Ringing in the New Year in New Ways


It’s finally time to say goodbye to 2020 and ring in a new year! But if there’s one thing from 2020 that we can’t quite say goodbye to, it’s the new ways we’ve found to celebrate with each other, to dine and drink with each other, and to experience attractions while remaining safe and healthy.


Chicago is known for some stellar NYE bashes, and you can now get a ticket to the premier party in town without ever leaving your house. Chicago Scene has hosted its annual party at The Drake for the past 20 years, and it’s not letting 2020 stop them. This year’s event features multiple DJs spinning all night, and all you need to do is donate to some worthy causes to get in the virtual door.

Feeling the need to laugh off the old and laugh in the new? Join multiple Chicago comedians in some premier standup beamed live to your couch from the famous Zanies comedy club.

If celebrating New Year’s in your car is more your speed, travel just southwest of Chicago to Bridgeview and experience Julian’s 2020 NYE House Party @ The Drive-In, a unique and memorable drive-in NYE, with a full stage show, lights and screens. You certainly won’t have a NYE quite like this again.

Restaurants and bars are getting in the mix as well, offering their specialities for pick-up or delivery to make your night special. You can, for example, turn your house into the trendy hidden Wicker Park spot, The Violet Hour, by picking up their New Years package for two, featuring three cocktails per person and a split of Moet Champagne, plus an exclusive jazz live stream.

Fancy tasting some of the finest food Chicago has to offer? Bring Alinea’s unique magical dining experience into your home with their five course New Year’s Eve menu, or enjoy Geja’s delicious fondue either in their romantic outdoor space with a covered fireplace or on your couch at home. Ready to get crackin' with some surf and turf? Pick up from Joe’s Stone Crab for a romantic dinner for two, including crab, filet mignon, lobster tails, and even Key Lime Pie. You can round that out with some of their signature cocktail kits or some bubbly.

Make your New Year’s Eve even more special by flexing your cooking chops and bringing Chef Joe Frillman’s Daisies restaurant home for you to make yourself with their New Year’s Eve Dinner Kit, which gives you all the goods to make an unforgettable meal hopefully as good as they make it themselves.


In Peoria, Illinoisians have a different idea for partying NYE-style and that’s with a little socially distant fun run. If lacing up your walking/running shoes is your idea of getting ready to party, then hit up Peoria’s “Get Lit” New Years Eve Celebration which tours Folepi’s Winter Wonderland. If you’d rather sit than hoof it, grab a lift on one of their lighted trolly rides instead.


Over in Champaign, you can toast some champagne with your fellow diners at a virtual tasting, courtesy of The Wheelhouse. Featuring seven courses and four bottles of wine, this will be a unique NYE dinner to remember.

Located in historic downtown Champaign, Esquire Lounge might not have a New Year’s Eve special, but they certainly have a special cocktail in their one-of-a-king signature pineapple margarita. Pick a growler up to-go and toast the new year like you’re on the beach.



The annual First Night Springfield goes virtual for this year for a nation-spanning event, partnering with First Night Monterey (California) and First Night St. Petersburg (Florida) for a coast-to-coast evening of music, art dance, poetry, and even fireworks.

Springfield’s Kidzeum and museums from around the state are uniting for a virtual Noon Year’s Eve Dance Party for your kids who want to celebrate but won’t be able to stay awake until midnight. The Awesome Squad, a children’s music group out of Decatur, will serve up your kids’ favorite hits and Kidzeum has a “Happy Noon Year” activity kit to keep everyone busy until the official countdown to noon!


While the fireworks are staying quiet in Galena this year, you can still toast with some of Galena’s finest to-go beverages from Illinois Maker Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. and Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery. Why not make it a date night and pair your beverage with some takeout from Fritz & Frites or Log Cabin Steakhouse?



Started by two women with a serious passion for wine, Mystic Kitchen and Tasting Room offers their delightful beverage options for carry out. Despite their focus on wine, their signature craft cocktails are worth picking up for a New Year’s toast



As a globally influenced American Bistro, Bobby’s in Deerfield offers a wide selection of craft cocktail kits to help you kick off the new year in style. From Manhattans to their self-described “Ultimate” Margarita, you’ll enjoy tasty beverages all night from the comfort of your home.


Christmas doesn’t end on December 25th at Six Flags Great America, where you can enjoy their Holiday in the Park event all the way up to December 30th! From the over three million lights to delightful eats and themed photo ops, you can stretch your legs while remaining nicely socially distanced.


After all the celebrations are said and done, consider recovering from your partying with a jump start on the most important season of all: Eagle Watching Season. Join the Alton Audubon Center on January 2 for the Alton Audubon Virtual Eagle Festival. Meet and greet with an American Bald Eagle, get some tips on how to watch for the majestic birds this winter, and even see some ice carving!