It’s almost time to bid adieu to 2017—and what better way to do so than taking in some of Chicago’s finest dining, nightlife and special parties. In no particular order, here is our countdown of the top 10 events for December 31. Take the CTA and get free (and safe rides) from 10 pm to 4 am.
If you’re looking for a new view for the New Year, head to 360 Chicago for a special celebration. The exclusive package includes general admission to the observation deck at the John Hancock Center, along with unlimited rides on the TILT attraction, entertainment from DJs, party favors and two glasses of sparkling wine (not to mention a great view of the New Year’s Eve fireworks from Navy Pier). There will be light bites and a full cash bar. Must be 21 or over. $70 package price. Begins at 9 pm, last admission is at 12 am, 875 N. Michigan Ave.
Kohl Children’s Museum has big things planned for the little ones with this daytime party. Two “midnight” celebrations will take place at 8:30 am and 12:30 p.m. with giant confetti drops as well as other festive activities, such as party hat making and free family photos. Entertainment will be provided by the house band, The Dreamtree Shakers, and DJs; the whole museum will also be open to ticketed guests. Tickets: $23 for members, $33 for non-members. Two sessions will be 8:30-11:00 am and 12:30-3 pm, 2100 Patriot Blvd., Glenview.
Get cracking at this holiday feast at The Loyalist (and bring stretchy pants). For $75 you can eat all the fresh lobster your heart desires and enjoy sides and dipping sauces, plus get a lobster cracker and bib and enjoy a champagne toast at midnight. In addition to the all-you-can-eat deal, there will also be drink specials available all night and a limited a la carte menu for purchase, all presented by the recent Michelin Star-winning venue. Cost: $75. Open 4 pm-2 am (reservations are required), 177 N. Ada St.
The Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills Resort & Conference Center has one of the biggest be-seen parties of the year inside its 13,000-square-foot Grand Ballroom where classic Hollywood comes to life. In addition to a thrilling performance from Las Vegas’ “The Rat Pack is Back” tribute, there will be a premium open bar, classic era cocktails, passed hors d'oeuvres, fresh seafood, pasta stations and more. Guests will also enjoy a midnight balloon drop and Champagne toast. The very Sinatra-style $10,000 package can also be reserved that includes a private helicopter, professional styling and wardrobe for the night, a horse and buggy and decadent meals. Prices vary based on ticket tier (see the full list here). Starts at 8:30 pm, 3500 Midwest Rd., Oak Brook.
Here’s your golden ticket to a memorable night. The bowling emporium KINGS Dining & Entertainment is throwing a Willy Wonka-themed bash for New Year’s Eve with a live DJ and dancing as well as party favors and giveaways and a special food and cocktail menu. Try the “Fizzy Lifting Drink” with a Pop Rocks rim or the sweet “Chocolate River” martini. For grub, crab cakes, lobster pizza and beef madeira are all on the menu. $10 cover (but reservations can also be made for bowling and dining). Open 11 am-2 am, 1500 N. Clybourn Ave.
Anticipated new hot spot Liqr Box will open its doors for the first time ever on New Year’s Eve night. The three-level restaurant and late night bar (open til 4 am) will focus on a nostalgia-infused menu decorated with creative street art and collage designs. New Year’s Eve will give guests the first look as well as a toast a midnight. Free to attend. Opens at 9 pm, 873 N. Orleans St.
SafeHouse Chicago was one of the biggest openings in Chicago this year with a spy-themed bar and restaurant (and adjoining escape game). For New Year’s Eve, the venue presents a Shag-a-delic Dance Party. Enjoy different cocktail specials, a "Random Open Bar" that serves complimentary drinks for short periods of time and sparkling wine toasts at 11pm (midnight in New York) and midnight. There will also be cash prizes for the best dressed agents. $10 cover or $50 for open bar wristband. 10 pm-close, 60 E. Ontario St.
If craft beer is more your thing, head to Architectural Artifacts for Brew Year’s Eve to geek out on the latest pours. The event will serve 20 different draughts from 10 brewmasters, including Begyle, Half Acre, Pipeworks, Two Brothers, Solemn Oath and more. There will also be five signature cocktails and a wine and sangria bar available. As will passed hors d'oeuvres, live music and a late-night pizza buffet after midnight. Tickets: $135 or $50 for designated drivers. 8 pm-1 am, 4325 N. Ravenswood Ave.
Everything’s in bloom at this bash, held inside the lush Crystal Gardens at Navy Pier, which offers a one-acre botanical garden inside a six-story glass atrium. Guests can enjoy premium top shelf drinks and Stefani Signature Restaurants food stations, plus a red carpet with step and repeat, party favors and a champagne toast at midnight. For entertainment, music will be spun by DJs and you’ll have a premier view of the midnight fireworks show from a private terrace. Tickets: $125+. 9 pm-2 am, 700 E. Grand Ave.
For a really out-there party, head to Ravenswood Event Center for a collaborative art party that imagines what it would look like if the NASA Voyager spacecraft crash landed on a far away planet. Think, a Dune-inspired desert with plenty of mirages that will make you rub your eyes to see if it’s even real. Music, performance art and exhibits will all be part of the massive three-level industrial loft space with more than 20 artisans involved. Tickets: $100-150 (including all-inclusive drink package). 8 pm-2 am, 4021 N. Ravenswood Ave.