance floors, a dazzling light show, a huge countdown projector and (since this is Hollywood) VIP booths and a VIP lounge. Ticket prices vary. Address: 6714 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles.
4. Another amazing NYE option is just a 30-minute drive from L.A. on the legendary Queen Mary cruise ship in Long Beach. The theme of this year’s New Years celebration is a “Passport to a New Year,” which features five “destinations” that are celebrated with a Port of Call cocktail at each “stop.” There will also be great food, live entertainment and a fantastic fireworks display. Bonus info: The celebration will be extra special since 2014 marks the 80th anniversary of the Queen Mary’s christening! Details: The festivities last from 7:00 pm to 2:00 am/General Admission Tickets: $99/VIP Tickets: $199/Several New Year’s dinner options are also available as upgrades—View Prices & Menus. Address: 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach.
1. For an elegant way to welcome in 2014, splurge on tickets to the Viceroy Venetian Bacchanal, a black and white masquerade ball that includes a four-course feast, free-flowing Veuve Clicquot Champagne, a KCRW DJ and a festive balloon drop. Details: Tickets are $360 per person. Address: 415 South Belardo Rd., Palm Springs
2. Ring in 2014 with some Broadway-caliber fun and hit up the famous New Year’s Eve performance of the Palm Springs Follies. Both the 3:30 pm and 9:00 pm shows will feature a champagne reception, goody bags, hats and noisemakers and at the stroke of midnight, the cast (and audience) will sing a rousing version of Auld Lang Syne. Details: Prices range from $75–$110 for the matinee and $95–$140 for evening. Address: 128 South Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs
3. When it comes to the holidays, Condé Nast Traveler sings the praises of the Ace Hotel and Swim Club, a renovated motor lodge transformed into a “retro-cool,” bohemian oasis that has a massive shindig every New Year’s Eve. To welcome 2014, the hotel is offering a four-course dinner at King’s Highway, as well as parties at both The Commune ($20 tickets) and Amigo Room (Free!). Address: 701 E. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs
1. For families or those of you who just want a little magic mixed in with your New Year’s celebration, there is simply no place like New Year’s Eve at Disneyland in Anaheim. Seeing the incredible midnight fireworks show against the backdrop of the magic kingdom is quite possibly the most spectacular way to ring in a New Year…ever. Prices vary. Address: Disneyland Drive, Anaheim
2. Another way to go is the party route—and the 3rd annual White Wonderland New Year’s Eve Gala at the Anaheim Convention Center is a great option. This massive event is theatrical, fun and massively energetic with electronic music, aerialists, stilt walkers and more livening up the atmosphere throughout the night. Remember: Head-to-toe white attire is a requirement to enter! Details: Regular Admission Tickets are $119/VIP Tickets are $199. Address: 800 West Katella Ave., Anaheim
3. Celebrate New Year’s by sea at the 11th Annual New Years Eve Yacht Party in Newport Beach. Head down to Newport Harbor and board the elegant Ambassador yacht for a four-hour cruise. The party features three levels with an appetizer buffet court, champagne, DJs and dancing and party favors. Details: General Admission Tickets are $145. Boarding is at 8:30 pm and the ship sails at 9:00 pm sharp. Address: 2901 W. Coast Highway, Newport Beach
What are your plans for New Years? Let us know if you’ll be going to any of the events we’ve listed—we’d love to hear about your experiences!