I celebrated the beginning of 2010 atop a 10,748-foot mountain in Colorado. My friends and I cross-country skied to a secluded location and watched the full moon rise over fresh white snow. Sound nice? It wasn't. It was so cold that if you put your beer more than a few feet away from the fire it would immediately freeze.
This year, I intend to ring in 2011 in style (and indoors). I'm not sure what I'll be doing yet, but I thought I'd share some of my better past New Year's Eve experiences with the hope of helping you (and me) make up our minds.
NYE in PB: I lived in Pacific Beach during my college days. My New Year's Eve celebrations back then are too much of a blur to remember anything except that “just winging it” isn't a good idea. The bars will be crowded. Parking and driving (without getting a DUI) will be impossible. My advice? Get a hotel room. And buy a ticket to something like the New Year's Eve Beach Party 2011, an all-inclusive party (read: unlimited drinks and food included) featuring some of the city's best DJs, including Fresh One and Chris Cutz. The Beach Party is at Catamaran Resort (3999 Mission Blvd.) and will cost you $149. newyearsevesandiegoparty.com
NYE uptown: After college, I worked for a brief time at Lips (3036 El Cajon Blvd. in North Park), the drag-queen restaurant and bar. One of my favorite NYE memories happened while on the clock at Lips New Year's Eve. At midnight, I kissed a girl and a boy pretending to be a girl. What better way to ring in a new year? Plus, the girls step it up a notch and their performances are even more fabulous and sequin-filled. This year, there's a favoritedecade theme, which means there's no cover if you dress up in the garb of your preferred era. The 6 p.m. seating includes a $35 prix-fixe menu, and the 9:30 p.m. seating includes a $59 prix-fixe menu and champagne. lipssd.com
NYE down south: I lived in Tijuana for more than two years and spent some of the more exciting New Year's Eve celebrations there. Hotel rooms are cheap, bars stay open later and the dollar is stronger than the peso—all ingredients for a fun and affordable NYE. This year, it's all about Calle Sexta, where locals have reclaimed downtown Tijuana and transformed it into a street filled with cool bars and music venues, like La Mezcalera (on Sixth between Revolución and Madero), the newly opened El Moustache (on Madero between Sixth and Seventh) and La Chupiteria (on the corner of Sixth and Constitución).