How to Have a Safe and Fun New Year’s Eve in Washington DC
Goodbye, 2020. We won’t miss you.
As the highly anticipated end to 2020 draws near, it’s natural to have mixed feelings. Typically, New Year’s Eve is a time to dress to the nines, let your figurative hair down, and clink champagne glasses. It’s a time to now look toward what is considered to be a clean slate, making resolutions about going to the gym every day or finally becoming a vegetarian.
This year it comes as no surprise to anyone that New Year’s Eve will look and feel very different. Most important now is to keep yourselves and your loved ones as safe as possible by limiting exposure to COVID-19. In fact, Washingtonians might have no choice this year, as the entire DMV has issued orders that end alcohol consumption at 10 pm in restaurants and bars. Virginia has taken it a step even further and issued a curfew that bans nonessential travel between midnight and 5 am. Also off limits will be enjoying your New Year’s Eve dinner inside a restaurant, as the District moved to shut down indoor dining for three weeks starting on December 23 to hopefully contend with the rising number of COVID cases in the area.
While that may sound depressing, it’s important to think about the positives of a chilled out NYE at home. For (hopefully) one year only, you’re getting to dodge the responsibility of dropping money on a new outfit, instead spending the celebratory evening in cozy loungewear with your closest pod members, partner, or roommate. There’s still plenty to look forward to, as 2021 starts us off with a White House switch up and our new best friends Moderna and Pfizer. So, top up that champagne flute and get ready for a New Year’s Eve like no other with our list of safe recommendations for how to spend your night.
Way before its time to pop the bubbly, get your New Year’s Eve started with a forest bathing session at the National Arboretum. The relaxing practice has been shown to raise your mood and aid your immune system, and is a nice way to reboot before the start of a new year. Meet at the arboretum for a two-hour program that ends with a soothing tea ceremony that also includes some sweet treats.
While most fireworks displays have been called off this year, Merriweather Pavilion is still putting one on at the top of every hour from 6-9pm. Upon entering, guests can check out the pavilion’s mega light display that consists of over 300,000 bulbs, and indulge in a glass of champagne. COVID precautions are being taken at this family-friendly event, where guests must pick a 10-minute time window to enter in order to maintain social distancing.
Cost: $15 per person or $50 for a family of four
While dining indoors on New Year’s Eve is a no-go, DC mainstay The Hamilton is offering a special package that includes takeout food and beverages for two-to-four or six-to-eight people as well as an exclusive live-streamed show. The 90-minute concert by 19th Street Band is taking place online and only available to those ordering food that night from The Hamilton.
Cost: Packages start at $150
Most of your go-to bars are most likely doing something a little extra special for NYE this year, like cocktail haven Columbia Room, which has put together a make-at-home French 75 cocktail kit complete with hats and streamers, or Lulu’s Winegarden where you can order a “bubbly box” stocked with three bottles of sparkling wine.
Cost: Prices vary
Tons of DC restaurants are offering specials to help keep you out of the kitchen and jazz up your New Year’s Eve. Dupont Circle’s Boqueria has a party starter set made for two, complete with a bottle of sparkling Spanish wine, a selection of tapas, chocolate cake, and even an option to add seafood paella. The kit also includes hats, streamers, and access to a festive Spotify playlist. For a distinctly American celebration, try Shaw’s Nina May, offering a four-course surf and turf meal featuring oysters and pan-seared scallops, or Navy Yard’s Shilling Canning Company, which has curated a selection of reds, whites, and bubbles to pair with a multi-course dinner that features decadent dishes like lamb loin and gnudi with lobster.
Cost: Prices vary
Tired of being at home? We hear you. Instead of heading out of town on New Year’s Eve, get a change of scenery without even leaving the city by treating yourself to a well-deserved staycation. Newly opened townhouses by The Rosewood Hotel in Georgetown offer guests a multi-level, uber private experience that comes complete with a full kitchen, outdoor space and the kind of tub you want to soak in all night long. The Line Hotel in Adams Morgan is also offering special rates this winter, and tiered packages by Brothers and Sisters chef Erik Bruner-Yang are available to order to your room for the special night, stocked with charcuterie, champagne, and other treats.
Cost: Prices vary
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