What’s Going on this New Year’s Eve in Southern California

There’s so much going on this year in Southern California to celebrate New Year’s Eve; from open bars to fireworks, here’s a list of the top events going down this December 31st:

Clubs and Bars

You’ll have your choice of parties if you’re looking to go to a club or bar in Southern California. Whether you’re on Hollywood Boulevard or downtown San Diego, most if not all venues will be selling tickets to their New Year’s Eve parties now, and it’s good to buy them early – ticket prices will go up the closer it gets to the big day. There are plenty of high end, star-studded events to choose from, spanning the gamut from the Official Hollywood New Year’s Eve Block Party to the ultimate dance party at Lure. Tickets range in price, but usually begin around $100 minimum, so budget accordingly.

(For some celebrity sight-seeing before or after your New Year’s celebration, take the Movie Stars Home Tour or try out the Red Line Hollywood Behind-the-Scenes Tour.)


Fireworks over the Queen Mary

This year, The Queen Mary on Long Beach is  hosting “Auld Lang Shine,” a festive celebration comprised of 7 different parties onboard span cultural depictions of seven different countries — from Cannes to Cartagena. Perhaps the best part of the ship’s New Year’s Eve celebrations is its two fireworks shows, one at 9pm and another at midnight- both light up the waters of Lighthouse Park and give a fantastic view of the city. Tickets for the evening start at $99.

Universal City Walk is also hosting a free New Year’s Eve Countdown Bash with live music and performers, featuring two fireworks shows at midnight on either end of the street. After New Year’s Eve, you can take a tour of Universal Studios Hollywood with our Go Los Angeles Card.

One of the famous Rose Bowl Parade floats.

Family Friendly

For an alcohol-free event that’s family friendly, buy a button for First Night Monterey. This year’s theme is “SeaChanges the Sequel,” which explores the changes we can make to “Sea” changes through the performances of 200 artists on different streets and at different venues in historic downtown Monterey. Activities start as early as 3:00pm, with the evening’s grand finale beginning at 11:15pm. Tickets are only $12-25, and kids under 5 get in free.


This year, the 101st Rose Bowl will see the Oregon Ducks facing off against the Florida State Seminoles. With the annual Rose Bowl in Pasadena comes the Rose Bowl Parade on January 2nd starting at 8am.  This year’s theme is “Inspiring Stories.” Expect to see marching bands from across the country, elaborate floats, and more than 300 horses and riders. The parade is free to attend, but grab a good seat early.

*Post originally published on December 12, 2011; updated on December 27, 2014.

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