Let’s welcome in the new year! Families all over the Bay Area will toast with balloon drops, root beer and streamers at festive New Year’s Eve celebrations fit for the whole crew. Whether you prefer a noon party and early bedtime or you plan to party ’til they drop, we’ve got the fun for you. Cheers!
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. 30, 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.
photo: Jakob Nilsson-Ehle via flickr
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! Mon., Dec. 31, 11:59 p.m. Free.
photo: Chabot Space and Science Center
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. Mon., Dec. 31. Berkeley. $12/adults; $10/ages 3-17; children 2 and under are free. All ages.
Balloon Drop at the Chabot Space and Science Center
An East bay holiday tradition, families can ring in the New Year without staying up all night with one of Chabot’s most popular annual events. Celebrate strokes of midnight around the world at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 4 p.m. Kids will count down and celebrate with hundreds of colorful balloons dropping from above and stay for the day to participate in fun activities throughout the Center. Mon., Dec. 31. Oakland. $5 plus admission of $18/adults; $14/ages 3-17; children 2 and under are free. All ages.
John’s Incredible New Year’s Eve
For $19.99 per person, enjoy nearly all-you-can-eat and all-you-can-play arcade games and rides. New Year’s accessories like hats, glow sticks, and noise maker provided. Ball drops on the big screen. Kids also earn prizes along the way. VIP upgrade offers more games available for $10 extra per person. Book by 12/26 for 20 extra Fun World credits. Mon., Dec. 31. Neward. $19.99/person. 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. Mon., Dec. 31, noon–4 p.m. San Jose. $15/person; babies under 12 mos. are free. All ages.
My Busy Town Noon Year’s Eve
Come for a noon balloon drop, photo booth, music by DJ Pooch and more. Mon. Dec. 31, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. San Bruno. $5/adults, $15/kids. All ages. Pre-registration required.
photo: Hiller Aviation Museum
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. Mon., Dec. 31, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. San Carlos. $18/adults, $11/kids ages 5-17, kids 4 and under are free with paid adult admission. All ages.
photo: Kate Loweth
WinterFest New Year’s Eve Celebration at California’s Great America
This year, the holiday fun doesn’t stop when Christmas ends! California’s Great America is offering a brand-new way to celebrate New Year’s Eve with a family-friendly alternative: New Year’s Eve at WinterFest! From 5-10 p.m., enjoy all your favorite WinterFest activities around the park, including a fireworks spectacular at 9 p.m. Then, at 10 p.m., the New Year’s Eve party starts, featuring live bands and DJs throughout the park, Snoopy’s Rockin’ NYE Party, with a midnight countdown in Celebration Plaza and party favors. Mon. Dec. 31. 5 p.m.-12:30 a.m. $26 and up. All ages.
Happy Hollow Noon Year’s Eve
Celebrate the arrival of 2019 with award-winning magician Robert Strong, Danny the Dragon, sparkling apple cider, biodegradable confetti, music and dancing, and a magical “countdown to noon” ball drop. Mon., Dec. 31. 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. San Jose. $14.25/person, under age 1 are free. 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. Mon., 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 at noon and 3 p.m.! Mon., Dec. 31, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Santa Rosa. $10/adults; $5/ages 4-17; children 3 and under are free. All ages.
—Kate Loweth, Melissa Bouse & Amber Guetebier