No-stress New Year’s Eve in Metro Detroit

Melody Baetens

With pressure to find a fun date, something sharp to wear and have a good time, deciding where to go and what to do on New Year’s Eve can be downright stressful.

Here are some events that don’t require tickets, reservations, a beaded gown or tuxedo, and if you go early enough, they don’t even require a baby sitter.

Downtown Detroit

Styled after events like New York’s Time Square celebration, the Meridian Motor City NYE Drop in Campus Martius and Cadillac Square has free indoor and outdoor activities for families until the early ball drop at 6:30 p.m. The “ball,” in this case, is an 8-foot sphere with a 7-foot “D” mounted on it.


The Infatuations performing at last year’s Meridian Motor City NYE Drop party. The Detroit event is styled after New York City’s Times Square event.

The kid-friendly attractions include circus acts, the Detroit Youth Choir, bounce houses, face painting and jungle gyms in a 17,000-square-foot heated tent.

After the early drop ceremony, the nightlife starts and the free indoor activities end. A ticketed party called the Motown Countdown takes over the tent with two stages, two dance floors, party favors, a balloon trip, champagne stations and other fun. This VIP party requires a ticket, which is $85 the night of the event (if it’s not sold out). It’s still free to revel outside and watch the ball drop.

Visit to register for your Faygo glow tube to pick up for free at the event.


Numerous family-friendly attractions can be found downtown and throughout Metro Detroit on this New Year’s weekend.

Downtown Wyandotte

Party in downtown Wyandotte under the city’s clock tower at Biddle and Maple, just a few steps from the river.

The free event features live rock bands Sponge, Eva Under Fire, Sarah Sherrard and Joe Jaber and the Last Divide. There will also be a heated tent with DJs, games and a full bar.

The family-friendly ball drop is at 9 p.m., followed by the real thing at midnight. Visit for more details.

Downtown Mount Clemens

On the other end of town, there will be fireworks in downtown Mount Clemens.

The city’s 23rd annual New Year’s Eve Gala starts at 9:30 p.m. with local blues/rock band Eastside Westside. Mingle around downtown and bar hop until the midnight fireworks display following a midnight countdown to 2017 led by Mount Clemens Mayor Barb Dempsey.

For family-friendly fun, the city is hosting Never Never Land 4-9 p.m. in the downtown area with face painting, pony rides and a petting zoo, train rides, a magic show, storytelling, vintage amusement park rides and an all-ages ball drop and fireworks at 9 p.m. on Main street near the Clock Tower.


Never Never Land and its child-friendly activities of train rides, face painting and more returns to downtown Mount Clemens from 4-9 p.m. on Dec. 31.


Drop into Bona Sera Restaurant in Ypsilanti on Saturday and ring in the new year with local indie rock groups.

Slug Love from Ypsilanti kicks things off at 8 p.m., followed by Wraiths, Blue Jeans, Meshes and garage rock two piece Junglefowl. After a midnight toast, hear electro-rock from Hamtramck’s Tart and dream pop trio Minihorse. At 1:30 a.m., a dance party will break out orchestrated by DJ Beige.


Electro-pop duo Tart will perform as part of Mittenfest in Ypsilanti on Saturday.

The best part is that it’s only $10 to get in the door, and proceeds benefit 826michigan, a nonprofit that helps local students with their writing skills.

Mittenfest is also Thursday and Friday. Visit for the full schedule.

Party all day

You can’t party all day if you don’t start in the morning. With New Year’s Eve being on Saturday, there are plenty of things to do well before midnight.

Both the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Detroit Historical Museum are open, and the latter has a free kids’ event called “Noon Year’s Eve” from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. with cookies and cocoa.

The Detroit Zoo is open and after dark the “Wild Lights” exhibit fires up ($13).

The 47th annual Belle Isle New Year’s Eve Family Fun Walk/Run is a good way to kick start your new year resolution. The children’s fun run starts at 3:30 p.m. followed by the 5K run or walk at 4 p.m. The course is open to all ages and abilities.

Pedal around

All three of downtown Detroit’s bike pubs – the Detroit Cycle Pub, the Michigan Pedaler and the HandleBar – will be operating on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.


The HandleBar riders enjoy riding around Campus Martius Park. An amendment to a Detroit city ordinance was passed in November that now allows alcoholic drinks on board.

The bikes typically run two-hour tours and stop at three bars. This is the first winter that riders on these mobile party-cycles are able to legally bring their own booze after a city ordinance was passed in November allowing it.

Cost and schedule varies, but prices can be as little as $20 per person.

(313) 222-2402

Twitter: @melodybaetens

Stephanie Steinberg contributed


More New Year’s Eve Events

live music


Planet D Nonet at Dirty Dog Jazz Café, seatings at 5 and 9 p.m. Reservations recommended. 97 Kercheval, Grosse Pointe. (313) 882-5299.

Pete Siers Trio with Dave Bennett and Tad Weed at Kerrytown Concert House, 7 p.m. Sold out. 415 N. Fourth, Ann Arbor. (734) 769-2999.

Rockin’ Blues New Year’s Eve featuring Sonny Moorman at Callahan’s Music Hall, 8 p.m. $25 and up. Dinner packages available. 2105 South Blvd., Auburn Hills. (248) 858-9508.

Ben Sharkey at AXIS Lounge at MGM Grand Detroit, 9 p.m.-1 a.m. No cover. 1777 Third, Detroit. Email for table reservations.

Alexander Zonjic and his band with Jeff Lorber and Serieux and their Motown Temptations Review at Trenton Village Theatre, 9:30 p.m. $50. 2447 W. Jefferson, Trenton. (313) 964-5050.


Jeff Daniels: Acoustic & Unplugged at the Purple Rose Theatre, 3 and 8 p.m. $78-$88. 137 Park, Chelsea. (734) 433-7673.

Greensky Bluegrass at Royal Oak Music Theatre,7 p.m. $39.50-$60. 318 W. Fourth, Royal Oak. (248) 399-2890.

Heaven’s Wish at Diesel Concert Lounge, 7 p.m. $15. 33151 23 Mile, New Baltimore.

The Mega 80s at Magic Bag, 8 p.m. $35. 22920 Woodward, Ferndale. (248) 544-1991.

Modern Tribe Communications 20th anniversary with Ultra Unit, Duminie Deporres, Greg Sanders and Satta Don Dada at PJ’s Lager House, 9 p.m. $10. 1254 Michigan, Detroit. (313) 961-4668.

Electric Six with Queen Kwong at Saint Andrew’s Hall, 9 p.m. $20. 431 E. Congress, Detroit. (313) 961-8961.

The Dirtbombs with Soledad Brothers and Prude Boys at Magic Stick, 9 p.m. $20. 4120 Woodward, Detroit. (313) 833-9700.

Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Initiative Committee fundraiser with Unlimited Head at Dino’s Lounge, 9 p.m. No cover, free will donation. 22740 Woodward, Ferndale. (248) 591-3466.


Jeezy at Masonic Temple, 8 p.m. $125 and up. 500 Temple, Detroit. (313) 832-7100.

Tunde Olaniran at El Club, 8 p.m. Sat. $10. 4114 W. Vernor, Detroit. (313) 436-1793.

Homeboy Sandman with Nolan the Ninja, MotorKam and Lord Gulley at Loving Touch, 8 p.m. $15. 22634 Woodward, Ferndale. (248) 820-5596.


Detroit Symphony Orchestra performs the Music of Prince at Orchestra Hall at the Max, 10 p.m. $70 and up. Dinner packages available. 3711 Woodward, Detroit. (313) 576-5111.


Bass Supremacy with five stages of DJs at Russell Industrial Center, 7 p.m.-4 a.m. $30, $60 VIP. 1600 Clay, Detroit.

DJ Mo Beatz and DJ Mix 1981 with laser light show, complimentary buffet and confetti blast at the Annex, 8 p.m.-4 a.m. $30, $50 VIP. 24 W. Adams, Detroit. (313) 632-9021.

New Year’s Eve Resolution Ball with balloon drop, confetti and more at Fillmore Detroit, 8 p.m. $80-$125, tickets include admission, some drinks pizza and coney buffet and more. 2115 Woodward, Detroit. (313) 961-5451.

Thirst Wave with new wave, alt-retro, dark ’80s and ’90s alternative at Small’s Bar, 8 p.m. $8-$10. 10339 Conant, Hamtramck. (313) 873-1117.

DJ Denis Celic and Friends at the Bosco, 8 p.m. 22930 Woodward, Ferndale. (248) 541-8818.

Entertainment with Gary Sacco, and DJ Z, plus full dinner, champagne toast, late night pizza and drink tickets at Villa Penna, 8 p.m.-2 a.m. Tickets start at $40. 43985 Hayes, Sterling Heights. (313) 378-4000 or

DJ, punch and champagne toast at Punch Bowl Social, 9 p.m.-2 a.m. $10. 1331 Broadway, Detroit. (313) 749-9738.

Country Club Disco with Golf Clap, Pontchartrain, Ghita Sisters and Players Club at Grasshopper Underground, 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Sat. $10. 22757 Woodward, Ferndale. (248) 298-0330.

Enter the Dojo Party with a DJ, appetizers and an ice luge at the Peterboro, 9:30 p.m.-2 a.m. $50. 420 Peterboro, Detroit. (313) 833-1111.

Bey Ball Dance Party with DJs Graffiti and Dante Lasalle with Britney Stoney at Blind Pig, 9:30 p.m. $10. 208 S. First, Ann Arbor. (734) 996-8555.

Studio V with Captn20 and party favors and champagne toast at V Nightclub at MGM Grand Detroit, 10 p.m.-4 a.m. $50. 1777 Third, Detroit.

Bleu Out with Eran Hersh, Kenneth Thomas and more at Bleu Detroit, 10 p.m.-4 a.m. $10-$450. 1540 Woodward, Detroit. (313) 974-7799.

stage events

“Beautiful: the Carole King Musical” at Fisher Theatre, 2 and 8 p.m. $49 and up. 3011 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit. (313) 872-1000.

“Unlucky Charms” murder mystery dinner show at Bavarian Inn, 6:30 p.m. $50 for dinner and show. 1 Covered Bridge Lane, Frankenmuth. (989) 652-7200.

Comedian Andy Hendrickson at Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle, 7:30 and 10:30 p.m. $27.50-$35. 310 S. Troy, Royal Oak. (248) 542-9900.

“New Year’s Eve Showdown” interactive improv game show at Go Comedy! Improv Theatre, 7:30 and 10 p.m. $35-$50. Early show includes hors d’oeuvres and prizes; late show is food, prizes and a champagne toast. 261 E. Nine Mile, Ferndale. (248) 327-0575.