Holiday Fun

From Pizza Parties to WhirlyBall, Here’s Your Guide to Family Fun for New Year’s Eve in Chicago

Photo courtesy of the Village of Rosemont

Your winter-break calendar is full, but what to do on New Year’s Eve? We have a ton of kid-friendly activities going on across the city, both noon and night, to get you ready to ring in 2020. Here we go!

Photo courtesy of Stella Barra

Pizza Party at Stella Barra
Every weeknight Stella Barra offers a fun way to distract kids before they eat: pizza making! And it’s not just a distraction, it’s dinner. Kids get a chance to work with the pizzamakers at the restaurant to create their own pie with red or white sauce that will be baked for their eating pleasure. Mom and Dad can kick back and give a cheer to 2020.
Details: Monday–Friday, 4–6 p.m.; $4.95 per pizza

See Blue Man Group
The last day of 2019 brings four chances to see Blue Man Group, and no matter what time you see the show, there’s an opportunity to ring in the new year. The early shows (1 and 4 p.m.) are perfect for young families. These will feature early midnight celebrations with noisemakers and a Blue Man–style “Auld Lang Syne.” There will also be preshow face painting. Later shows will offer champagne for the adults, and the latest show will also have a confetti drop.
Details: December 31, multiple showtimes; $49–$104

Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Courtesy of Blue Man Group

Jam With Tunes With Tim at Commonwealth
Tunes With Tim is like a rock star to the littlest ones, so why not join the singer in a concert to ring in the New Year? Children will also adore the buffet of food and choice of kiddie cocktails. The ball will drop at 6 p.m., along with an apple juice toast!
Details: December 31, 4–6 p.m.; $20

Ice-Skating and Fireworks at Rosemont’s Parkway Bank Park
Skate your way into 2020 all day long on New Year’s Eve and again on New Year’s Day. Skating is free, and skate rentals are $8. If you can stay up until midnight, fireworks will ignite the night sky.
Details: December 31, 11 a.m.–1 a.m. and January 1, 11 a.m.–10 p.m.

Itty-Bitty New Year at the Exploratorium
The Oakton Community Center and the Exploratorium are transformed into New York City, specifically Times Square, where all of the NYE magic happens. A DJ will drop beats before the balloons drop at noon, and it’s sure to be a celebratory afternoon for all.
Details: December 31, 10 a.m.–noon; free to attend, but preregistration required

Photo by Cesar Doval/Courtesy of Hofbrauhaus

WhirlyBall
It’s a kids-bumpin’ NYE when you celebrate at WhirlyBall. Get access to unlimited WhirlyBall at the Chicago location, plus laser tag and bowling, and enjoy a lunch and dinner buffet, among other pop-up games.
Details: December 31, 1–7 p.m.; $20 for kids and $30 for adults

Gemini Restaurant New Year’s Eve
Head to this favorite neighborhood spot for a special NYE prix fixe menu complete with kiddie cocktails. At 6:30 p.m., there will be a special kids’ countdown with plenty of party favors to celebrate 2020.
Details: December 31, 5 p.m.; $25

Chicago Children’s Museum Noon Year’s Eve
Get ready for an all-ages celebration from morning till noon. The Great Hall is the place to be for an epic dance party complete with crowns, a countdown, and confetti at noon.
Details: December 31, 10:30 a.m.–12:15 p.m.; free with museum entry

Celebrate an Early New Year’s Eve at Hofbrauhaus
Choose one of two celebrations at this Rosemont Bavarian-themed restaurant, the first being the most family-friendly. The Munich-style celebration will feature a magician at 2 p.m., who will perform awesome tricks and illusions. At 5 p.m., there will be a toast with sparkling juice (champagne for adults) when it’s time to ring in the New Year in Munich.
Details: December 31, 2–6 p.m.

Photo courtesy of Roots Handmade Pizza

New Year’s Eve Feast at Roots Handmade Pizza
With locations across the city, Roots is a great bet for a NYE fete for the whole family. Tickets will score you a table with the pizzeria’s signature mozzarella sticks, sparkling juice, wine, and fun party favors. You can order food and drinks from the regular menu while you hang out until the “countdown” at the end of the seating.
Details: December 31, seatings at 4 and 6:15 p.m.; a group of four costs $59.64 and each additional person is $12.59