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How to Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Ann Arbor During a Pandemic

2021 is just around the corner! While we would love to have a massive in-person celebration to send off this unusual year in style, it just isn’t in the cards this New Year’s Eve. But even though we can’t spend the night dancing, drinking and counting down with all our favorite people, there are still a few ways to safely say goodbye to 2020!

We rounded up a few ideas of how you can spend New Year’s Eve in Ann Arbor during a pandemic, which includes ideas for anyone and everyone—no matter your age or relationship status. Enjoy!

Jump Ahead:

For Adults | For Families


For the Adults

Order to-go cocktails from a local bar


Photo courtesy of Good Time Charley’s

2020 has had its share of challenges, but if there is one pandemic invention that we hope sticks around next year it’s curbside cocktails! So many Ann Arbor bars and restaurants are currently offering to-go cocktails and cocktail kits that you can pick up curbside and take home for a NYE celebration of your own. The Blue Llama Jazz Club is offering two of their classic cocktails to-go along with bottles of wine. Good Time Charley’s is selling mason jars of their drink menu favorites, including Fish Bowls, in a wide variety of flavors like Love Spell and Call Me Cupid. And Nightcap has created branded cans of their cocktails like their famous Aperol Spritz, a Cranberry Mule and other rotating seasonal selections.


Treat yourself to a fancy meal from The Earle

This New Year’s Eve, we’re definitely going to miss the fancy dining at local restaurants. But who says that you can’t enjoy a bit of that NYE magic in the comfort of your own home? Ann Arbor has a plethora of incredible, opulent restaurants that will help you say goodbye to 2020 in style! One of our favorites is The Earle, which offers a decadent menu of French and Italian country cuisine that you can enjoy at home. You can order all your favorites online—along with a bottle of wine!—and pick them up curbside. Click here to explore their menu and to place your order.


Plan your resolutions

New year, new you right? Whether you want to focus on fitness, eat healthier, budget better or take on a new hobby, taking a moment to say your New Year’s resolutions outloud or write them down is scientifically proven to help you keep them! Take it a step further and join groups or organizations that will help you keep your resolutions up. Signing up for a virtual class, or requesting access to a Facebook group centered around your interests will get you even more excited about your 2021 goals!


Binge all the movies that you meant to watch this year, but never did


We always start the year off with the best intentions. Eat healthier, spend less money, finally learn how to knit—and watch everything on Netflix, of course! If you missed your most anticipated 2020 film or meant to finally watch Breaking Bad, spend New Year’s Eve catching up on all the things you meant to watch this year.


Go to a virtual concert

The biggest thing we’ll miss from this year’s New Year’s Eve celebrations is getting dressed up and going to festive parties and events! But just because you’re at home, that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy a show. Kerrytown Concert House has been providing virtual concerts from incredible local musicians all year long. And, because they are sponsored by local music-lovers, all the concerts are completely free! On New Year’s Eve they’ll be hosting a virtual spectacular with Pete Siers, featuring Dave Bennett and Cliff Monear. Click here for all the information.


Have a DIY spa evening

It’s safe to say that we could all use a little bit of relaxation. As long as you’re staying up all night, you might as well enjoy some pampering. Throw yourself (and your roommates or partner) a DIY spa evening, complete with face masks, pedicures and plush robes. One of our favorite local spots to pick up spa supplies is Bellanina Day Spa, who has their very own spa products line that includes items like cleansers, moisturizers, scrubs, face masks, massage oil and more. Click here to peruse their online shop!


Book a luxurious staycation at a local hotel


Photo courtesy of Weber’s Boutique Hotel

If you’re missing the opulence of a grand soiree this New Year’s, consider booking a staycation at one of the area’s fabulous hotels! The Graduate, Weber’s andThe Kensington all offer luxurious amenities from hot tubs and room service, indoor pools, and more. Plus, due to the lack of visitors due to COVID-19, rates for NYE are as low as $80 at some hotels, so it won’t cost that much to treat yourself this holiday season! Just be sure to read up on your chosen hotel’s current COVID-19 policies and wear a mask and social distance when in public areas or interacting with staff.


For the Whole Family

Watch the ball drop


It just wouldn’t be New Year’s Eve without crowding around the TV or computer screen to watch the ball drop in Times Square! While the City of New York won’t be allowing the same large crowds they normally do, they will still be dropping their famous glowing orb and streaming it live for all to see. You can catch the iconic show on, Facebook Watch or on the ABC News app.


Throw a PJ party

As long as you’re planning on staying up all night—why not throw a private pajama party? Get dressed up in your best PJs, complete with your favorite slippers, eye masks and sleeping caps and spend the evening eating fun snacks, watching movies, and celebrating the new year comfy and cozy.


Drive around to see holiday lights

New Year’s Eve is always a little bittersweet. While, of course it’s exciting to welcome a new year, it’s also sad to say goodbye to the holiday season. Have one last holiday hoorah by spending the evening driving across the city to see holiday light displays—many of which will be up until January 3rd! Make the whole night special by wearing your winter gear, bringing hot chocolate and exploring new parts of the city.


Make a craft


DIY noisemakers, balloon drops and paper chains—there are so many ways that kids can bring the NYE cheer to life with just a few simple household items! Spend a few hours with your family making DIY goodies to play with all night long. Here is a list from I Heart Arts n Crafts outlining some of our favorite New Year’s themed crafts for children of all ages!


Create a feast of traditional “good luck” foods

New Year’s Day has a ton of good luck traditions tied to it. Many believe that eating specific foods, singing certain songs and performing traditions with money can manifest good luck in the new year. And since we are really hoping for a better year in 2021, we’ll be performing as many of these traditions as possible—including crafting an entire feast of “good luck” foods. Black-eyed peas and greens are supposed to represent good economic fortune. Fish is said to represent a long life and good harvest. And pork and cabbage represent prosperity. If you can, try to incorporate these foods into an exciting feast for you and your family this holiday. Not only is it a great way to celebrate, it will also teach your children about New Year’s in other cultures!


Host a virtual get together

The hardest part of social distancing means that we don’t get to spend time with all of the people we love. So, if you can, set up a Zoom or FaceTime call with your family and friends to wish them all the best in 2021. You can even set up a massive party with all the people you would normally invite to your New Year’s shabang! Even though it is through a screen, you will love getting to spend time with your loved ones during this difficult time.


Plan an act of kindness


2020 has been hard for everyone. COVID-19 has left many individuals unemployed, many local businesses on the verge of closure, and caused frontline workers to risk their lives everyday just by going to work. Why not send off 2020 and welcome 2021 by spending the day doing random acts of kindness with your family? Open a tab at a local coffee shop for the people who come after you; donate all of your old coats to a local coat drive; pick up trash in your neighborhood; or leave a card or treat for your mail carrier. The smallest act of kindness can make a difference and your children will love brainstorming ideas!


Happy New Year!

How are you planning on welcoming 2021? Let us know in the comments below!

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