New Year’s Eve is almost always a bummer of a holiday. Much like Valentine’s Day, where you feel immense pressure to have a fun, romantic evening and absolutely everything is insanely crowded, the expectation and the reality are typically pretty far apart… plus it’s often cold.

The past few years, Robert and I have elected to stay in, eat Mexican food and watch Netflix, and we’ve had way more fun than in the years of sparkly dresses, uncomfortable shoes, chattering teeth, overpriced food and cocktails and crushing hangovers the next day. 

This year, we’re actually hanging out with some friends, but we’re still going to be ringing it in in sweatpants, so I’m not complaining. 

For those of you who have kids and/or have also decided the low-key homebody celebration is the way to go, here are a few kid-friendly things you can do without missing all the fun. 

Zoo Year’s Eve: If the weather is good, this is the perfect celebration. Free with zoo admission, it runs from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and features noise-makers, a countdown, and a soda toast, and you can also enjoy taking a walk around the zoo while you’re there.

Children’s Museum Countdown to Noon: Another 12-hour-early event, the Countdown to Noon has a confetti toss and a balloon release; kids can also make their own noise-makers and party hats. It’s $8 for members and $12 for nonmembers, and pre-registration is urged. Find out more here

Dave & Buster’s Family New Year’s Eve: Dave & Buster’s is aggressively not my scene, but if you’re into the incessant clang and bleeping of video games (and I know a lot of people are), it sounds like a pretty good deal for families – it’s $38.41 per person, which includes food, a $20 card for video games, and a balloon drop and ginger ale toast at 7 p.m.

Fireworks all around the city: As part of the tricentennial festivities, there will be fireworks in New Orleans East (Read Boulevard and I-10 at 8:30 p.m.), City Park (near NOMA at 9:30 p.m.), Uptown (between Jefferson and Napoleon avenues at 10:30 p.m.), and downtown on the river (the biggest show of the night, right around midnight). I’m not sure my kiddo will make it long enough to see the ones nearest to our house at 10:30, but I love the idea of making fireworks more accessible to everyone in the city. 


Wherever you are and however you choose to welcome in 2019, I hope that it’s fun, festive, and safe. Happy New Year, y’all!