How to spend New Year's Eve in Hamilton

Here’s a sampling of entertainment ideas for revellers of various tastes.

HSR service is free on Tuesday after 6 p.m.

There is no shortage of events going on in Hamilton on New Year's Eve. (CBC)

It’s not too late to make plans for ringing in the new year. There's a smorgasbord of celebration in store for Hamilton on Tuesday night. Here’s a sample of ideas for revellers of various tastes.

For party animals

Visit your trusty local on Tuesday, or celebrate at one of the bars and clubs the city has to offer. Cover charge generally ranges from $5 to $20. But wherever you go, it’s best to call in advance.

Scores of downtown hotspots will throb with music and dancing. The Casbah (306 King St. W.) will spin funky grooves from the ‘70s and ‘80s. Guests will be treated to midnight cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. $20

New Year’s Eve at the Baltimore House (43 King William St.) boasts the latest of edition in the venue’s synth-soaked Night Drive DJ series. $5

And for the high rollers in the city, Club 77 (77 King William St.) is hosting Countdown to Vegas, featuring real casino games and $5,000 in prizes. Packages start at $21 

For live-music lovers

Several bars have house bands or DJs providing background music for the year-end revelry. But at other venues, the sounds take centre stage.

Purveyors of mean, roots-infused riffs, Hamilton rock outfit Huron will play a rare headlining gig at This Ain’t Hollywood. Folk-pop provocateur B. A. Johnston and rapper-poet Lee Reed are also on the bill. $10

The Pearl Company (16 Steven St.) will host Hot Jazzy New Year’s, featuring the Spanjazz Ensemble, a DJ set from former MuchMusic VJ Michael Williams and an eclectic, evening-long buffet. $50

For romantics and foodies

New Year’s Eve in Hamilton has options for couples and fancy-feasters with a penchant for indulgence.  

Tuesday night’s gala at Liuna Station (360 James St. N.) boasts a decadent five-course meal with Italian flair, a moonlight buffet and midnight champagne toast. $120

A five-course meal is also on the menu for Carmen’s Banquet Hall’s swanky soiree. The night features an eight-hour bar and a dance with a soundtrack curated by Tony Perri, a veteran wedding DJ. $110

For families with kids

Two public Hamilton arenas are holding free family skate times on Tuesday afternoon. (CBC)

Not many kid-friendly events are on tap for Tuesday night, but the daytime is a different story.

Dec. 31 is the final day of the Royal Botanical Gardens’ inaugural Winterfest. Running from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the RBG’s Nature Interpretive Centre (16 Old Guelph Rd.), the event includes outdoor winter games, crafts and an afternoon campfire.

Admission is included in the price of a day pass to the RBG, which costs $12.50 for adults, $10.50 for students/youth and $7.50 for children age 4 to 12. Kids under four get in free.

Tim Hortons is sponsoring a selection of free public skate times at Hamilton arenas throughout the holidays. On Tuesday, there will be zero-fee family skating at Valley Park Arena (970 Paramount Dr., Stoney Creek) from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Inch Park Arena (400 Queensdale Ave., Hamilton) from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

For couch potatoes

Prefer to party in the comfort of your home? Watching the tube, for some, is a Dec. 31 tradition. Tune into CBC TV at 8 p.m. ET for the Royal Canadian Air Farce’s annual New Year’s Eve extravaganza, followed at 9 p.m. by Mr. D star Gerry Dee’s year-end comedy special

Getting around

Police warn drivers to expect RIDE checks across the city on Tuesday night. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

As always, Hamilton police stress the following:

If you’re planning to drink on New Year’s Eve, do not drive. Motorists can expect RIDE checks to be operating throughout the city.

HSR buses will operate on a regular weekday schedule, but rides after 6 p.m. will be free.

Taxi companies in the city include Hamilton Cab (905-777-7777) and Blue Line Taxi (905-525-2583).

For partiers travelling in and out of Hamilton, GO Transit will have extra service along many of its lines, including the Lakeshore West corridor. After 8 p.m., riders across the system get on for free (that is, until the Jan. 1 schedule begins). 

For more information, including a list of train and bus times, go to GO Transit’s New Year’s Eve page.