New Year’s in Chicago

New Year’s Eve in Chicago, as in many major cities, can be anything you want it to be – a low key affair with a casual dinner and a few drinks at the corner bar, a family-friendly outing, an all-out party at the hottest club in town, or a romantic evening of candlelit and a champagne toast at midnight.  Here are some ideas to get you started, no matter what type of party you prefer.

Family-friendly fun

If you’ve got kids in tow, check out the New Year’s Eve Party and Fireworks at Navy Pier on December 31. With rides, games, and a fireworks celebration at midnight, it’ll keep the kids entertained until the clock strikes midnight, while adults can enjoy a few drinks at one of the Pier’s many restaurants.

A blowout bash

Bars like Smart Bar, Lumen, Club Foot, Sidetrack, Orbit Room, Gilt Bar, Lux Bar and Bar de Ville will all be hosting big bashes – some complete with hefty cover charges, champagne toasts, midnight snacks and open bars. Others like The Whistler and Delilah’s may not have an organized party but are sure to be packed. So whether you prefer your party at a trendy club, sleek lounge, retro dance bar, gay bar or rock bar, you can find a party that please your posse. Check the Red Eye to find New Year’s Eve event listings.

A romantic evening

If you prefer a more romantic spin on New Year’s eve, book a table at one of Chicago’s splurge-worthy restaurants or one of the city’s Michelin-starred establishments. Or go on a hotel bar crawl, sipping cocktails and champagne at the Four Seasons, Peninsula, Park Hyatt or Affinia. If you don’t mind stepping out early, you can even toast to the city skyline from the top of the Hancock Building at the Signature Lounge.The Signature Room restaurant is also offering a dinner package of $240 per person for a five course menu, open bar and dancing to live music. Odyssey Cruises is also offering a New Year’s Eve cruise which costs $219 per person and includes dinner, full bar, dancing, and a prime view of the Navy Pier fireworks.

A casual night out

If dressing up and eating small food with artistically drizzled sauces just isn’t your thing, but you don’t just want to head to the nearest frat bar, there are plenty of corner bars in Chicago that will provide a fun night out that doesn’t require you to wear anything more than jeans and a t-shirt (and not designer jeans and an ironic t-short). Check out places like the Bob Inn, Richards Bar, Piece Brewery or Revolution Brewing. DMK Burger Bar is even offering an all-you-can drink package for those who want to celebrate with some good ole burgers and beers – $50 gets you in at the bar from 9pm to 3am while $75 per person secures a table.

A low-cost New Year

If you’d rather ring in the new year without going into debt, you can find a way to celebrate without maxing out your credit card. Start with a meal at one of Chicago’s budget-friendly dining options and then wait to go out until later in the evening so you don’t spend so much at the bar. Or enjoy dinner at a BYOB restaurant – choose romantic, cheap, family-friendly or good for a group – and you’ll instantly save money on your bar tab.

Photos by: [MP], Punchyy