Band leader Dal Richards will ring in 2014

Legendary big band leader Dal Richards will be playing the River Rock Casino, the 78th straight year the Vancouver icon has performed on New Year's Eve. (CBC)

There will be free transit from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. tonight in Metro Vancouver as the city gears up to ring in the New Year, but don't expect to find any major public celebrations this year.

Earlier this month, Mayor Gregor Robertson announced the city is planning to re-launch the once popular First Night event on New Year's Eve, but not until the end of 2014.

Until then, revellers will have to make do with some private events and parties to ring in the New Year, including at least two Gatsby-themed dance parties at some downtown hotels.

For early family friendly fun, the Robson Square Ice Rink hosts a countdown at 7:30 p.m.

Legendary big band leader Dal Richards will be playing the River Rock Casino, the 78th straight year the Vancouver icon has performed on New Year's Eve.

If you want a nice romantic meal out call now. Restaurant reservations are filling up fast, and be prepared to wait if you plan to take a cab.

The SkyTrain and Canada Line are running an hour longer from downtown Vancouver, meaning the last trains to Surrey and Richmond leave just after 2 a.m.

Elsewhere in the province, BC Transit is offering free rides and extra service based on local schedules.

And if you're staying in, Allison Spurrell with Les Amis Du Fromage cheese shop, recommends going retro with a cheese fondue.

"It's really a social kind of meal, you can all, kind of, dig in and participate," she says.

Add some Prosecco, champagne or even one of B.C.'s sparkling wines and you'll have a great way to toast the New Year.

And to shake off the after-effects, there are numerous polar bear swims planned for New Year's Day, including the 94th annual swim at English Bay, another big dip at the pier in White Rock, and a skinny dip a little further south at Crescent Rock Beach.