Events

DC New Year’s Eve Parties You’ll Actually Enjoy

Did 2019 feel like the longest year ever to anyone else? With millions of TikToks to watch, a new meme every day, and a news cycle churning at break-neck speed in our backyard, this whirlwind year in DC felt like it lasted an entire decade. As we approach New Year’s Eve and prepare to welcome in a new decade, there are plenty of ways to celebrate in Washington DC. Whether you want to try out a new restaurant or bar in the District or spend all night at a glam party, we’ve got you covered with all the best ways to ring in 2020.

Watch fireworks fly overhead

Spirit Cruises
DC’s only fireworks to welcome in the new year take place across the Potomac in Alexandria. So embarking on a trip with Spirit Cruises is the best way to wrap up the year. The ship’s evening cruise will take you to a prime spot for the midnight show while also providing dinner, dancing, and plenty of drinks at the open bar. Spirit Cruises also offers a family lunch cruise that gets the bubbles flowing a bit earlier with a toast at noon.
Cost: Tickets start at $54.90 for the lunch cruise and $199.90 for the fireworks cruise

Choose a party from the plethora of ’20s galas

Many many locations around the District
We are entering 2020 after all. So naturally, there are several 1920s-themed parties this New Year’s Eve. Clubs in the District like Eden and The Park at 14th are hosting Gatsby-themed galas, but the sparkles aren’t limited to typically swanky places. The Showroom on 14th Street will also gussy up for a black tie event, and The Mansion on O Street – typically a museum and event venue – will also host a roaring ’20s party in the historic space. How’s that sound, Old Sport?
Cost: Prices vary

Get to boogie on the disco ’round

Dacha Navy Yard
For something a little different, Dacha will take you back to the disco decade. The glitzy indoor event will go glam for New Year’s Eve and offer an open bar with premium spirits, food buffet, light show, and midnight surprise at its ’70s-themed event. Plus, two DJs will provide a "disco chic" playlist all night long.
Cost: Tickets start at $115.57

There’s only one party with close-to-single-digit ticket prices 

U Street Music Hall
New Year’s Eve can mean spending triple (or even quadruple!) digits on a party ticket. But not at U Street Music Hall. Four veteran local DJs, collectively known as Mirror Company, will come together for a cheap New Year’s Eve show at the District's most storied venue. You can dance all night, but tickets are only sold day-of at the door, so make sure to get there early.
Cost: Just $10

Attend a no-frills (and no cover!) celebration

Jack Rose Dining Saloon
If you want to ring in 2020 without the holiday hoopla, Jack Rose is hosting your kind of party. Instead of bumping up prices for the big party night, the bar is nixing the cover charge you’d expect to see, extending its happy hour, and offering bottomless bubbles for just $40 per person. Plus, they’ll pour from their expertly selected whisky collection and serve up their normal menu all night long.
Cost: Free admission

Toast to 2020 twice

La Jambe
If you want to clink glasses all night, La Jambe is the place to be. At 6pm you’ll have bubbles in your hand and toast to 2020 in Paris while French TV stations show the festivities across the pond. Then the restaurant will dole out all the French Crémant you can drink and little bites you can eat until midnight when you’ll do it all over again and celebrate the new year right here in the states.
Cost: $60 for bottomless bubbles

Ring in the new year 12 hours early

The Yards
If you have kids you want to party with or just want to tuck in before 2020, The Yards is hosting an afternoon event. Start your day early with glitter tattoos, bounce houses, balloon animals, and other activities, before a huge balloon drop at noon celebrates the new year. Sure it’s a bit early but if you save your videos to post at midnight, no one will know you’re sharing from the comfort of your own home instead of a crowded party.
Cost: Free

See the Northern Lights without leaving the District

Artechouse
Always one of the most popular exhibits of the year, Artechouse has an exhibit for New Year’s inspired by a gorgeous natural wonder. Wave your hands around and you’ll move the green and blue lights across a mountain scene -- and you can even do it with a festive drink in hand. The evening entries are sold out, but this interactive exhibit makes the perfect pre-party activity.
Cost: Tickets are $16

Take one last tour around DC’s journalism museum

Newseum
The Newseum will close its doors for good after December 31, so New Year’s Eve is the last day you can spend exploring. Make sure to study up on the best exhibits the museum has to offer and come in with a plan to tackle the 643,000-square-foot space. You are on deadline, after all.
Cost: Tickets are $24.95, but the museum is offering 15% off with code 15OFF

Swap champagne for tacos and tequila

El Chucho
Kick off your night at a bottomless happy hour from 4-6:30pm or a four-course dinner and open bar before moving on to a fanicer soiree. Or park yourself at the tequila bar all night for bottomless drinks and as many tacos as you can eat starting at 10pm and continuing all the way into 2020.
Cost: Bottomless options start, fittingly, at $20.20

Go to the party that keeps going and going

Flash
There’s only one New Year’s Eve event where you can party all night. And all day. And all night again. It’s at Flash. The 26-hour-long celebration kicks off at 10pm on New Year’s Eve and doesn’t stop until last call the following day. You can come and go throughout the duration of the party which spans three floors and has more than a dozen performances.
Cost: Tickets start at $50

Look back at the hottest food of 2019

Various locations
You’re in for a nostalgic New Year’s. Snag a reservation at one of the year’s best new openings for dinner and reflect on all of the good food that came to the District this year, or opt to spend the first day of 2020 checking out one of the spots you missed last year.
Cost: Prices vary

Reminisce about your wild night at a hot new restaurant

Emilie’s DC
This Capitol Hill communal dining spot was one of the most talked-about openings of the year. So don’t go another day into the new year without trying Chef Kevin Tien’s latest venture. The restaurant is not normally open for brunch, but expect sweet and savory items that are perfect for sharing and take the opportunity to sample boozy brunch cocktails or low-ABV and non-alcoholic options, too.
Cost: $40 per person

Eat 12 grapes at midnight

Mola
Don't worry, that's not all you'll be eating. The Spanish tapas spot will serve a selection of delicious small plates, Spanish beer and wine will be flowing, and they will also have music and dancing. Just before midnight, it's time for grapes -- but I don't mean more wine. Mola will be honoring the Spanish tradition of eating 12 grapes at midnight on New Year's Eve for a prosperous new year ahead, so it's in your best interest to eat up.
Cost: Tickets are $55

Stay in your pajamas for the ultimate recovery brunch

The Brighton
An event where you’re actually rewarded for being too hungover to change into brunch-appropriate clothes? Sign us up. At The Brighton, you’ll get a complimentary mimosa for showing up in pajamas on New Year’s Day and you can order from a special holiday brunch menu. Plus, brunch doesn’t start until 2pm, so no need to worry about setting an alarm.
Cost: Prices vary

Join others on your walk of shame

Hotel Revival
If you ventured up to Baltimore for your NYE plans, you don't have to walk of shame home alone. Topside, the gorgeous restaurant atop Hotel Revival overlooking historic Mt. Vernon, is opening up for recovery. The restaurant's hangover cures are way better than your bacon, egg, and cheese with a Gatorade combo. Think Bloody Marys, cold pizza, prosecco pops with Pedialyte, and cocktails infused with much-needed vitamins.
Cost: Menu is a la carte, and reservations are encouraged

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Liz Provencher is an editorial assistant and former DC dweller. Endless tacos and tequila sounds like the perfect New Year’s Eve celebration to her. You can talk to her at lprovencher@thrillist.com, follow her on Twitter, or see what she eats on Instagram.