If you’re looking to celebrate New Year’s Eve in a big way, Sherman Oaks, Encino, and other cities of California have lots to offer. These are some ideas for the best ways to kick off the new year.
New Year’s Eve Fun Around LA
Host Your Own Private Party: Here’s an idea you might not have considered, but it’s a perfect fit if you like a little celebration but prefer not to get out in the middle of a big crowd. Find a vacation rental with great city views at Airbnb or HomeAway.com. Then all you have to do is hang out on the deck with your favorite beverage and enjoy the fireworks going off all over town. Party hats are optional.
New Year’s Eve in the LA Theme Parks: Disneyland stays open late to bring in the New Year, but it’s very crowded, sometimes so packed that they stop admitting guests by afternoon. Make sure to catch your place on time and don’t miss all the fun.
Universal Studios closes early on New Year’s Eve, but you’ll find a big party just outside its gate at Universal Citywalk, and admission is free. Knotts Berry Farm also celebrates New Year’s Eve with fireworks, which are included in their regular admission price.
New Year’s Eve in Los Angeles: Angelenos love to party, and you’ll find big events everywhere. One that looks like a fantastic time is the Party at Grand Park in Downtown Los Angeles. It includes a light show downtown buildings from City Hall to the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion. You can find out about more parties and events by checking this guide to New Year’s Events in Los Angeles.
Rose Parade: The parade takes place on New Year’s Day, but many people arrive on New Year’s Eve afternoon to stake out a viewing spot along the street, as early as the local police will let them. An all-night party that’s hard to believe unless you see it.
LA Downtown: On the last night of the year, at this oasis between L.A’s Music Center and City Hall hosts a massive, music-filled block party. Every year the family-friendly celebration gets bigger, but expect live music and DJs on multiple stages, photo booths, art installations, and food vendors. Entrance is free.
Join the Fiesta: For the last five years, the Bazaar by José Andrés has celebrated the New Year with a Spanish Masquerade fiesta. A Very Bazaar New Year’s Eve takes over the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills for a night of drinking, flamenco dancing, and tapas eating.
Santa Monica Bar Crawl: Spend New Year’s Eve under the stars, pub hopping down Santa Monica’s Main Street. Raise a glass or two to the New Year at the annual event that winds through the beach community. Tickets get you drink discounts and priority entry to the various watering holes at participating pubs—and you won’t know where you’re going until you get a treasure map at Circle Bar. Bring a group of friends to make the evening a night to remember—just be sure to get an Uber or a designated driver to bring you home.
Family Fun: Looking for a way to celebrate the New Year without letting the kids stay up too late? The Zimmer Children’s Museum hosts an annual New Year’s Eve event with multiple New Year’s countdowns and thrill-inducing balloon drops scheduled throughout the day—and way before bedtime. To round out the fun, the museum will have New Year’s themed arts and crafts as well as all the other fun of a trip to the children’s museum.
New Year’s Eve fireworks in L.A.
Marina del Rey New Year’s Eve Fireworks & Glow Party: Marina Del Rey rings in the new year in style, starting with a free family-friendly glow party. The waterfront city has fireworks at both 9 pm and midnight. While the fireworks are set off from Burton Chace Park, all of the restaurants with harbor views should have visibility of the fireworks. Some of the restaurants host ticket dinners for a pricey cost, so we suggest finding a spot along the water and enjoying the fireworks for free.
EVE at Universal Studios Hollywood: Go on rides during the day and stick around for a fireworks display at night at Universal Studios Hollywood’s New Year’s Eve celebration. You’ll find three party areas (Latin favorites near Jurassic Park – The Ride, EDM at Simpsons Plaza and radio hits in Universal Plaza) with desserts, beer, wine and champagne available for purchase at each.
New Year’s Eve at Knott’s Merry Farm: Knott’s Berry Farm goes all out during the holiday season, turning the theme park into the annual Knott’s Merry Farm with holiday decorations, music, and snow. For New Year’s Eve, they take it a step further with extended hours (10 am on Dec 31 to 1 am on Jan 1), a countdown to midnight and fireworks. Look out for live music throughout the evening, as well as an evening buffet at Spur’s Restaurant.
NYE Bonfire in Los Angeles
- Playa Del Rey Dockweiler.Dockweiler has tons of volleyball courts, hang gliding and surf fishing. Get here early because the 75 fire pits go quickly. Also, don’t bring your pup (there are signs everywhere and they patrol it pretty hard). Parking fees can cost up to $12.50 in the summer, so bring a little cash. This is a great place to catch a sunset, as long as you can deal with the airplanes flying directly over your head.
- Huntington Beach Huntington City Beach.200 pits that are on a first-come, first-served basis. If you’re a surfer or bird-watcher, this is the place to go. Also, you can buy firewood right there on the sand, parking is $15 and dogs are not allowed.
- Malibu Point Mugu State Park.If you’re looking to have a Mother Nature-oriented staycation, Point Mugu is where you need to be. Unlike other beaches, you can reserve a campsite and stay overnight. Dogs are allowed and if you’re a runner or hiker, Point Mugu has over 70 miles worth of trails. Prices will vary based on your dates.
- Malibu Leo Carrillo Beach. Leo Carrillo is the perfect place to make your Facebook friends back east jealous. Make sure to take selfies of you and the surrounding cliffs, caves, hiking trails and deep blue ocean. This is a popular dog-friendly destination where you can go for the day or light a bonfire and pass out at your campsite from one too many beverages. Prices will vary based on your dates.
- San Pedro Cabrillo Beach. Cabrillo is actually two beaches: one facing the LA Harbor and the other facing the ocean. This is a prime spot for windsurfing, family picnics and yes, an aquarium. With a $9 flat fee for all-day parking, it won’t break the bank either.
If you’d like more information on the San Fernando Valley or Los Angeles, or to have help looking for your next home, please feel free to reach out! I’m happy to help, no obligation.