Here’s how to celebrate New Years Eve in San Diego
If there was ever a year we wanted to end, it’s safe to say 2020 is the one. Though we can’t celebrate New Year’s Eve at our favorite local bars, restaurants and clubs this year due to stay-at-home orders, there are still ways to safely ring in the new year.
From San Diego bay cruises to virtual events to dining specials, here are some ideas to spice up your NYE holiday this year. Cheers to 2021!
Virtual Times Square Ball Drop: Times Square’s infamous ball drop will still be happening this year ... just without an audience. Though there won’t be a crowd, the cameras will still be rolling in NYC and viewers can tune in through a live broadcast on Dec. 31. Additionally, a new app is scheduled to launch Dec. 19 that will allows users to experience Times Square virtually using augmented reality features. Sign up at nye2021.com/authenticate to receive updates on the app and the NYE webcast.
New Year’s Eve Celebrations at Jamul Casino: Though many venues are closed due to COVID-19, San Diego casinos are still open at limited capacity. Jamul Casino in East County has a variety of events and specials for those hoping for in-person celebration. If you choose to attend, be sure to follow all health and safety guidelines, including wearing a mask and social distancing. For additional event information, visit jamulcasinosd.com/nye2021.
- “Remember When Rock was Young” — The Elton John Tribute: Experience a live music performance while dining at The Rooftop, Jamul Casino’s outdoor restaurant. Tickets are available for $150 and include a starter, choice of entrée and dessert. Bonus: all of the dishes are named after Elton John songs. There will be two showtimes at 6 and 8:30 p.m. Make a reservation either time and view the full menu online.
- NYE Dinner at Prime Cut: Pair a six course meal with music performances from violinist Amy Serrano and Rick Ellis, who will singing Frank Sinatra. The chef’s tasting menu is $125, with the option to add the suggested wine pairing for $30. Choose either the 5 and 8 p.m. seating. Make a reservation and view the full menu online.
- Latin Night at Tony Gwynn’s Sports Pub: Enjoy a $65 Taste of Baja Buffet from 5 to 10 p.m. as well as live music from the Manny Cepeda Band. Plus, dance into the new year with free instruction by Serena Cuevas at 8:30 p.m. until 12:30 a.m. First come, first serve; reservations are not available.
- Free live entertainment: From 5 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., stop by JIVe Lounge for live entertainment with free admission. DJs will also be playing at Lost 94 and on the casino floor throughout the day.
- Noon-Year’s Celebration: All guests playing slots of table games at 12 p.m. receive $20 in free play.
New Year’s Eve Dinner Cruise on San Diego Bay: Most events have gone virtual this year, but at this time, Flagship SD is currently still planning to host its New Year’s Eve Dinner Cruise on the San Diego Bay from 7 to 10 p.m. on Dec. 31. Tickets are $150 and include a five-course gourmet dinner prepared on board, as well as live music entertainment. Enjoy a complimentary glass of champagne or sparking cider while boarding at 6:30 p.m. For an extra $55, enjoy an unlimited beverage package of liquor, wine and beer. Note: Be sure to follow all COVID-19 safety rules while on board. If state regulations change by Dec. 31 and force the event to cancel, Flagship SD will work with ticketholders on rescheduling the visit, or issue refunds if necessary. Visit flagshipsd.com/cruises/new-years-eve-dinner-cruise to reserve your spot and check for event updates.
NYE Celebration with San Diego Symphony: This year, enjoy a night of live classic music from the comfort of your own home on New Year’s Eve. Led by music director Rafael Payare and pianist Ray Ushikubo, this virtual performance features Viennese waltzes and jazz-influenced works. Young piano sensation Ray Ushikubo will also make an appearance to perform George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.” The one-hour event kicks off at 7:30 p.m. and is available to stream with a $25 donation. All registered viewers can access the stream up to seven days after the event. For tickets and more information, visit sandiegosymphony.org/tickets-events/2020-21-season/new-years-eve-at-home.
JOY! Mixology Virtual Tutorials: Every Thursday, Little Italy mixologists are hosting free virtual cocktail and mocktail tutorials on social media. Sign up for a class before New Year’s Eve to learn a festive drink to make at home for the holiday. Each week is presented by a mixologist from a different bar or restaurant, including Born & Raised and Cloak & Petal. Recipes are released the Tuesday before each class so participants can grab the ingredients ahead of time. The series runs through the end of December. Visit Little Italy’s Facebook and Instagram pages @LittleItalySD for details and updated schedule.
‘Herb at Home’ on NYE: Chef Brian Malarkey’s “Herb at Home” returns this month and offers an exclusive New Year’s Eve dinner. The meal is $75 per person and available in groups of two, four, six or eight. Each dinner package comes with three family-style starters, choice of entrée, and family-style dessert. Highlights include white truffle mashed potatoes, pink peppercorn crusted filet mignon, and a molten lava cake with whipped crème fraîche and red chocolate shavings. For an extra extravagant New Year’s Eve feast, an additional caviar appetizer is available for $100. Order now through Dec. 27 for Dec. 31 afternoon pickup at either Herb & Wood in Little Italy or Herb & Sea in Encinitas. View the full menu at herbandwood.com/holidays.
Cloak and Petal’s NYE packages: Little Italy eatery Cloak & Petal is offering dinner and cocktail packages for the holiday. Depending on the size of your stay-at-home bubble, choose from three options: The Notorious ($150, serves four), Emperor’s Bounty ($250, serves six) or Kaiju Feast ($350, serves eight). All packages include alcohol, salted edamame, karage, gyoza and and sushi platters, along with an assortment of libations like beer, sake and cocktails. If you want to kick your buzz up a a notch, additional cocktails are also available for $10 each. Preorders can be made up to one week in advance; 2 hour minimum required. Bonus: Cloak and Petal will donate two meals to front line workers and first responders with the purchase of every package. Check cloakandpetal.com for updates.
Puesto’s special NYE menu: For the holiday, Puesto Mexican Artisan Kitchen & Bar is offering an exclusive menu. Created by chefs Ian Tenzer and Erik Aronow, with help from bar and sprits director Beau de Bois, features dishes such as duck confit en mole negro, truffled elote, and oyster mushrooms. Each meal feeds two people and costs $100, with the option to add two cocktails and champagne for $50. Order at eatpuesto.com for pick-up at Puesto’s Mission Valley location.
NYE to-go feast from Black Angus Steakhouse: On Dec. 31 only, indulge in a special New Year’s Eve To Go meal of two 6 ounce filet mignon, two lobster tails, one appetizer, four sides, one dessert, molasses bread, and two prosecco splits. The $99 meal serves two people. Those dining alone in quarantine can enjoy a solo dinners for $34.99 which includes a choice of an 8 ounce prime rib or filet mignon, along with lobster tail. Place to-go or curbside pickup orders at blackangus.com.
Chinese takeout at Fortunate Son: The North Park restaurant will be open on New Year’s Eve for those hoping to take part in the Chinese takeout holiday tradition. Fortunate Son’s full menu is available, featuring Kung Pao chicken, shrimp lo mein, sweet and sour pork belly, egg drop soup, and General Tso’s cauliflower, among other dishes. The eatery will also offer a selection of to-go cocktails from its neighboring bar Polite Provisions, which is currently closed due to COVID-19 restrictions. Holiday hours are 4 to 10 p.m. on both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Order online at toasttab.com/fortunateson/v3 or by phone at 619-391-3766.
Sign up for the Pacific Insider newsletter
PACIFIC magazine delivers the latest restaurant and bar openings, festivals and top concerts, every Tuesday.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Pacific San Diego.