Let’s welcome in the new year and the new decade! 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 to the coming 2020!

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. Tue., Dec. 31, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (9:30 -11:30 a.m. for members). Event details.

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! Tue., Dec. 31, 11:59 p.m. Free.

photo: Chabot Space and Science Center

East Bay

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. Tue., Dec. 31. 

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. Pre-registration for confetti drop is required. Tue., Dec. 31. Berkeley. 

photo: Oakland Zoo

Habitot Noon Year’s Eve
Parents of toddlers will especially love this celebration at Habitot! Make noise-makers and hats in the Art Studio with a countdown and bubbles at noon. Tue., Dec. 31. Berkeley. 

Zoolights at the Oakland Zoo
Celebrate the holidays at Oakland Zoo amidst a million glowing lights! Soar over the Oakland hills in our festively-lit gondolas and see the Bay Area skyline like never before. Tue., Dec. 31. 5:30-9 p.m. 

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. Tue., Dec. 31. Newark. $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. Tue., Dec. 31, noon–4 p.m. San Jose. $15/person; babies under 12 mos. are free. All ages. 

photo: Hiller Aviation Museum 

Noon Year’s Eve at the Hiller Aviation Museum
Kids and parents, come celebrate the New Year with music, activities, face painting and a countdown to THREE GIANT balloon drops at noon!nThis event is on-line advanced purchase only. Tickets will NOT be sold at the door. Tue., Dec. 31, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. San Carlos. 

New Year’s Eve at Gilroy Gardens
Get together with family and friends for a special New Year’s celebration at Gilroy Gardens including music and fireworks over Coyote Lake as we countdown to 2020!  Visit the gardens at night for Holiday, then join us for music, local wines and craft beers at the Events Plaza starting at 8 p.m. The fireworks show starts just before midnight and is included FREE with all Holiday night admission tickets. Tue., Dec. 31. 4 p.m.-midnight. 

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. Tue. 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. Tue., Dec. 31. 11:00 a.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. Tue., 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.! Tue., 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


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