Ways to Celebrate New Year’s in San Diego

New Year’s Eve is typically billed as a holiday for adults, with fancy dinners, expensive cocktails and parties ‘til the wee hours of the morning.

But kids also look forward to the excitement and fun of ringing in the new year. This year, you can celebrate your New Year’s Eve family style with any of these fantastic family-friendly festivities!

  1. NYE Cele-Brick-Tion at LEGOLAND – One of the most exciting new year’s celebrations for kids is LEGOLAND’s annual Kids’ New Year’s Eve! The theme park boasts its “ball drop” – a giant lego brick falling 22 feet in the air – to recreate Times Square’s tradition at the kid-friendly hour of 6 p.m. along with fireworks!
  2. Albert’s Mildly Wild NYE Dinner + Jungle Bells – Enjoy a fabulous gourmet dinner at Albert’s Restaurant paired with Jungle Bells, the dazzling lights display and festive animal encounters throughout the San Diego Zoo! Dinner seating times run from 5 p.m. to 8:15 p.m., and you may call ahead for reservations.
  3. John’s Incredible Pizza NYE Bash – If your family loves a pizza buffet, unlimited rides, games and fun prizes, John’s Incredible Pizza Company in National City is where it’s at for your New Year’s Eve bash! From 7 p.m. to 1 a.m., kids from one to 92 can enjoy a fun-filled New Year’s Eve with all the pizza they can eat and games and rides they can take. There will also be a live stream of the Times Square ball drop at 9 p.m. (midnight ET) to help little ones ring in 2019 before bedtime.
  4. Living Coast Discovery Center NYE Party – Celebrate a thrilling family-friendly New Year’s Eve while also funding a great cause at Chula Vista’s Living Coast Discovery Center – a nonprofit that provides environmental education on coastal resource conservation in San Diego. Living Coast’s NYE Party from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. features wildlife animal encounters, music and dancing, trivia and family games, a photobooth, crafts, night hikes and a live steam of the Times Square ball drop at 9 p.m. (midnight ET).
  5. Promenade Park NYE Party – Ring in the new year at a bedtime-friendly hour at the free New Year’s Eve party in downtown Lemon Grove’s Promenade Park. From 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., there will be a bouncy house, kids’ games, face painting and tasty food and drink. Party-goers will ring in the new year promptly at 9 p.m. (midnight ET) with a live stream of the ball drop in Times Square.
  6. Go to the movies – Has your family been waiting to catch that awesome new release? There’s no better time to do it than on New Year’s Eve, when most movie theatres are practically empty. Buy tickets for a show that starts around 9 p.m. and you might have the entire theatre all to yourselves!
  7. Have our own NYE “houseparty” – New Year’ Eve can be just as fun at home, if not more so than going out. Not only does it save you money, but it also gives your family the chance to bond and reflect together on all the incredible events of 2018 and what everyone is looking forward to in 2019. There are some excellent activities you can do at home, including:
    • Set up a pizza-making station – Make and bake your own pizzas, and mix and match slices among family members. You can do the same with an ice cream station after dinner too!
    • Order in from a new place – Thanks to services like GrubHub and Postmates, you can have just about any kind of food you can imagine delivered right to your doorstep. Try a new restaurant or type of cuisine that has been on your family’s wish list.
    • Game night – A New Year’s Even “in” makes for the ultimate family game night. Have each family member choose their favorite game and then play one round (or more) of each!
    • Movies, movies, movies – Catch that final holiday flick of the season, queue up a family favorite or stream a fresh-out-of-the-theaters new release. If you’re having trouble deciding what to watch, leave it up to fate by drawing names from a jar!
    • Make new resolutions together – Making resolutions together as a family can be a wonderful bonding experience. It gives everyone a chance to offer their unique insight and get feedback and encouragement.
    • Early NYE Countdown – If you have young children, it may not be possible (or advisable!) for them to stay up until midnight. But you can still ring in 2019 together with a “real” countdown on one of Netflix’s many New Year’s Eve countdown shows. Just type “new year’s countdown” into the Search field and select from a number of cool kid-friendly new year’s countdowns, fireworks and ball drops.

For all the best family-friendly holiday activities & events in San Diego, be sure to scroll through Scripps Medical Groups’ many helpful articles.

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