17 Last-Minute New Year’s Eve Ideas for LA Families

NYE, New Years Eve, 2021, Happy New Year, new year
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We made it through 2020… almost! Wondering how to celebrate safely? We’ve got you covered with the best virtual events, festive DIY activities and socially distanced family outings.

Party with Puppers

Join Lang Beach's Aquarium of the Pacific for Noon Year's Eve, a family-friendly virtual event. Kids will create a fish party hat, meet a live Ambassador Animal, and dance your way to the Noon Year’s countdown with the Pacific Pals puppets!

Cost: $5
Time: 11:15a.m.–12p.m. (PST)
Online: aquariumofpacific.org

Make It Grand

If you've got older kids or serious night owls, you might just be able to stay up late enough to join Grand Park's live dance party celebration, featuring Steven Aoki. The virtual event will be streaming on Fuse TV and Grand Park's YouTube channel

Cost: Free
Time: 11p.m.
Online: nyela.grandparkla.org

Try a DIY Drive-Thru

Tickets to LA's best holiday drive-thrus may be sold out for New Year's, but you can still load the kids in the car, put on some festive music and do your own drive-thru around these neighborhoods. The houses on these streets go all out, with spectacular, can't miss displays. 

Glow On

Want to get out of the house in a safe, socially distanced way? Tickets are still available on Dec. 31 to explore GLOW, a nighttime light exhibit at South Coast Botanic Gardens. See the lush oasis transformed into an underwater ocean world, with thousands of lights twinkling to a curated soundtrack.

Cost: $34.95 per person for non-members; free for children 4 and under
Time:
At publication, timed tickets were still available from 6:15p.m.-8:30p.m.
Online: southcoastbotanicgarden.org

Get Decked

Make the occasion more fun by getting all gussied up for your at-home celebration, and going all out with your NYE decor. Visit local party boutique Bonjour Fete's online shop for a stylish selection of festive garlands, paper goods and more. 

Insider tip: Bonjour Fete offers delivery via Postmates!

Pop to It

Ring in the year with a bang (or a pop), and make your own confetti poppers with this DIY tutorial

photo: istock

Say Cheese!

Take photo-snapping to the next level with our guide to creating your own at-home photo booth.

Game On!

Family game night, anyone? Enjoy some friendly competition and play some of the best games of 2020.

photo: istock

Park It

Sure, you could do a regular at-home movie night. Or you could take a cue from this year's drive-in resurgence and create your own in your living room or back yard parking lot. Ready to ride? Here''s everything you need to host a drive-in movie night.

Camp Out

Forts and tents make everything more fun. Construct one that's totally epic with our roundup of 19 next-level indoor forts! 

Freeze Time

You know what they say about parenthood: the days are long, but the years are short. That's never been more true than this year. Be sure to memorialize the best (and not-so-best) of 2020 with this time capsule tutorial, the perfect NYE family activity.

photo: Gabby Cullen

Look Ahead

What are you and your crew most looking forward to in 2021? (Um, where to begin?) To get your started thinking about the future, create a family vision board that showcases all your dreams and goals for the year ahead. 

photo: istock

Yuk It Up

Laugh your way into the new year with these safe-for-kids jokes and puns, all about LA. 

Keep Your Eye on the Ball

One major perk of celebrating NYE in LA? We get to see the iconic Times Square ball drop at 9p.m., perfect timing for families with little ones. And this year the all-virtual festivities start at 3p.m. (PST), and will be webcast live and commercial free. 

Time: Starting at 3p.m. (PST)
Cost: Free
Online: timesquarenyc.org

photo: Story Pirates

Celebrate with the Story Pirates

New York-based children's entertainers Story Pirates are inviting kiddos to their virtual bash, complete with games, songs, surprises, a thrilling caper involving dragon magic, and more.

Time: 12p.m.-1p.m. (PST)
Cost: $15
Event details

Go Nuts (Peanuts, That Is)

Join the Schulz Museum (located in Santa Rosa, CA) for a virtual version of its annual New Year’s Eve celebration. There will be Peanuts-themed crafts, special appearances by Snoopy and Woodstock and a countdown to the up-down balloon drop at noon.

Time: 11 a.m.-noon (PST)
Cost: $15
Event details

 

–Shannan Rouss

featured photo: Shutterstock

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