Smile Politely

Guide to New Year’s Eve: 2023-2024

Here we are at the end of another year. How will you choose to celebrate? A subdued gathering? A nice meal? Pizza and beer? A late-night dance party? No matter what your style, there is probably something happening in C-U and beyond that will suit your needs. Here are some options for ushering in 2024.

Events focused on eating and drinking

Overhead shot of an old fashioned in a rocks glass with a cherry and orange peel garnish, and a cube of ice stamped with the word Punch.
Alyssa Buckley

Eat German food and drink German beer, Riggs Beer Company, noon to midnight, prices vary

Have schnitzel, spätzle and pretzels from The Ribcage (from 1 to 8 p.m.) and drink some beers. There will be trivia at 9 p.m.

Have dinner on the fancy plates, The Space, 4 to 9 p.m., prices vary

Try a fancy pre fixe menu with apps, mains, and dessert. Reservations are needed. You can make them online.

Dress for the red carpet, Punch! Bar and Lounge, 4 p.m. to 1 p.m., prices vary

Don your snazziest attire and try some of Punch! Bar’s delicious cocktails and snacks, including a NYE featured cocktail. Complimentary champagne toast at midnight.

Indulge in good food and wine, The WheelHouse, 7 p.m., $125 per person

Indulge in a seven course pre fixe menu with wine pairings, for $125 a person. You’ll start the evening with a champagne cocktail, and end it with a champagne toast. Call for reservations: 217-469-6252.

Opportunities to hear live music

A stage with a band playing, lit in red. There is a large crowd watching the show, and a bunch of balloons hanging from the ceiling.
The Canopy Club on Facebook

Check out some local favorites, The Esquire, 1 p.m. to 1 a.m., no cover

Celebrate at any time of the day and there will be live music to accompany your pizzas and wings and pineapple margaritas.

  • Candy Foster, 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Vine Street Syncopators 5 to 8 p.m.
  • Kilborn Alley, 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Join the Masquerade, Sleepy Creek Vineyards, 6:30 p.m. to 1 a.m, $90

Venetian masks, dueling pianos, charcuterie, booze, photo booth…there’s a lot going on at the Midnight Masquerade. Tickets available online.

Party it up, The Canopy Club, 8 p.m., $40 adv/$50 day of

Enjoy covers from X-Krush, DJ sets from FOH, as well as an open bar, Manolo’s buffet, and a champagne toast.

Jam with Chicago Farmer & The Fieldnotes, Rose Bowl Tavern, 9 p.m. (doors at 8 p.m.), $15 adv/$20 day of

Listen to some “black dirt music” as you ring in the new year. Have other plans on the 31st? You can also catch the band on the 30th at 8 p.m. There’s also an option for two-fer. Edward David Anderson opens on the 30th, Bashful Youngens on the 31st.

Other fun things

Performer Spank Knightly sits on a white sofa. He wears a purple painted suit jacket, a neon green tie, blue gloves, and a purple top hat. His face is painted white with black and purple lines to give the illusion of a mask.
Jess Schlipf

See how much you remember about 2023, Pour Bros, 2 p.m., free to play

Test your knowledge of the past year with 2023 Year in Review Trivia while having some beers from the pour wall. You’ll need to reserve your spot by messaging Pour Bros.

Dance it out, Anthem Champaign, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., $5 cover after 9 p.m.

The dance floor opens with DJ Williams at 9 p.m., and there will be a balloon drop at midnight.

Spend the evening on eight wheels, Skateland, 7 to 10 p.m., $15 plus skate rental

Skate, eat pizza, and have a slushie like it’s middle school again.

Laugh so you don’t cry, Hudson Farm, 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., $21.29

See comedians Jeff Bailey (Peoria), Leslie Mitchell (Quad Cities), Justin Tuttle (C-U Comedy), Jesse Tuttle (C-U Comedy). There will be a full bar, and you have two options for showtimes. Get tickets in advance.

Celebrate with your favorite drag performers, Axe Bar, 9 p.m., $15 cover

Join Uniting Pride, hosts Spank Knightly and Carmella Carrington, and DJ Slim for Pride, Glitz, & Glam. There will be a complimentary champagne toast at midnight.

Kid-friendly celebrations

A group of adults and children gathered on a gym floor, watching colorful balloons falling from the ceiling.
Champaign Park District on Facebook

There are several “noon year’s eve” parties where you can take the kids, do it up with balloons and noise makers and games and such, then get them to bed at a decent time that night.

December 30th

December 31st

  • Martens Center, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., free
    Bring the kids to the newest Champaign Park District facility for some fun. There will be hats and noisemakers and a balloon drop.
  • Skateland, 1 to 4 p.m., $15 per child
    Kids 10 and under plus a parent or grandparent are invited to skate. The ticket includes admission, skate rental, skate mates, prized filled balloon drop, hats, noisemakers, candy scramble, hot dog and soda.

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