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Fireworks will help light the way to 2023 at many bashes this New Year’s Eve. Photo by Chris Stone

Travel to the future this San Diego weekend! Yes, indeed we bid adieu to ’22 Saturday and say bienvenue to 2023 (forgive us this brief francais jaunt). You may want to see what NYE has to offer – many a party for sure – or if you’re a local, the holiday weekend may be all about a certain Southern California necessity (hint: vroom vroom).

Yes, it’s a regional standby – final weekend of the year equals the San Diego International Auto Show. Until 2020-21, that is (COVID, sigh). But the show is back and it opens at 10 a.m. Friday at the San Diego Convention Center. Features include Camp Jeep, along with test drives offered by Chevrolet, Ford and Volkswagen, and specialty exhibits such as the Exotics Vault and Electric Avenue. The show continues through Monday with tickets at $18.

No pressure, but New Year’s Eve does have that certain reputation for shindigs and whatnot. That might mean music and glasses overflowing or a more family-oriented approach. We’ve got both!

If you’re looking for family NYE options for Saturday, SeaWorld, Legoland California and Plunge San Diego have them:

  • Try the Noon Year Celebration (yes, we mean noon) at the Plunge in Mission Beach from from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will be a balloon drop at noon and guests may swim or take on the Plunge obstacle course while enjoying games, bounce houses, crafts and music. Tickets for two start at $50, with prices set through Friday.
  • Legoland, open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., hosts its Kids NYE Party, with fireworks at 6 p.m., music and dance on four stages – including the Lego Movie World – and areas for treasure hunts and party treats. Admission starts at $119.
  • SeaWorld begins its New Year’s countdown, with fireworks, at 9 p.m. The New Year’s Eve Family Bash, offered for the first time, includes party hats, Sesame Street friends, food, a champagne toast and live entertainment. Tickets, $50 for adults and $30 for children, must be purchased in advance online. 

You like your adult party popping? Pulsing? Chill? Yes, yes and yes (and here’s some free travel options just in case:

  • FNGRS CRSSD presents Proper NYE and NYD at Petco Park with packed slates of house, melodic and techno DJs including Chris Lake, Lane 8 and more on Saturday and Kaskade Redux, Nora En Pure and more on Sunday. Gates open at 3 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. VIP admission remains.
  • Big Night San Diego New Year’s Eve, at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront with host (and local boy) Mario Lopez, includes music by Maximo, Schmidt Happens and Carter Cruise, eight dance floors and full open bar. Tickets start at $80. Doors open at 8 p.m.
  • The Time Warp New Year’s bash at the Encore Event Center, 8253 Ronson Road in Kearny Mesa is many parties in one, on eight rooms, two outdoor stages and 30 DJs. There’s circus performers too. Admission starts at $75, with shuttle and party bus options too. Doors open at 8 p.m.
  • Ascension 2023 offers an alternative celebration with Aztec dance, African drumming, qigong, yoga, sound baths and crystal healing. There will be a vegan buffet and kombucha on tap. Tickets for the event at the Worldbeat Cultural Center at Balboa Park cost $30. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. with the party concluding shortly before midnight.

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Ellen Bullock