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10 Of Our Favorite Events In Chicago This New Year's Weekend

By Michelle Meywes Kopeny in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 30, 2016 4:06PM

Chi-Town Rising 2015. Photo by Bekki Y. Wasmuth / Chicagoist.

This weekend we welcome 2017 with open arms and say good riddance to a year that gave us a bunch of crap and took most of our idols. Don't let the door hit you in the a$$ on the way out, 2016.


PATTI SMITH: The legendary Patti Smith is playing two shows at the Riviera this weekend, the first on Friday and then a special NYE show on Saturday. Smith and her band will perform Horses in a 70th birthday celebration. Tickets start at $45.

NEVERLAND PURITY BALL: It’s the 5th year for Neverland’s Purity Ball at Fantasy Nightclub beginning at 11 p.m. Top queer performers, hosts and DJs will head the event including Chicago powerhouses Shea CouleĆ© and The Vixen. Tickets are $29.99.


CHI-TOWN RISING: Chicago’s answer to a Times Square NYE is back for a second year. There are many different ways to watch the star rise at Chi-Town Rising, from free ticketed viewing areas near the riverfront to toasting Prosecco at the Corona Extra Beach House. They’ll also be broadcasting the event live on NBC. Indie Pop band Saint Motel and hometown hip-hop artist Sir the Baptist are scheduled to perform while Sheinelle Jones of Weekend TODAY hosts with NBC 5 local Siafa Lewis. For more information and to acquire tickets, visit Chi-Town Rising’s website.

QUEEN OF BOUNCE: Twerk the night away with Big Freedia and Har Mar Superstar at Chop Shop’s 1st Ward. Ring in the new year with The Queen of Bounce and New Orleans-style hip hop. Rocker Har Mar Superstar will also play with his six-piece band. Tickets are $40.

BLACK TIE AFFAIR: Table-side absinthe demonstrations and tastings are just part of the Black Tie Affair at The Violet Hour. Dress to impress for the cocktail bar’s New Year’s Eve celebration that will feature a la carte small plates and signature cocktails for purchase. Seatings are available from 6 to 8 p.m. and after 9 p.m. for the midnight toast crowd. To make a reservation, email

The Great Libation - New Years Eve Speakeasy Cruise 2016 from The Great Libation on Vimeo.

SPEAKEASY CRUISE: Set sail on a New Year's Eve Speakeasy Cruise to ring in 2017. The Great Libation calls itself a “traveling food and beverage extravaganza” on a private yacht that will take on a roaring twenties theme complete with entertainment and a great view of the skyline’s fireworks. The party starts at 8:30 p.m. and the boat departs from Navy Pier at 10 p.m. All-inclusive tickets are $259. (Use promo code NYE35 for 35% off).

HOOD INTERNET: Think Dick Clark’s New Year’s Eve is the only one rockin? Local DJ duo The Hood Internet will mash up some of our favorite hip hop plus some of their own material at Lincoln Hall. Air Credits, Celine Neon and DJ Manny Muscles will all also play beginning at 10 p.m. Tickets are $25 ($30 door).

MOULIN ROUGE DINNER: Ring in the new year at Carnivale with entertainment that includes an aerialist, stilt walker, contortionist, hand balancer, juggler and a live DJ. The Moulin Rouge themed New Year’s Eve party will include a midnight balloon drop and champagne toast for guests with dinner reservations after 9:30 p.m. Call 312-850-5005 for reservations.


Image courtesy of Special Events Management.

NEW YEAR’S DAY 5K: Start your new year off the healthy way with a New Year’s Day 5K Run/Walk in Lincoln Park. It’s the 32nd annual event stepping off at 11 a.m. On-site registration starts at $40. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Lakeview Citizens' Council.

NEO-FUTURIST RETROSPECTIVE: The Neo-Futurists had to say goodbye to the Too-Much-Light-name of their long-running comedy show this year after one of the co-founders pulled the license. The show has been on the run since 1988, performing 9,775 plays. Jan. 1 will be the final encore performance in Time Is Of The Essence: A Neo-Futurist Retrospective. The Neo-Futurists say the show “will celebrate the rich history of this Chicago tradition with an eye towards what’s next.” Shows are at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 or $40 for both acts.