From EDM nightclubs to wide-open park lawns, New Year's Eve in Los Angeles is only getting bigger. That's especially good news for last-minute planners.
As the city's night life is increasingly influenced by dance-music sounds and shaped by renewed public spaces such as Grand Park, the options for the most party-hearty night of the year are reflecting these shifts. There's more big-room electronic music, including parties that span the entirety of hip hotels, and even bigger events that show off L.A.'s newfound interest in common spaces.
Sure, there are plenty of intimate and extensive Champagne soirees, but most of the marquee events in town represent an ongoing trend toward bigger, broader and more populist events.
Grand Park's free New Year's celebration has become one of L.A.'s most welcoming public parties. Now in its second year, it has grown to three times its original footprint, taking over the whole park and surrounding streets. It features multiple stages with live and DJ sets from Ceci Bastida, Mr Little Jeans, Dorothy and KCRW's Chris Douridas, but make no mistake, the projection-mapped countdown on City Hall (a fun L.A.-centric update of New York's ball-drop standby) is the main attraction.
Revelers, beware: Grand Park's countdown is alcohol-free, but that won't keep the crowds away. Last year's inaugural event drew an estimated 25,000 people, and capacity this year has been set at 50,000. The neighborhood may get even more crowded, with many expected to stop by to check out the celebration before heading off to explore downtown's booming bar scene.
If partying with tens of thousands doesn't strike your fancy, there's no doubt something for everyone's midnight ambitions throughout the city.
Raves for 2015
OMFG NYE, an electronic dance music-centric mini-festival, has made the countdown 72 hours long at the Shrine Expo Hall ($55-$70). The three-day event started Monday with the deep bass and noisy trap sounds of Flosstradamus and the heated Miami house tracks of GTA.
It continued on Tuesday with Deorro and Madeon, and will finish off New Year's Eve at the ball drop with the sleek techno of Eric Prydz and Anna Lunoe. If you intended to kick off 2015 with a hangover that might ensure you don't live to see 2016, there were ticket packages that included all three nights, and we hope you're awake enough to read this.
For a more abridged version of such a blowout, A Club Called Rhonda's annual Rhondapolis will commandeer the entirety of downtown L.A.'s Standard Hotel ($60-$199) for a freewheeling romp. The sounds trend toward suave house music — Hot Chip, Jimmy Edgar, Omar-S and Derrick May are among the DJs that will be spinning by the rooftop pool, lobby and other nooks around the property. Hotel room packages are available and recommended for anyone who is already planning on paying triple digits for an Uber ride home.
Hollywood's Avalon nabbed the bass-heavy Dutch duo Blasterjaxx ($85-$165), whose sound indeed evokes the feeling of small pieces of metal being propelled at high speeds toward your Champagne-hoisting body.
The nearby Sound Nightclub gets the intense but rousing techno linchpin Danny Tenaglia ($50); Exchange will rely on house music favorite John Digweed ($60-$250) for a mix of classy and sweaty; Create puts the "Turn Down for What" auteur DJ Snake ($50-$175) on the decks for the final night of its New Year's series.
Raves on New Year's Eve tend to draw the amateur party crowds rather than EDM die-hards, but competition is fierce and these clubs will be going all-in.
Hotel parties and high-energy shows
The Regent in downtown throws its first New Year's party with a bigger installment of Bootie L.A.'s club-pop mash-up fare. If your plans go haywire New Year's Eve, or you don't want to resort to the secondary market for the sold-out event, Bootie L.A. is having a redo of its show at the Echoplex on Jan. 3 ($10).
Across downtown at Club Nokia, L.A.'s favorite noise-rap antagonist Tyler, the Creator ($40-$50) will raise one last middle finger at 2014.
The Park Plaza Hotel overlooking MacArthur Park classes it up with the funk-R&B auteur Blood Orange, the neo-disco duo Classixx and other sets from buzzy, danceable acts like Kindness, IO Echo and De Lux. Presented by the local indie label Iamsound, it's a rare in-person look inside one of L.A.'s grand hotels of yore ($125-$175).
At the downtown Ace Hotel, the dapper pop gentleman Twin Shadow will mind the upstairs bar (the set's free with RSVP, but it will probably be packed to capacity by the time you read this, so we wish you luck).
In Hollywood, the Tropicana Bar at the Roosevelt has the disco-pop group Capital Cities and residents of the great local label Hit City USA on the decks for anyone angling to kick off 2015 by falling into the David Hockney-painted pool. General admission runs $115, but if you want to party like the aristocracy, there are packages that run as high as $10,000.
Down in the South Bay, downtown Long Beach's New Year's Eve party — set for three blocks of Pine Avenue between 1st and 4th streets — features L.A. electro-soul act Fitz & the Tantrums, pop rockers Youngblood Hawke and a drag show from Jewel's Long Beach. At $25, it's a reasonable ticket price for a big outdoor event.
Small scale, big sounds
In the smaller clubs around town, the Satellite's NYE Rapture ($10) evokes both the Blondie song and the New York dance-punk heroes with a mix of new wave and neo-disco.
The Echoplex gets deep reggae vibes with sets from its Dub Club crew and guests Sister Nancy (free before 10 p.m.). Los Globos' 143 party ($25-$150) will host '90s R&B and house-music sounds straight from the era when New Year's Eve meant fearing the Y2K glitch.
Giorgio's, in the West Hollywood outpost of the Standard, is named for the disco titan, and the spot's New Year's party is on a similar '70s kick with Adam 12 and drag performer Joey Arias ($195-$2,000).
If you've made it this far and you find yourself depressed about the thought of having to spend yet another year on this wretched planet, then Glendale's Complex will start off 2015 in bleak Goth-industrial fashion. It's just $10 for a slate of noise, dark-wave and IDM (intelligent dance music) DJs.
Worried that you made the wrong choice? If New Year's Eve has no other virtue, know that it'll all be over by morning.