“Your New Year’s Eve party sets the tone for your new year” is something we once heard someone say, and while we don’t think that’s exactly true we can’t get the saying out of our heads. There are choices to be made, Seattle. Do we want our New Year to be filled with concerts in Ballard or boat parties on Puget Sound? Should we be around lots of people or no people? What if we pass out before midnight?
Fortunately, we’ve browsed some of the best parties and organized them in this quick-hit list. Do we want to go more disco? More draggy? More musical-y? More drone-y? Turns out we can have it all 🎆
📸: Courtesy Space Needle
T-Mobile New Year’s @ The Space Needle
Saturday, December 31 • 8 pm (light shows at 10 pm, 11 pm; drone show @ midnight)
For the first time since 2019, the Space Needle will host an in-person light show to ring in the new year. This party is extra special for other reasons, too: Notably, there’ll be 200 drones in attendance.
Sky Elements, a drone light show company based in Texas, will run the 11-minute spectacle, with the drones performing alongside more traditionally sparkly things, e.g. fireworks. To watch the show IRL, head to the Seattle Center campus grounds and find a good spot to crane your neck.
📸: Courtesy 20th Century Fox
Moulin Rouge! Sing-along @ SIFF Uptown
Saturday, December 31 • 6 pm
You’ve got two chances to have a Moulin Rouge! themed New Year’s Eve, and one happens near the midnight drone extravaganza at Seattle Center.
SIFF will host its annual sing-along screening of the original film on New Year’s Eve at the Uptown at 6 pm. The Oscar-winning 2001 film made thousands of millennial hearts soar (mine included; remind me to tell you how important this movie is to my marriage) and earned itself a legion of cult fans.
A sizeable group of those fans comes together at SIFF every year to scream-sing-along to tracks like “Lady Marmalade” and “Your Song” while dazzling over the ornate sets and costumes and vibes. This special screening starts early, giving you plenty of time to move over to your party or bar of choice well before we ring in 2023. Since the Space Needle is so freaking close, why not just shuffle on over and gawk at the drones. MARCUS GORMAN
📸: Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade
Moulin Rouge! The Musical @ Paramount Theatre
Through January 1, 2023
Much like the film, the stage version of Moulin Rouge! ain’t known for being subtle. It’s a raucous jukebox Best Musical winner set in and around the bohemian enclave of Paris’ Montmartre Quarter at the turn of the 20th century, centering on the explosive but doomed romance between poor composer Christian and showgirl/actress Satine, who works at the titular club.
Those hoping for an exact replica of the film may initially be disappointed, as the play can’t quite hit the insane tonal heights of filmmaker Baz Luhrmann’s original. But stage and screen are different beasts. They’ve rethought the extravaganza from the ground up, with tongue-in-cheek direction from Alex Timbers (Here Lies Love), sensational choreography from Sonya Tayeh (So You Think You Can Dance), and a new book by screenwriter and two-time Tony winner John Logan. Also updated are at least half of the songs, as Luhrmann’s film is officially 21 years old and it makes absolute sense to include the past couple decades of Top 40 pop hits.
Perhaps the show’s biggest sell is the spectacle itself, part and parcel for the production company behind this, Global Creatures, known for stadium shows such as Walking with Dinosaurs and How to Train Your Dragon and two Australian musical adaptations I would LOVE to see come to the United States (Strictly Ballroom and frickin’ Muriel’s Wedding). MARCUS GORMAN
📸: Courtesy Clock-Out Lounge
TUSH! NYE @ Clock-Out Lounge
Saturday, December 31 • 9 pm
I once saw a TUSH queen do Nicole Kidman’s AMC monologue and it changed me.
Drag queen Betty Wetter hosts TUSH, a monthly mainstay at Clock-Out Lounge in Beacon Hill. The drag show sells out quickly and celebrated its fourth anniversary over the summer. And at this special NYE version of the show, expect drag performances, DJ sets, dancing, and a champagne toast. Very glam. A riot to attend.
As for Clock-Out Lounge, it’s one of my favorite bars in the city because of the cheap drinks and slammin’ pizza. (Dare I say the best pizza in the city….) The venue’s excellent booking of music, comedy, and trivia challenges the need to make the trip to Capitol Hill ever again if you live in south Seattle.
The cast for the NYE event includes Queen Andrew Scott, Miss Texas 1988, Moscato Sky, and of course, host Betty Wetter, who you can catch at drag events around Seattle and running weekly Sunday trivia at Lower Queen Anne’s Solo Bar. DJ Dark Wiley and DJ Aunt Joody will be spinning for the night. See you there 🥂 MIRANDA HARDY
📸: Courtesy Republic | Taylor Swift
The Taylor Party @ ALMA
Saturday, December 31 • 9 pm
Draw your cat eye sharp enough to kill a man—it’s another Taylor Swift Night, this time in Tacoma.
With the excitement of Taylor Swift announcing her Eras Tour, “The Taylor Party” is giving all the local Swifties a place to come together and dance the night away for New Year’s Eve. And by dancing, I mean collectively screaming the lyrics at the top of our lungs, shoulder-to-shoulder, bonding over our communal hatred for Jake Gyllenhaal.
This event is one of many Taylor Swift nights around Seattle, including the one that happens regularly at Neumos with some of Seattle’s best drag queens. If you missed out on tickets to Swift’s upcoming tour, get on your “vigilante shit” and come on down to Tacoma. A night (or new year) filled with Taylor Swift songs will never go out of style. KAYLEE BOTTING
📸: Courtesy Supernova
NYE 2023 Roller Disco @ Supernova + Southgate Roller Rink
Saturday, December 31 • 8 pm
Southgate Roller Rink has all the trappings of a skating venue, including kids’ and family stuff, but it spends most of its open hours as an adults-only punk rock roller disco. On New Year’s, it transforms into a glittery electronic disco by partnering with SoDo disco club Supernova.
Starting at 8, Supernova sends its resident DJs to White Center to spin Disco and Nudisco beats from the center of Southgate’s rink. The neighborhood’s strip of restaurants and bars is rowdy and friendly; we recommend swinging by Proletariat Pizza or Full-Tilt Ice Cream for a pre-skate snack.
Navigating the place is half the fun. You can bring your drinks rinkside (not on the rink!), but to fetch them, you need to navigate to the back bar, which is down a decently carpeted ramp with, blessedly, a handrail. Climbing back up with a drink or two with wheels on your feet is a skill of its own, and it’ll prepare you for the late-night portion of this event: If you pay for the combo ticket, head to SoDo and party at Supernova til 4 am. SARAH ANNE LLOYD