2020 is coming whether you like it or not. Luckily, there are so many places around town celebrating the occasion in so many diverse ways. We’re listing some of the best places to go for New Year’s Eve as we say goodbye to the decade that brought us the first image of a black hole, the proliferation of smartphones, a third and fourth Toy Story, and memes influencing world politics. Whether this past year (or decade) was good or bad for you, there’s always opportunity to let loose around Tucson on New Year’s.
Tucson’s Times Square. Proudly touting downtown’s “biggest NYE party,” Hotel Congress is home to Tucson’s Times Square when the clock strikes midnight. Their party includes two stages of activity, including live music, DJs, rockettes, fireworks and even the legendary “taco drop” at midnight. General admission gets you party favors and champagne at midnight, but the VIP access gets you drink tickets, a full buffet, access to their VIP lounge/piano bar, and even access to the “champagne wall.” It’s a party worth staying out of New York for. 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. 311 E. Congress St. $40 to $150. 21+. hotelcongress.com/experiences.
Noon Year’s Eve at the Desert Museum! One of the best things about having kids is that you can use them as an excuse for leaving events early. “Oh, I really wanted to stay up until midnight, but, you know, the babysitter.” “Oh, I’d love to see the second half of your comedy act, but I just gotta get home to the kids.” “Hey, thanks so much for having us—sorry I can stay for literally one minute because I need to check on the baby.” Anyway, whether you have kids or not, ring in the “noon” year at the Desert Museum at midday with a recycling ball drop and a live animal show. Kids can sip on sparkling cider, get their faces painted, make a party hat and make a conservation reZOOlution. The first 50 kids in at 10 a.m. get their own party favors! 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, 2021 N. Kinney Road. $21.95 GA, $19.95 seniors, $9.95 kids 3 to 12, free for members and kids under 3. facebook.com/events/1729518083844990.
Festival Band’s Roaring ’20s NYE Dance. This funky old school band has been ringing in the new year with a big party for eight years straight now. But this year is the first year they’re ringing in the ’20s! So they’re doing it with a roar. Dress Gatsby style, dance the night away and chow down on some menudo. The midnight champagne toast will be accompanied by party favors and live music as well. And hey, maybe stay the night while you’re there, too—nothing quite so soothing as the knowledge that you don’t have to drive home at the end of the night. 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Tucson Marriott University Park, 808 E. Second St. $25 in advance or $30 at the door. facebook.com/events/1315479085278989/
New Year’s Eve With The Bennu at Sky Bar. Sky Bar is taking off to the stars for New Year’s, with a special set by The Bennu, Tucson’s own psychedelic jazz group. But just because The Bennu can play some out-there grooves doesn’t mean their music is any less danceable, technical or rockin’. This party allows you to make the next decade one of sonic exploration, but still get in all the NYE classics like a New Year’s countdown and a champagne toast at midnight. 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. 536 N. Fourth Ave. facebook.com/events/2348942645419035/.
The Princess Bride at The Loft Cinema. If you want your New Year’s kiss to have a little more magic this year, stop by the Loft Cinema’s screening of this fairy tale classic. More than a film screening, this New Year’s Eve party includes props, a pre-show Princess Bride competition, a costume contest and even a free champagne toast at night. What props are involved? Inflatable swords, of course. En garde! 11 p.m. 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. $15. loftcinema.org/film/the-princess-bride-new-years/.
Fedoras & Boas at Chicago Bar. The eastside is getting classy with Chicago Bar’s New Year’s party. Dress up as fedorable as you can, and get over to this party where general admission also gets you hors d’oeuvres, party favors and a champagne toast at midnight. Chicago Bar is also inviting a whole bunch of local performers, including DJ Haru, Nikk Doug, the NYE Funxtion Band and emcee Shaun Harris. Even more special guests are due to arrive as the night progresses. 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. 5954 E. Speedway Blvd. $15 at the door. facebook.com/events/546294839249606/.
Party Like It’s 1999 at Rialto (with Prince!). So apparently the ’90s weren’t last decade, and the Rialto Theatre is helping you deal with that shocking revelation in the only way they know how: spectacle. But this party is more than a throwback, it’s also a celebration of all things Prince. The evening features the Prince tribute act Purple Madness and a DJ set by Future Syndicate. You can even wear Prince attire and get half-price drinks! Doors open at 8 p.m., show starts at 9. $20 to $50. 318 E. Congress St. rialtotheatre.com.
TRUE: A 5Rhythms Dance for the New Year. Have you ever taken a 5Rhythms class? It’s a combination of meditation and dancing that explores the rhythms of flowing, staccato, chaos, lyrical and stillness to help you get back in tune with yourself, and, indeed, with the universe you hold within you. If you’re into that sort of thing, that is. And if you are into that sort of thing, this class with Melanie Cooley is a pretty perfect way to close out the year, right? Dancing in a moment of transition as we shed the old and welcome a new decade. Why not squeeze in a chance to try one more new thing this decade? 5 to 9 p.m. Rhythm industry Performance Factory, 1013 S. Tyndall Ave. $45 in advance or $50 day-of. facebook.com/events/1403618529793214/.
80s and Gentlemen at Casino Del Sol. Can you believe it’s almost 2020? Before we know it, it’s going to be 2030, at which point we’ll be halfway between 1980 and 2080. If that doesn’t make your head spin, what does? Celebrate whatever ’80s you want while this local cover band rings in the new year in their signature style. You can dance the night away, and, of course, enjoy a balloon drop and champagne toast when the clock strikes midnight. Whatever decade it is, you never really hear people talk about regretting how much they danced on New Year’s Eve. 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Casino Del Sol, 5655 W. Valencia Road. Free. 21+.facebook.com/events/667027800367680/.
Gentle Ben’s New Year’s Eve Party. Here’s your opportunity to party on University and still feel good while you do it. Gentle Ben’s Brewing Co. is partnering up with A Light Network for a party that supports local education. Sticking with the theme, they’re inviting you to dress up like it’s prom night. There will be DJs, cocktails, photo booths, and course, beer. All money from the cover charge will be donated toward local education, helping students, teachers and schools in Tucson. 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. 865 E. University Blvd. $10 cover. facebook.com/events/598602044280374/.
Introvert’s New Year’s Eve. So, yeah, we get it. If you’re really, really introverted, you’re likely to be cozied up at home for this hectic holiday. BUT maybe you’re an introvert who loves staycations, and booked a room at Hotel McCoy already. Or maybe you don’t mind being around people in general, but draw the line at noisy, sweaty, drunken crowds. This might be what you’re looking for: Sparkly drinks and live music are on hand, of course. But they’re accompanied by coloring and crafts instead of dancing and ordering rounds of shots. May your 2020 be as chill as this event is! 7 to 11:30 p.m. Hotel McCoy, 720 W. Silverlake Road. Free. 21+. facebook.com/events/473447706617.
Laff’s Comedy Caffe for NYE. They say laughter is the best medicine, and if this past year (or decade) has left you a little worse-for-wear, head over to Laff’s Comedy Caffe for some spiritual rejuvenation. Laff’s is hosting two events for the evening: a NYE dinner celebration starting at 7 p.m., and a midnight dessert buffet starting at 10:30 p.m. that leads up to the midnight countdown. The evening features a performance by comedian Ron Feingold. 7 & 10:30 p.m. 2900 E. Broadway Blvd. $30 per event. laffstucson.com.
New Year’s Eve Dinner at Maynards. Treat yourself! If you haven’t been doing it all year, you’ve got to fit it in now! If you have been treating yourself all year, then you can fit in one more instance of it, right? This irresistible prix fixe dinner menu includes four courses. You’ll start off with a grilled flatbread, make your way through the soup or salad course, choose between three different mouthwatering entrees, and finish with either a champagne-strawberry torte and a chocolate mousse. This is the sort of meal that just might be good enough to salvage the whole damn year. 5 to 11 p.m. Maynards Market & Kitchen. $75, or $95 with wine. Reserve a table online or at 545-0577. facebook.com/events/446540866051092/.
Bark it Up and Deal! Ringing in the new year with some good old fashioned casino gambling is acceptable, and, in fact, encouraged, if you’re doing it for a charity, like at this event benefiting the Humane Society of Southern Arizona. In addition to casino games, there’ll be a silent auction; a donation table for blankets, towels and pet food; and the obligatory champagne toast. You can purchase a table in advance so you and nine friends can all sit together, or just pick up your own ticket. Cheers to a year that’s less “ruff” than the last. 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. The Humane Society of Southern Arizona, 635 W. Roger Road. $25 until Dec. 30, $35 day-of and $300 for a table of 10. 21+.facebook.com/events/2404830292972414.
NYE Variety Show at Westward Look Resort. If you want your NYE party to be as diverse as possible, head over Westward Look, where they’re hosting a Dinner Theater Variety Show & Gala. This includes a three-act classic murder mystery comedy stage show, a magic show, a dance, fortune tellers, a balloon drop and a champagne toast. So yeah, there’s a lot going on here, but rest assured: Full bar service is available all throughout the evening. Where else can you see a comedy murder-mystery-magic whodunit for New Year’s? 7 p.m. 245 E. Ina Road. $97. tucsonnewyear.com.
Arizona Bowl Food Truck Roundup. We hope you spent many an evening in Tucson at one of the city’s fantastic selection of food trucks. And if you did, what better sendoff to the year than to hang out with a big group of ’em all at once? In front of the Amtrak Station, you’ll find Cotton Family BBQ, Jackie’s Food Court, Meatball Badness, Churros El Rey and plenty more! Maybe you can take a break from hitting the food trucks in 2020, but tonight… tonight… the world is your oyster. Or your churro, or your meatball, or whatever your heart desires. 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. 400 N. Toole Ave. facebook.com/events/2393213790926921/.
New Year’s Eve Bachata SKZ Social—Great Gatsby. Want to dance the night away? Look no further than Movement Culture, where they’ll be having open dancing in bachata, salsa, kizomba and zouk all night. Maybe you want to dip your toes into the world of dancing before diving in for your 2020 New Year’s resolution? Sammi Pfeiffer Is giving a zouk lesson from 8 to 9 p.m. to get you started. Zouk is a fun partner dance associated mainly with the Caribbean islands that’s equal parts sexy and fun, and which can be just as enjoyable for beginners as it can for seasoned experts. Hey… why not? Feel free to dress in 1920s style, too! 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 31. Movement Culture, 435 E. Ninth St. $10. facebook.com/events/2788697657849307/.
Marana Egg Nog Jog. Maybe you have plans for tonight that involve generally gluttony and too much of any number of different good things. But if you’re at a loss for what to do in the morning, why not get started on your New Year’s resolution early with a 5K, 10K or fun run up in Marana? This event is low-pressure, but high in fun, and a great way to make you feel even more justified in having that sixth slice of pizza at the party tonight. Strollers and dogs on leashes are welcome! 8 to 10 a.m. Crossroads at Silverbell District Park, 7548 N. Silverbell Road. $25. maranaaz.gov.