Watch CBS News

Best Family-Friendly New Year's Parties In Chicago

By Sara Lugardo

While New Year's celebrations are usually filled with a late night of drinking and socializing, those with families can be hindered in their options. However, Chicago makes sure to go all out in its New Year's celebration and there are many options for those with families and children of all ages. While it may seem that the party doesn't start until midnight, there are many events that start earlier to cater towards a more family-friendly crowd. Kid-friendly celebrations can be found all over the Chicago area in and around the city.

Winter WonderFest 37
(credit: Steve Hardy/CBS Local)

New Year's Eve Family Bash
Winter WonderStage in Festival Hall
600 E. Grand Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 595-7437

Date: Dec. 31 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

While this year's lineup has yet to be announced, there is always a great mixture of entertainment options at this bash. Whether it's hip-hop and break-dancing performances or magic shows and mind reading, there will surely be something for kids of all ages. This two-hour festivity is set early enough for families with young children and is a great event for teens that may not be accompanied by parents. This is an alcohol-free environment but offers entertainment suited for adolescents and adults alike.

(Credit: Thinkstock)

New Year's Eve Family Fireworks
600 E. Grand Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 595-7437

Date: Dec. 31 at 7 p.m. and midnight

Navy Pier is offering two separate fireworks displays to cater to families with young children. The 7 p.m. fireworks display comes at the closing of the New Year's Eve Family Bash. With the Winter WonderFest closing at 6:30 p.m., families are encouraged to stay for the 7 p.m. fireworks show. Fireworks can be viewed from the dock and there is plenty of space available to get optimal viewing. Families with young children will love the early fireworks display and teens unaccompanied by parents won't be hindered by any curfew restrictions because of the early time slot.


Chicago Children's Museum
700 E. Grand Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 527-1000

Date: Dec. 31 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

There will be activities including dough sculptures, indoor ice skating and an open play group. However, the main attractions to visit at the Chicago Children's Museum celebration are the Crown Yourself activity and the Noon Year's Eve celebration. Crown Yourself is from 10 a.m. until 11:30 a.m., allowing children to make hats to wear for ringing in the new year at noon. The Noon Year's Eve event is a countdown at an appropriate time for youngsters and early-arrival attendees receive noisemakers.

Related: Best Dog Parks In Chicago

Illinois Zoo's New Polar Bear Cub
(credit: Tim Boyle/Newsmakers)

Zoo Year's Eve
Brookfield Zoo
8400 31st St.
Brookfield, IL 60513
(708) 688-8000

Date: Dec. 31 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

This event is fun for the entire family, teens and adults alike. Brookfield Zoo will have activities and crafts related to New Year's Eve for smaller kids. There will also be a parade and a countdown to 8 p.m. with noisemakers and hats. The full details have yet to be announced about the main celebration. However, past Zoo Year's Eve events have been held at the Holly Jolly Theater in the Swan Pavilion. There will be games, party favors, a countdown and entertainment.


LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago
601 N. Martingale Rd.
Schaumburg, IL  60173
(847) 592-9708

Dates: Dec. 31, 2012 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Jan. 1, 2013 from 8 a.m. 7 p.m.

There will be added attractions to commemorate New Year's Eve on top of regular LEGOLAND features. Kids will enjoy the rides, play centers and 4D Cinema. Balloon drop countdowns will be at 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 2 p.m., with sparkling grape juice and party music for kids. There will be photo opportunities, LEGO creative build challenges and much more for kids to enjoy both on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

Sara Lugardo is a Korean American who thrives in writing about Asian community news in Chicago. She has a Bachelor's in Communication and is currently working on her Master's. Her work can be found on


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.