5 Things to Do in Chicago: New Year's Eve

Chi-Town Rising is back, but that’s not the only way to ring in 2017 around Chicago. Celebrate with these five events that are perfect for a family outing or date night.

1. Kohl Children’s Museum New Year’s Eve Bash

Your kiddos don’t have to stay up until midnight to welcome 2017 in style. Kohl Children’s Museum will celebrate like Times Square at 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. with giant confetti drops, music from Wendy Morgan and DB, free family photos, party hair styling and more.

2. New Year’s Balloon Drops

Spend the day exploring LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago’s Pirate Adventure Island, Jungle Expedition and more attractions before balloon drops at noon, 3 and 6 p.m.

3. First Night Evanston

This annual Evanston New Year’s Eve celebration features music, dance, poetry and more, including activities for kids and teens, at various venues throughout the city. Find more information and a complete schedule here.

4. The Second City’s “Holidazed”

Catch this hilarious Second City show about everything from Black Friday to out-of-town guests in Arlington Heights Dec. 28-31. Buy tickets for New Year’s Eve and you’ll receive champagne and party favors, plus take part in a countdown and balloon drop.

5. New Year’s Eve at Pinstripes

Say hello to 2017 after an evening of bowling and bocce, complete with Pinstripes Northbrook’s regular menu, two balloon drops (8 p.m. and midnight), and complimentary champagne and party favors. Then go back for Pinstripes’ New Year’s Day Brunch with waffles, omelets, prime rib, smoked salmon, and a “Kids Corner” with chicken fingers and mac and cheese.


  • Chicago Children’s Museum will host Noon Year’s Eve, where kids can make crowns and noisemakers, take part in the last dance party of 2016 and countdown to high noon (with confetti).
  • Get a great view of the Navy Pier fireworks at DMK Burger Bar & Fish Bar, where there will be an open bar, a champagne toast at midnight and, of course, delicious food.
  • Evanston’s Hearth Restaurant & Lounge will host a New Year’s Day Brunch with quiche, a carving station, spicy chicken tamales, a Create-Your-Own Bloody Mary Bar and more.
  • Kinfork in Schaumburg and Rack House in Arlington Heights will offer a new event on New Year’s Day: BBQ Pajamas Brunch. Roll out of bed and go directly to either restaurant for Brisket Benedict (Kinfork) and “The Hangover Cure” Sandwich (Rack House). Diners in pajamas will receive a $20.17 gift card.
  • Visit Davanti Enoteca on New Year’s Day for a Burger and Bloody Mary (with fries) for $15.


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