San Antonio, which was named the seventh best city to ring in the New Year by Travel and Leisure magazine, has plenty of options for New Year’s Eve celebrations. Whether you prefer laying down a picnic blanket and popping open your own bottle of champagne, or ringing in the New Year on the dance floor, the Alamo City has you covered.

The Rivard Report has compiled a list of seven free New Year’s Eve destinations within viewing distance of the Valero Firework Extravaganza, scheduled to erupt at midnight:

1. Celebrate San Antonio at Hemisfair Park

Large crowds are expected at the city’s official New Year’s Eve event, Celebrate San Antonio. The free festival kicks off at 6 p.m in Hemisfair Park, on South Alamo Street between Market and Durango Streets, and within La Villita. The festival begins with live music from three stages, culminating in the Valero Fireworks Extravaganza at midnight. Meanwhile, carnival games, rides and festival food such as gorditas, mini-tacos, barbecue and funnel cakes, will occupy attendees of all ages. Event proceeds benefit the San Antonio Park Foundation.

2. Nectar Wine Bar & Ale House

For a more intimate and elegant evening, ring in the new year with free champagne at Nectar Wine Bar & Ale House, 214 Broadway St. Beginning at 8 p.m., guests can order various appetizers such as cured meats and cheeses from the menu or indulge in the bar’s drink specials, leading up to the live broadcast of the Valero Firework Extravaganza at midnight. 1920s-themed party favors will be distributed at the close of the night. 

3. Brick House Bash New Year’s Eve Dance Party

If you wish to show off your dance moves this New Year’s Eve, look no further than the free Brick House Bash New Year’s Eve Dance Party at the Brick at Blue Star Arts Complex, 108 Blue Star. From 9 p.m. until 1 a.m., two DJ’s and a special guest, Black Orchid of San Antonio’s Stars and Garters Burlesque Show, will perform. Awards will be given out for the best dressed, most provocative, most sophisticated and most creative costumes. 

Brick at the Blue Star Arts Complex. Photo by Scott Ball.
Brick at the Blue Star Arts Complex. Photo by Scott Ball.

4. Halcyon’s New Year’s Eve Bash

Across the street from the Brick House Bash, coffee shop Halcyon Southtown, 1414 S Alamo St., will host a free New Year’s Eve Party of their own, complete with free champagne and a set by DJ Vinyl Ritchie. The event begins at 10:30 p.m. and at midnight, guests simply step outside to watch the fireworks at the Tower of the Americas from afar.

5. Yanaguana Garden

Although Hemisfair Conservancy, Hemisfair Park’s fundraising arm, will be selling $400 tickets to a New Year’s Eve celebration on the Great Deck of Yanaguana Gardens, pedestrians are welcome to enjoy the midnight Valero Firework Extravaganza for free elsewhere in the garden. Bring a bottle of champagne and celebrate the New Year with one of the best views in the city. 

6. Puttin’ On The Glitz at Paper Tiger

Another free dance party option for the lively San Antonio crowd is the Puttin’ On The Glitz New Year’s Eve Dance Party at Paper Tiger, 2410 N Saint Mary’s St. Join Texas-based DJs Rad Envelope, Bitter Teen, DJ Jester the Filipino Fist and Terpsi as well as Portland’s experimental DJ, Boyfriends, from 7 p.m. until 12 a.m. Shortly after the clock strikes midnight, Rumble, the brand new cocktail bar located right next to Paper Tiger, will open its doors and new bar menu.

Spokesmodel performs during the Paper Tiger's opening weekend in March 2015. Photo by Scott Ball.
Spokesmodel performs during the Paper Tiger’s opening weekend in March 2015. Photo by Scott Ball.

7. A Gatsby’s New Years Eve at the Brooklynite

Award-winning cocktail bar, The Brooklynite, 516 Brooklyn Ave., is hosting a classy night inspired by the lavish lifestyle of the 1920s fictional character, Jay Gatsby. The free event starts at 9 p.m. with drink specials, small bites to eat and a champagne toast promptly at midnight. Music from The Kevin Nabors Quartet will add to the event’s elegant ambiance.

*Top image: Fireworks explode near the Tower of the Americas in 2014. Photo by Scott Ball. 

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Katie Walsh

Katie Walsh studies journalism and English at the University of Texas at Austin and will graduate in May 2017.