Photo courtesy Snowmass Tourism.jpg

In Aspen, there are a lot of ways to spend New Year’s Eve – and spend and spend and spend. It is that time of year, after all. Town is packed with visitors, and restaurants and clubs have to take this opportunity to make hay while the sun shines. That’s why, if your plans include a night on the town, chances are it’s going to cost you.

If you’re a visitor, consider it your holiday bonus to the town’s food and beverage workers. They certainly deserve it. They work hard, often dealing with difficult customers, and they’re giving up their New Year’s Eve to make sure you have fun on yours. That’s worth the extra two or three hundred dollars you could end up dropping on Monday night.

If you don’t have that kind of money to spend, don’t fret. There are still plenty of places in town that aren’t charging an arm and a leg for a prix-fixe dinner and a glass of champagne, and there are even some great ways to celebrate that are free.

Vaud and the Villains. Courtesy photo.jpg

Vaud and the Villains. 

To help you choose a celebration that fits your budget, in NYE style, from most expensive to least, we’re going to count down 10 great ways to ring in the new year in style.

  1. Justice – New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball at the Belly Up. Like your champagne with a side of electronic music? French superstar duo Justice’s Sunday night concert sold out long ago, but tickets for Monday, ranging from $300-$695, are still available. Read more about Justice in today’s Music Beat column on page 5 of Time Out.
  2. New Year’s Eve 2018 Featuring Dirty Revival at The Temporary. For $200 and a trip to Basalt you’ll get great funk, soul and rock courtesy of a seven-piece party band from Portland, Ore., that legendary Meters drummer Zigaboo Modeliste called “one of the tightest bands I have ever heard.” Admission also includes an open bar, a champagne toast and a dessert bar.
  3. New Year’s Eve Celebration with Vaud and the Villains at the Wheeler Opera House. Seven-piece band too small for you? Try this 18-piece orchestra and cabaret show from Los Angeles. Billing themselves as “Americana Noir meets Moulin Rouge,” Vaud and the Villains create a spectacle of old-style cabaret fun. The $125 ticket price includes a pre-show party with fireworks viewing, heavy appetizers and a cash bar starting at 7:45 p.m.
  4. Crystal Palace New Year’s Eve Bash at Thunder River Theatre. Anyone looking to relive the good times at Aspen’s legendary Crystal Palace theater should get down to Carbondale for one of the evening’s two Diva Cabaret performances featuring a bunch of palace alums who are just as entertaining now as they were in the theater’s heyday. General admission tickets for the 8:00 p.m. show are $40, and a premium four-seat table with a bottle of bubbly is $200. For the 10:30 p.m. show, tickets are $50 and $250, respectively.
  5. Glenwood Vaudeville Revue Holiday Show. Speaking of the Crystal Palace, another alum, John Goss, now runs the delightful Glenwood Vaudeville Revue, which is in the midst of another successful run of its holiday show. Monday night will feature two performances, each with a champagne toast and party favors. Tickets for the 4:30 p.m. show are $35, while the 9:00 p.m. show is $50.
  6. Glenwood Hot Springs Resort. If you want to make the most out of a trip downvalley, catch the early show at the Vaudeville Revue and then go hit the Hot Springs Pool, which will be charging its regular holiday-season rate of $15 after 9 p.m. The alcohol-free celebration will go on until 1 a.m., with contests, prize drawings and party favors like noisemakers and hats.
  7. New Year’s Eve at Hops Culture. A mere $5 cover charge gets you into this Hyman Mall establishment for dancing and fun, in addition to Hops Culture’s 300 craft beers, craft drinks and excellent pub fare.
  8. Heather’s Savory Pies & Tapas Bar. For a great dinner and entertainment with no cover charge, seek out this Basalt favorite for a Great Gatsby-themed party with seatings at 5, 7 and 9 p.m. Choose from a special gourmet New Year’s Eve menu and enjoy the sounds of talented local musicians Chris Bank, Mark Johnson and Bobby Campbell.
  9. New Year’s Eve Torchlight Parade and Fireworks in Snowmass. Start your Snowmass evening watching torch-bearing skiers come down the slopes at 6 p.m., and then have a nice meal at one of the village’s eateries, many of which are running specials for New Year’s Eve. After dinner, thrill to a fireworks display over Fanny Hill starting at 10 p.m. For more, check out today’s Happenings column on page 4 of Time Out.
  10. Hike up Ajax. Looking to do something different (and really inexpensive) this year? Grab a friend or two and throw a bottle of wine, glasses and some snacks in a backpack. Then get an early start and hoof it up Aspen Mountain. Give the people setting up the fireworks a wide berth and hike to somewhere like the top of Lift 1A or Magnifico Road. You’ll be rewarded at 8 p.m. or midnight with a rare and spectacular view of fireworks exploding right in front of you.

Todd Hartley is the special sections editor for Aspen Daily News. He can be reached at

Special Sections Editor