Top things to do to ring in the New Year

2018 is fast approaching, and here in Chicago, New Year’s Eve is quite the event. Hundreds of events are taking place across the city to help Chicagoans ring in the new year, from masquerade balls to bowling parties to all-night blowouts. We rounded up some of the best, most unique events in and around New Eastside.

Party Animals

For the 18th year in a row, The Drake will host a New Year’s Eve bash for more than 3,000 guests, voted the “Best Party in Chicago” by ABC’s Good Morning America.

At midnight, thousands of balloons will drop from the ceiling as guests toast with free champagne to the start of 2018. Donning complimentary New Year’s party favors and celebrating with noisemakers, top shelf liquor will flow all night at the hotel’s 40 fully staffed bars, with a four hour all inclusive cocktail package. A chef’s selection of hors d’oeuvres will be served throughout the evening, with coffee and desserts after midnight.

Photo provided by The Drake.

The “Vegas style” event is hosted by Chicago Scene Magazine and runs from 9p.m. to 2a.m. Some of the city’s best DJs will take over the historic hotel, with live performances by DJ Wizz Kid and Miro and DJ Charles Protege performing top 40 songs, and house and hip hop hits. DJ Justin Dahl and Bam Bam Buddha will spin commercial, tech and progressive house in another room, accompanied by state of the art sound and lighting.

The event includes a pre-party with a free glass of champagne on Dec. 30 at The Godfrey Hotel IO Urban Roofscape in River North.

Tickets are available online with prices from $149 per person for access to three ballrooms, to $2,999 for an 8-person table in The Gold Coast Ballroom with full bottle service.

Closer to New Eastside is the Commons Club, 203 N. Wabash, which is hosting a New Year’s Eve blowout that includes a night of great drinks, talented DJs, and an exclusive pre fixe three-course dinner with Chef Moosah.

“We live our lives like every eve is New Year’s Eve, but this year let’s get a little extra glitzy and feel a little extra fizzy,” reads an event description by Commons Club. The North Wabash Avenue bar is hosting a New Year’s Eve blowout that includes a premium bar package, a midnight champagne toast, and an exclusive pre fixe three-course dinner with Chef Moosah.

Talented DJs will entertain until 2a.m. as guests ring in the New Year in their best dressed style.

Tickets are available online, and start at $249 for a drink and dinner package, with VIP packages available for parties of 10 in a VIP “shag room” for just over $4000.


Roaring Twenties

Throw on your best fringe dresses, pearls and tuxedos and step into one of Jay Gatsby’s 1920’s soirees at 2Twenty2, 222 S. Wabash Ave. where ladies and gentlemen are encouraged to embrace the flapper style and dance the night away.

Guests will enjoy open bar from 9p.m. to 1a.m., but don’t spread the word, it’s the 1920s after all and only “prohibition cocktails” will be served to fit the underground theme for this second annual event.

Bar owners say the party will also include free pizza, champagne at midnight and a potential photo booth on the bar stage.

Early bird tickets are $65, or tickets can be purchased at the door for $75.

To RSVP, email or call 312-878-9994


Night Owls

Spend the first four hours of 2018 celebrating at Nova New Year’s Eve party, voted best in the city for college students and recent grads.

Guests in their best cocktail attire can ask for no better welcome than the one they’ll receive at this party – everyone will be handed a free glass of champagne as they walk through the door. Nova has rented out dance club Sound Bar, at 226 West Ontario St., for a party co-hosted by the Chicago Twenty Something group that goes from 9p.m. to 4a.m. The evening includes $1 top shelf drinks, with a promise of no long waits for drinks, a champagne toast at midnight, and a small bite buffet.

More than 1,000 people will be on the dance floors in the club’s six rooms, where Chicago’s best DJs will spin in three booths. The party will also include free noisemakers and party favors to help you feel extra festive. 

“Nova NYE is unique because we rent out Chicago’s Largest Club and bring out crowd that typically wouldn’t frequent clubs,” said Freddie Kole from Chicago Twenty Something. “Basically, we bring out customers who you would typically find in Wrigleyville or on one of our bar crawls and bring them to a huge club.”

Photo by Chicago Twenty Something, Inc.

But party lovers don’t have to wait until New Year’s Eve – tickets include access to two pre-parties. 

On Dec. 29, Public House, 400 N. State St in New Eastside will give free cocktails to Nova guests between 9p.m. and 1a.m., and on Dec. 30, Moe’s Cantina in River North will give each party goer two free cocktails.  

At the party, be sure to enter Nova’s photo contest by posting photos to Facebook and Instagram with the hashtag #NovaNYE. A panel of judges will choose a winner after the party. Photos from last year’s event can be viewed here.

Tickets are expected to sell out, and can be purchased online

Packages range from $99 for an early bird general admission to $1,000 for a 25-guest table in the main room with a bottle of Belvedere.


90s Nostalgia

If you’d like to commemorate everyone’s most paranoid New Year’s Eve, check out the Back to the 90’s Escape Room. The event, an escape style game that challenges you to find clues and solve puzzles, brings you back to Dec. 31, 1999  “to save humanity from the Y2K bug.”  

Photo by

Held at the Fine Arts Building 408 S. Michigan Ave., you’ll be pressed for time to solve the puzzle before the ball drops in New York’s Times Square and rings in the new millennium.

The game can be played daily through Dec. 31 (2017), with tickets available online for $21.



Whether you want to party all night or have a more relaxed celebration with friends, Chicago has no shortage of options for ringing in the New Year.


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