Bright lights. Big crowds. The music pumping through your veins.
If all of that sounds absolutely awful, you’ve come to the right place. (On the other hand, if all of that sounds amazing, we’ve got you covered here.)
When it comes to New Years Eve events, there exists a select few who are perfectly happy with a handful of friends, cheap drinks, and a respectable bed time.
If crowded dance floors and loud nightclubs are your worst nightmare, close out the year with your mood on chill. We gathered these low-key, but still memorable, NYE events so you can choose your own idea of a perfect evening filled with art, adventure, games, and escapes.
Here are the best, low-key New Years Eve events:
A Night of Art
First Night Alexandria
Spend First Night Rockin’ on the River at First Night Alexandria. Dance into the new decade with sounds of DJ Ray Casiano. Enjoy performances from local and regional talent as coffee shops, retail shops, and other buildings are transformed into entertainment venues. The waterfront is the perfect spot to watch the firework show celebrating the New Year.
1 AM | 221 King St., Alexandria, VA 22314
Take a stroll through the historic Georgetown neighborhood and experience the curated outdoor public art light installation. Stop by one of more than 50 of Georgetown’s national retailers and small businesses for special promotions during GLOW. The exhibit is available starting Friday, December 6th through Sunday, January 5th.
5–10 PM Nightly | 3222 M St. Washington, DC 20007
AURORA: The Spirit of Northern Lights at ARTECHOUSE DC
Discover the magic of Aurora Borealis, or “Northern Lights” at the ARTECHOUSE exhibit that combines creativity, technology, and innovation into a unique storytelling experience. This immersive art installation curates a winter spectacle for visitors to marvel at the imagined seasonal skies. After 5 PM, adventurers 21+ are welcome. The exhibits is available starting Saturday, December 7th through Sunday, January 5th.
Daily 10 AM-10 PM | 1238 Maryland Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20024
DC Improv Comedy Club
Known for his roles in comedy blockbusters like The Heat and Ghostbusters or TV credits on MADtv, Adam Ray is headlining a NYE performance at the DC Improv Comedy Club. Laugh your way into the New Year during the 10:15 PM Countdown show for $75.
Shows at 7:30 & 10:15 PM | 1140 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington DC 20036
A Night of Adventure
Season’s Greenings at the U.S. Botanic Garden
Travel throughout the gardens in the U.S. from Hawaii to Maine as plant based recreations and conservatories will fill the model train room. Included in this exhibit is iconic gardens scenes like Brooklyn Botanic Gardens’ vibrant red Japanese torii gate, Huntsville Botanical Garden’s Rocket Gardenfeaturing NASA space nodes, rockets, and more. Visit this holiday season to see some of America’s most beautiful and diverse public gardens. The exhibit is available starting Thursday, November 28th through Sunday, January 5th.
10 AM-5 PM | 100 Maryland Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20001
New Year’s Eve Fireworks Dinner Cruise
Cruise the Potomac River and enjoy an evening of DJs, dancing, premium open bar, and delicious dinner buffet. Cheers to the New Year with a champagne toast at midnight.
Boarding at 8 PM, Cruise from 9 PM-1 AM | 580 Water St. SW, Washington, DC 20024
A Night of Games
Bowling at Pinstripes Georgetown
Tap into your competitive side and challenge friends and family to a round of bowling and bocce at Pinstripes Georgetown. During NYE, Pinstripes celebrates with a complimentary glass of champagne, party favors, and live music as players help “roll” in the new decade.
Opens at 7:30 PM | 1064 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington DC 20007
Ping in the New Year at Spin DC
This one-of-a-kind party is home to 12,000 square feet of ping pong tables in the heart of the DC. Celebrate, socialize, and serve a unique NYE that will be one to remember.
9 PM-2 AM | 1332 F St. NW, Washington, DC 20045
A Night to Escape
Billiards at Breadsoda
Simplicity is key at this 70’s-style billiards bar perfect for a low-key NYE. Taste of one of the rotating draughts or select your favorite from the extensive beer and cider list.
12 PM-2 AM | 2233 Wisconsin Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20007
McClellan’s Retreat in Dupont Circle
Want to be near the action, but not in the action? McClellan’s Retreat in Dupont Circle offers the cozy atmosphere of a neighborhood bar with the crafted cocktails displaying its culinary expertise. With drinks named “Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow” and “Not Now, Arctic Puffin!” these drinks are sure to delight.
Opens at 4 PM | 2031 Florida Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20009
Calico Blagden Alley
Enjoy a laid back evening at Calico Blagden Alley, the urban backyard bar and restaurant. Escape the noise and celebrate at this secret oasis.
Opens 4:30 PM | 50 Blagden Alley NW, Washington, DC 20001