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

Let’s give 2021 the sendoff it deserves.

Happy New Year, San Diego! After the nearly non-existent and largely virtual celebrations of New Year’s Eve 2020, we’re ready with a full slate of celebrations. Whether you fancy a luxurious bay cruise to watch the fireworks, a rowdy party at the beach, or a 1920s-themed masquerade, we’ve gathered the best parties in town to ring in 2022.

A word of caution: COVID-19 is not over. Due to the omicron variant and a recent increase in cases, the California Department of Public Health has mandated that everyone in California wear a mask in indoor public spaces through at least January 15, 2022. If you’re asked to mask up, do it. In addition, many of our favorite restaurants, clubs, and bars are still struggling with staffing, so be patient and tip generously. With that in mind, here are the best places to celebrate New Year’s Eve in San Diego:

Editor’s note: Events listed here may be subject to cancellation depending on the developing situation with COVID-19's Omicron variant, please call or check websites before booking.

Carmel Valley
Understory in the Sky Deck at Del Mar Highlands invites you to celebrate the new year at their amazing masquerade party, featuring three of everyone’s lavish favorites—Brut Jolie Brut or Beau Joie Rose, 30 grams or 50 grams of classic Ossetra caviar, and a half or whole J fried chicken platter, plus music from DJs Gabe Vega and Juni and a midnight Beau Joie champagne toast. Reservations can be made for groups of two or four, with four different packages available.
Cost: $175-$250 for two, $225-$375 for four.
How to book: Email drink@understorybar.com for reservations.

Wormwood San Diego

University Heights
Traveling abroad for New Year’s Eve might not be possible this year, but you’ll feel like you’re in 1890s Paris at newly opened bar and bistronomie Wormwood in University Heights. They’re offering an eight-course chef’s menu featuring a welcome glass of champagne or signature cocktail, two seating times from 6–9 pm and from 9 pm–midnight, each limited to just 70 guests. On New Year’s Day, Wormwood will host a one-time Jazz Brunch from 10 am–3 pm, with regular dinner service beginning at 5 pm.
Cost: $100 for the New Year’s Eve tasting menu, Jazz Brunch costs vary.
How to book: Book NYE reservations via OpenTable. For brunch, book via OpenTable.

Downtown
Dud up in your jazziest zoot suit or spangled 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: $159-$2595 +fees.
How to book: Reservations can be made online.

Little Italy
Spin into 2022 at Wolfie’s Carousel Bar, Little Italy’s buzziest new hotspot. 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 dishes that include Wagyu tartare, steak frites, oysters Rockefeller, a few festive surprises, and a hosted champagne toast. Rumor has it Marie Antoinette herself may make an appearance!
Cost: Varies.
How to book: Reservations can be made via OpenTable.

Photo 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. Indulge in a prime rib beef carpaccio and scallop sashimi, followed by clam “royal” pasta and duck confit pasta. Finish it off with a sea bass and Wagyu striploin, and a “Creamsicle” Vacherin for dessert. Additionally, when you dine at Lionfish on New Year’s Eve, you will receive $25 off your ticket for Oxford Social Club for New Year’s Eve, which will feature Guest DJ Bamboozle.
Cost: $121.22 per person.
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 three-course menu paired with two five-ounce pours of Stone beer per course, plus a welcome pint and dessert pint. The menus differ per location, and there’s an option for a cocktail pairing for a slight upcharge at Liberty Station. Everyone gets a commemorative glass, and there’ll be live music, a DJ and of course, a midnight toast to the new year.
Cost: Escondido—$125 per person, $75 for designated drivers. Liberty Station—$99 per person, $60 for designated drivers.
How to book: Reservations can be made online.

Chula Vista
Shake & Muddle gears up for New Year’s Eve with Executive Chef Esteban Avila’s three-course prix fixe menu and memorable toasting cocktails crafted by lead mixologist Jeff Mackay. Music will be provided by popular Latin guitarist Pablo Cantua, for an unforgettable start to 2022.
Cost: $75 per person, toasting cocktails are $12.
How to book: Reservations can be made via OpenTable.

Photo 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 Nashville’s Summer 97, blending alternative, rock, pop and country 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 for general admission until December 30, $35 the day of.
How to book: Tickets can be purchased online.

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 for general admission until December 30, $40 the day of.
How to book: Tickets can be purchased online.

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 at The Smoking Gun, with drink specials, welcome shots at select venues, and 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.

Downtown
Stroll aboard a $25 million yacht and party like a celebrity as you gaze at gorgeous 360-degree views of the San Diego skyline. Dance at your own chosen pace with two levels of music, including 80’s, classic hits, and dance tunes on Deck One, and top 40, dance, and today’s hits on Deck Two, plus a third, open-air deck for drinking, mingling, and lounging. A variety of gourmet appetizers and an open bar all night long keeps the party going—just bring your 21+ ID, and let the voyage begin!
Cost: $179 per person +fees.
How to book: Book your cruise via EventBrite.

Hilton Bayfront
Big Night San Diego offers the splashiest, most indulgent say-goodbye-to-2021 New Year’s Eve party in the city, with ten different party zones, unlimited drinks, a first-class buffet and the hottest party bands and DJs. Grab a beverage at one of twelve bars, 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, club zones, and a Velvet Rope Area.
Cost: $89.99–$239+ per person + fees.
How to book: Book tickets online.

The Duck Dive

Pacific Beach
If you’re looking for a spot to get dressed up and get your groove on, head to The Duck Dive’s New Year’s Eve Disco Party and dance the old year away. Doors open for the event and dinner at 8 pm, and DJ Bacon hits the stage at 9 pm to spin your favorite dance music. Table reservations are required for up to five people per group, and include a complimentary bottle of champagne. There’ll also be optional bottle service, a complimentary champagne toast at midnight, and a $200 cash prize for the best dressed partygoer.
Cost: $30 for general admission in advance, $45 at the door. Bottle service ranges from $350-$450.
How to book: Reservations can be made via EventBrite.

Downtown
Give 2021 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, a top shelf open bar, souvenir champagne flutes, complimentary truffles and a front row seat to the New Year’s Eve fireworks. Not into late night celebrating? They also have a New Year’s Eve Sunset Dinner Cruise with a buffet dinner on a three-hour tour of the bay at the golden hour.
Cost: $129.90-$299.90
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 our posh local hotel pools before the big night. Day passes are available for as little as $15 per person, or you can splurge on a cabana for ultimate pampering at rooftop or beachfront pools and spas across San Diego County.
Cost: Varies
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.