By Melissa Locker
August 02, 2016
Getty Images/iStockphoto

It comes as no surprise that a city nicknamed Tinseltown has some amazing things to do on New Year’s Eve. We're talking family-friendly parties at theme parks and block parties with food trucks and DJ sets. Outrageous soirées that cost $1,000 a head and events that are completely free.

Admittedly, it can be hard to decide what to do in Los Angeles for New Year’s Eve—there are an overwhelming amount of parties, parades, and public gatherings. That's why we've narrowed down the offerings to these celebrations:

Have a Fairytale New Year

On New Year’s Eve, Disneyland coordinates twin fireworks displays on each coast. In addition, California Adventure usually has additional World of Color shows, and favorite characters (even Cinderella) will stay up past their bedtimes to help celebrate.

Party on the Block

On the last night of the year, at this oasis between L.A’s Music Center and City Hall hosts a massive, music-filled block party. Every year the family-friendly celebration gets bigger, but expect live music and DJs on multiple stages, photo booths, art installations, and food vendors. Entrance is free.

Party Like an Egyptian

Party like it’s 1999 BC with this ancient Egyptian-themed blowout at Hollywood’s Egyptian Theater. For December 31, the space is transformed into Cleopatra's playhouse, with heated tents in the courtyard, DJs spinning all night, and a midnight balloon drop and confetti blast.

Stop and Smell the Roses

Instead of staying up until midnight in California, watch the Ball Drop in New York’s Times Square and get to bed early so you can stake out a good viewing spot for the annual Pasadena Tournament of Roses Rose Parade on New Year's Day. The two-hour parade showcases floats covered tip-to-toe with flora, as well as marching bands and high-stepping equestrians.

Float on All Night Long

The historic cruise liner, the Queen Mary, is now permanently parked in Long Beach, making it the perfect place for landlubbers to join in a seafaring New Year's Eve celebration without ever leaving port. There's dinner, drinks, dancing, and live entertainment spread across the ship’s decks and salon spaces. The whole shebang is capped off with fireworks. This “voyage” often sells out, so plan in advance—especially if you want to spend the night in one of the ship’s cabins.

Join the Fiesta

For the last five years, the Bazaar by José Andrés has celebrated the New Year with a Spanish Masquerade fiesta. A Very Bazaar New Year's Eve takes over the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills for a night of drinking, flamenco dancing, and tapas eating.

Get Electrified

The W Hollywood’s rooftop bar hosts what may be the city’s hottest annual New Year’s bash: NYElectric. Dress in your chicest attire (its cocktail-meets-black-tie only), pony up for the good stuff (VIPs enjoy all-night bar access and personal bottles of Patron, Grey Goose, Dom Perigion, and more), and dance the night away with panoramic views of Los Angeles behind you. There will be two DJs spinning dance floor-filling tunes and a memorable countdown to help celebrants ring in 2017 right.

Crawl Around Town

Spend New Year's Eve under the stars, pub hopping down Santa Monica’s Main Street. Raise a glass or two to the New Year at the annual event that winds through the beach community. Tickets get you drink discounts and priority entry to the various watering holes at participating pubs—and you won’t know where you’re going until you get a treasure map at Circle Bar. Bring a group of friends to make the evening a night to remember—just be sure to get an Uber or a designated driver to bring you home.

Ring in the New Year at a Veritable Icon

Step over the Walk of Fame and the handprints of some of the biggest stars in the world to ring in the New Year at one of Los Angeles’s most iconic landmarks—Grauman's Chinese Theater. Built in 1927, the theater has played host to some of the biggest movie premieres in Hollywood, as well as Academy Awards ceremonies for decades. At the New Year’s Eve Party, guests will enjoy a night of red-carpet glamour, cocktails, dancing, and a massive midnight balloon drop in the legendary ballroom.

Take the Plunge

After your New Year’s Eve bash, start 2017 with a splash in the Pacific Ocean. People around the world will take to the often-icy waters for the annual Polar Bear Plunge. Fortunately, in Los Angeles it’s easy to take part and enjoy water temperatures that will certainly be higher than the Arctic. Watch the action or just dive in during the annual meet-ups, which take place up and down the coast at places like Venice Beach, Cabrillo Beach, Hansen Dam, and Huntington Beach.

Kid Around

Looking for a way to celebrate the New Year without letting the kids stay up too late? The Zimmer Children's Museum hosts an annual New Year's Eve event with multiple New Year’s countdowns and thrill-inducing balloon drops scheduled throughout the day—and way before bedtime. To round out the fun, the museum will have New Year’s themed arts and crafts as well as all the other fun of a trip to the Children’s Museum.