There are all kinds of parties, cruises, and other events as a preface to the big event. The stuff going on at Crystal Gardens will probably get you as close to the action as any place in the city. They’re offering an open bar between 9pm and 2am—so pace yourself—along with hors d’oeuvres, a champagne toast, and all kinds of other party favors and New Year goodies. There's even a private terrace where you can check out the fireworks as well as the countdown to 2014. Tickets for this shindig start at $115, and if you’re feeling like welcoming the New Year as a VIP, it’ll be $150.
For those looking to get out of the city and onto the water there’s all kinds of options to head out onto Lake Michigan. The ones we saw started at around $150 per person and climbed upwards from there. Pick your boat, the amount of food and drink you need, and check your budget—you’ll easily be able to find a winner than fits your needs. Head over here to see a few options like the Mystic Blue New Year’s Eve Fireworks Dinner Cruise or the Spirit of Chicago New Year’s Eve Fireworks Dinner Cruise.
If the New Year’s budget was already spent on holiday shopping—don’t worry—spots along the lakefront are totally free, and you should still be able to check out plenty of the fireworks fun. Just be sure to bring your own party hats and noisemakers.
[Photo: Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar]