Cool Ways to Celebrate New Year’s Eve in San Diego

Let’s give 2022 the sendoff it deserves.

Oaxacan Affair | Photo by James Tran
Oaxacan Affair | Photo by James Tran

Happy New Year, San Diego! It’s time to kick 2022 to the curb, embrace new beginnings, and hope for better things to come in 2023. In other words, we’re going to throw ourselves a huge party to celebrate that we survived another year, and San Diego’s restaurants, bars, clubs and party venues are stepping up with some of the best celebrations we’ve seen in a couple of Decembers. Whether you fancy a luxurious bay cruise to watch the fireworks, a rowdy party at the beach, a transcendent celebration, or a 1920s-themed masquerade, we’ve gathered the best parties in town to ring in 2023.

Botanica | Photo by Megan Jane Burgess

North Park
The brand new genever- and gin-centric cocktail bar, Botanica in North Park, has New Year’s Eve covered with two seating times, when guests can indulge in three courses: soup and a cocktail to start, followed by an elevated version of Botanica’s six-piece Omakase Experience, paired with a second cocktail, from executive chef Tiffany Tran, plus an amaro served alongside dessert. Seating times are 6:30 to 8:30 pm with extended seating from 9 pm to 12:30 am. The late seating includes a champagne toast at midnight. Botanica will also offer ticketed entry starting at 10 pm for a drinks-only experience, with the full cocktail menu available from the bar throughout the evening. A DJ will spin music beginning at 10 pm in the gallery adjacent to Botanica’s bar area, which includes San Diego’s first NFT art gallery within the Art Produce complex on University Avenue.
Cost: $75-$125
How to book: Tickets are available via Resy

Old Town
Mezcaleria Tahona in Old Town hosts a prix fixe, four-course dinner featuring Executive Chef Adrian Villareal’s Oaxaca-influenced fare. Dinner will be offered during two seating times: from 6-8:30 pm, and a later seating from 9-12:30 am including a midnight champagne toast. Both seatings include live music, a welcome cocktail, and guests can add a mezcal flight to pair with one of the four courses. Guests can also order from Tahona’s mezcal-centric cocktail menu, while a selection of Tahona’s most popular appetizers will be available a la carte throughout the evening.
Cost: $70 for the early seating, $80 for the late seating, $45 for the optional mezcal tasting
How to book: Reservations can be made via OpenTable

Balboa Park
Looking for a different way to ring in 2023? The WorldBeat Cultural Center in Balboa Park welcomes everyone to its Alternative New Years Eve Ascension 2023. The sober curious, transformative event includes Aztec dance, African drumming, qigong, yoga, sound baths and crystal healing, plus alcohol-free drinks and kombucha on tap and an international vegan buffet dinner. Doors open at 7:30 pm.
Cost: $25 for members, $30 for nonmembers.
How to book: Tickets can be purchased online

North Park
Grab your parachute pants and Dr. Martens from the back of the closet and head to Bivouac Ciderworks for its Countdown to the New Year ’90s House Party celebration from 8 pm-1 am. Don your most fly ’90s party outfits and dust off your best Running Man, Worm, and Cabbage Patch moves fit for the ultimate throwback playlist (The Routine is optional, but highly encouraged). Bivouac cider and cider cocktails, in addition to beer, wine, and a limited menu of bites will be available for purchase until closing. Your ticket includes a welcome Jell-O shot and a cider toast at midnight.
Cost: $25
How to book: Tickets can be purchased online

The Guild Bar | Photo by James Tran

For an elegant New Year’s Eve dinner party, join two of the most talented chefs from the Baja region: Chef Ruffo Ibarra and Chef Janina Garay, who will be preparing a stylish culinary feast. The evening begins at 8 pm in The Guild’s sparkling ballroom with a welcome cocktail, followed by a four-course dinner featuring the best of Baja. The after party starts at 10:30 pm with live music, dancing and a full cash bar that’ll be serving drinks until 1:30 am. Count down the seconds till midnight, when you’ll toast to 2023 with a glass of bubbly.
Cost: $199
How to book: Reservations can be made online

Deck yourself out in your spiffiest zoot suit or flapper dress and take a trip back in time to the Roaring ’20s at InterContinental San Diego’s Gatsby House New Year’s Eve celebration. The multi-room, all VIP-style party features numerous, fully-stocked premium bars so you’ll spend less time in line and more time dancing to popular San Diego DJs spinning all your favorite open format music, from EDM to Top 40 and hip hop. Enjoy light bites, spectacular views of San Diego Harbor, and an epic countdown to midnight at one of San Diego’s most upscale NYE events. Group and ultra-VIP packages are available.
Cost: Tickets start at $119
How to book: Reservations can be made online

Little Italy
Spin into 2023 at Little Italy’s buzzy hotspot, Wolfie’s Carousel Bar. The centerpiece of the room is a dazzling 24-seat, carousel-shaped bar that rotates slowly, giving you a 360-degree view of the room every 14 minutes, while you sip signature cocktails like the French 75, Sazerac, and Vieux Carré. Count down the minutes to the New Year with your final (and finest?) meal of 2022 including dishes like Atlantic Salmon, Fromage du Jour, Parisian Gnocchi, Moules Frites, Coq au Vin, and Petite and Grand Seafood Plateaus, plus a gratis champagne toast at midnight.
Cost: Pricing is a la carte
How to book: Reservations can be made via OpenTable

Courtesy of Lionfish

Gaslamp Quarter
Ring in the new year Southern California-style with a “Surf at Turf” four-course prix fixe menu at Lionfish in the heart of San Diego. James Beard Smart Catch Leader and Executive Chef JoJo Ruiz presents fresh seafood balanced evenly with meat-centric dishes, offering each course with a taste of the sea and a hint of the land, plus vegan options. Indulge in Beef Tartare or Black Sesame Tuna, followed by Prime Rib Tortellini or Truffle Gnocchi. Finish it off with Smoked Kombu Swordfish or New York Tenderloin, and a Strawberry and Cream Smash Cake for dessert.
Cost: $160
How to book: Reservations can be made via OpenTable

Escondido and Liberty Station
What’s the best way to toast the new year in San Diego? With craft beer, of course! The Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens in both Escondido and Liberty Station have elegant indoor dining rooms and gorgeous outdoor seating areas surrounded by meandering paths and burbling water features. Join them for a four-course menu paired with ten-ounce pours of Stone beer per course, plus a welcome drink. The menus differ per location, and there’s a designated driver option.
Cost: $150, plus $100 for designated drivers in Escondido. $125, plus $85 for designated drivers in Liberty Station.
How to book: Reservations can be made online.

Moonshine Beach | Courtesy of Good Time Design

Pacific Beach
Let loose and party your way into 2022 at Pacific Beach’s beloved country bar, Moonshine Beach, with Coriander, Southern California’s premier party band, in a high energy show that’ll get you up and dancing all night long. Doors open at 8 pm, with the live show beginning at 10 pm.
Cost: $30 in advance, $40 at the door
How to book: Tickets can be purchased online until 6 pm on December 31, or at the door, capacity allowing.

Moonshine Flats | Courtesy of Good Time Design

East Village
On the other side of town, Moonshine Beach’s sister venue, Moonshine Flats, gets rowdy with the powerhouse vocals of hometown favorite Cassie B Project, performing all the best Top 40 covers and dance numbers. Doors open at 8 pm, with the live show beginning at 10 pm.
Cost: $30 in advance, $40 at the door.
How to book: Tickets can be purchased online until 6 pm on December 31, or at the door, capacity allowing.

The Smoking Gun SD

Gaslamp Quarter
San Diego’s best New Year’s Eve bar crawl has ten different parties at ten of the Gaslamp Quarter’s hottest bars, starting with a pre-party at Bloom Nightclub, drink specials, welcome shots at select venues, a map to all participating bars, clubs and lounges, plus a couple of restaurants for when you need to soak up some of the booze.
Cost: $19 for an all-access pass
How to book: Reservations can be made via EventBrite.

Hilton Bayfront
Big Night San Diego offers the splashiest, most indulgent say-goodbye-to-2022 New Year’s Eve party in the city, with eight different party zones, unlimited drinks, a first-class buffet and the hottest party bands and DJs. Grab a beverage, then cruise through the zones, from the Retro DJ Ballroom for the best of the '80s dance tunes, to the Club Dance Ballroom, Indigo Club Room, Urban Dance Zone, or the Silent Disco. Upgrade to VIP status for additional lounges and club zones, top shelf liquor and upgraded dining.
Cost: Tickets start at $99
How to book: Book tickets online.

Photo by City Cruises

Give 2022 the heave-ho aboard City Cruises’ luxurious VIP New Year’s Eve Premier Dinner Cruise. It includes a four-hour cruise around San Diego Bay, with spectacular 360-degree views of the glittering skyline, a four-course seated dinner, and a top shelf open bar. Not into late night celebrating? They also have a New Year’s Eve Brunch Buffet Cruise and a New Year’s Eve Sunset Dinner Cruise with a buffet dinner on a 2.5-hour tour of the bay at the golden hour.
Cost: $81-$281, depending on the cruise
How to book: Book your cruise online.

Various locations
While the rest of the country scrapes ice off their windshields and hunkers down in freezing temperatures, you can relax, sip cocktails, and soak up the sun all day long at one of San Diego’s posh local hotel pools before the big night. Day passes are available for as little as $20 per person, or you can splurge on a cabana for ultimate pampering at rooftop or beachfront pools and spas across San Diego County.
Cost: Tickets start at $20
How to book: Reserve your spot in the sun at the individual venue.

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Mary Beth Abate is a San Diego-based freelance writer by way of Chicago and Los Angeles. Her hobbies include yoga, pickling and fermenting stuff, reading cookbooks and drinking fabulous gin. Keep up with her experiments @MaryBeth_Abate.