It's that time of year where the champagne flows and strangers become friends. If you're looking for a place to celebrate the New Year, here's our "short list" of places to party in San Leandro, San Lorenzo, Castro Valley and beyond.
- The Bal Theatre is having two comedy shows, starting at 7 pm and 10 pm, respectively. Tickets are $40, $60 or $100 for VIP seating. Liquor will be served. Learn more about the lineup and buy tickets here.
- Horatio's Restaurant at the San Leandro Marina is a romantic favorite and if that's your choice call or click to make your plans. (510) 351-5556, http://www.opentable.com/horatios
- Kick off your shoes -- literally -- and rent a temporary pair at Castro Village Bowl. A whole series of events from early bird bowling to a midnight extravaganza will make for fun a New Year's Eve. Visit here for times, prices and details.
- The Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland (10000 Skyline Blvd.) will hold its annual kid-friendly New Year’s Eve Balloon Drop. There will be three balloon drops — 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 4 p.m. — taking place for children of all ages. Keeping it eco-friendly, the 1,000 balloons will be turned into compost instead of ending up in a landfill. Space for the event is limited so hurry and call (510) 336-7373 to register.
- The Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito will also host a kid-friendly Noon Year’s Eve Party. From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., children will do a noon countdown, dance along to the museum DJ and create their own party hats. Tickets are $11 for children 6 months old and up.
- Spice it up at the annual Desi Rock New Year’s Eve Party. Held at the Fremont Marriott, this Bollywood dance party opens with a lavish dinner from 7:30 to 10 p.m. and live dance performances from 9 to 10 p.m. After that, dance the night away with DJ Asif. The event also features childcare for children ages 2-12. Tickets are $60 for a single adult general admission ticket; tickets for dinner start at $80. For more information, visit www.monakhancompany.com. Purchase tickets online here.
- For those looking for a safe place to indulge in libations, the Newark Hilton Hotel has two special events for New Year’s Eve: their elegant Ballroom Gala and their Ginger Bar celebration. Both events include a plated dinner, a midnight balloon drop, a champagne toast and music. Overnight accommodations are also available. For pricing and reservations, call 510-490-8390.
- Enjoy a more intimate evening of wining and dining at Federico's Tapas and Wine Bar in Union City. The night starts at 7:30 p.m. with a six-course dinner, with each dish paired with a carefully selected wine. The night will be complete with party hats, drinking and dancing into the wee hours. Admission is $75 per person. Seating is limited. To make a reservation, call Federicos at (510) 441-0900.
- For a more sober celebration, the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose’s Chapel are hosting a New Year’s Eve retreat in Fremont. The free event will feature a mass and potluck reception and will last from 7 p.m. to midnight. For more information, click here.
- Mission Peak Fitness is also hosting a New Year’s Eve Party at their center on Washington Boulevard in Fremont from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. The night promises food, drinks and music. Tickets are $20.
San Francisco is the go-to destination for New Year’s Eve revelers. With that said, taking public transportation will be your best bet. BART will run until 3 a.m. and San Francisco’s Muni system will provide free service from 8 p.m. on New Year’s Eve to 6 a.m. on Jan. 1, according to the San Francisco Travel Association. Here are just a few of the many events in the city:
- If you like large crowds — really, really large crowds — then celebrate the new year at San Francisco’s New Year’s Midnight Fireworks show. The free event will be held at Pier 14, with special BART service and free rides on San Francisco transit systems. Find out about the New Year’s Eve transit schedule here.
- Avoid the crowd with a romantic two-hour twilight cruise on the Red and White Fleet. Passengers will catch views of city and sunset, hear live music and enjoy appetizers and beverages. Tickets are $58 per person. For more information, visit www.redandwhite.com.
- Keep it classy with the New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball at Davies Symphony Hall. Michael Francis will lead the orchestra in a concert with waltzes and the Martini Brothers will kick things up with their big band sounds as party-goers dance the night away. Doors open at 8 p.m. with the concert starting at 9 p.m. Tickets range from $85 to $195. For more info, visit www.sfsymphony.org.
- A number of San Francisco hotels are also hosting New Year’s Eve events and special accommodation packages. In the more affordable bracket (in comparison to the $500 parties) is the Clift Hotel’s New Year’s Eve celebration, which features a premium bar, a “sexy vibe” and music from legendary hip-hop selector DJ Jazzy Jeff. Early bird tickets are $150.
- Rock the boat at the USS Hornet’s New Year’s Eve Gala in Alameda. From 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m., party-goers can enjoy live music from the 3 O’Clock Jump swing band, free dance lessons, a silent auction, food, drinks and a midnight countdown while taking in the sights of the Bay Area skyline. Guests will also be able to see the San Francisco fireworks from the deck, if the weather is clear. Tickets range from $45 to $85. For reservations and information, call 510-521-8448.
- Enjoy four parties in one at the ‘Rhythm 2013’ New Year’s Eve Party, held at the Domain Hotel in Sunnyvale. The event features four rooms with DJs spinning Top 40, hip-hop, Bollywood and Latin jams. Tickets are $50 per person in advance and $60 before 10:30 p.m. the night of the event. For more information, visit www.asulikeit.net.
- Get away from the big crowds and head to the Ahwahnee New Year’s Eve Dinner Dance at Yosemite National Park. The night includes a five-course dinner and dance. Formal black and white attire is encouraged. Tickets are $265.20 per person.
What are your plans for New Year’s Eve? If you have a suggestion we missed, list it in the comments below.