Contrary to what your more unfettered friends might think, having kids doesn't mean the end of having a life. And while you may have to make some adjustments to your New Year's Eve routine once you've got a family in tow (tequila shots might be out), you definitely don't have to sit at home playing board games. At least, not all night. Our favorite family-friendly finds:
6-7:45 p.m.; free
You're already planning on taking the kids to the Winter WonderFest (and if you're not, what kind of parent are you?). Kill two birds (note: bad example for the kids) with this all-ages bash including hip-hop dance performances, live music and double-dutch jumpers. There'll be a special fireworks show at 8:15 p.m., and an adult party later.
5:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.; $45
Don't want to pay for your kid to pick at some gourmet food? At Marche, you don't have to; during the early evening (seatings at 5:30, 6 and 6:30 p.m.), kids eat free (one per dining parent) from a menu including chicken tenders, petit burgers, grilled cheese, pommes frites and more. A fake countdown takes place at 7:30 p.m. Adults will enjoy a special $45 menu, which they can also enjoy after 8 p.m. along with live entertainment - including burlesque dancers and a fire-eater. The meal includes surf and turf with seasonal vegetables and whipped potatoes.
Count down to an early New Year (7:59 p.m.) with the kids at this special party featuring a la carte dining options for adults and a kids menu for those 12 and under. Reservations required.
5, 7 & 10 p.m.
The family that laughs together stays together, and at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., ComedySportz's Family Show (appropriate for grade-school children and teens) will provide the glue (as well as an early countdown).
11 p.m.; $40
If you've got older kids, the special all-ages NYE performance of "Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind" at the Neo-Futurarium is a good option. Doors open at 9:30 p.m. for non-alcoholic refreshments and hors d'oeuvres provided by Whole Foods. After the show, there'll be a toast and pizza.
Still seeing a tantrum in your future? Check out the rest of our Chicago-area New Year's Eve events.
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