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20 great ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Chicago

You can drink, dance, run or rock out to ring in 2022.

Several events offer ideal viewing of the New Year’s Eve fireworks at Navy Pier.
Courtesy Navy Pier

In-person New Year’s Eve celebrations are back in a big way in Chicago this year. From comedy sketch shows to “Great Gatsby” parties, magic shows to firework cruises and live music of every flavor, here are 20 ways to ring in 2022.

New Year’s Eve 5K

Get a head start on the celebrations with this morning 5K race, presented by Chicago Sport & Social Club. The event begins and ends at Theater on the Lake, where a wrap party offers a champagne toast. 2401 N. Lake Shore Dr. Starts at 9 a.m., registration $50 in advance. newyearseve5k.com

Offshore Luxe Party

Your outlook on 2022 can’t get better than this prime spot at Navy Pier, regarded as the world’s largest rooftop deck. The all-weather-friendly glass atrium bestows great views of the skyline and the midnight fireworks, accompanied by several bars, passed appetizers and live music. 1000 E. Grand Ave. Starts at 9 p.m. $249+. drinkoffshore.com

Zoo Year’s Eve

Illumination and animals are the draw at Zoo Year’s Eve.
Lincoln Park Zoo

The ZooLights are still on at Lincoln Park Zoo and will be shining bright for this adults-only event. In addition to the dazzling displays of illumination and animal encounters, there will also be cash bars, games, a DJ and more. Animal buildings will be open if you need to warm up. 2400 N. Cannon Dr. Starts at 9 p.m. $15-25. lpzoo.org

New Year On The Pier

Navy Pier is also host to one of the biggest NYE parties in Chicago at the Aon Grand Ballroom, which will offer upgraded catering and bar service, a live band and Chicago blue-eyed soul singer Matt Kysia, plus the Pier’s incredible fireworks show at midnight. If you go early you can also check out Light Up the Lake’s indoor light garden and ice skating rink. 600 E. Grand Ave. Starts at 8 p.m. $105+ navypier.org

NYE 2022 Future Disco

The future looks bright at this discotheque held at the voluminous Time Out Market Chicago, complete with a light-up dance floor as B96’s DJ Metro spins tunes new and old. Live sax and a magician are also planned. Grab food and drinks from market vendors and get ready for the midnight confetti drop. 916 W. Fulton Market. Starts at 9 p.m. $80+. timeoutmarket.com/chicago

‘A Recipe For Disaster!’

Kierra Bunch (left) and Carley Cornelius in “A Recipe for Disaster!”
Kyle Flubackher

It’s the final curtain call of the year with a New Year’s Eve performance of “A Recipe For Disaster,” an immersive experience at Petterino’s co-created with celebrity chef Rick Bayless and combining live theater and food. Admission includes tastings by the chef, a cocktail sampling and two wine pairings. 150 N. Dearborn. 8 p.m. $130. windycityplayhouse.com

Windy City Soul Club

Shimmy and shake your way to Logan Square Auditorium for this annual New Year’s Eve showdown, hosted by the venerable Windy City Soul Club (in partnership with Empty Bottle Presents). DJs will spin the best of Motown, swoon-worthy classics and other retro-tinged hits that are just begging for your best vintage ensemble. 2359 N. Kedzie. Starts at 9:30 p.m. $25+. emptybottle.com

Los Lobos

Los Lobos will perform at City Winery.
Erika Goldring/Getty Images

The beloved East L.A. rock band returns to the intimate hall of City Winery for two shows on New Year’s Eve, filling the room with the best mash-up of roots rock, blues, and Tex-Mex styles. Add on dinner service and of course a bottle of wine for the full experience. 1200 W. Randolph. 7:30, 11 p.m. $85+ citywinery.com/chicago

The Second City’s ’Deck The Hallmark’

The end of Christmas doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy Lifetime and Hallmark holiday movies … being roasted in the best way possible by The Second City. The comedy troupe takes on every possible cliché in this revue for the gift that just keeps on giving. In-theater dining is also available. 230 W. North Ave. 7, 10 p.m. $58. secondcity.com

Chicago Magic Lounge’s Signature Show

If you’re mesmerized by how we even got to the end of 2021 this quickly, you can keep the illusions going on New Year’s Eve as the Chicago Magic Lounge brings card tricks right to your table followed by unbelievable acts during a 60-minute stage show. Food and drink are also available. 5050 N. Clark St. 7 p.m. $70. chicagomagiclounge.com

Anita Dee II Fireworks Cruise

Nothing improves the Chicago’s New Year’s Eve fireworks spectacular like viewing the show from the luxury of the Anita Dee II three-story yacht. This all-inclusive package includes the multi-hour ride, live DJs, open bar, desserts and a champagne toast. 200 N. Breakwater Access. Board starting at 9 p.m. $50+ eventbrite.com

Swingin’ the New Year At Ritz-Carlton

The swanky Ritz-Carlton is the epitome of the “new year, new me” philosophy, undergoing a massive overhaul of its accommodations. To further celebrate, the annual Dec. 31 party will take place in the hotel’s atrium, guided by the sounds of jazz swing band The Flatt Cats, plus hors d’oeuvres, dessert bars and more. 160 E. Pearson St. Starts at 9 p.m. $200. exploretock.com

Jeff Dunham

Before you head out for one final night of revelry in 2021, head to Allstate Arena to see the popular comic and unreal ventriloquist Jeff Dunham with his “lively” sidekicks Peanut, Walter, José Jalapeño, Bubba J. and Achmed, plus the newest member of the family, Url. 6920 N. Mannheim Rd., Rosemont. 3 p.m. $53 ticketmaster.com

Gatsby’s Roaring ’20s Party

The theme of many New Year’s Eve parties this year is unsurprisingly the “roaring ‘20s,” but few could beat this one at Morgan MFG as the industrial warehouse/nightclub goes all out in a “Great Gatsby” theme (guests are encouraged to dress the part). Multiple floors and DJs will be accompanied by an appetizer buffet and lots and lots of drinks. 401 N. Morgan St. Starts at 9 p.m. $99+ eventbrite.com

Trey Songz

Trey Songz will headline a New Year’s Eve concert at the Chicago Theatre.
Bryan Steffy/Getty Images

“I Gotta Make It” could be the anthem of surviving the past year, but it’s also one of the biggest hits from this modern-day R&B tycoon and producer, who will bring his sweet serenades to the Chicago Theatre for this one-of-a-kind New Year’s Eve concert. 175 N. State St. 10 p.m. $65+ ticketmaster.com

First Night Evanston

If you’re feeling like staying in this year, Evanston’s long-running, family-friendly New Year’s Eve event remains online in 2021 as it marks its 25th anniversary. Hosted by Corky Siegel, the “Virtual Variety” show will feature bluesman Toronzo Cannon, alt-folk trio Sons of the Never Wrong, the Chamber Blues Ensemble and more plus a sing-along of “Auld Lang Syne” at midnight. Starts at 9:45 p.m. Suggested donation $35. firstnightevanston.org

Galaxy Gala

Hotel Lincoln’s J. Parker rooftop is the focal point for this constellation-themed event. While there’s no promises you’ll be able to actually see stars (it’s Chicago, after all), all the glitter and water views will make up for it. A DJ and photo booth provide entertainment along with passed apps, a dessert station, cocktails, beer and wine options. 1816 N. Clark St. Starts at 9 p.m. $90+ eventbrite.com

District Brew Yards Party

Champagne may be the official drink of New Year’s Eve, but if craft beers are more your style, head to District Brew Yards; the “pour-your-own beer hall” has 40 options to choose from, and admission will get you unlimited brews plus a dinner buffet and a DJ to dance the night away. 417 N. Ashland Ave. Starts at 8 p.m. $59-89. districtbrewyards.com

The Signature Lounge

If you want to leave 2021 on a high note, there’s no better place than the Signature Lounge on the 96th floor of the former John Hancock building. In addition to the lounge’s robust cocktail menu, there will be a live DJ all night. Reservations can be made for Signature Room dinner as well. 875 N. Michigan Ave. Starting at 9 p.m. $25 cover charge. signatureroom.com

Let’s Get It Started (in Here)

Chicago’s Hideout has it all in its New Year’s Eve smorgasbord event — comedy from Skyler Higley, Maggie Winters, Parker Callahan and Jake Prizant; drag performer Derry Queen; live music from ORISUN and Justice Hill & Nightime Love; and even balloon animals. 1354 W. Wabansia. Starts at 9:30 p.m. $25. hideoutchicago.com