A guide to some of New Year’s Eve’s best options

CorrespondentDecember 26, 2013 

With 2014 fast approaching (and still sounding to some of us like something from a sci-fi film, rather than the year it’s about to be), the towns and cities of the Triangle are prepping for big New Year’s Eve celebrations. There are the official celebrations, sure, but there’s also everything from galas to upscale dinners to wide-open rock shows to kid-friendly daytime events.

The most visible option is Raleigh’s First Night – a sprawling, festival-like celebration centered on Fayetteville Street and City Plaza, but also incorporating a handful of venues elsewhere downtown. A $10 button covers dozens of performances as well as the annual acorn drop for this kids-welcome, alcohol-free extravaganza. Among the highlights are Chuck Davis’ African American Dance Ensemble, the N.C. Opera and the First Night Carousel – though the dozens of options include everything from ukulele ensembles to jazz combos and local indie-rock bands. A 7 p.m. fireworks display and countdown is ostensibly kid-oriented, while its midnight counterpart will mark the actual calendar change.

For those ringing in the New Year elsewhere in the Triangle, there are myriad options. We’ve picked out a handful of highlights.

Peter Lamb & the Wolves

It’s quite literally out with the old and in with the new in Durham, as this year-end jazz hop is Casbah’s final live music show before morphing into a game room. The Casbah, 1007 W. Main St., Durham; $15; 9:15 p.m.

Noon Year’s Eve

Even suppertime New Year’s parties can be a challenge for the youngest revelers, so why not celebrate 2014 before naptime? Children from toddling age through elementary school should appreciate what this kids’ museum offers. Marbles, 201 E. Hargett St., Raleigh; $5; 11:30 a.m.

Big Band and Vienna

Good news, not-quite-night-owls: The North Carolina Symphony’s annual concert ends early. The strong melodies of Big Band hits and the bombastic accessibility of Viennese overtures should establish a festive, easy mood. Meymandi Concert Hall, 2 E. South St., Raleigh; $52-92; 8 p.m.

Best Countdown Ever

Though DSI – Dirty South Improv – has had its own Carrboro space since 2005, the group traces its roots to 1993. With that kind of experience, this may be the Triangle’s funniest New Year’s option. DSI Comedy Theatre, 200 N Greensboro St., Carrboro; $20-24; 10 p.m.

Night Lights

The centerpiece of this family-oriented celebration is a starlit 5:45 p.m. countdown under the planetarium dome, perfect for those with a healthy sense of wonder. Morehead Planetarium, 250 E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill; Free; 4 p.m.

Southern Culture on the Skids

For those looking to legitimately cut loose, this longstanding local absurdist rockabilly outfit sings about banana (bo-nana) pudding and has been known to sling Moon Pies into the crowd. Southland Ballroom, 614 N. West St., Raleigh; $20-25; 9 p.m.

Stay home

And stay off the roads – after all, New Year’s partying isn’t for everyone. How about homemade hot cocoa (on the stovetop: warm one cup milk, two tablespoons cocoa, a tablespoon or so of sugar and a dash of salt and vanilla) and counting down to midnight from the comfort of your couch? Free, obviously.

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service