New Year's Eve in Hawaii is a family affair. The New Year is a significant event among many cultures, and neighborhoods across the Islands will erupt in fireworks (a new ordinance banning all but simple fireworks goes into effect Jan. 2, leading many to speculate that this NYE could be particularly boisterous). I shot this video around midnight last year, with a view of residential neighborhoods on the central Oahu plain. You can see, people take NYE seriously here.
But if you're looking for live music or a club party, we've got those, too. Take your pick from the following:
The Hilton Hawaiian Village is offering up two parties. First, in the Coral Ballroom, see legendary Hawaiian music duo Cecilio and Kapono perform, with celebrity impersonator Andre-Philippe Gagnon opening. Gagnon made a big splash in the 80s by singing every solo in "We Are the World" — from Willie Nelson to Michael Jackson, he's spot-on. Gagnon is on stage at 9:15 p.m. C&K play their set from 10:30 p.m. through the new year. Tickets ($100, $75) include a half-bottle of champagne and party favors. The Hilton also hosts revelers at Paradise Lounge in the Rainbow Tower, with 10 champagnes by the glass available and dancing all night. $25, or free to anyone dining at Bali Steak & Seafood, Tropics Bar & Grill or Rainbow Lanai on New Year's Eve. Call (808) 949-4321.
The Sheraton Waikiki will host two bombastic parties in one — RumFire becomes Oceanfront Times Square, and the Edge of Waikiki hosts a Vegas-themed soiree with showgirls and, of course, Elvis. Celebrate with a ball drop from the top of the Sheraton, fireworks and partying until 2:30 a.m. Bring your dancing shoes. $40 presale, $50 at the door. Call (808) 921-4600.
The new Waikiki EDITION offers parties on its pool deck and uber-chic Crazybox lounge, with DJs Devin Lucien and DJ Ruckus and views of the fireworks. Tickets ($100, $75) include champagne toast, and are available at the front desk.
Tiki's Grill & Bar at the Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel offers a prix-fixe menu for $59, live bands until 2 a.m., a champagne toast at midnight and a great view of the fireworks off the beachfront lanai. Call (808) 923-8454.
The biggest party on the island will go down at Aloha Tower Marketplace, with seven stages of entertainment and its own fireworks show over Honolulu Harbor at midnight. (The video is a cool time elapse of last year's tower fireworks from afar.) $15 presale, $75 VIP can be purchased online, or at all T&C Surf locations, military outlets and the University of Hawaii Campus Center.
Several chic bars and clubs in the nearby Arts District downtown will be rocking hard. Hosting events are thirtyninehotel and NextDoor, but they'll all be bumpin'. Wandering the streets and people watching should be entertainment enough.
On the water
Even if it's rainy, it'll still be balmy — you're in Hawaii! There are two midnight fireworks cruises you can join:
Set sail aboard the ultimate speakeasy from Kewalo Basin Harbor for Puttin on the Ritz: The LIST's Champagne Cruise. Boat departs at 8:30 p.m., returns 1:30 a.m. and features an open bar and champagne toast at midnight. $150, advance purchase required. Call (808) 225-2265.
The FireWater NYE party is aboard the huge Alii Kai Catamaran, featuring two live bands, two DJs and drink specials on three levels. Boarding is from 9-10:30 p.m., and returns at 1 a.m. $45 pre-sale, $55 at the door. Call (808) 348-9137.