Maybe you planned ahead for once, but want to do something else. Maybe you forgot to plan again, and you need a good excuse to decline the invitation to a friend-of-a-friend’s party. No matter the reason, one thing’s clear: It’s only a few days before New Year’s Eve, and you still don’t have any plans.
Don’t fret! Whether you want the mainstay public celebrations or the liveliest private parties and ticketed events, use this list to figure out where you’ll ring in the 2020s without either paying too much money or spending too much time in a dead-end conversation with your friend-of-a-friend’s friend. Your time and budget are worth more than that.
Baltimore’s New Year’s Eve Spectacular: The city’s signature New Year’s celebration returns to the Inner Harbor with tremendous pomp and circumstance. Warm up with brass-heavy bops and covers from Rufus Roundtree and Da B’more Brass Factory at the harbor amphitheater, then grab a spot anywhere on the waterfront (a press release from the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, which produces the show, suggested Rash Field, West Shore Park or the nearby promenade) to count down to an epic fireworks display. Dec. 31, 9 p.m.-12:30 a.m., throughout Inner Harbor, Baltimore. Free. 410-752-8632 promotionandarts.org.
Monty Alexander Trio and the Baltimore Jazz Collective Swinging into 2020: Fans of Baltimore’s vibrant local jazz scene, as well as people looking for a uniquely swanky New Year’s Eve near (but not in) the harborside action, should consider going to Keystone Korner in Harbor East. Grammy-nominated pianist Monty Alexander and his namesake trio perform for the second of four nights. The Baltimore Jazz Collective, the Keystone Korner’s house band comprising local musicians, will also play. Grab a cocktail, feast on a three-course meal from Michelin-starred chef Robert Weidmaier (included with ticket) and sway. Dec. 31, 8 p.m., Keystone Korner, 1350 Lancaster Street, Baltimore. $95. 410-946-6726. keystonekornerbaltimore.com.
2020: A New Year Celebration: One of Baltimore’s best-known LGBTQ nightlife spot pulls out all the stops for its first NYE party. Host Brooklyn Heights and special guest Tatianna (known from her performances on “RuPaul’s Drag Race") lead a who’s-who of local drag queens/ for what promises to be a raucous and ribald night. Tickets get you an all-you-can-eat buffet, champagne toast and meet-and-greet with Tatianna. Dec. 31, 8 p.m.-6 a.m., Night Shift, 1725 Ponca Street, Baltimore. $40. 410-946-6726. nightshiftnightclub.com.
The Roaring 2020’s New Years Eve: A Burlesque Revue: Ring in the new roarin ’20s with all the old-world glamour of the earlier Art Deco-loving era. Don flapper dresses or fedoras for this gala featuring live jazz bands and burlesque performances. You’ll be doing the Charleston all the way into 2020. Dec. 31, 8:30 p.m.-3 a.m., Creative Alliance, 3134 Eastern Ave., Baltimore. $35. 410-276-1651. creativealliance.org.
Noon Time New Year’s: Wish Upon a Star In case your little ones can’t make it to midnight, take them to this special event at the Inner Harbor’s premier children’s museum first. Count down to noon with a juice and cookie toast, then make your own noisemaker during one of several special programs for the new year. Dec. 31, all day, Port Discovery Children’s Museum, 35 Market Pl., Baltimore. $17.95 for general admission. 410-864-7200. portdiscovery.org.
New Year’s Eve (in Dublin) at Guinness Open Gate: Maybe you don’t have children, but you still want to toast the new decade earlier on and sleep early (or get a jump on partying — we won’t judge). Lucky for you, the folks at Guinness’ only U.S. brewery are welcoming 2020 a few hours early, in solidarity with their compatriots at St. James’s Gate in Dublin. Instead of champagne, attendees get to toast with a sample of a mystery New Year’s beer. Dec. 31, 7 p.m., Guinness Open Gate Brewery, 5001 Washington Blvd., Halethorpe. 443-575-6893. guinnessbrewerybaltimore.com.