With 2014 fast approaching (and still sounding to some of us like something from a sci-fi film, rather than the year its about to be), the towns and cities of the Triangle are prepping for big New Years Eve celebrations. There are the official celebrations, sure, but theres also everything from galas to upscale dinners to wide-open rock shows to kid-friendly daytime events.
The most visible option is Raleighs 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. Weve picked out a handful of highlights.
Peter Lamb & the Wolves
Its quite literally out with the old and in with the new in Durham, as this year-end jazz hop is Casbahs final live music show before morphing into a game room. The Casbah, 1007 W. Main St., Durham; $15; 9:15 p.m.
Noon Years Eve
Even suppertime New Years 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 Symphonys 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 Triangles funniest New Years option. DSI Comedy Theatre, 200 N Greensboro St., Carrboro; $20-24; 10 p.m.
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.
And stay off the roads after all, New Years partying isnt 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.