Countdown to the New Year

Ring in 2016 with a pop, a bang or quiet contemplation

December is winding its way to an end, which means it's time to say goodbye to 2015 and usher in the New Year. For some, the shift in the calendar year is cause for all-out celebration. For others, it's a time for reflection, renewal and resolution.

Whatever your style, the Midpeninsula offers a range of events to help you honor the start of 2016, from champagne brunches to nightclub parties to nature hikes in wide-open spaces. Read on for a few ideas on how to spend Dec. 31, and feel free to create your own tradition -- there's no wrong way to welcome the new year.

Party with the China Cats

The year may be nearly dead, but the Dead live on! Join Grateful Dead cover band the China Cats at Redwood City's Club Fox for a night of Dead-style jamming and feel-good vibes. The line-up also features Bay Area singer-songwriter Pat Nevins. Sorry kids; you gotta be 21 or over to party with these guys.

Where: Club Fox, 2209 Broadway St., Redwood City

When: Thursday, Dec. 31. Doors open at 8 p.m.; show starts at 9 p.m.

Cost: $25-$35

Info: Go to clubfoxrwc.com or call 877-435-9849.

Sup in style

If fine dining's your thing, consider splurging on an evening meal at Quattro, the upscale Italian restaurant with California flair located at the Four Seasons Hotel in East Palo Alto. On New Year's Eve, Executive Chef, Marco Fossati will be serving a special four-course menu starting at 5:30 p.m. Among the menu choices are a slow-roasted venison loin, chestnut bucatini pasta and an Alaskan halibut fillet.

Where: Quattro Restaurant, 2050 University Ave., East Palo Alto

When: Thursday, Dec. 31, 5:30-10 p.m.

Cost: $110 per person

Info: Go to goo.gl/6N6QwX or call 650-566-1200.

Engage your spirit

Looking for a ritual or ceremony to help you send out the old and bring in the new? Consider attending the New Year's Eve Service at Ananda, Palo Alto's non-denominational spiritual community. Through discussion, chanting, meditation and a fire ceremony, attendees will be encouraged to "release the energy of the past" and embrace the future.

Where: Ananda, 2171 El Camino Real, Palo Alto

When: Thursday, Dec. 31; meditation, 5-7 p.m., worship service, 7:30 p.m.

Cost: Free

Info: Go to anandapaloalto.org or call 650-323-3363.

Club the year away

Over at Mountain View's Opal Night Club, the last night of the year will go down in high style at The Gatsby Experience. Dress to impress and dance your way into the wee hours of Jan. 1 to the tunes of DJ EZ & BENOFFICIAL. Those with plenty of friends and extra dough to spare may even want to splurge on VIP bottle service.

Where: Opal Nightclub, 251 Castro St., Mountain View

When: Thursday, Dec. 31, 9:30 p.m.

Cost: $25; $500 for VIP bottle service

Info: Go to opalnightclub.com or call 650-318-6732.

Hike Bald Mountain

Fancy spending the last hours of 2015 taking in fresh air and panoramic views? Join docents from the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District for a New Year's Eve group hike at Sierra Azul Preserve, located in the hills above Los Gatos. The fast-paced 11-mile hike will travel through mixed woodland, chaparral, and grassland.

Where: Sierra Azul Preserve

When: Thursday, Dec. 31, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Cost: Free

Info: Go to goo.gl/vO6tqa.

Toast Auld Lang Syne

This one's strictly for those who've earned it: The City of Palo Alto once again hosts the annual New Year's Eve champagne brunch for seniors. The afternoon of feasting and celebration features live swing music from the 10th Avenue Band, dancing and raffle prizes. For those too young to make the cut, a ticket to the brunch makes a great stocking stuffer for grandpa.

Where: Mitchell Park Community Center, 3700 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto

When: Thursday, Dec. 31, 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Cost: $15-$18. Tickets can be purchased at any Palo Alto community center or at the Avenidas Senior Center.

Info: Call 650-289-5400.

Bow down to the King of Pop

For a night of all-out fun and non-stop dancing, join 14-piece Michael Jackson tribute band Foreverland at Redwood City's Fox Theatre. Their New Year's Eve dance party promises a night of timeless hits from the Jackson 5 era through to the late career classics. Also included: party favors, a balloon drop and a champagne toast at midnight.

Where: Fox Theatre, 2215 Broadway, Redwood City

When: Thursday, Dec. 31. Doors open at 8:30 p.m., show starts at 9 p.m.

Cost: $45-$60. VIP add-ons available.

Info: Go to goo.gl/zFJx26 or call 650-369-7770.

Dance, drink, repeat

Those serious about getting their party on should check out Mountain View's Monte Carlo Latin nightclub, where everyone from the DJs and bartenders is dedicated to throwing the best New Year's eve party in the region. That's a subjective claim, of course, but if you're looking for thumping techno, smoke machines, disco balls and cheap drinks, look no further. DJs Hector and Adrian Gonzalez will be spinning tunes, and those who make it to midnight will be treated to a balloon drop, confetti and party favors.

Where: Monte Carlo, 228 Castro St., Mountain View

When: Thursday, Dec. 31, door open at 9 p.m.

Cost: $20 before 10 p.m.

Info: Go to montecarloniteclub.com or call 650-988-1500.

Take heart in art

Among the highlights of 2015 for Midpeninsula art lovers has been the flourishing of the Stanford arts district. While most art galleries close for the holidays, the Cantor Arts Center and the Anderson Collection will remain open on both New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Take time to reflect on the passing of the New Year while soaking in the abundant creative riches of our community.

Where: Anderson Collection, 314 Lomita Drive, Stanford. Cantor Arts Center, 328 Lomita Drive, Stanford

When: Anderson and Cantor: Thursday, Dec. 31, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cost: Free

Info: Go to anderson.stanford.edu or museum.stanford.edu, or call 650-721-6055 or 650-723-4177.

Celebrate with salsa

Lots of us like to shake it on the dance floor, but nobody boogies quite like Latin dancers. If you don't know your bachata from your horchata, there's still time in 2015 to learn some sizzling moves. Just head to Alberto's Salsa Studio in Mountain View on Dec. 31 for beginner or intermediate salsa lessons followed by a night of partying the year to an end, Latin-style.

Where: Alberto's, 736 W Dana St., Mountain View

When: Thursday, Dec. 31; beginner lesson starts at 8:30 p.m., intermediate at 9:30 p.m. The balloons will drop at midnight.

Cost: $15 cover, includes champagne and finger foods

Info: Go to albertos.com or call 650-968-3007.

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