Located less than a 30-minute drive from Los Angeles, Long Beach has a slower pace and, yet also some of the best New Year's Eve celebrations within the LA area. Moreover, some of these fabulous parties provide free admission!
One of the favorite annual events to ring in the New Year occurs at the Waterfront Amphitheater. Free and family-friendly festivities get underway at 5 pm. Entertainment varies from face painting and interactive games to live music and 21+ Bar. The celebration wraps up with an East Coast Countdown and fireworks set off at 9 pm.
Shoreline Village throws another free party suitable for both youngsters and adults. The NYE bash features DJ music and live bands performing from 7 pm to 12:30 am. The highlights of the celebration are two of So Cal's best firework shows—at 9 pm for kids and at midnight.
Among the ticketed options, the most stylish choice is New Year's Eve aboard the world-known Queen Mary. No trip to Long Beach is complete without seeing a one-of-a-king hotel inside the retired ocean liner. Get yourself an unforgettable night full of great music and fireworks. Early bird tickets are sold in early November—$100 for general admission and $200 for VIP guests.
NYE cruises are another excellent way to bid farewell to the passing year and welcome the year to come. Harbor Breeze Cruises offer family options that take you to fireworks at 9 pm and finish before bedtime. Also, they have luxury cruises with fireworks at midnight. Besides, Hornblower Cruises offer some excellent NYE celebration packages.
Also, the Aquarium of the Pacific offers a special program for NYE. During the day, you can check out this place with kids and watch fish, otters, penguins, and sharks. But from 8 pm through 1 am, New Year's Eve Night Dive transforms the Aquarium into a unique dance floor amidst dozens of finned friends. The tickets are $34.95 per person.
As you see, in Long Beach, you'll find no shortage of the end of the year events. Just dress to the nines or whatever makes you feel comfy and explore downtown for some lesser-known parties. If you feel like driving to the nearby LA, visit its legendary and free Countdown at Grand Park.