No New Year's plans? No problem! Check out our list of 24 great parties around town on New Year's Eve — or keep reading below for all the week's highlights. Whether you're looking for a party as the ball drops or seeking a new photography exhibit to expand your horizons in the new year, we've got eight intriguing options that will keep you busy well into 2017.
Here are our top picks for things to do from now until next Wednesday.
1. See Doctor Who on the big screen
The Doctor Who Christmas episode is as much a holiday tradition in some households as mistletoe or feats of strength. This year's installment — The Return of Doctor Mysterio — sees the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) in New York as a swarm of brain-swapping aliens prepare to attack the city, or at least Manhattan. Aided by his assistant Nardole (Little Britain's Matt Lucas), the Doctor attempts to forestall disaster with the help of a reporter and a masked man who insists on being called The Ghost. The Return of Doctor Mysterio combines super heroics and super science for an usual kind of Christmas special unusual even for Doctor Who. You can see it locally at 7 p.m. Thursday at Wehrenberg Ronnies 20 Cine (5320 South Lindbergh Boulevard; www.fathomevents). Tickets are $12.50 to $15.
2. Catch a performance by the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
Performing classical music at the highest level, as the musicians of the St. Louis Symphony do, requires discipline, commitment and control. Those qualities also enable the group to keep the format and content of its annual New Year's Eve Celebration top secret. The evening features sterling performances and surprises, often in the form of unexpected guests, and also in the musical selections. The year-ending concert has become a hot ticket because of its mystery, and because you never see the same show twice. David Robertson and the St. Louis Symphony do it once again — whatever it may be — at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Powell Hall (718 North Grand Boulevard; www.slso.org). Tickets are $55 to $134.
3. Dance the old year away at Ballpark Village
The biggest party in downtown St. Louis is NYE Live! at Ballpark Village (601 Clark Avenue; www.stlballparkvillage.com). The celebration spreads across five different venues within the complex, with live music, a set by DJ Dynamix and the only real-time ball drop in town. There are two different packages to chose from. The Gold GA Package offers all-inclusive drinks from 8 p.m. to midnight (premium liquor, wine and domestic beer) and complimentary midnight champagne toast. The Platinum VIP package features the same all-inclusive drink options from 7 p.m. to midnight, your choice of either the VIP buffet at Budweiser Brew House or the buffet at Cardinals Nation (from 7 to 10 p.m.) and a complimentary midnight champagne toast. Tickets are $50 to $130.
4. Say farewell to 2016 with your fam
We haven't had a nighttime New Year's party you could bring your kids to since First Night stopped happening. But this year, the St. Louis Blues and the CityArchRiver Foundation have planned a little something for everybody. The Family Friendly New Year's Eve at the Winterfest at the Arch skating rink in Luther Ely Smith Square (North Fourth and Market streets; www.archwinterfest.com) features a day of skating ($7 to $12) from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. with food trucks, music and performances by Circus Kaput, the local practitioners of everything from comedy stunts to aerial artistry. And then at 8 p.m., you get fireworks over the Mississippi.
6. See the hockey game America will be talking about
On a purpose-built ice rink in the heart of Busch Stadium (Broadway and Poplar streets; www.stlblues.com), two old enemies meet once again on the national stage. The St. Louis Blues, a team with an excellent pedigree that is mostly ignored by the league and the networks in favor of the Canadian clubs or the teams on either coast, finally gets to take the spotlight on one of hockey's biggest stages. The NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic is broadcast live from St. Louis Monday at noon on NBC and KMOX (1120 AM), as the St. Louis Blues take on the Chicago Blackhawks. The long-range forecast predicts a balmy 46 degrees for game time, which should make for an interesting game; short, sharp passes may be the key to victory. Let's Go Blues!
8. Think about the apocalypse with a 1985 classic
Zac Hobson is one of many scientists working on an energy project when something goes wrong overnight. Hobson wakes up to a city devoid of people, and as he explores his New Zealand home looking for other survivors, he slowly comes to accept that he is the last man on earth. Not only is he alone, he's partially responsible for what's happened — and this burden begins to erode his sanity. When Hobson discovers fellow survivors Joanne and Api his fears are quieted, but only for a short time. Director Geoff Murphy's 1985 apocalypse film The Quiet Earth is a weird excursion into late Cold War paranoia and modern science fiction, set in an unlikely New Zealand location. The Quiet Earth screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Schlafly Bottleworks (7260 Southwest Avenue; www.webster.edu/film-series) as part the Webster Film Series' Strange Brew program. Admission is $5.