Think shelling out for an expensive sitter or staying home are your only two options to ring in the New Year when you’re a parent? Think again! Scroll down to find out how you can spend the day with the best possible company—your little reasons for living—at these fabulous places where you can celebrate on New Year’s Eve all together. Happy 2018 everyone from your friends at Red Tricycle!
photo: via Grand Park
Grand Park NYE—Forget Times Square, we’ve got Grand Park. In the heart of Los Angeles, you can spend the evening ringing in 2018 with performances and large-scale animated projections plus plenty of food and music for everyone. This year’s party is set to start at 8 p.m., so we recommend going early with kids and sneak them home to bed before it gets too crowded. Grand Park, 200 N. Grand Ave., Downtown LA. Event details.
Luzia—Cirque du Soleil’s newest show, takes place at Dodger’s Stadium, and is a perfectly surreal way to ring in the New Year! This tale, in true Cirque du Soleil fashion, is a poetic and acrobatic ode to the rich and vibrant culture of Mexico. Like in a waking dream, LUZIA takes you to an imaginary Mexico, where light quenches the spirit and rain soothes the soul. Shows on New Year’s Eve take place at 1 p.m. & 5:00 p.m. Dodger’s Stadium, 1000 Elysian Park Ave., Elysian Park. Event details.
Family New Year’s Eve Party at the LA Zoo—No, not your own wild animals (well, them too!) but the actual creatures and critters from around the world that live at the Zoo. For the first time, the LA Zoo is hosting a Family New Year’s Eve party. Celebrate the coming of 2016 in style with “skip-the-line” express entry to L.A. Zoo Lights, dinner buffet, soft drinks, complimentary champagne for adults, sparkling apple cider for kids, dessert, a ride on the Zoo’s hand-crafted conservation carousel, crafts for youngsters, DJ dance party, cash bar and live broadcast of New York’s Times Square ball drop at 9 p.m. LA Zoo, 5333 Zoo Dr., Griffith Park. Event details.
Bob Baker’s Holiday on Strings—The Bob Baker Marionette Theater has been declared a historic and cultural monument by the city of Los Angeles and performs in the nation’s oldest ongoing puppet theater. End the old year with a legendary local tradition by seeing Holiday on Strings, as told by dancing marionettes. The Bob Baker Theater, 1345 W. 1st St., Los Angeles. Event details.
photo: rlerdorf via flickr
Hollywood & Mid-City
Zimmer Children’s Museum Balloon Drop—In honor of the upcoming year, the Zimmer is embracing all that is 18, and there will be balloon drops hourly from 11:18 a.m. and 3:18 p.m. in the museum. While you countdown to the countdowns, you can create your own sparkly noisemakers and party accessories. The Zimmer Museum, 6505 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. Event details.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens at the El Capitan Theatre—The Skywalker saga continues as the heroes of The Force Awakens join the galactic legends in an epic adventure that unlocks age-old mysteries of the Force and shocking revelations of the past.This is the place to see it! Shows play all day but get your tickets early. They’ll sell out. El Capitan Theatre, 6838 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. Event details.
ICE at Santa Monica—Skate into the New Year at one of the coolest spots in town. Just blocks from the beach, ICE isn’t quite open ‘til midnight, but you can ring in the year at noon or East Coast time on the rink. Admission plus skate rental is $15. ICE at Santa Monica, 1324 5th St., Santa Monica. Event details.
Magicopolis NYE Show—Want a magical New Years Eve? Following a comedic stage show of illusions, partake in pizza, popcorn, and sparkling cider (or champagne!) to toast the New Year. The 9 p.m. show is suitable for young ones ages 5 & up. Reserve ahead (tickets are $75 per person) for seats, requisite noisemakers, hats, a magic class and souvenir bag of tricks. Magicopolis, 1418 4th St., Santa Monica. Event details.
Santa Monica Playhouse NYE Show—The Annual All-New One-Time-Only New Year’s Eve Revue is a treat for the entire family featuring music, dancing and comedy; the evening ticket comes with a sumptuous buffet, bubbly beverages for all ages (that means champagne or sparkling juices), party hats, tiaras, noisemakers and surprises. The 6 p.m. show is ideal for littles, though you can treat bigger kids to the 9:30 p.m. show, too. Reservations are needed and can be made online. Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 4th St., Santa Monica. Event details.
photo: Tournament of Roses via Facebook
San Gabriel Valley
Rose Parade Behind the Scenes—Take your tots to get an up close and personal look at the floats that will be featured in the parade in the morning as they get their finishing touches. Watch in wonder and awe as flowers, fruit, seeds, bark and grasses are expertly applied to the floats. Kids 5 and under are free. The Rose Palace, 835 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena. Event details.
Kidspace Balloon Drop—For kids that still enjoying an afternoon nap, ring in the ‘Noon’ year with live music, streamers and baby bubbly (a.k.a. sparkling cider). This Kidspace tradition features a countdown and festive balloon drop at high noon and a performance by Clint Perry and the Boohoo Crew. Partygoers are encouraged to arrive early to make their own party hats and noisemakers. $11 per person, open until 3 p.m. Kidspace Children’s Museum, 480 North Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena. Event details.
San Fernando Valley
Grinchmas at Universal Studios—We find the City Walk NYE celebration a bit of a crush with kids, but you can head over during the day to play with Sally and the Grinch and kiss Grinchmas, er, Christmas farewell for another year. Take part in a Whoville sing-a-long, photo ops with Grinch and his dog Max, story time with Cindy Lou-Who, cookie decorating and more that will let you soak up every last drop of holiday spirit and then collapse in bed, exhausted and ready for a New Year. Universal Studios, Universal City. Event details.
photo: via Feld Entertainment
Disney on Ice Presents Follow Your Heart—Follow your heart straight to adventure at Disney On Ice! Celebrate true friendship with all the gang. Make unforgettable memories with all your Disney friends when Disney On Ice presents Follow Your Heart skates into your hometown!. Long Beach Arena, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach. Event details.
photo: via Pretend City
These five ideas are worth the drive, rounding out our favorite 18 ways for under 21s to greet the New Year.
LEGOLAND’s Brick Drop—Midnight comes early in the LEGO world…Kids’ New Year’s Eve gives Times Square a run for its money with the early bird ball, er, LEGO drop! The countdown to the 6 p.m. Brick Drop: a humongous Lego block plunges 22 feet, culminating in a crowd-pleasing pyrotechnics display that the whole family can watch wearing party hats and special fireworks watching glasses. LEGOLAND, 1 Legoland Dr., Carlsbad. Event details.
New Year’s Eve at Disneyland—Mickey and his pals are celebrating New Year’s Eve, with “Ring in the New Year” fireworks spectacular at 8:45 p.m., and the “Fantasmic!” spectacle at 9 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. All the ‘usual suspects’ will be on hand, including the newest members of the Disney Family (think Jedi and Sith), so don’t forget your camera. Disneyland, 1313 South Disneyland Drive, Anaheim. Event details.
Knott’s Berry Farm NYE—Knott’s Berry Farm has something for the entire family this New Year’s Eve with Snoopy, a variety of dance music, a family-friendly comedian magician, and more. All this plus a day spent riding Knott’s rides, enjoying all the attractions and a Midnight Fireworks Show makes it a great way to spend the last day of 2017. Knotts Berry Farm, 8039 Beach Boulevard, Buena Park. Event details.
Pretend City NYE—With sparkling streamers and festive party hats, this celebration is one the littlest revelers will adore (and you’ll love that they can countdown to the New Year and still sleep through the night). Pretend City, 29 Hubble, Irvine. Event details.
Medieval Times—Party like it’s 1099! Celebrate time moving forward by going back in time. Action-packed sword fights, a beautiful princess, elaborate costumes and even a magnificent Andalusian stallion performing without rider…add in a dinner you can eat with your fingers, and you’ve got an evening your kiddos will adore. Showtimes are at 5 p.m., 7:30 p.m. & 9:45 p.m. Medieval Times, 7662 Beach Blvd., Buena Park. Event details.
How does your family plan on welcoming the New Year this year? Keep checking our calendar for last minute additions and new events we find in your area!
—Meghan Rose & Andie Huber