Smile Politely

Guide to New Year’s Eve: 2022-2023

We’re closing in on the end of 2022, a year of ups and downs and progress and setbacks. Maybe you are reflecting on your personal experiences this year, or maybe you are ready to shove 2022 out the proverbial door. Either way, it’s always nice to be a little celebratory as the new year approaches. For me, this has increasingly looked like cooking a fancy dinner, drinking good wine, and watching Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen in my pajamas. If you are looking to be a bit more social than that, here is a collection of options for heading out on the town.

Ring in the new year at noon, Martens Center, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., $2-6

If you have young kids, this is a fun option. Check out the brand new Champaign Park District facility and avoid having the kiddos stay up until midnight. There will be “activities, music, crazy hats, noisemakers, a countdown to the big moment, and a drop of thousands of balloons.” Register in advance or pay at the door.

Photo from Big Thorn Farm & Brewery Facebook page.

Be an early bird, Big Thorn Farm & Brewery, 12 to 9 p.m., prices vary

Big Thorn is having a celebration for grownups who don’t want to stay up so late. They have seafood specials at the food truck, and will even do a countdown at 8 p.m….what they call “South Georgia Time”. They are also hosting a New Year’s Day Brunch if you’ld rather head out on Sunday. 

Recenter and set intentions, Amara Yoga and Arts, 4 to 6 p.m., $30-35

Get introspective and find some relaxation at Amara’s New Year’s Eve Gong Bath. Kundalini Yoga, deep relaxation, and sound healing with a Symphonic Sun Gong will help you reset and be ready for the challenges of the new year. Reserve your spot here.

Choose your own 3-course dinner, Homegrown, 5 to 10 p.m., $39

Try Homegrown in Urbana and shape your own 3-course menu. You can select an appetizer, entree, and dessert from their special NYE menu. Make a reservation online or by calling 217-600-7137.

Photo from The Wheelhouse Facebook page.

Enjoy dinner, dancing, and wine pairings, The Wheelhouse, 6:30 p.m., $110

Head over to St. Joe for delightful sounding courses (Oysters Rockefeller, Butternut Squash Risotto, and Chateaubraind to name a few), a Champagne cocktail, and wine pairings. NYE of 2020 we did a fantastic take home meal experience with The Wheelhouse, so I’m sure doing it in house is wonderful too. Make your reservation by calling 217-469-6252.

Listen to live music, Esquire Lounge, 5 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Have some pineapple margaritas, pizza, fried apps at Esquire while you listen to Vine Street Syncopators and Kilborn Alley Blues. 

Photo from Neil Street Blues Facebook page.

Have a Women of Soul Experience, Neil St. Blues, 7:30 p.m., $30-40

Neil Street Blues is featuring music from Kanitra Branch, Moet Joe, and DJ Silkee after you enjoy a dinner buffet. If you didn’t already know, Neil Street Blues knows how to do a buffet, so I’m sure it will be stellar. There will be a free Champagne toast at midnight. Grab tickets online.

Have some laughs, Alto Vineyards, 8 p.m., $20

C-U Comedy will be perfoming out at Alto Vineyards from 8 to 9:30 p.m., then the bar will stay open through midnight if you want to stay and drink some wine and ring in the new year. Get tickets for the show here.

Party with 90’s Daughter, City Center, 8 p.m. (doors open at 5 p.m.), $25-100

Dance the night away with a bit a nostalgia from 90’s Daughter. They are always a good time. You can get standing room tickets for $25, or upgrade to a table and/or open bar. Music begins at 8 p.m. with opening act All Nighter Band.

Eat Manolo’s and listen to X-Krush, Canopy Club, 8 p.m., $40-50

At Canopy you’ll get a pizza and empanadas buffet, open bar, and entertainment from X-Krush and Drew Cagle + The Reputation. Get your tickets in advance, and it’s just $40. You can also add on VIP bottle service if you want to be a little extra.

Photo from Chicago Farmer Facebook page.

Celebrate with Chicago Farmer + the Fieldnotes, Rose Bowl Tavern, 9 p.m. (doors at 8 p.m.), $20-25

Folk musician Cody Diekhoff, aka Chicago Farmer, is doing a two-night stint at the Rose Bowl, December 30th and 31st. On New Year’s Eve, the music will start at 9 p.m.. Get tickets for NYE, New Year’s Eve Eve, or both.

Do some Latin dancing, Axe Bar, 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., $10

If you want to show off your Salsa, Bachata, Cumbia, Merengue, or Reggaeton dance skills, with music from DJ Wesjile, this is the place for you. There will also be a 360 photo booth.

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