If you’re looking for a way to ring in the New Year in quintessential San Diego style, then you might want to visit a local landmark or two on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day.
From Old Town San Diego State Historic Park to the famous Hotel Del Coronado, local landmarks are hosting a variety of New Year events that run the gamut from simple to flashy. So, grab a party hat that fits your style and start the countdown to 2014 at these renowned spots in America’s Finest City.
Balboa Park (For the foodie or explorer)
On New Year’s Eve, Balboa Park’s famous restaurant, The Prado, will serve a special three-course dinner that includes a champagne toast and dancing for $79.95 per person. Foodies can dine on a choice of appetizers such as lobster hush puppies or Kobe beef carpaccio before moving on to mouthwatering main courses such as Indian-spiced duck breast or filet and crab. For dessert, doughnut bread pudding or vanilla crème brulee are options on the special New Year’s Eve menu. As for Balboa Park’s many museums, plenty of exhibitions are open both during the day on New Year’s Eve and on New Year’s Day including “Bottled & Kegged: San Diego’s Craft Brew Culture” at the San Diego History Center. For a full listing of Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 events at Balboa Park, click here.
Old Town San Diego (For the no-fuss family)
During the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, Old Town San Diego hosts a series of “Bonfire Nights” from dusk until 9 p.m. Carolers and other performers provide the entertainment while attendees roast free s’mores around the bonfire. The event ends at 9 p.m. on New Year’s Eve – plenty of time to get the kids to bed before the clock strikes midnight.
Hotel Del Coronado (For the glitz and glamour)
In celebration of the Hotel Del’s 125th anniversary, the iconic resort in Coronado has been more decked out than ever throughout this holiday season, boasting classic Victorian decorations, vintage Santas and 100,000 white lights. For wannabe time-travelers, the hotel is offering a classic Victorian tea time session on New Year’s Eve, which includes an array of teas, finger sandwiches and sweet treats while a harpist plays background music. The cost is $50 for adults and $25 for kids. For those who wish to ring in the New Year in serious glitz and glamour, The Del is hosting its “Pure Magic New Year’s Gala” beginning at 7 p.m. with a champagne reception in the Crown Room, followed by a lavish dinner in the hotel’s oceanfront Ballroom. Dancing will follow, plus a champagne toast at midnight. Of course, this luxurious shindig doesn’t come cheap: tickets range from $300-$330. If that’s not enough, the fancy festivities continue on Jan. 1 with The Del’s annual champagne brunch in the Crown Room, by reservation only. Brunch costs $85 per adult and $24.50 for kids.
San Diego Zoo (For the mild wild child and animal lover)
Early birds might enjoy dining at the San Diego Zoo on Dec. 31 with “Albert’s Midly Wild New Year’s Eve Dinner.” Seating begins at 5 p.m. at Albert’s Restaurant inside the zoo for this special dinner prepared by Executive Chef Chris Mirguet and Albert’s Chef Charles Boukas (check out the menu here). Dinner costs $65 per person, and nonmembers must also pay zoo admission. Wine pairing is also available with this New Year’s Eve dinner for an additional $15. Reservations are required; call (619) 557-3964.
Del Mar Fairgrounds (For the lucky one where the surf meets the turf)
Del Mar horse racing season is many months away but on New Year’s Day, those who love the racetrack action can hit the Surfside Race Place at the Del Mar Fairgrounds for some wagering via satellite. Del Mar’s exclusive race book includes more than 1,000 video monitors where visitors can catch horse races from around the world. There’s also a sports lounge and restaurant for a bite between bets and patios with video monitors where visitors can enjoy the races while basking in the San Diego sunshine. On Jan. 1, Surfside is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with complimentary coffee served until 10 a.m. General admission is $5, while Saddle Club daily admission is $10 and includes a program. Surfside is open September through July, but wouldn’t it be nice to kick off New Year’s Day in the company of Lady Luck?
San Diego Convention Center (For the car enthusiast with a need for speed)
On New Year’s Day, downtown’s famous San Diego Convention Center will turn into a massive garage housing more than 400 vehicles from 36 global manufacturers for the San Diego International Auto Show. Gearheads will get to see 2014 model-year vehicles showcasing the newest levels of roadway technology, cutting-edge features and luxurious interiors. The event also includes interactive activities and 15,000 square feet dedicated to the “Exotics Vault” with vehicles from manufacturers like Bentley, Maserati, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Lotus and more. The auto show runs from Jan. 1 through Jan. 5, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day. Tickets range from $8 to $12 for children, military, seniors and adults. Sunday, Jan. 5 is Ford Family Day and children 12 and under get in for free.
Did we miss a New Year’s Eve or Day event at one of San Diego’s famous landmarks? If so, add the event in the comments section below. Cheers and Happy New Year!