How to Make Your New Year's Eve As Rad As You Are

December 27, 2016

New Year’s Eve is this weekend, and if you’ve got the feels that we do, you’re stressed out, exhausted from all the traveling and family-togetherness this month, and likely scared to commit to any definite plans. It doesn’t matter what’s going on, the night always feels too built-up and overrated—unless you can afford to jet off to NYC to plant yourself in the center of Times Square for the ball drop with hundreds of thousands of your closest friends, all the while bundled up in freezing temperatures with shooters stuffed into both pockets…wait, that sounds even more miserable.

But lucky for you, there’s plenty of fun to close out the year close to home. Colorado is loaded with rad unconventional activities and events to ring in 2017 on the right foot. (And Lord knows we need all the help we can get after all that this past year threw our way.) Read on to discover our list of New Year’s Eve activities we find worthy of commitment (and bonus: they won’t break the bank, either.) While drinking may seem like a prerequisite for NYE fun, we guarantee you’ll have a blast even if you decide to go stone-cold sober.

Hit up a show
According to the National Endowment for the Arts, the percentage of Colorado adults who attend concerts is significantly higher than other states—and this is 0% a surprise to any of us.

The Denver-metro area on its own is booked to the brim with some amazing artists who can croon and jam you into the new year. Check the venues’ sites for tickets, and if they’re sold out but you and your crew are set to go, head over to Craigslist or the Colorado Ticket Exchange group on Facebook to avoid mark-up fees.

We wish we could go to all of these at the same time, but here are a few shows that are sure to be fun.

Boombox are headlining the Gothic Theatre; STS9 play three nights straight, ending their run on the 31st at the Fillmore Auditorium; Nahko and Medicine for the People are at the Ogden Theatre (we’ve never seen Nahko, but have heard that he has a really positive uplifting nature—similar  to Michael Franti); and Colorado’s own The String Cheese Incident are playing the 1stBANK Center, bringing with them legions of fans donning top hats, pins, and hula hoops.

If you’re a dance music fan, check out Decadence, the huge multi-day dance party featuring heavy hitters like The Chainsmokers (they DO mention Boulder in their song “Closer”), Big Wild, Eric Prydz, Flume, Snails, Tiesto, and more. Too much? Here’s an off-the-beaten-path option that’s a bit cheaper: Club Vinyl is hosting a “secret” guest to ring in 2017, but word on the street is that they’re pulling in a big up-and-coming name to their intimate South Broadway spot. The best part? Tickets are only $25, but we’re confident that once they reveal the secret guest, those on the fence will LEAP over it—so, get your tickets before they sell out.

Head to the mountains
We can’t blame you if you’re over the city life, and want to ring in the new year mountain-style. Every mountain throws down in their own way, but there are two spots in particular, Vail and Keystone, that look like the most fun to us. An added perk no matter where you go: opt to get up early on the 1st and shred—assuming the rest of the state is too hungover to beat you to those ungroomed runs. And assuming it snows (although early forecasts point to YES).

If you head to Vail, you can expect the annual Torchlight Parade in which ski instructors and Vail locals form a glowing train as they ski down Golden Peak with glowing sticks, followed by a fireworks display. Now that’s a lot of glowing.

If you’re a bluegrass fan, then Keystone might just be the key (get it?): the Warren Station Center for the Arts  is hosting the popular Denver band Trout Steak Revival with opener Pandas & People out of Fort Collins. Tickets are $20 in advance, or $25 at the door.

Go to FOCO for the Rodeo
Yes, we’re serious. Dust off your cowboy boots, grab your hats, bolo ties, and stirrups, and wrangle in the fun at the Extreme Rodeo Challenge. Hosted at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, this is surely a fun and different way to ring in 2017. Seek out saddle bronc and bareback riding, bull riding and fighting, and, of course, mutton bustin.’ Tickets are reasonable, ranging from $17 to $27. Oh, and be sure to get on your honkey tonk after. (You can find more info here.)

While we can all agree that spending $500 on tickets to a champagne waterfall sounds pretty glamorous, it matters more who we’re with than what we’re doing when it’s time for that midnight countdown. When it comes to celebrating across our gorgeous state, what are your plans for ringing in 2017?