When I’m considering where to spend New Year’s Eve in Los Angeles, I look for 3 things:
- Great live bands or dance music we typically cover on this site.
- It won’t break the bank (Some free, most under $40).
- Whether big or small events, I’m looking for good vibes, not pretentiousness.
If you’re looking for the same, here are my recommendations (in order of cost) all across LA: Downtown, Silver Lake, Hollywood, Mid City, Santa Monica and Long Beach:
Grand Park + The Music Center’s #NYELA
Free, All Ages
LA’s answer to NYC’s Time Square: a central location, easily accessible by metro and all ages and free, with an eclectic mix of music for everyone! It’s an alcohol free event (thank you! no obnoxious drunks to ruin the vibe). Grank Park has partnered with The Music Center to make this year the largest event yet with 3 stages and of course its iconic midnight video projection! I’m a huge fan of Quita Penas, Gavin Turek and DJ Rani D of Radio Afrique! Other performers include Hunter Hunted, Louis Vivet, Chris Douridas, Lost Midas, WATERBED, Meishi Smile, DJ Ry Toast & more!
Pluto’s First Party with Devendra Banhart, Awesome Tapes from Africa @ Ace Hotel
This one made the list on the strength of Awesome Tapes from Africa alone! ATFA has been curating great African dance music for almost a decade! Other DJs include Devendra Banhart, Nikolai Haas, Amy von Harrington and Josiah Steinbrick. Plus the event sounds like one big psychedelic, intergalactic celebration on the Ace Hotel rooftop bar, promising “future lifeform caricatures, alien sightseeing, interstellar light installations”.
Cali Hustle NYE with Quetzal Guerrero @ The Virgil
$15 presale, 21+
Q Violin, aka Quetzal Guerrero, is one of LA’s most underrated talents. This man plays it all on violin and guitar: soul, samba, reggae, hip hop, funk. Together with his partner Sunny Z, their Cali Hustle nights give a spotlight to so many hardworking talented musicians in LA and celebrates Angelenos hustling a living here. 4 years strong, their NYE party will be backed by Q’s Blue Violin Band and MOM LA’s DJ Jedi!
Brazilian NYE White Party with Bahia All-Stars @ Couture
$25 presale only, 21+
If you’re looking for a Brazilian celebration complete with midnight Rio Carnaval parade and live music by many of the musicians in the LA Brazilian community like Batukaxe and Batala LA, head to Ariel Del Mundo‘s yearly event. And wear white: it’s a Brazilian tradition to welcome the new year.
Brazilian Carnival 2016 with KCRW DJs Jeremy Sole, Anthony Valadez @ Zanzibar
$25 presale, $35 door, 21+
Home of Afro Funke hosts one of its own Jeremy Sole and his KCRW colleague Anthony Valadez for a Brazilian themed dance party. KG Superstar will preside over the festivities that include samba dancers and a midnight drum line.
New Year’s Eve @ Downtown Long Beach
$30-$40 presale only, All Ages
Not to be overshadowed by downtown LA’s many happenings, downtown Long Beach drew 13,500 people last NYE! This year’s block party has 3 stages with Saint Motel, ZZ Ward, Houndmouth, Vintage Trouble and Funky Sole family: Miles Tackett & his band The 3 Times and DJ Clifton [don’t forget their 16th anniversary on Sat Dec. 26 too!].
La Sonora Dinamita @ Conga Room
Conga Room is hosting the original La Sonora Dinamita who haven’t played LA in 10 years. It’s actually an interesting history how the legendary Colombian cumbia band fractured into so many incarnations playing abroad and here in LA.
Morrissey @ USC Galen Center
$39.50-$129.50, All Ages
Morrissey is no stranger to many of you following this site! From Mexrissey to Mariachi Manchester [who are celebrating their 1 year on Sat Dec. 26], the power of Moz runs deep in LA as well as Latin America where he just finished a large tour!
New Year’s Eve with Orgone @ The Mint
$80-$95 presale, $115 door, 21+
The priciest of the bunch is an all inclusive affair at one of my favorite small venues, The Mint: open bar, complimentary food and the scorching hot soul and funk of Orgone, plus Lyric Jones, Soluzion and DJ Hot Tub Johnnie! You can buy tickets for $80 directly at The Mint and ask their bartenders how to get half off your bar tab.