Lots of families love to stay in on New Year’s Eve, preferring to watch the ball drop on TV and vicariously enjoy the pop music performers and millions of revelers fighting the cold and crowds from the safety of their own homes.
But if you’re feeling more adventurous, and crave a little fun and excitement to help you and your loved ones ring in 2016, there are plenty of great events to choose from — both kid-friendly and aimed more toward adults.
Here’s our guide to the best places and parties to spend this New Year’s Eve in South Florida.
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Miami Children’s Museum: Noon Year’s Eve
Proving that it’s never too early to kick off a great New Year’s Eve party, Miami Children’s Museum will ring in the New Year (a few hours early) with a countdown to noon. The main hall of MCM will be transformed into a Times Square-like atmosphere with an apple juice toast and MiChiMu ball drop with balloons and confetti cannons shooting off all over.
Details: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Miami Children’s Museum, 980 MacArthur Cswy., Watson Island, Miami; www.miamichildrensmuseum.org; $18, $14 for Florida residents, free for kids under 12 months.
Young At Art Museum: Rock’N Noon Year’s Eve Party
Not one, but two ball drops (one with beach balls for kids 5 and older, one with balloons for those younger than 5) will mark the official start of the “noon” year. Plus, kids can create their own fireworks jewelry and wishing wands, and learn Chinese calligraphy to celebrate The Year of the Monkey.
Details: 10 a.m.-noon at the Young At Art Museum, 751 SW 121st Ave., Davie; 954-424-0085 or www.youngatartmuseum.org; $14; $12 for Broward County residents, seniors and children over age 1; and $11 for military members and their immediate families.
Fort Lauderdale Style: Downtown Countdown
The whole family can party like it’s 2016 with live music featuring country sensation Amber Leigh, a DJ, a Kids Zone and the Orange Bowl game showing on big-screen TVs to keep Dad sane. For the tiny set, there’s an early countdown at 7 p.m. in addition to the usual midnight one. And of course, plenty of fireworks will light up the sky.
For FB Kids: Carnival Nights Celebration
Kids from 4-12 have their own place to hang out and celebrate the New Year, and it’s a fantasy playland, with arts and craft stations, delicious and nutritious dinner and festive party treats, plus age-appropriate tunes, games, dance contests, prizes, Xbox Live, Wii Stations and movie areas.
Details: 6 p.m.-1 a.m. at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, 4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; call 305-538-2000, ext. 3460, for reservations; $95 for first child, $85 for each additional sibling.
Biltmore Buddies: Neverland Bash
While their parents and older siblings enjoy the swanky Gala Dinner Dance (details below), kids 4-12 have their own party: the “Neverland Bash” in the Danielson gallery with festive decor, interactive activities and a kids’ buffet. The party will conclude at 11:30 p.m., just in time for the kids to enjoy the fireworks on the terrace with their families.
Details: 8:30-11:30 p.m. at The Biltmore, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables; 305-913-3246; $75.
FOR THE ADULTS
New Year’s Eve At The Biltmore: Gala Dinner Dance
Ring in 2016 in style in the ballroom with cool lounge music, an exquisite dinner with a premium open bar and a champagne toast at the stroke of midnight. Dance to live music by the band Flavor and DJ Chris from Sarz, enjoy hand-rolled cigars on the terrace, and marvel at the fireworks lighting up the sky over the golf course.
Details: 8:30 p.m.-1 a.m. at The Biltmore, Country Club Ballroom and Terrace, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables; 305-913-3246; $225-$350.
Mr. 305: Pitbull’s New Year’s Eve Revolution
You’ve seen it on FOX — now see it in person. Miami’s favorite party rapper does his best to turn Bayfront Park into the Magic City’s tropical version of Times Square, inviting more than 10,000 of his closest friends for a star-studded celebration featuring a performance by Pitbull himself (“I Know You Want Me [Calle Ocho],” “Timber,” “Give Me Everything”), plus special guests Diddy; Earth, Wind & Fire; Prince Royce; Shawn Mendes; Austin Mahone; R. City; Timbaland; and many more.
Deadheads Unite: Crazy Fingers
Celebrate 25 years of one of the best Grateful Dead tribute bands as Crazy Fingers performs a special New Year’s Eve set of jamtastic favorites, along with opening act Unlimited Devotion.
Details: 8:30 p.m. at Revolution Live, 200 W. Broward Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; www.jointherevolution.net; $20 advance, $30 day of show.
Dynamic Duo: The Weeknd And Kygo
You won’t be able to feel your face when smoking-hot pop-R&B singer The Weeknd takes the stage to perform hits including “The Hills,” “Earned It” and “Can’t Feel My Face,” along with Norwegian DJ Kygo (“Firestone,” “Here for You,” “Stay”).
Details: 9 p.m. at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach Poolside, 4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; www.flavorus.com; tickets start at $325.
Freestyle Explosion: Expose & Shannon
Ring in the New Year retro-style with booty-shaking ‘80s stars Expose (“Point of No Return,” “Come Go With Me,” “Let Me Be the One,” “Seasons Change”) and the International Queen of Freestyle Shannon (“Let the Music Play,” “Give Me Tonight”).
Details: 9 p.m. at the Magic City Casino, Stage 305, 450 NW 37th Ave., Miami; 305-460-6579 or www.magiccitycasino.com; $35, VIP table for four $300 (includes bottle of champagne).
Fiesta Fin De Ano: Oscar D’leon
Venezuelan bassist, vocalist and bandleader affectionately known as “El Leon de la Salsa” teams up with fellow Latin stars Jose Luis “El Puma” Rodriguez, Billo’s Caracas Boys, Argenis Carruyo and more for a festive fiesta to ring in 2016.
Details: 9 p.m. at the DoubleTree by Hilton Miami, 711 NW 72nd Ave., Miami; www.flavorus.com; $125-$350.
The Piano Man: Billy Joel
Get into a New York state of mind this New Year’s Eve as one of the world’s greatest singer-songwriters returns to South Florida to ring in 2016 with timeless classics including “Prelude/Angry Young Man,” “Movin’ Out,” “My Life,” “Just the Way You Are,” “Only the Good Die Young,” “New York State of Mind,” “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant,” “Big Shot,” “You May Be Right,” “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me,” “The Longest Time,” “Don’t Ask Me Why” and, of course, “Piano Man.”
Details: 9:30 p.m. at the BB&T Center, 1 Panther Pkwy., Sunrise; Ticketmaster; $49.50-$159.50.
That Southern Touch: Marshall Tucker Band
One of the greatest Southern rock bands of all time takes the stage in celebration of its 44th year on the road with the last leg of its 2015 Searchin’ for a Rainbow Tour. Enjoy timeless hits including “Heard It in a Love Song,” “Fire on the Mountain” and “Can’t You See,” then take in the fireworks and champagne toast at midnight.