How to ring in 2016 without applying for a loan.
We at Torontoist don’t believe that New Year’s Eve planning should come down to a decision between spending a lonesome evening on the couch, or an entire month’s rent on bottle service. Ergo, we’ve put together a list of some offbeat and wallet-friendly options for the biggest party night of the year.
We hope you welcome 2016 the way you desire!
Those who grew up glued to MuchMusic will be excited to hear that Master T is returning to his 90s VJ glory and hosting a good old fashioned Video Dance. Smiling Buddha (961 College Street), $20 in advance.
If you want to go even further into the past, head to Chronologic and dance to all of the best music from each decade (in order). The Garrison (1197 Dundas Street West), 9:30p.m., $25
Welcome to the Jungle mixes the nostalgic with the exotic, offering live rockabilly from the Greasemarks, with Gogo dancers Dolly Berlin and Marylin St Evans. Come dressed in your best jungle attire for a chance to win prizes. The Shameful Tiki Room (1378 Queen Street West), 5 p.m., FREE.
Let’s face it—you’ll likely be a hot mess by 3 a.m. Balance this out by starting your evening on an ultra-classy and cultured note at Bravissimo! where performers from the Opera Canada Symphony and Chorus will take you through some of the greatest arias in history. Roy Thomson Hall, 7 p.m., $55-$145.
While pretty much every bar will have canned tunes of varying quality, there are a number of venues featuring live musicians, and well-curated playlists that make the cover charge worthwhile. Check out one (or more, if you’re feeling adventurous) of these nifty shows:
- The Sadies at Horseshoe Tavern (370 Queen Street West), 8:30 p.m., $27.50
- Elliott Brood at Lee’s Palace (529 Bloor Street West), 8 p.m., $20-$25
- Dwayne Gretzky at Danforth Music Hall (147 Danforth Avenue), 9 p.m., $20-$45
- Wavelength: Maylee Todd, Holy Gasp & more at Markham House (610 Markham Street), 8 p.m., $19.50
- Night Owl Fest: Moonwalks, Tess Parks & more at Old Laurel (300 College Street), 9 p.m., $10
- Thinly Veiled Double-Entendres at Cherry Cola’s (200 Bathurst Street), 9 p.m., $5 before 10:30 p.m., $10 afterwards.
- The Mahones at Bovine Sex Club (542 Queen Street West), 9 p.m., $15.
Winter may be the season to Netflix and chill, but we think you can do a bit better on this one night. The Dude’s New Year’s has become a New Year’s institution for fans of The Big Lebowski, and for those who generally like to don loungewear in public. Admission includes a drink, popcorn, and party favours. Bloor Hotdocs Cinema (506 Bloor Street West). 8 p.m., $21, $17 for members.
What would we think if you told us you haven’t seen Evil Dead II yet? Well, we’d suggest spending your last hours of 2015 getting with the times. TIFF features both this, and the classic futuristic film 2001: Space Odyssey leading up to midnight, so you can still get your party on afterwards. TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West), 8-8:30pm, $11.25-$16.
They say laughter is the best medicine, so why not cap off the year with a heaping dose? Second City offers two performances of their popular sketch comedy revue Click, Bait & Switch, with a champagne toast during the late show. The Second City (51 Mercer Street), 7 p.m. & 10 p.m., $55-$65.
If you prefer the sting of standup, join Shaun Majumder as he hosts the New Year’s Eve Comedy Extravaganza. Headlined by Simon B. Cotter, the night includes performances from Peter Anthony, Eman El-Husseini, Sean Emeny, Mark Heath, Darryl Orr, Keith Pedro and Nick Beaton. Massey Hall (178 Victoria Street), 7:30 p.m., $39.50 – $69.50.
Whether you want something fun to do with the family, a sweetheart, or a group of friends, ice skating is the perfect crowd pleaser. Take a few turns around Harbourfront’s gorgeous lakeside rink to some sweet DJ tunes at the New Year’s Eve Skating Party. Bring your own skates, or rent them there. Natrel Rink (235 Queens Quay West), 8 p.m., FREE.
If you want to get a jump on those pesky New Year’s fitness resolutions, sign up for the Midnite Run. Now in it’s fifth year, the 5K race starts at the stroke of midnight, takes participants through Liberty Village and ends at a party. Liberty Village, midnight, $95.
For those who crave something a bit more zen, there’s the NYE Yoga Celebration. Appropriate for all skill levels, this two-hour class welcomes 2016 with a combination of meditation, asana, and song. Kula Annex Yoga Studios (304 Brunswick Avenue), 10:30 p.m., $45.
There’s no doubt that the biggest (and cheapest) party of the night takes place at Nathan Phillips Square. If you can handle the cold and the crowds, drop in for skating, food trucks, DJs, performances from Zero Gravity Circus, and fireworks after the countdown. Nathan Phillips Square (100 Queen Street West), 8 p.m., FREE.
For those of you who can’t bear the thought of hiding a fancy outfit under a parka all night, we’ve also rounded up some of the biggest and best indoor parties going on around town:
Countdown New Year’s Eve Liberty Grand (25 British Columbia Road, Exhibition Place), 9 p.m., $40.
Majestic New Years Eve Fairmont Royal York (100 Front Street West), 6:30 p.m., $50-$100.
Down-town Abbey New Year’s Eve Party Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen Street West), 8 p.m., $47.18–$62.70.
Anti-Prohibition New Years Eve Amsterdam Brewhouse (245 Queens Quay West), 10 p.m., $45-$65.
For one magical night, the TTC gives us (almost) everything we ever wanted—free rides and extended hours, in addition to free parking in their lots after 3 p.m. Leave the car—and its associated stress—at home and take advantage! Out of towners will also appreciate GO Transit’s special late night train schedule.
Happy New Year’s from your friends at Torontoist!