7 ways to welcome 2021 (yes, even in a pandemic)

The acorn won’t drop at the center of Downtown Raleigh, but you can still catch it at Nights of Lights on Thursday and Friday!

It’s finally time to put 2020 in the rearview mirror, but like our holidays before, celebrating the start of 2021 will be different in Raleigh.

But the pandemic isn’t behind us yet. Besides not being able to get together for New Year’s Eve parties, the statewide curfew of 10 p.m. to curb the spread will shorten in-person plans.

Regardless, there are some ways to mark the occasion, in hopes that next year we’ll be gathered together again to watch the acorn drop.

First Night at Nights of Lights: Raleigh’s traditional acorn drop in the center of Downtown Raleigh is on pause for obvious reasons. But the city’s copper icon will be at Nights of Lights for a special First Night Raleigh collaboration.

The acorn will be included in a special art installation “surrounded by an original large-scale light installation” from glas.work (known for their neon art) and a special illuminated installation from Mary Carter Taub, according to Artsplosure, the organizers of First Night Raleigh.

Catch the New Year’s themed installations on Wednesday and Thursday (Dec. 30-31) at Nights of Lights, which requires tickets that start at $20/vehicle.

PS: Listen some of the playlists created by local musicians and DJs, too, as you drive through to help you say goodbye to 2020!

Dine out for New Year’s Eve… Vidrio will have a special Mediterranean menu for dining in and Wye Hill has a special 5-course meal (tickets required). Raleigh Magazine has a longer list of places that are open.

Or stay in: If you want to support local while staying at home, Raleigh Times is offering three kits for purchase, but you must order by Wednesday for your choice of fiesta, pizza or burger kit for two.

Brunch for New Year’s Day: STIR in North Hills will serve brunch on New Year’s Day, and Raleigh Beer Garden in Glenwood South promises to help you nurse that hangover with a special burger.

Pick up something to toast at home: Now that bars and restaurants can offer to-go mixed drinks, you can toast at home with your favorite cocktail (provided your favorite bar/restaurant is open and offering this). Here’s what you should know.

Stream live music from the Lincoln Theatre: For two nights (Wednesday and Thursday), Big Something will perform from Lincoln Theatre’s stage to virtual platforms. The shows are free, but donations will go to the Save Our Stages initiative, 25% going directly to the venue. [info]

Enjoy the Illuminate Art Walk: The Downtown Raleigh light-based art exhibit is on display at different locations through Jan. 8. Catch it for free. [map]

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Read more: What to know now about COVID-19 in Wake County

Author: raleighconvergence

Sarah Day Owen Wiskirchen is the editor of Raleigh Convergence.

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