Things to Do

New Year’s Eve Parties

The best bets for ringing in 2011 with Champagne toasts, midnight kisses, and everything else

You’ve got a great outfit, someone to kiss at midnight, and a hankering for Champagne. All that’s left is to figure out where you’ll celebrate the end of 2010. We’ve got a list of the best parties in Washington. Keep in mind that many of these events sell out well before New Year’s Eve and ticket prices tend to go up as the holidays approach. Don’t forget to arrange for a ride home so you can celebrate as much as you want—check our Wedding Vendor database for limo and car services.

>> Know of a party we missed? E-mail with the information.

>> Click here to find out what Washington restaurants are serving for New Year's Eve.

Find your party

Hotel Parties and Galas

Go black tie at one of these parties.

The Kennedy Center is offering revelers several ways to celebrate: There’s a jazz trumpet player and a big band in the Terrace Theater (7:30 and 9:30, $65 to $75); a classical-music-and-show-tunes concert from the National Symphony Orchestra in the Concert Hall (8:30, $50 to $95); and a performance of South Pacific (8 PM, $39 to $150). No matter which show you choose, your ticket includes an after-party with dancing and a balloon drop. Purchase tickets here.

At A Hot Jazz New Year’s Eve, Rob Bamberger plays the hits of the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s. Your ticket includes a dinner buffet, open bar, and a swing-dance lesson. The party is at the Omni Shoreham Hotel from 8 PM to 1 AM. E-mail to reserve tickets ($250).

Big Night DC, a celebration at the Gaylord National Hotel has five ballrooms, ten bands and DJs, mock casino gambling, numerous open bars and buffets, and the Redskinettes. 9 PM to 3 AM. Tickets start at $119.99 and the price goes up as high as $159.99 as the date gets closer. Add a hotel room for $149. Purchase tickets here.

The Washington Hilton and Professionals in the City are teaming up for Washington DC New Year’s Eve Passport to the World Gala: An International Red Carpet Affair. The largest ballroom on the East Coast will have sounds and tastes of Italy, the Bay of Biscay, Bombay, and the Red Light District. Tickets are $99 for the party alone, or $139 with dinner and are available here.

The Grand Hyatt will have music from Everclear and the wedding band from The Hangover, the Dan Band. There’ll also be DJs to keep the dance floor moving, a karaoke concert, a comedy showcase, and an open bar. 8 PM to 1:30 AM. Buy tickets ($129 to $200) here.

The L’Enfant Plaza Hotel is hosting a New Years Eve Gala sponsored by Inner Caucus and WHUR. There’ll be five rooms each featuring a different sound from African beats to 1970s soul. Appetizers, a bottle of Champagne, and a party favor are included in the ticket price. 8:30 PM to 3 AM. Tickets ($65 before December 25; $70 after) are available here.

Party like it’s 007 at Euronet International’s James Bond-themed bash at the Washington Plaza Hotel. There’ll be different European cuisines and several open bars with cordials, Champagne, and of course, martinis. Doors open 9:30. Tickets ($139) are available here.

Ring in the New Year at the Willard Intercontinental with A Celebration of Many Nations. Take a trip around the world by visiting the eight ballrooms modeled after a Parisian nightclub, Irish pub, or African dance party. There’ll also be karaoke, mock gambling, and a balloon drop. Black tie is preferred. Tickets ($174) are available here. Doors open at 9.

Have a romantic evening at the Mandarin Oriental’s Empress Lounge with hors d’oeuvres and confections for two, a bottle of Yellow Label Veuve Clicquot Champagne, and dancing to live music from Nicki Parrott, Dick Smith, and Sharon Clark. 9 PM. Call 202-787-6140 to reserve ($190 to $240 per couple).

The Park Hyatt Washington’s New Year’s Eve celebration includes a mix of American and Brazilian bossa nova music, tapas, a chocolate buffet, and a Champagne toast. There’ll also be special room and valet-parking rates for overnight guests. Click here to book or call 202-789-1234 for more information.

Have a headline-making night at the Newseum’s gala. Enjoy food and cocktails from Wolfgang Puck, an open bar from 8 to 10, live music and DJs, and access to the Newseum’s exhibits. Call 202-292-6100 to purchase tickets ($150).

Swing into the new year at Glen Echo Park’s New Year’s Eve Swing Dance. The night features singer Lynn McCune, a free dance lesson from 8 to 9, and a sparkling-cider toast at midnight. Tickets ($25) are available by e-mailing or calling 301-299-8728 or 202-244-2787.

New Years Eve at the W Hotel is a rooftop party, with an open bar from 8 to 10 and a performance from Doug E Fresh. There are also options for dinner at J&G Steakhouse and a variety of hotel-room packages that include the party and complimentary Champagne.

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Bars and Clubs

Dance the night away and find your midnight kiss at Washington’s bars and clubs.

The Web site Brightest Young Things goes back to basics with its DJs & Beer party at Bohemian Caverns. But of course with BYT, basic means DJ Chris Burns, a local-band showcase, and a Gay Jamboree Opium Den in the basement. Tickets ($55) are available here.

Ring in 2011 with the sights and sounds of the 1980s at the Arlington Cinema ‘N’Drafthouse. There’ll be live music, party favors, tableside service, and screens showing the countdown in Times Square. 7:30 PM to 1:30 AM. Click here to buy tickets ($14, and drinks are extra).

With four rooms for dancing, Fur Nightclub’s (33 Patterson St., NE) 18-and-over party has lots going for it. Admission is $30, with a $120 VIP option and table service starting at $500. 8 PM to 2 AM; buy tickets here.

Go down the rabbit hole this New Year’s, with the Madhatter’s Masquerade Ball. There are 100 feet of open-bar space, a huge dance floor, and lots of delicious food and drinks. Buy tickets ($75 to $100) here. 9 PM to 3 AM.

Enjoy dancing, food, cocktails, and some sea air with the Spirit Cruise’s New Year’s Eve Dinner Cruise. 8 PM to 1 AM. Tickets are $169.90; call 866-302-2469 to make a reservation or click here. is hosting a bash at Long View Gallery with lots of Top 40, dance, and pop hits for your dancing pleasure. Tickets ($75 to $95) include an all-night open bar; buy them here.

Gin & Tonic’s ticket includes an open bar from 8:30 PM to 1 AM, along with appetizers and dessert, while you dance to the sounds of the bar’s best DJ. After 1, there’ll be shot specials and friends from other parties can come join the fun. Buy tickets ($85) here.

La Tasca’s fiesta is offering unlimited tapas, a bottle of wine for every two guests, dancing, and a Champagne toast at midnight. Dinner reservations start at 5:30. Tickets are $95.

Clarendon Ballroom’s New Year’s Eve Gala features Liquid A on the main stage and DJ Image in the lounge. The $65 ticket includes a buffet, four drink tickets, and a Champagne toast; buy them here. 8 to 2.

Ultra Bar’s doors open at 7 for a buffet and half off drinks at the premium bar. There’ll also be free party favors, a showing of the Times Square countdown, and a midnight Champagne toast. Before December 20, tickets are $30; after, the price goes up to $40. Get for admission info.

One Lounge is hosting a Latin-themed party with an open bar of Brazilian drinks and food and six DJs will be playing Top 40, international, and samba music. Gather a group of eight or more and get a table with a free bottle of vodka and Champagne. Call 202-299-0909 for tickets ($100).

Policy Nightclub has dining and a DJ beginning at 5, followed by a party with favors and a Champagne toast at midnight. Tickets are $35 per person or $60 per couple and include three or six drink tickets, respectively; buy them here.

The Woolly Mammoth Theatre is throwing a Champagne and Tiaras New Year’s Eve bash. Start the evening off with a performance of the Second City’s A Girl’s Guide to Washington, followed by a party with a photo booth, food and drink, and tiaras for all. Buy a ticket ($65) here. The show starts at 9:30.

New Year’s Eve at Heritage India includes a cash bar with premium liquor, complimentary appetizers, live dholi, and a dance party. Tickets ($65) are available here.

Brightest Young Things is sticking to the basics (DJs and beer) for its fete at the Bohemian Caverns/LIV/Hominy space. There’ll be several levels devoted to dancing, with multiple DJs, live bands including the local favorite the Dance Party, and open bars with lots of beer and liquor. Tickets ($55) are available here. 8 PM.

Eden Lounge is offering three packages for New Years Eve—Gold ($500 for six tickets), Silver ($750 for eight), and Platinum ($1000 for 10), all with complimentary Champagne. Individual tickets are $40 and can be purchased here. Click here for more information about ticket packages.

Buddha Bar’s A Very Buddha New Year is featuring traditional and vegetarian prix-fixe menus with complimentary glasses of Champagne. End the night with dancing from 10 PM to 3 AM. For the 10 PM seating, bottle service is required (minimum $500). To make a reservation, call 202-377-5555.

Jackson 20 is hosting its third annual Roaring ’20s New Years Eve complete with vintage-inspired cocktails, music, and food. Vintage dress isn’t required, but it’s more fun. Call 703-842-2790 to make a reservation.

For a high-flying New Years, try the New York Trapeze School of Washington’s (Fourth and Tingey sts., SE) Evolution 2011 party, featuring live music, open bar, and aerial ribbon-dancing performances. Tickets ($75) are available here.

Restaurants on the Georgetown Waterfront (Tony and Joe’s Seafood Place, Nick’s Riverside Grill, and Cabanas) are hosting a bash, and guests can party-hop all night. Tickets ($90) include a top-shelf open bar and heavy appetizer buffet; buy them here.

Crystal City Sports Pub is offering a three-course dinner, party favors, and Champagne toast. There’s also a DJ and three floors of games like foosball, billiards, and darts. Call 703-521-8215 to reserve a table. $40

Whitlow’s on Wilson is offering a lower-priced New Years option. A $25 ticket gets you a heavy appetizer buffet, coat check, Champagne toast, and a performance from the cover band Back to Zero. Call 703-276-9693 to buy tickets.

Wonderland Ballroom has no cover on New Years Eve and promises dancing, lots of drink specials, and a midnight Champagne toast. Doors open at 9.

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Head to one of these concert venues for a rockin’ New Year’s Eve

Punk-rock gypsies Gogol Bordello and go-go legends Trouble Funk bring their unique sounds to 9:30 Club. The night is topped off by a Champagne toast at midnight. Tickets are $55; doors open at 8.

The Black Cat’s New Year’s Eve Ball is featuring Peaches O’Dell and Her Orchestra, along with Tony Anthony & His Malvivants, and DJ Dredd and Grap Luva on the Backstage. Buy tickets ($25) here.

The Rock & Roll Hotel is hosting the band Rattler, and there’ll be two dance floors with several DJs on each. There’ll also be snacks served throughout the evening, and a $50 ticket buys an open bar all night. General admission is $25 and day-of tickets are $80. Click here to buy tickets. Doors open at 7.

Want to laugh in the new year? Head to DC Improv for comedian Erin Jackson’s show. There are two seatings: The 8 PM slot includes dinner, dessert, and a pass to a future show ($65), and guests who come at 10:15 will count down to midnight with fruit, cheese, Champagne, and a free pass ($75). Buy tickets here.

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You don’t need alcohol to have a good time at these family-friendly events

First Night Alexandria will have musical performances and other activities—such as magic shows—in Historic Old Town. At midnight, watch the fireworks from the George Washington Masonic Memorial. Events start at 6. There’ll be free shuttles between many of the events. Admission is $15 before December 23. Buy tickets and see a complete schedule here.

Leesburg is also hosting a First Night celebration with more than 100 performances in indoor locations. The celebration concludes with the traditional Grand Illumination ceremony on the lawn of the Leesburg Courthouse. Most entertainment starts at 6. Click here for locations to purchase admission buttons ($3 to $8). All First Night celebrations are alcohol-free.

Live music, swing dancing, finger foods, and a 66-foot dragon-shaped obstacle course come together at Watch Night in Falls Church. At midnight, organizers will light a star that marks Falls Church’s first year as an independent city. The festivities start at 7 and are free.

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