Local venues offer R&B singers, balloon drops, ballroom dancing, multi-course meals and a Russian snow princess. Here are some of the Palo Alto-area choices:
The bluesy Kaye Bohler Band plays the Oak City Bar & Grill at 1029 El Camino Real in Menlo Park starting at 9 p.m. Dinner is served from 5 p.m., with reservations suggested. Go to oakcitybarandgrill.com or call 650-321-6882.
The British Bankers Club at 1090 El Camino Real in Menlo Park is hosting a New Year's Eve Ball from 9:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. The event has a Russian New Year's theme, with vodka, dinner, a dance show and a princess named Snegurochka (the snow maiden). Admission is $30 in advance (between Dec. 20 and Dec. 31) and $35 at the door. Dress is dressy. Go to britishbankersclub.com or call 650-327-8769.
Palo Alto musician James Welch plays his annual New Year's Eve pipe-organ concert at 8 p.m. at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 600 Colorado Ave., Palo Alto. Various pieces by J.S. Bach will be featured, with Welch's son Nicholas joining him on piano for the Partita in B-flat major. Tickets are $10. Go to welchorganist.com or call 650-856-9700.
The Bay Area Country Dance Society holds New Year's Eve Contra Dance from 8 p.m. to midnight at the Palo Alto Masonic Center, 461 Florence St., Palo Alto. Caller Tina Fields and the Star Thistle music ensemble (Chetani Cheryl McKinney, Dave Kistler, Lonna Whipple and David Wright) are up, with a potluck also planned. Admission is $20 general, $16 for members and $10 for students. Go to bacds.org.
For kids who can't stay up late, the balloon drop happens at noon on Dec. 31 at Cheeky Monkey Toys at 640 Santa Cruz Ave. in Menlo Park. "New Year at Noon" is free and also includes craft activities from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Go to cheekymonkeytoys.com or call 650-328-7975.
Several events are planned on and around New Year's Eve at the Fox Theatre and its smaller sister venue Club Fox at 2215 Broadway in downtown Redwood City. R&B singers Lenny Williams and Earl Thomas will perform Dec. 31 at the Fox Theatre, with the tribute band the Unauthorized Rolling Stones playing at Club Fox that night. Several levels of ticketing are planned. For details, go to foxrwc.com.
For those who prefer to make dining the centerpiece of the evening, many local restaurants have New Year's Eve menus. These include: Joya at 339 University Ave. in Palo Alto (five courses, prix fixe), with information at joyarestaurant.com; and Madera at 2825 Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park (from pickled pear to coconut-lime dacquoise), maderasandhill.com.
Some local residents celebrate New Year's Eve early; others prefer to mark the occasion on New Year's Day. Here are some options for these days:
Singles who want to dress up and schmooze a night early can attend the Pre-New Year's Party hosted by the Society of Single Professionals and Singles Supper Club from 8 p.m. to midnight at the Sheraton Hotel, 625 El Camino Real, Palo Alto. Tickets are $20 for dancing, party hats and favors. Go to thepartyhotline.com or call 415-507-9962.
Also scheduled for Dec. 30 is a New Year's Eve Day Bash for seniors, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. A buffet lunch, dancing and a 1:30 p.m. champagne toast are planned. Tickets are $13 in advance and $18 on the day of the event. Go to cityofpaloalto.org/recreation or call 650-463-4953.
"I Like Ludwig" is the theme of the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra's New Year's Day concert at 3 p.m. Violinist Robin Sharp solos in a program that includes Beethoven's Second Symphony and his Violin Concerto in D major. The free performance is at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 600 Colorado Ave., Palo Alto. Go to sfchamberorchestra.org or call 415-692-3367.
One museum that stays open on New Year's Day is the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University. The Cantor is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with its many exhibitions including shows of African art, paintings by California artist Rex Slinkard and contemporary art in many media. Go to museum.stanford.edu.