New Year's Eve Plans with East Bay Kids - 510 Families

New Year’s Eve Plans with East Bay Kids

Here’s our guide to family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebrations with kids in the East Bay, because parents and little kids can’t always stay up until midnight!

Chabot Space balloon drop for NYE
Chabot Space & Science Center is hosting a balloon drop in-person again this year, reservations required | Photo: Photo: Chabot Space & Science Center

See ya, 2021! Make plans to celebrate 2022 with your kiddos without staying up way past anyone’s bedtime. It’s time to celebrate the coming of a sparkling New Year! This year there are many in-person kid-focused daytime celebrations happening for ringing in the New Year with children. Cheers!

Celebrations | More stuff you can do at home | Special food and drink for New Year’s Eve

Supplies to keep on hand for a festive New Years Eve at home

Maybe you’re not ready to venture out of the home for your New Year’s celebration just yet. No worries! Here are some great ideas for creating your own sparkling holiday celebration at home with your family:

Party decor: Be sure to load up on some fun craft projects and party supplies like tiaras, face painting kits, some homemade bubbles, noisemakers, balloons for your DIY balloon drop, and maybe some pop poppers and party string if you’re feeling up for it.

Mother Nature’s Gifts. Carol’s family always loved the annual Mother Nature’s Gifts Event at Sulphur Creek Nature Center in Hayward. While Sulphur Creek is still closed due to Covid-19, the supplies are easy to find at home or on a nature walk: pine cones, peanut butter, sunflower seeds, and cereal. They would hang the finished gift from a tree in the backyard, and have fun watching the birds and squirrels enjoy it for the new year. Here’s a tutorial if you’d like to try it.

Party food. Toast the new year with some California sparkling juice cocktails (taste and buy in Watsonville if you’re already in the neighborhood). If you like to go beyond apple juice or hot cocoa, see the fabulous special meal ideas below.

Resolutions. 2021 has been an especially memorable year yet again. Commemorate your unique experience with a new year’s resolution worksheet or (another) pandemic time capsule.

Celebrations that look super fun for a Family-Friendly New Years Eve

If you’re ready to leave the house for a fabulous Noon Year’s Eve, these places are ready for you!

One Day Early: Kids Play Zone (Oakland) -CANCELED

Celebrate the New Year at KPZ, a lovely indoor children’s play space with an extra special balloon drop, sparkling cider for the adults, apple juice for the kids, plus bubbles and snacks for all to enjoy. Registration is not required but capacity will be limited.
When: Thursday, December 30, 10 am-noon
Regular price of admission ($15 for first child, $10 for additional kids, adults free)
Where: Kids Play Zone, 900 Market Street, Suite M, Oakland
Website >

Home Sweet Home

Make your own party! Sparkling juice, balloons, Netflix New Years’ Eve Countdown, twinkly string lanterns, Zoom calls with Grandparents, or however you choose. Kids go to bed when you say!
Cost: FREE (with optional upgrades)
When: When you say so

Piedmont Recreation Department (Piedmont)-CANCELLED

*As of 12/27/21, this event has been canceled due to a recent spike in COVID-19 cases.* Ring in 2022 at Piedmont’s Noon Year’s Eve celebration– the perfect way for your kiddos to celebrate the new year! Celebrate with music, crafts, a countdown at noon, balloon drop, and a whole lot of fun!
When: Friday, December 31, 11 am – 12:30 pm
: $10 per child, children under 2 years are free

Where: Piedmont Veterans Memorial Building, 401 Highland Avenue, Piedmont
Website >

Bay Area Discovery Museum (Sausalito) – SOLD OUT

BADM’s annual Noon Year’s Eve celebration is a favorite with Bay Area families. They offer two festive countdowns and ball drops along with artistic activities and a DJ dance party. Reserve your ticket online (just buy regular museum admission tickets to attend the event).
When: December 31, 9 am – 2 pm (museum closes early this day)
Regular price of admission ($15-$18)
Where: Bay Area Discovery Museum, 557 McReynolds Rd, Sausalito (35-ish minutes from Berkeley)
Website >

Chabot Space & Science Center (Oakland)

Celebrate strokes of midnight around the world as you count down to the stroke of noon during Chabot’s Balloon Drop New Year Celebration! When it’s noon in Oakland, it will be 2021 somewhere on the planet. To mark the occasion, Chabot is continuing a 20-year Bay Area tradition, with a party featuring hundreds of colorful, bio-degradable balloons raining down on the hour, with little kids hosted earlier in the day — No late-night shenanigans or missed bedtimes here.

Advance ticket purchase is required, and capacity will be limited. We especially love the age grouping balloon drop options to keep the little kids from getting trampled by the big kids:

Drop Times:

11am: Ages 5 & Under (Rotunda)
12pm: Ages 5 & Under (Rotunda)
2pm: Ages 6 – 12 (Rotunda)
3pm: Ages 6 – 12 (Rotunda)
4pm: Ages 6 – 12 (Rotunda)

When: Thursday, December 31, 11 am-4 pm.
Cost: Members: $10 per child | Non-members: $10 per child + General Admission
Where: Chabot Space & Science Center, 10000 Skyline Blvd. Oakland
Buy Tickets  >>

Asian Art Museum (San Francisco) – VIRTUAL

If you’re looking for a virtual option to ring in the New Year, the Asian Art Museum is a great option. Celebrate the start of the New Year in style with stories of shapeshifters, magical cats, and Buddhist protectors of children, women, and travelers, told by one of the museum’s talented storytellers. Tune in at 10 am for the stories, then the bell ringing begins at 11 am.

When: Friday, December 31, 10 am – 12:30 pm
Cost: FREE
Where: Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin Street, San Francisco, one block from Civic Center BART
Website >

Hiller Aviation Museum (San Carlos) – SOLD OUT

Kids and parents, come celebrate the New Year with music, activities, face painting, and a countdown to TWO GIANT balloon drops at noon! Tickets will not be sold at the door, so you must reserve them online (they always sell out, so get your tickets early!).

When: Friday, December 31, 10 am – 1 pm
Cost: Members are FREE but must reserve tickets in advance; kids under four are FREE; ages 5-17 are $11; adults are $18.
Where: Hiller Aviation Museum is in San Carlos Airport, 601 Skyway Road, San Carlos (45-ish minutes from Berkeley)
Website >

Chase Center’s Thrive City (San Francisco) – SOLD OUT

To wrap up Winter Wonderland, they will ring in the new year with the Music of Grateful Dead for kids with a special NYE countdown to noon with a drop at 11:59 am, face painting, games, a crafting zone, performers, and holiday treats.

When: Friday, December 31, 11 am – 1:30 pm
Cost: The event is FREE but requires advance RSVP.
Where: Thrive City is at the base of the Chase Center, 1725 3rd St, San Francisco  
Website >

Bouncy Ball New Year (Novato)

Kids of all ages are invited to a massive bouncy ball drop — keep what you catch along with a souvenir hard hat and bucket!

When: Friday, December 31, noon to 1 pm
Cost: FREE
Where: Trek Wine, 1026 Machin Ave., Novato
More details >

Road Trip: Charles M. Schulz Museum (Santa Rosa) – CANCELLED

The Schulz Museum is hosting their annual Noon Year’s Eve celebration with Peanuts-themed crafts, a visit by Snoopy, and a screening of Happy New Year, Charlie Brown! on the big screen. Plus, do your best Snoopy dance and ring in 2022 with an Up Down Balloon Drop and Baby Balloon Drop (for children 4 and under and their families) at Noon, and a second Balloon Drop at 3 pm.

When: Friday, December 31, 10 am to 4 pm (Doors open at 10 am and capacity will be monitored; admission will be on a first-come, first-served basis)
Cost: Included with admission; kids under age three are FREE; ages 4-18 are $5; adults are $12
Where: Charles M. Schulz Museum 2301 Hardies Ln, Santa Rosa (about an hour from Berkeley)
Website >

hot chocolate mugs
Make the day more special with hot chocolate, chocolate fondue, or cocoa bombs

Bonus: New Years Day: Swings & Wings (Alameda)

If New Year’s Eve isn’t your thing, celebrate New Year’s Day on January 1 at Swings & Wings. Have a fun day full of music, play, a photo booth, and yummy treats!
Cost: Kids: $25 advance reservation or $35 at the door; Adults: $15 advance reservation or $25 at the door
When: Saturday, January 1, 10 am – 12 pm
Website >

kid sparklers at home
Do you have any sparklers for the backyard? We won’t tell.


Special Food & Drink for New Year’s Eve

Christmas crab dinner
Crab Feast from Fraiche | Photo: Hannah Wagner for Feastin

We are so lucky that local restaurants and caterers continue to create delicious meals and make them convenient for pickup and home delivery. I am so grateful for these members of our community. Have a delicious meal at home for New Year’s Eve!

Check out our guide to Christmas dinners to go for NYE inspiration. Whether you’re looking for kid-friendly, romantic, or some combination, you’ll find a tasty meal from a local restaurant. Drizly can bring all the champagne to your door. Woot woot!




Get the {510} Families weekend planner in your inbox. It's free!

* indicates required

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

We've got your instructions for family fun right here!
Sign up today and get a list of kid-friendly activities for East Bay parents every Friday.
Stay Updated
You can unsubscribe anytime.
Scroll to Top