As the new year approaches and students slowly trickle back onto the Orlando scene, it means one thing: it's time to celebrate. But with a big city and bustling nightlife, just what is there to do this New Year's Eve?
Here are a few suggestions we've conjured up to make ringing in 2015 a night to remember.
1. Local bars
If you want to stick around UCF, look no further than Knight Library or The Knight's Pub. Both icons to UCF's social scene, the two college bars will host New Year's Eve festivities. Knight Library will offer free well cocktails and drafts from 9 p.m. to midnight along with $15 bottles of champagne. The only catch is the cover is $10 if purchased ahead of time. Tickets can be purchased here, but include a $3.50 service fee. The bar will be open until 2 a.m.
The Knight's Pub will offer free drinks and drafts from 9 p.m. to midnight along with $30 champagne bottles. This bar will remain open to 2 a.m. as well. The Knight's Pub could not be reach to clarify the cost of a cover charge.
However, the pub and Library aren't the only UCF-area hot spots offering deals on New Year's Eve. Just down the road on Alafaya Trail in Oviedo, Graffiti Junktion will offer $20 unlimited drinks for ladies from 10 p.m. to 12 a.m., $3 fireball shots, a balloon drop and a champagne toast.
Bar Louie in The Plaza on University will also host a New Year's party. The $50 package includes cocktails from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m., a champagne toast, a breakfast buffet from midnight to 2 a.m. and live entertainment.
2. Throw your own bash
For those not willing to brave the crowds at bars and on the highways, perhaps the best bet for New Year's is throwing your own party. String some lights, set up the Bluetooth speakers and find a place for some pong. If you need a table, Target sells 6-foot folding banquet tables for $38.99 in store. Grab some solo cups, some ping pong balls and draft some house rules and you're almost there.
As for alcohol deals, Pat's Liquor near campus has Coor's Light kegs on special for $61.99. Wal-Mart and Winn-Dixie liquor stores are running specials for New Year's, and for the biggest selection, make the trip to Total Wine on Colonial Drive.
Some tips for throwing your own party:
- Collect keys at the door and do not tolerate drinking and driving. Have some extra blankets on hand for those who need to spend the night.
- Invite your neighbors – this could keep them from filing a noise complaint.
- Lock up your valuables. You never know who has sticky fingers.
- Have lots of snacks on hand. You don't want to have too much alcohol and not enough food.
3. Downtown celebrations
New Year's Eve on Wall Street is sure to be a gigantic party. New Year's Eve at Wall Street Plaza includes entrance to seven venues for a one huge block party. The event starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the gate. The event will include a light show, outdoor dance party and music led by DJ Draven. Here's the catch, though: this event is only for those who are age 21 and up. Also, bring extra cash to park in a garage or area downtown.
Just down the road, Church Street will have its own celebration. For a $25 admission fee, guests will get access to this street party. The event includes entrance to Chillers, Big Belly's and Latitudes. DJs, fireworks and a video wall will also be part of the entertainment. Gates open at 8 p.m. This event is for those 21 and up as well. Drink packages can be purchased for unlimited beverages, with those packages starting at $59. At midnight, guests will experience the "world famous orange drop."
In nearby Thornton Park, Graffiti Junktion will host the 6th annual New Year's Eve Street Party. This event will include seven outside bars, a live DJ and champagne toast. Tickets to this event are $20.
4. Low-key festivities
Sometimes you want to party, but not that hard. Perhaps this new year, it's time to skip the bar and go straight for the strike. Boardwalk Bowl is hosting a new year's celebration, which includes party favors, shoe rental and atomic bowling for $89 per lane. The deal will run from 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. and guests will ring in the new year with a toast of champagne or apple cider. There will also be live bands in onsite bar, Coasters, throughout the night.
The Boardwalk Bowl site warns that the lanes sell out every year, so also consider the Oviedo Bowling Center just a few miles north of campus. This year, check in for bowling will begin at 8:45 p.m. and bowling will go from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. The cost is $18 per adult who bowls. Non-bowling guests must pay $10. The event includes black lights, a champagne toast hats and noisemakers. The website for this event also warns that it sells out every year, so make a reservation ahead of time.