While getting ready for the holidays, I always run into the same problem around this time each year–finding something to do for New Year’s Eve (that isn’t crazy expensive). Fortunately D.C. isn’t a ghost town on this night, and there’s plenty of great shows to see that still aren’t sold out. Here are DCMD’s top six picks:
Yasiin Bey with special guests @ the Kennedy Center. Show 8:30 p.m./Tickets $69+
This year has been a turning point for Bey (formerly known as Mos Def), who was detained in South Africa for most of the year following his arrest for using a fake passport. During his confinement, he announced his retirement from music and kept to his word once he was released. Shortly after leaving South Africa, Bey announced several ‘farewell’ shows at the Kennedy Center, with each night featuring surprise guests and post-show parties in the venue’s main foyer. As of this post, tickets for the New Year’s Eve show are still available–grab ’em while you can.
Spacecamp @ Smith Public Trust. Show 7 p.m./FREE with RSVP
Free shows on New Year’s Eve are pretty hard to come by, but there are some options out there. One rad show happening this Saturday features a bunch of our favorite D.C. acts like The Sea Life, Den-Mate, April+VISTA, DJ Money (Wale’s DJ) and more under one roof. It’s free with an RSVP!
ROAM’s New Year’s Eve and Three-Year Anniversary Party. Show 10 p.m./Tickets $20
ROAM, a local DJ collective that throws awesome dance parties in unconventional locations, is celebrating three year together with a big New Year’s Eve bash. Music wise, the lineup features an A-list group of DJs from the area like DJ Lisa Frank, Chris Nitti, Sami%SuYung, Dawit Eklund and more who’ll play at an undisclosed warehouse space in D.C. If you’re looking for something more off the beaten path on New Year’s Eve, this party will be right up your alley.
One of our favorite music spots, Songbyrd, has got a pretty cool event lined up for New Year’s Eve that’ll take over the entire space. There’s an open bar from 9 p.m.-1 a.m., appetizers, DJs spinning tunes for the entire night, games, themed party rooms and a champagne toast at midnight. It’s all for a reasonably-priced $80 (or $68 if you’re with a group), not a bad deal for the amount of things you’ll get at this show.
Rock and Roll Hotel’s New Year’s Eve Blowout. Show 8 p.m./Tickets $85
Rock and Roll Hotel has a great DJ lineup set for its New Year’s Eve blowout this year, with Jacq Jill (founder of the event series Juice), Alex DB, Lightwaves, Basscamp and more taking over two floors of the space. Besides music, your ticket includes the open bar for the entire night, snacks, photo booth and other New Year’s Eve-esque perks.
The Beanstalk Library’s New Year’s Eve Throwdown @ IOTA Club. Show 9 p.m./Tickets $20
Maybe a big fancy New Year’s Eve blowout isn’t exactly your cup of tea. If you’re looking for a more low-key party, local rock band The Beanstalk Library is putting on a fun show at IOTA Club with esteemed guitarist Bobby Thompson and Revelator Hill and folk duo The Sweater Set. There are no cheap thrills here, just good live music to help ring in the New Year.
Nadastrom, Eau Claire, Ken Laze @ U Street Music Hall. Show 10 p.m./Tickets $10 DOS only
Another solid New Year’s Eve pick that won’t break the bank–one of most successful DJ duos to come from the area in the last few years, Nadastrom, will headline U Street Music Hall with rising D.C. DJ Eau Claire and Ken Laze. The party is only 10 bucks to get in, but you’ll have to get there early to ensure a spot–no advance tickets will be sold for this show.