Who’s ready for a new start in 2020? Break out the noisemakers because the kid-approved New Year’s Eve parties for families are about to kick off. We rounded up bashes in the city and ‘burbs where your family can ring in the new year. Psst. . . many of these are daytime events that’ll have them tuckered out well before the clock strikes midnight (aka: champagne time for you!).
Put 2019 to Bed with Blue Man Group
Blue Man Group Chicago will host four festive New Year’s Eve performances at 1 p.m., 4 p.m., 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. Families with young children can take advantage of Blue Man Group’s early performances at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. These shows feature early “midnight” countdowns after the show complete with party hats, noisemakers and a special performance of “Auld Lang Syne” by the Blue Men. Other festivities include pre-show face painting where children will be transformed into members of Blue Man Group’s band.
December 31, 1 p.m., 4 p.m., 7 p.m. & 10 p.m.; Briar Street Theatre, 3133 N. Halsted, Lakeview. More info.
Ring in the New Year, Munich-Style
Get the partying done early with Hofbräuhaus Chicago’s family celebration that includes stunning illusions for guests to enjoy before a parade and toast to Munich's New Year at 5 p.m. The festivities end with a parade and complimentary champagne (or sparking juice for the littles) toast to Munich's New Year.
Dec. 31, 2 p.m.; Hofbräuhaus Chicago, 5500 Park Pl., Rosemont. More info.
Skate Your Way into the New Year
Parkway Bank Park welcomes you and your crew to figure 8 the year away at their Chicago Wolves Ice Rink. Bring your own skates and skate for free or rent skates onsite for $8. As the clocks strikes midnight, look to the skies for a spectacular fireworks display over the Park’s parking garage.
Dec. 31; 11 a.m.-1 a.m.; Parkway Bank Park, 5501 Park Pl., Rosemont. More info.
Dance Party at Chicago Children's Museum
The countdown to 2020 is on! Chicago Children's Museum invites children and families to mark the end of 2019 with a Noon Year's Eve celebration. Visitors will be treated to activities that celebrate the new year in a fun, family-friend atmosphere. Activities include creating festive crowns, a dance party, a countdown to high noon, and topped off with a multi-colored confetti finish.
Dec. 31, 10:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.; Chicago Children's Museum, 700 E Grand Ave., Navy Pier. More info.
Zoo Year's Eve 2020 at Brookfield Zoo
As part of Holiday Magic programming, rock in the zoo year with your little monkeys at Brookfield Zoo! There will be a DJ helping you get your groove on, games, party favors and prizes in the Holly Jolly Theater. Swing by the Hamill Family Play Zoo to make your own noisemaker for a festive 8 p.m. countdown. An earlier countdown at 7:30 p.m. will take place inside Hamill Family Play Zoo. Best of all, the event is free with paid zoo admission.
Dec. 31, 4 p.m.-9 p.m.; Brookfield Zoo, 3300 Golf Rd., Brookfield. More info.
Have a Bubble Bash with DuPage Children's Museum
Families can spend time together creating lasting memories, taking part in special activities, grooving to live music, exploring the Museum’s hands-on exhibits, and counting down to Noon! Expect live entertainment form Wendy & DB, the award-winning children’s music duo who will have you and your children singing, dancing, and jumping along with their original songs and upbeat lyrics. DJ Bach to Rock will keep the energy high with family-friendly music throughout the event, as well.
Dec. 31, 9 a.m.-noon; DuPage Children’s Museum, 301 N. Washington St., Naperville. More info.
New Years Countdown with Wonder Works
Countdown to 2020 with Wonder Works Children's Museum! Join in for games, crafts, refreshments and (several) countdowns to ring in the New Year.
Dec. 31, noon-4:30 p.m.; Wonder Works, 6445 W. North Ave., Oak Park. More info.
Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier
Get your thrill fill at Navy Pier’s Winter WonderFest, which has rides for all ages. Being Chicago’s biggest indoor winter playground, it features 170,000-square-feet filled with rides, giant slides, indoor ice skating and festive decor that serves as the perfect backdrop for a New Year's Eve celebration.
Dec. 31, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Navy Pier. More info.
Dance Party at LEGOLAND Discovery
Dance your way into 2019 with your favorite LEGO® Characters! LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago is the best place for little LEGO® lovers to celebrate the New Year! They have BRICKloads of activities lined up including character dance parties from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., kid-friendly music and more.
Dec. 31, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; LEGOLAND Discovery, 601 N. Martingale Rd., Schaumburg. More info.
Family Cruise with ChicagoCruiseEvents.com
ChicagoCruiseEvents.com is hosting a roster of various cruises throughout the entire New Year's Eve Weekend (6 adult & family-friendly cruise options). Enjoy cocktails, while enjoying the amazing Chicago skyline. Includes live DJs and dancing.
Dec. 31; Anita Dee II Yacht Charter 200 N. Breakwater Access. More info.
NYE Spent on the Mountain
Wilmot Mountain is hosting its annual New Year’s Eve celebration offering fun for the whole family! Along with New Year's Eve festivities, enjoy a day skiing, snowboarding and tubing. The two-hour day time parties are scheduled for noon, 3 p.m. & 6 p.m. at Walt's Tavern and include face painting, a photo booth, party favors, games, a DJ, and more!
Dec. 31; Wilmot Mountain, 11931 Fox River Rd, Wilmot, WI. More info.
NYE Family Show at Medieval Times
Hear ye! Hear ye! Celebrate the new year in style with your beloved family at the colossal stone tower of Medieval Times! Medieval Times is hosting an NYE Family Show full of physical spectacles, hearty feasts and valiant knights!
Dec. 31, 3:30 p.m.; Medieval Times, 2001 N. Roselle Rd., Rosemont. More info.
Times Square-Themed New Years at Kohl's Children's Museum
Kohl Children’s Museum invites families to ring in the new year with a Times Square themed New Year’s Eve “midnight” celebration with confetti, a photo booth, party hat making, interactive live music and a DJ. Kids will have plenty of opportunities to dance and celebrate the New Year with their friends throughout the day, including a countdown and confetti drop at the stroke of “midnight.”
Dec. 31, 8:30 a.m.-noon; Kohn Children's Museum, 2100 Patriot Blvd., Glenview. More info.
— Maria Chambers