Finding a family-friendly way to ring in the new year can be a challenge. While San Francisco nightlife typically caters more towards the singles, don’t despair in finding some festive options for the kiddos. From late-night fireworks to daytime kid-centered parties, there are enough celebratory choices to have everyone in the family happy while ringing in 2013 together.
Embarcadero Fireworks Show
Embarcadero at Pier 14
San Francisco, CA 94111
Date: Dec. 31 at 11:59 p.m.
This annual all-ages Embarcadero waterfront fireworks show kicks off the new year at the stroke of midnight. The free show runs about 15 minutes and is put on by the same folks that design fireworks for the World Series-winning San Francisco Giants. The fireworks are set off over the Ferry Building and there are plenty of local spots that offer great viewing locales, from the Hard Rock Café to the Hyatt Regency San Francisco. Also popular with the locals is viewing the fireworks from a kayak floating in the Bay. Check out City Kayak for rentals for experienced paddlers.
27th Annual Bell Ringing Ceremony
Asian Art Museum - Samsung Hall
200 Larkin St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
Date: Dec. 30 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The 27th annual Asian Art Museum Bell Ringing Ceremony includes a Buddhist purification ritual and Heart Sutra chanting. Reverend Gengo Akiba will kick off the bell ringing and then museum patrons may take turns ringing the bell. The Asian Art Museum’s bronze bell dates back to the 16th-century. Ringing of the bell at the new year symbolizes leaving behind poor luck and bad actions and experiences in the old year.
Noon New Year’s Eve Party
Bay Area Discovery Museum
557 McReynolds Road
Sausalito, CA 94965
Date: Dec. 31 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
For little ones that just can’t make it until midnight, instead celebrate a New Year’s Eve ball drop at noon at the Bay Area Discovery Museum. This 4th annual daytime family tradition includes festive party hats and DJ dancing so kids can enjoy an experience typically reserved only for adults. Museum staff will drop a balloon at noon to symbolize the typical New Year’s Eve ball drop. Special holiday arts and crafts will be available and party-goers will have full access to the museum until closing time at 2 p.m.
Noon Year’s Eve Party
Hiller Aviation Museum
601 Skyway Road
San Carlos, CA 94070
Date: Dec. 31 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
This is another Noon New Year’s Eve Party that is best for the younger set. The Hiller Aviation Museum party offers two different balloon drops at noon. Festive activities include live music, a magician, face painting and select exhibitors. Food will also be available.
Frisco Fred’s Holiday Magic & More
The Alcove Theater
414 Mason St., 5th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94102
Date: Dec. 31 from 7 p.m and 9 p.m.
This holiday show provides clean entertainment for everyone in the family. The comedy magic show includes balloon animals, card tricks, stunts and juggling. Bring along the older kids or send your teens on their own, as Frisco Fred is sure to please kids of all ages.
Joanna Metheny is a freelance writer covering all things South Bay. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.