Most hotels, nightclubs, theaters, concert halls and restaurants in town will be filled with revelers welcoming the new year. Many large institutions will also host special events for the socially inclined. Here are five good reasons not to stay at home just to see a televised crystal ball drop in Times Square.
Best Night Before
Trans-Siberian Orchestra New Year’s Show
Xcel Energy Center
199 West Kellogg Boulevard
Saint Paul, MN 55102
Date: Dec. 30, 2014 at 3 and 7:30 p.m.
Start celebrating the advent of the new year a day early at the Excel. It will be filled with lasers, lights, pyrotechnics and mega-music. The ever popular Trans-Siberian Orchestra, which started 2014 performing to a crowd of one million at Brandenburg Gate, will finish this year performing its 1998 album, “The Christmas Attic,” live for the first time at the Excel. In fact, the band has ever performed “Christmas Canon” in concert until this year’s tour, even though it is one of the band’s more popular songs. Hallmark Channel is presenting this 71-city North American tour.
Best Family Event
Ninth Annual New Year’s Eve In The Wild
Lebanon Hills Visitor Center
860 Cliff Road
Eagan, MN 55123
Date: Dec. 31, 2014 at 5 to 8 p.m.
Experience the magical mystery of the night hiking in the woods by candlelight, sliding down a lighted hill, snowshoeing or ice skating. See live animals from Dakota Wild Animals. Relax afterwards with warm cocoa in the radiant heat of a bonfire. Roy Edward Power will share his favorite stories, Matt Dunn will captivate all with magic and all will end the evening watching a celebratory ball drop. Be sure to bring a sled, ice skates or snowshoes, although extra snowshoes are available for rent.
Best Event Helping Families
Fifth Annual New Year’s Eve Victory Gala
Saint Paul Hotel
350 Market Street
Saint Paul, MN 55102
Date: Dec. 31, 2014 at 5:30 p.m. to Jan. 1, 2015 at 1 p.m.
Celebrate the season and feel gratified at the same time. Diaper Drive’s New Year’s event helps ensure low income families get diapers for their newborns. In fact, Diaper Drive has supplied more than a half million diapers since 2010 now working through 18 Minnesota agencies. Founder Kristen Grode and Executive Director Merry Proferl make the best use of your donation by delivering diapers without a Diaper Drive payroll. You can dance the night away to the music of Golden Touch DJ Bill Young and celebrate the good cause.
Best New Year’s Eve Concert
New Year’s Eve: Sparkling Gershwin To Bring In The New Year!
1111 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Date: Dec. 31, 2014 at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.End the year in the grandest of traditions celebrated world wide: a romantic symphonic concert. We have much to celebrate having Music Director Osmo Vanska and our own Minnesota Orchestra ringing in the New Year. Concert-goers are especially impressed by the selection of Grammy Award-winning soprano Sylvia McNair to interpret Gershwin with exquisite timing and phrasing.
Best New Year’s Eve With Nature
Candlelight Snowshoe and Hike
Charles A. Lindbergh State Park
1620 Lindbergh Drive S.
Little Falls, MN 56345
Dates: Dec. 31, 2014 at 5 to 8 p.m.
Explore woodland trails illuminated by candlelight on New Year’s Eve. This walk in wooded wonderland is jointly sponsored by Charles A. Lindbergh State Park and Charles A. Weyerhaeuser Memorial Museum.
Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from Richfield High School and then the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for Examiner.com, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at Examiner.com.