There are plenty of ways to say goodbye to 2015 in Sacramento. As 2015 ends and 2016 begins, celebrate Sacramento-style with music, food, champagne, acrobats on ice, magic, international entertainment, fireworks and more. Here are a few tips for making your New Year’s Eve exciting, safe and memorable.

Find Free Fun For Families
Crocker Art Museum
216 O St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 808-7000

Crocker Art Museum will be welcoming families to the annual Noon Year’s Eve Festival. The free event begins at 12 p.m. on Dec. 31, and the museum is open with no admission fee from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. that day. Guests of every age will enjoy the energetic, international flavor of the entertainment. Check out Hawaiian performances by the Ohana Dance Group, West African drum music, acapella songs with the All Family Boys of Samoa, as well as high-energy, folkloric Afro-Cuban dance and music. Get ready to laugh at Germar the Magician’s comedic magic, and enjoy rousing performances by bagpipers and by a klezmer string group performing Jewish folk tunes.

Come On and Take A Free Ride

It is unwise to drive after partying, even if all you have had is a couple of glasses of champagne at midnight. There are many people on the road on New Year’s Eve, and not all of them will be paying enough attention to drive safely. If you plan to imbibe at all, for your own well-being and that of others on the road, plan ahead and set up a designated driver. If nothing else, call a taxi. Don’t take chances, or you might end up starting the New Year with injuries or worse.

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See Fireworks And Fanfare In Old Sacramento

Head to Old Sacramento for one of the area’s best fireworks shows, which light up the sky over the Tower Bridge and Sacramento River. One show is at 9 p.m. and another at midnight. The free event also includes live music, a 3D Gaming Theater, street performers, kid’s programming and food and drink vendors. There are a number of parking options for Old Sac; try to avoid the metered street parking, which is hard to get and only good for 2 hours. Try the public parking lot on I Street between 2nd and 3rd or the Tower Bridge lot on Capital Boulevard. If you are also wining or dining in Old Sac, some places will validate parking.

Eat, Drink, Dance And Be Merry

There are many great parties set for New Year’s Eve, including a stylish soiree for ages 30 and up called “Midnight in Paris” and a full-on fun celebration at Capital Dance Center in Rancho Cordova. There are also cool events for those whose idea of New Year’s Eve entertainment is a bit less traditional. Local favorite Jackie Greene will bring his talents to the Crest Theatre for a 9:30 p.m. concert on NYE. In addition to his highly charged vocals and hot guitar licks on blues, rock and honky-tonk numbers, Greene will be performing American roots music from his recently released album. Or head to Capital Stage that evening for a production of the award-winning satirical comedy/drama “The Behavior of Broadus.”

Go Global For Illuminating Entertainment

Visit Cal Expo for an exhilarating sensory experience at the all-new Global Winter Wonderland. There are 17 acres filled with lights, huge visual displays, music, cultural performances, shopping and an international food court. Celebrate the New Year at the ice-rink, view the scene from the sky on carnival-style rides and see acrobats perform on skates (think Cirque du Soleil on ice). As always at Cal Expo, remember that there are steep parking fees in addition to ticket costs.

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Valerie Heimerich is a freelance writer out of Sacramento. She typically covers business, employment, animal rescue, volunteerism and nonprofits. Her work can also be found at