Ringing in the New Year in Chicago

I may have never experienced New Year’s Eve in Times Square, but I have spent many wonderful December 31st’s in the Windy City. Whether you are visiting Chicago with your children or are enjoying a romantic holiday with your sweetie, my favorite Midwest metropolis has multiple New Year’s Eve events just ripe for the picking.

Take a look:

Family Fun at Navy Pier. If you have young children this is the place to be on New Year’s Eve. During the day Navy Pier hosts a variety of family-friendly activities including arts-and-crafts, live music and dancing contests. What I love about Navy Pier is that they set off fireworks at 7 p.m. so children (like my 3-yeasr-old daughter) can join in the festivities and still get to bed at a reasonable hour. If you have older children Navy Pier and the City of Chicago set off another round of fireworks at midnight. The festive 18-minute display, set to music, lights up the sky over Lake Michigan and is a great way to ring in the New Year.

New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball Opera. The annual event gets underway at 5:30 p.m. at 1301 South Wabash Avenue in downtown Chicago. The staff dresses in masquerade-style costumes and so can you. Then get set to dine on chef Paul Wildermuth special holiday menu. The ball also includes festive party favors and a champagne toast at midnight.

Eighth Annual New Year’s Eve Gala at the Drake Hotel. The ultra-luxe Drake Hotel is once again throwing its annual New Year’s Eve bash. This year more than 2,500 people are expected to attend the lavish affair. I have never been able to get tickets to this soiree, but perhaps you’ll have better luck. The fun gets underway at 9 p.m. and includes an optional dinner package (6:30-9 p.m.). Otherwise, guests are treated to an open bar, appetizers, live music and DJs, and at midnight, a balloon drop, champagne toast, dessert and coffee.

Brazilian New Year’s Eve Party Gingarte Capoeira. If you are looking for a unique way to bid farewell to 2007 head over to 2909 North Milwaukee Avenue from 10 p.m. – 2 a.m. That’s where you’ll be able to participate in a Brazilian-themed party, which includes music by Chicago Samba, dancers in Carnaval costumes, dance lessons by Edilson Lima, soda, and a champagne toast.

New Year’s Eve at Carnivale Carnivale. This festive ethnic event is filled with live music and some of the best dancers in the city. Carnivale Carnivale is located at 702 West Fulton St. and the party takes place from 5 p.m. – 1 a.m. This year the Warehouse District restaurant is saluting mambo king Tito Puente with a variety of entertainment throughout the night. A la carte Caribbean specials will be offered in addition to the regular Nuevo Latino menu.

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This entry was posted in Seasonal Travel and tagged , , , by Michele Cheplic. Bookmark the permalink.

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.