Celebrating New Year’s Eve just isn’t the same as it was before the kids came along. Instead of all-night bashes parents are looking for celebrations that are done before the sun goes down. We rounded up a list of “noon year’s eve” events and a few for the night owls. There’s something for everyone so find your spot, pop on the party hats and welcome in 2018!

photo: Asian Art Museum via flickr 

San Francisco

Bell Ringing at the Asian Art Museum
Ring in the new year with the sounds of a 16th century, 2,100 pound bell. The bell tolls 108 times to usher in the New Year and curb the 108 mortal desires that Buddhists believe torments human kind. The ringing symbolizes a fresh start and leaving behind and negativity or bad luck from the previous year. Sun., Dec. 31, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (9:30 -11:30 a.m. for members). San Francisco/Civic Center. Included with admission. $15/adult, $10/ages 13-17, children 12 and under, members and all SFUSD students are free. All ages.

Fireworks at Midnight
For kids who can hang until midnight, the city puts on a rockin’ fireworks display at midnight. Boomers are launched from barges in the Bay, so the best places for viewing are along the Embarcadero to the south of the Ferry Building (the barge is usually between the Bay Bridge and the Ferry Building.) Go early to get a prime spot and make a picnic party out of it! Sun., Dec. 31, 11:59 p.m. Free.

photo: annjanettew via Flickr

East Bay

New Year’s Eve Daytime Party at Lawrence Hall of Science
Celebrate the New Year with the whole world at the Hall, where they’ll count down from all the time zones. This year they are offering three balloon drops at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Kids can make a noisemaker (and make some noise) and romp about before the balloon drop. Enjoy a sparkling cider toast and then get them home in time for a nap. Sun., Dec. 31. Berkeley. $12/adults; $10/ages 3-17; children 2 and under are free. All ages. 

Family New Year’s Eve Party at Playland
Play your way into 2018 with carnival games, unlimited pinball and classic arcade games. There’s a countdown to midnight in each time zone, so if you can’t hack it until 12 a.m. PST, no worries. They’ll also have a quiet room where the little ones can sleep if the rest of the fam isn’t ready to go. Sun., Dec. 31, 8 p.m.-12:30 a.m. El Cerrito. $30/person; ages 2 and under are free. All ages. 

photo: Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose

Peninsula & South Bay

Noon Year’s Eve at the Children’s Discovery Museum
This countdown to noon across the U.S. time zones includes three ball drops, at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. Lots of games and prizes make this an awesome way to ring in the New Year and still have you home before sunset. Sun., Dec. 31, noon–4 p.m. San Jose. $15/person; babies under 12 mos. are free. All ages. 

Noon Year’s Eve at the Hiller Aviation Museum
Enjoy music, face painting and a countdown to a noon balloon drop. Entertainment includes The Magic of Gerald Joseph and music from Lori & RJ Funk’n’Folk for Families. Sun., Dec. 31, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. San Carlos.  $16/adults, $11/kids ages 5-17, kids 4 and under are free with paid adult admission. All ages. 

photo: Bay Area Discovery Museum

Marin County & North Bay

Noon Year’s Eve Festival at the Bay Area Discovery Museum
Bring your noisemakers to the Bay Area Discovery Museum for their annual Noon Years Eve celebration. Ring in the New Year with a hand-crafted crown, bubbles, dancing to the DJ-spun tunes and count down to noon for the ball drop! It’s like Times Square for the tiny-set. Sun., Dec. 31, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sausalito. $14.95/person; $13.95/babies 6-12 mos. All ages. 

Happy New Year, Charlie Brown
Good grief, another year is over! Celebrate New Year’s Eve in the middle of the day with the whole Peanuts gang at the Charles M. Schultz museum. Hang out with Snoopy, enjoy lots of hands-on crafts and count down the New Year with a noon balloon drop and root beer toasts! Sun., Dec. 31, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Santa Rosa. $10/adults; $5/ages 4-17; children 3 and under are free. All ages.


How do your littles welcome in the new year? Let us know in the comments below! 

—Kate Loweth, Melissa Bouse & Amber Guetebier




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