Call us suckers for tradition, but we'll start with galas and balls. For a ring-in-the-year blowout bash, you can reserve yourself a seat at one of the fine establishments below.
• Judging by Web site alone, surely the most elaborate affair is Cruising Under the Stars: New Year's Eve at the Fine Arts Center (30 W. Dale St., csfineartscenter.org/events/newyearseve.asp). Expect not only a four-course formal dinner and museum tours, but rooms for dancing, karaoke and a piano bar. Sign out on '09 with a midnight champagne toast. Festivities begin at 5, with tickets running $69 to $119 per person. RSVP by Dec. 30.
A few hours before the big party, the FAC will host Noon Year's Eve for the kids. This family celebration features hands-on activities in the galleries (face painting, balloon artistry, etc.) as well as refreshments and live music by Eddie Coker. Tickets are available at the door for the 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. event and run $10 per family.
• Getting back to the parties, another option is the Gala New Year's Eve Ball at the Crowne Plaza Hotel (2886 S. Circle Drive, majormandolin.eventbrite.com, ticketswest.com), running from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. For $60 per person, enjoy a buffet, party favors and dancing to Colorado bands the Nostalgics (doo-wop) and Giordano (country rock).
• The Broadmoor (1 Lake Ave., 577-5733) has plans for its own New Year's Eve Gala, a traditional celebration starting at 7:30 p.m. that features dinner, dancing and live music. The evening's playlist includes the Broadmoor Pops Orchestra with featured artists Nelson Rangell, Odell Stroud, Lewis Mock and others, as well as Gentle Rain. Tickets are a pricey $170 per person, with reservations required.
• If you can't swing an ultra-luxe experience at The Broadmoor but still crave live music in a drunkard-free setting, turn to the Colorado Springs Philharmonic for its new show, New Year's Eve at the Pikes Peak Center (190 S. Cascade Ave., 520-7469, pikespeakcenter.com). This classical medley features selections from hit Broadway plays, plus opera favorites and swing sounds. The show starts at 8, with tickets a relative steal at $14 to $54.
Say it with cheese
Just about every fine dining restaurant in town should be offering some type of special, and setting yourself up with a multi-course, wine-paired, prix fixe menu is certainly a great way to celebrate. Here's a glance at a few spots that have hit our radar; popular destinations will likely book out, so make reservations early.
• The Black Bear (10375 Ute Pass Road, Green Mountain Falls, 684-9648) will host 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. seatings featuring a five-course lineup that "usually includes oysters and caviar as well as Chateaubriand," according to chef Victor Matthews. The eats come with bottomless champagne; the bill is $75 a head, plus tax/tip.
• Knock down seven wine-optional courses, including seared scallops and fennel lobster salad, sous vide braised beef sirloin with bone marrow butter, and a chocolate dessert martini at the Margarita at PineCreek (7350 Pine Creek Road, 598-8667). Seats, which include a free glass of champagne, are $60 plus tax/tip and available from 5 to 9 p.m.
• Second Street Art Market and Wine Bar (366 Second St., Monument, 488-2506) will start your evening at 7 with a sparkling wine reception featuring tray-passed appetizers, followed by four wine-paired courses and a crème brulée dessert trio. Seats are $65 per person plus tax/tip. Reservations required.
• Among items on the four-course menu that the Blue Star (1645 S. Tejon St., 632-1086) will offer for $55 a seat plus tax/tip: brie en croute, crab bisque, truffled gnocchi, steak Diane and a peanut butter bomb dessert. The whole menu's at thebluestar.net.
• Finally, two words: fondue fireworks. It's the name of the special five-course NYE menu at the Melting Pot (30-A E. Pikes Peak Ave., 385-0300), available from 4 to midnight. Jumbo shrimp (oxymoron!) will be followed by bourbon bacon cheddar or Pilsen-port Swiss fondue, then a salad and meat platter featuring filet mignon, lobster tail and more. Peppermint Patty or Rocky Road chocolate fondue ends the affair, which costs $130 per couple plus an 18 percent tip and tax.
Breathe in, year out
Here's an interesting alternative: detox instead of intox.
Both CorePower Yoga (623 N. Nevada Ave., 487-5854) and Pranava Yoga Center (718 N. Weber St., 444-8463) will be offering free yoga activities to welcome the next 365 days of down dogs and warriors.
• Head to CorePower at 10:30 p.m. to start a 90-minute flow: "a festive extravaganza of love and light, fun and friends, good music and great yoga." Canned good and winter coat donations are suggested.
• At Pranava, the scene will be quite different, as participants will observe a silent meditation aimed at emptying the mind of thoughts so as to attain peace within. "Union with the divine is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind," says Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. The quiet starts at 9 p.m. (last entry is at 11:30) and at midnight, it will be broken by chanting "Lokah samasta sukhinoh bhavantu" ("May all beings everywhere be happy and free") 108 times. Vegan cookies and chai tea provided.
For further NYE events, check out our Listings and Playing Around Listings. And if we missed anything that deserves a shout, tell everyone in the comments section below.