Orange County is a mix of affluent beach towns and city life where designer fashion lines and surf shops mingle side by side. While it might be a somewhat quiet place just outside of LA proper, Orange County is no stranger to wild, out-of-control New Year’s Eve parties.
If you’re not in the mood to get down with 10,000 of your neighbors, though, you’re not alone. The good news is that Orange County is also full of chill spots where you can spend NYE in relative peace and quiet with friends and family.
Browse our list of NYE destinations to find the right place to spend your evening.
Where to go in Orange County for a chill NYE
Many Orange County neighborhoods are located right on the water, so most residents are no stranger to seafood places that aim to please. Few do it like TAPS, and almost none of them are renowned breweries where you can enjoy almost every style of beer, ale, IPA, and more while you chow down. Make your reservation for Sunday brunch now since it’s going to get crowded.
When: Dec 31, hours vary by location
Where: 101 E Imperial Hwy, Brea; 13390 Jamboree Rd, Irvine
Newport Beach, an upscale community within Orange County, is known for lavish parties where the caviar flows like bean dip at your brother’s Super Bowl party. If you’re looking for something classy but low-key, the Newport Beach New Year’s Eve Yacht Party is right up your alley. Offering an open bar, appetizers, dinner, dancing, and music, this 4-hour event is an awesome way to ring in the new year in a semi-private way. Get your tickets early, though—event organizers say it has sold out 14 years in a row.
When: Dec 31, 8:30pm – 1am
Where: 2901 West Coast Hwy, Newport Beach
Monarch Beach Resort is a fine destination hotel in Dana Point, another exclusive enclave within Orange County. For NYE, you can take advantage of the different restaurants and prix fixe menu offerings available within the hotel. For a truly special night, book a room and enjoy the top-tier $295 6-course meal at Stonehill Tavern. If you prefer something a little more cost-effective, go for the $129 5-course meal at AVEO. With all the great wine and champagne offerings, make sure you call an Uber if you’re not going to stay the night at the hotel.
When: Dec 31, 5pm – 1:30am
Where: 1 Monarch Beach Resort N, Dana Point
Going out to a restaurant, enjoying a yacht cruise, or chowing down on some fish and cold beer may be an ideal way to spend New Year’s Eve for some, but if you’re not in the mood to go out, that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate. Instead, host your own NYE party just for yourself with something to eat from Uber Eats. You can order a pizza and watch the countdown on TV, or you can plan your own small party with champagne, appetizers, and a fine dinner. You also have the choice of pajamas, your going-out sweats, or something just a little nicer. The best thing about staying home for NYE is you get to do whatever you want—not follow the dress code or fixed menu offerings you might find if you go out. You’ll also be able to involve the kids if you stay home, which is a big benefit for many.
NYE celebrations are a dime a dozen for many people, and if you’re just not up for a big all-night party this year, consider celebrating on New Year’s Day instead. To make the most of your beachside location, why not get the ocean involved in your party? Surf City Splash happens every year, and during this unique morning celebration, participants dash into the ocean, no matter how cold it is. Before you dash into the ocean at noon, you can enjoy the pancake breakfast, costume contests, and more with your neighbors and other adventurous OC residents.
When: Jan 1, 9am – 11am
Where: 411 Olive Ave, Huntington Beach
Newport Beach is often associated with glitz and glamour, but not every New Year’s Eve celebration needs to include the finest Russian caviar and gallons upon gallons of champagne. For an ultra-chill NYE, check out these top 5 spots to ring in the new year your way.