Say goodbye to 2022 and ring in 2023 with Raleigh’s finest parties, concerts, and our special City of Oaks-style countdown.
by Kara Adams and Addie Ladner
Watch the Acorn Drop at First Night
Countdown to the New Year in signature City of Oaks style with First Night Raleigh. The celebration returns to the streets of downtown for their annual Acorn Drop — our answer to the ball drop. Starting at 2 p.m. with family-friendly activities on the Bicentennial Plaza, the festivities include a sleigh ride, a brightly-lit ferris wheel, and a disco roller rink. Through the Children’s Celebration, young ones can ring in the night early with an acorn drop and fireworks at 7 p.m. For adults, the evening continues until midnight, with performances from musical acts including Sonny Miles and Jack the Radio and the real countdown to the big finale at midnight.
Dec. 31 | 2 p.m. – 12 a.m.; from $12; downtown Raleigh; firstnightraleigh.com
Head to The Willard’s New Year’s Eve Bash
Book a New Year’s Eve Room Package at the AC Hotel downtown or purchase a ticket for access to The Willard Rooftop Lounge’s New Year’s Eve party. Enjoy a Mediterranean-inspired buffet, DJ Josh Price, a dance floor, and a complimentary champagne toast at midnight. The room includes two New Year’s Eve bash tickets, a complimentary bottle of champagne, and a “hangover package” for the next morning.
Dec. 31 | 8 p.m. – 1 a.m.; $155 tickets, $499 room; 9 Glenwood Avenue; thewillardraleigh.com
Skate the Day Away
For the little ones: kick of the new year without keeping them up past bedtime at the Noon Year’s Eve Family Skate Party at United Skates Raleigh. Admission includes a slice of pizza, small drink, party favors, balloon drop and countdown; rent skates for another $5.
Dec. 31 | 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.; $15 for tickets; 2901 Trawick Road; eventbrite.com for tickets
Go to the New Year’s Eve Gala at North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
Don your finest apparel for this black tie event spanning all four floors of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences’ Nature Research Center. Explore the exhibits after-hours as you snack on platters of hors d’oeuvres and sip on your favorite liquor from the ice bar. As the clock counts down, hit the dance floor with a live jazz band and don’t forget to commemorate the event by snapping a picture at the photo booth.
Dec. 31 | 8 p.m. – 1 a.m.; $203; 11 W. Jones Street; details here
Rock Out with Big Something and Special Guests
See three separate sets at the Lincoln Theatre as Big Something headlines the last show of 2021 with special guests Josh Phillips and Ranford Almond. This all-North Carolinian lineup will feature hits from Big Something’s albums Tumbleweed and Escape, country tunes from Josh Phillips, and catchy songs from Ranford Almond’s first EP Back Burner.
Dec. 31 | 8:30 p.m.; $39.50; 126 E Cabarrus Street; lincolntheatre.com
Sip Caviar & Champagne in a Mansion
I mean… who doesn’t want to do that? The Parlor at Heights House — the speakeasy inside the rehabbed Italianate mansion turned boutique hotel — is adding a special twist to its regular evening out. Book a 1.5-hour reservation that includes a caviar tasting, champagne, and jazz music with cabaret performer Miss Candice and pianist Sergio Grossi. Chic! The full bar menu will also be available.
Starting at 5 p.m.; $75; 308 S. Boylan Avenue; exploretock.com for reservations
Ring in the New Year in the Mountains
Didn’t get your white Christmas? How about a white New Year? Pack the champagne, s’mores, sweaters and swap the urban celebrations for more relaxing ones in one of these stunning cabins with views and amenities to boot.
2023 New Year’s Eve Red-Carpet Bash at Botanical Lounge
Live your Hollywood dream reality at this red-carpet event, featuring a DJ spinning live music in the Sage Room, green velvet couches and a low-key vibe in the Botanical Lounge, and cozy fire pits overlooking downtown Raleigh at the High Garden rooftop patio. Grab your favorite beer, wine, cocktail, or a customary flute of champagne and dance the night (and the year) away.
Dec. 31 | 9 p.m. – 2 a.m.; from $20; 419 Glenwood Avenue; eventbrite.com for tickets
Make Some Festive Cocktails
Whether you’re in the mood for a cocktail, mocktail or classic hot chocolate to sip on while you ring in 2023, we’ve got you covered. We asked 12 local bartenders, brewers and baristas for their favorite beverages to commemorate the chilly months. Read on and grab (or make!) a cup of cheer. And – if you need some more glassware, cheese, or drink kits, here’s a list of local spots to find them.
Ring in New Year’s Eve at Union Station
Ring in the new year at The “Official” Downtown Raleigh 2022 New Year’s Eve Celebration. Featuring DJ Grant, DJ LP, DJ iLL Digitz, DJ Nevy, & DJ Jus Right spinning all genres of music, with live musical guests as well, the party will take place over two levels at Raleigh’s Union Station. Snap pictures at the photo booth, mingle with friends and family, and dance the night away with a spectacular view of downtown’s skyline.
Dec. 31 | 9 p.m. – 2 a.m.; From $40; 510 W. Martin Street; downtownraleigh.org
Head to Vidrio for Dinner and a New Year’s Eve Bash
For an unforgettable last meal of the year, head to Vidrio for a Mediterranean–inspired dinner and wine selections curated by North Carolina Chef of the Year, Saif Rahman. Dine until 10 p.m. then head upstairs to dance the night away in the Fiera Bar and Lounge, where you’ll find party favors, samplers, and a live DJ. Countdown to midnight with a complimentary champagne toast in this one-of-a-kind, colorful locale.
Dec. 31 | 10 p.m.; $40; 500 Glenwood Ave #100; vidrioraleigh.com
Get Dressed Up For Gatsby’s House Raleigh
Say goodbye to another year of the roaring 20’s with a Gatsby-themed bash at the Sheraton Raleigh Hotel. Featuring four DJs spinning today’s top hits, complimentary appetizers, fully stocked bars, and plenty of room to dance, this party will rival some of Gatsby’s best parties.
Dec. 31 | 9 p.m. – 1:30 a.m.; from $95; 421 S. Salisbury Street; eventbrite.com for tickets
Solve a Mystery at the City of Raleigh Museum
Dress to the nines and top it with a mask for the Masquerade Murder at the City of Raleigh Museum. This immersive performance invites guests to be part of the show, like a real-life game of Clue. The evening includes a dessert bar and champagne toast.
Dec. 31 | 9 – 12 p.m.; from $100; 220 Fayetteville Street; eventbrite.com for tickets
Join Wye Hill for a New Year’s Eve Dinner Party
Feast on a buffet of decadent dishes like a black truffle mac and cheese, prime rib, smoked salmon, and more on Wye Hill‘s covered, heated patio with one the city’s icnoc skyline views. See the fireworks from your spot and stay for the after party.
Dec. 31 | 5 p.m. – 1 a.m.; from $55; 201 S. Boylan Avenue; eventbrite.com for tickets
Toast 2023 Early with Bourbon
Don’t feel compelled to stay up until midnight — or want to drive when everyone else has? Head to Olde Raleigh Distillery in Zebulon for jazz with the Ginger Thompson Band, heavy hors d’ouvres and a champagne toast at 10pm. In addition, a full cash bar with cocktails, wine and beer will be available, including drinks from the distillery’s signature bourbon selection.
Dec. 31 | 8 – 11 p.m.; $45; 209 Arendell Avenue, Zebulon; eventbrite.com for tickets
Ice Skate at Red Hat Amphitheater’s THE RINK
Red Hat Amphitheater — known for its outdoor concerts most of the year — has transformed into The Rink for the season. Don’t miss your last chance to glide along at the outdoor skating rink on the first of the year. The Rink has skates on site, as well as Red Hat’s regular concessions offerings, plus coffee and hot chocolate. For in-between sessions or folks more interested in supervising than skating, there’s a large lounge area with fire pits and heaters.
December – Jan. 1; $11 to skate (includes skate rental), $6 for non-skaters; 500 S. McDowell Street; redhatamphitheater.com/the-rink
Join the Fiesta at A’Verde
Already known for its big Mexican flavors, festive atmosphere and Instagrammable cocktails, A’Verde in Cary is amping up the party for New Year’s Eve. Alongside the regular menu, there will be a DJ, cocktail towers, face painting, and a champagne toast at midnight. No tickets required, but it’s recommended to call to reserve a table in advance.
Dec. 31 | 9 p.m. – 12 a.m.; Regular menu pricing; 2300 Walnut Street, Cary; averdecary.com or call 984-200-3469 for a reservation
This article was originally published on December 15, 2021. It was updated on December 14, 2022.