Queen City Nerve

Charlotte's Cultural Pulse

Finding Alternatives for NYE in Q.C.
New year, same dilemma

By Aerin Spruill

December 24, 2018

I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite pastimes is laughing at memes on Instagram and Facebook. This is especially the case when holidays are approaching. My favorite memes preceding the beginning of 2019?

The first is captioned “2018 summed up” and shows Steve Carell saying, “Well, I’m going through a little bit of a rough patch. The whole year, actually.”

The other? A plain white background with the words: 2018 is almost over and all I gotta say is wtf was that?

In both instances, my response was, “I feel that on a whole different level.” And trust me, after many conversations with friends, I know I’m not the only one. This year featured plenty of highs with the lows, sometimes balanced in creative ways. And that’s why I’m looking forward to taking the wins of this year into 2019 and putting the losses behind me.

But as each new year in the Queen City approaches, I’m faced with a new dilemma: where to ring in the New Year. After six years as an import, I’ve considered just about every option. I’ve gone to the large nightlife venues, I’ve stayed in for a house party and I’ve paid way more money than I wanted on an all-inclusive ticket featuring a table, open bar and a champagne toast. Oh, and lest I forget, I’ve sat outside for two hours waiting for Uber surge prices to go down.

Aerin Spruill

By far, I had the most fun spending the night in the company of my boo and girlfriends at our favorite hole in the wall. That’s how I spent this past New Year’s Eve. But here I am, along with my boyfriend and friends, trying to decide how best to spend the night. And even though this New Year’s edition of Queen City Nerve is already on the streets, I would imagine you’re tardy for the party planning, too.

Here are a few alternatives to your stereotypical club NYE celebrations in the Queen City:

Skate the night away: … and steal a kiss before you get kicked off the ice? I’ve been talking about ice skating in Uptown for years now. But this year, my boo thang is ready to tear up the ice with me. According to Holiday on Ice, Charlotte’s Outdoor Ice Rink is open to the public through midnight on Dec. 31. For $16 a person (which includes skate rental) you can enjoy a magical introduction to a new year.

Find the perfect staycation: I considered going in on a Lake Norman Airbnb. But see, the way my bank account’s set up … that probably wouldn’t be the best financial decision for me going into the New Year. However, it may work for you if you’ve got the last-minute coins. Or maybe you can afford to rent a room at one of the trendy hotels Uptown? Sounds like a sexy end to the night after you kiss your boo at midnight. And to top it off? No hassling with Uber or Lyft to find the cheapest ride on surge!

Take a trip to WinterFest: Didn’t make it to the Nascar speedway for Christmas lights? Or Holidays at the Garden at Daniel Stowe? Well, there’s good news. You can still catch a WinterFest experience at Carowinds! That’s right. Enjoy a wide range of attractions, including select rides, lights, ice skating, live music, and more! WinterFest is still open to the public through 1 a.m. on December 31st! Before taxes and fees, the general Winterfest tickets are $29.99 for adults. I, for one, am ecstatic because I missed Scarowinds this year!

Seek out your favorite dive bar: There’s nothing like going to a familiar hole-in-the-wall bar any day of the week. Why not go there on New Year’s Eve, too? No covers, no shopping for a fancy outfit you may never wear again, no dealing with large crowds, no waiting in lines and no overpriced drinks. Why don’t we do this every year, again? Look up your favorite dive bar, make sure they’ll be open and gather the perfect storm of a crew to bring 2019 in together.  

Don’t spend another year pretending you enjoy the monotony of doing the same ol’ same ol’. Consider an alternative with the people you love (or want to smooch when the ball drops). After all, that’s what, “New year, new me,” is all about — trying new things and starting your new year out on a good note.

So tell me, how do you plan on ringing in the new year?

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