Chicago hosts a number of New Years Eve events across the city, with fireworks displays chiefly focusing on the river, and traditionally centred around the city's famous Navy Pier area, but there are displays to be seen right across the city, with the famous city skyline providing a spectacular backdrop to the pyrotechnics.
Elsewhere, the city's bars and restaurants are packed with revellers, with many taking to the city streets at midnight to pass on their wishes and watch the various fireworks lighting up the Chicago sky. There's no shortage of cultural diversions either, with the city's music venues hosting all flavours of musical entertainment, including everything from hip-hop to classical concerts.
Chicago is now very much towards the top of our personal bucket list and we're hoping to get to spend some time there in 2016 so you can hopefully look forward to our own selection of recommendations in the not too distant future
Last new year saw big changes in Chicago, with an all new large scale celebration called Chi Town Rising planned with the aim to usurp the supremacy of New York and the Times Square celebrations. The results of this were mixed at best however so it reamins to be seen whether it will return for NYE 2017, rest assured we will let you know right here either way.
The fireworks at the above new event were co-ordinated with the established main fireworks at the city's famous Navy Pier, which is also the venue for some of Chicago's biggest, longest running and most popular new years parties.
This year you can also enjoy the 2016-2017 Navy Pier Winter Wonderfest, offering a plethora of festive fun including ice skating, live entertainment, an express zip line, climbing wall, inflatable slide and loads more, this looks like an especially good idea for those families with children to entertain.
A highly recommended party this new year's eve is the Big Night Chicago, taking place at the Palmer House Hilton and including all inclusive bars throughout the evening, food buffets, multiple dance floors and party rooms and 10 live bands and DJs. Get your tickets for this event asap as numbers are limted and they will sell out - online ticket sales here.
The Grand Ballroom at The Navy Pier will be hosting the annual Chicago Resolution Gala, which also provides access to the fantastic views from the Lakeview Terrace, one of the best possible vantage points for watching the fireworks. The event includes premium open bar, stationed buffet and of course champagne at midnight.
For live music fans the big party this new year looks to be REACTion New Year's Eve, an event at the Aragon Ballroom. Get your tickets here.
Another option many take up to capitalise on the city's maritime setting is to take a cruise, giving you the opportunity to guarantee yourself an unobstructed vantage point for viewing the fireworks. Most of the local cruise companies have new year's eve special offers, I really like the look of the Mystic Blue fireworks & dinner cruise which includes a premium bar package and fabulous looking menu.
Other cruise offerings that are available in Chicago this new year include the Odyssey Chicago NYE Fireworks Dinner, which includes a DJ, dinner, a premium bar package, champagne toast and fireworks from Navy Pier at midnight and the Spirit of Chicago 2016 New Year's Eve Fireworks Dinner Cruise, which comes complete with dinner buffet, premium open bar, champagne toast at midnight. The full cruise range for new year 2017 includes:
Chicago NYE fireworks dinner cruise at Navy Pier - details here
Spirit of Chicago fireworks dinner cruise - details here
Spirit of Chicago new years eve family lunch cruise - details here
If you just want a relatively quieter (and more affordable!) night out then the city's restaurants will be hosting a variety of parties to cater for most budgets. I like the look of MK Chicago as it has my initials, but there are offerings available for all cuisines - check out the Chicago restaurant guide for more details and to make online reservations.
The big new year event on the Chicago River is expected to be screened live by one of the local networks. Official broadcast partners have been announced as NBC 5, Telemundo Chicago (Spanish language version) and iHeart radio. The Channel 5 broadcast is to be hosted by Mario Lopez, assisted by his wife Courtney in the role of co-host.
The live TV broadcast will take place from 11pm to 12.30am, you can watch the NBC coverage live streaming online here:
Coverage from Chicago on new years eve is also provided by the long running Countdown Chicago broadcast on ABC7, hosted by the ever-popular Janet Davies and Mark Giangreco - you can watch this one on their live stream here:
Places to watch live online, including some excellent views of the Chicago city skyline:
For a wide range of hotels, guest houses and apartments in Chicago, visit: local hotels here.
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