Copyright 2015: The Celebrity Front Page. Entertainment Information in Chicago. All rights reserved.
A new Chicago New Year’s Eve tradition kicks off this year with an ambitious downtown event that one day could rival New York City’s annual celebration in Times Square. Fireworks, music and other notable attractions will be part of a free, six-hour event, highlighted by a midnight performance by the Grammy Award-winning group Chicago.
The celebration––scheduled to take place along the Chicago River between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive––will be featured on WMAQ Channel 5, which will air a live countdown to midnight. Even though there will be similarities to New York’s internationally known celebration, there won’t be a rendition of the famous ball drop. Instead, the Chicago event, dubbed “Chi-Town Rising,” will feature a rising star as 2016 approaches.
Event promoters hope the inaugural party will attract upwards of 100,000 participants and be an annual New Year’s Eve centerpiece to boost tourism during one of the coldest parts of the season.
Although there will be excitement and curiosity surrounding “Chi-Town Rising,” the following is a sampling of various other New Year’s Eve celebrations that will be going on throughout Chicagoland during the countdown to 2016.
New Year's Eve Celebrations
A major, new downtown event is expected to become a big part of the annual tradition
Navy Pier New Year's Eve Fireworks
The internationally recognized event on the lakefront is one of the nation’s most spectacular fireworks shows, beginning at midnight on New Year's Eve.
New Year’s Eve Soiree at Hilton Chicago
The popular event from 9 p.m. until 2 a.m. at 720 S. Michigan Avenue could attract more than 3,500 and includes hot and cold hors d’oeuvres, a four-hour, all-inclusive top-shelf package and midnight confetti storm at Chicago’s historic hotel. Attendees must be at least 21. General admission is $135; VIP tickets $165. Semiformal attire. www.chicagonye.com
Crystal Gardens New Year’s Eve 2016
This will be the 10-year anniversary of the New Year’s Eve celebrations at Navy Pier’s Crystal Gardens. From 9 p.m. until 2 a.m., there will be more than 20 premium liquor bars, midnight champagne toast, private terrace to watch the fireworks, food stations, red carpet photo opportunity, DJ Dante, and complimentary noisemakers, hats and party favors. Attendees must be 21. Semiformal attire. General admission is $99; VIP $149. www.crystalgardensnye.com
New Year’s Eve At The Drake Hotel
More than 3,000 partygoers are expected to celebrate at the 16th annual New Year’s Eve party at the Drake Hotel from 9 p.m. until 2 a.m. Participants can party Vegas-style in five ballrooms with Chicago's best entertainment. The hottest local DJs will keep the party going through the New Year, and the event includes a balloon drop, midnight champagne toast, premium top-shelf spirits and drinks, more than 40 bars and chef’s selection of hors d’oeuvres and buffet. General admission is $145; VIP $165. www.newyearsdrakehotelchicago.com
The Grammy Award-winning band Chicago will headline the new "Chi-Town Rising" event.
New Year's Eve With Robert Randolph & The Family Band
Bring in the New Year with Robert Randolph & the Family Band, who will perform two shows at City Winery, 7:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. Tickets are $75, $85 and $115. Pedal steel guitar virtuoso Randolph––one of Rolling Stone magazine's “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”––returns to City Winery with longtime accompanists, the Family Band, comprised of the guitarist’s actual family members (Marcus Randolph, Danyel Morgan and Lenesha Randolph), together with guitarist Brett Haas. The performance will include tunes from Randolph's highly acclaimed album Lickety Split, which has a collection of 11 original compositions, plus a rollicking cover of the Ohio Players' thumping "Love Rollercoaster" from the '70s. The New Year's Eve shows include a glass of bubbly for a toast. www.citywinery.com
Damon Williams' New Year's Eve Comedy Bash
The Chicago comedian returns to the Star Plaza Theatre for his 17th annual New Year’s Eve Comedy Bash. This year’s lineup includes Rob Stapleton, Uncle Rail, Chaunte Wayans, Turae, London Brown, John Henton and DJ Dolla Bill. The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com.
New Year’s Eve With New Philharmonic at The Mac
Ring in 2016 in style with a New Year’s Eve concert from the incomparable New Philharmonic at the McAninch Arts Center on the campus of the College of DuPage. The featured guest will be critically acclaimed vocalist Emily Birsan. This celebratory program of music includes selections from Romeo and Juliet and Puccini's La Boheme as well as The Blue Danube Waltz, Rodetzsky March, traditional polkas, arias and cinematic scores. Show times are 2 p.m., 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. Tickets are $65. A glass of champagne is included in the ticket price. www.atthemac.org
The Black Ensemble Theater’s 'Dynamite' New Year’s Eve
The theater’s celebration features excerpts from the two biggest hits of the year, Men of Soul and Dynamite Divas. The night includes dancing with DJ Ervin “Magic” Gardner, smooth jazz in the upstairs lobby, champagne, hors d’oeuvres and much more. Tickets are $125 for individuals and $200 for couples. Call 773/769-4451.
New Year’s Eve Fireworks Dinner Cruise on the Odyssey
Create some magical memories during an exciting New Year's Eve dinner cruise aboard the Odyssey. Welcome the arrival of 2016 with DJ entertainment, dinner, a platinum bar package, a champagne toast and fireworks from Navy Pier at midnight (weather permitting). Board at 8:30 p.m. Cruise from 9:30 p.m. until 12:30 a.m. Dockside party until 1 a.m. The price is $229 per adult. www.odysseycruises.com
Latin Steet Dancing’s Tropical New Year’s Eve
Join Latin Street Dancing from 7 p.m. until 2 a.m. at Club Mambo (3336 N. Milwaukee) and bring in the New Year with dancing and music by Chicago’s best salsa bands. The $25 advance ticket ($35 at the door after 6 p.m. New Year’s Eve) includes a midnight champagne toast, grapes of luck, balloon drop, party favors and Latin food buffet.
New Year’s Eve Comedy Jam
The Arie Crown Theater presents a “New Year’s Eve Comedy Jam,” featuring Lavell Crawford, DeRay Davis, Nephew Tommy, Dominique and Leon Rogers. Go to www.ticketmaster.com for tickets ranging from $59 to $99.
V103’s New Year’s Eve Old School Concert
Hosted by V103’s Joe Soto, the Old School New Year’s Eve Concert at Universal Entertainment Center (11901 S. Loomis) features vocalist El DeBarge, known for his signature falsetto. Tickets include secure parking, party favors, champagne toast and food buffet. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the show starts at 11 p.m. For more information, call 773/840-4331 or 708/541-5454.
Alhambra Palace New Year’s Eve 2016
Countdown New Year’s arrival at Alhambra Palace Restaurant, 1240 W. Randolph, and enjoy the entertainment from the Alhambra band, singers Doris Farhat and Ala Yousef, and the “Incredible Surayah,” who will perform her “Read My Hips Show.” The festivities include food, party favors, midnight champagne, balloon drop and nonstop dancing. Tickets for the main floor are $150 and $100 for the balcony. www.eventbrite.com
A Drury Lane Theatre New Year’s Eve Celebration
Celebrate the arrival of 2016 at Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace. The 8 p.m. until 1 a.m. affair includes two DJs to spin the music, a five-hour open bar, food, prizes and more. If you choose, you can begin your evening with a scrumptious dinner in one of the facility’s enticing dining areas. This event, which has implemented a formal dress code (no jeans, gym shoes, hats allowed), is designed for attendees who are 25 and older. Tickets are $150 per couple and $80 for individuals. Tickets are $95 at the door (if available). www.clubzone.com. or call 630/530-8300 for reservations.
New Year’s Eve Smooth Jazz at DoubleTree Hotel in Oak Brook
The smooth jazz guitarist Max Valldeneu (Max V) returns to the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Chicago in Oak Brook to provide entertainment for the New Year’s Eve celebration hosted by Alvin Humes of ATN. The event includes dining, music and dancing (steppin’, old school, new school and line dances). The “R” of MRV Ent. and a special DJ will supply the dance music. Tickets are $93. Group and birthday pricing is $85 per person (group of eight or more). Group pricing is good until December 20. Call 847/533-2233 for ticket information.
The annual fireworks show will light up Navy Pier, and the McAninch Arts Center will feature a New Philharmonic concert.
The three-hour Odyssey dinner cruise (with a dockside party until 1 a.m.) will give you some of the best views of the fireworks show at Navy Pier.