Rustic Root in the Gaslamp Quarter
The Rustic Root rooftop in the Gaslamp Quarter. Courtesy of the restaurant

San Diego is always one of the best places to celebrate New Year’s Eve, and 2019 will be no exception — even if you haven’t made plans yet.

Wallet Hub ranked San Diego the 4th best city for celebrating the end of 2019, trailing only New York, Las Vegas and Denver. And San Diego beat each of those cities in the category of “safety and accessibility” on New Year’s Eve. This means you won’t have to stress. And in that spirit, here are 10 last-minute ideas:

Gaslamp Rooftop — Toast the beginning of 2020 from a rooftop in the vibrant Gaslamp Quarter at Rustic Root. Beginning at 8 p.m., guests can sample the Nilman Ranch Tri-Tip Carving Station and a variety of appetizers and snacks while sipping bottomless champagne. Tickets start at $99.

Mad Hatter Ball — Welcome 2020 with the entire family at the Westin Carlsbad Resort & Spa’s Mad Hatter-themed ball. This family-friendly celebration will feature a buffet, DJ with dancing, costume contest, games, kids club and 21+ area. The party starts at 6:30 p.m. Last-minute tickets are $150 for adults, $85 for teens 13-17 and $65 for children 4-12.

French Style, Latin Rhythm — The classic Westgate Hotel in downtown San Diego is going Latin to usher in the new decade. The celebration includes classic cocktails, a Latin-influenced buffet dinner, and live music by Julio De La Huerta. Cocktail attire is required and tickets are $165. The party begins at 8 p.m

Sycuan Casino in El Cajon — The resort and casino is offering a night of food, music and, of course, gambling. The Bull and Bourbon Steakhouse is offering special three- and five-course menus, while the  Elicit Bar & Lounge will have an open bar, DJ, party favors and light bites for $50 per person.

New Carté Hotel — Downtown San Diego’s newest hotel, located in Little Italy, is offering a special four-course tasting menu at the sea-to-table restaurant Watercolors. It comes with two drinks from You and Yours Distillery and a glass of Prosecco at the hotel bar during the midnight countdown. The evening is priced at $120 per person.

A Casual Night at Bier Garden — This neighborhood bar in Encinitas is celebrating on New York time, offering food and drink in a relaxed setting, including a dog-friendly patio, while guests watch the ball drop in Times Square. Celebrate early and get a good night’s sleep!

The restored state ferry Berkeley. Courtesy Maritime Museum of San Diego

Ferry to the New Year — You can ride a historic ferryboat (figuratively at least) into the new year at the Maritime Museum of San Diego. Museum staff will transform the upper deck of the Berkeley overlooking San Diego Bay into a lounge with cash bar, appetizers, deserts, dancing and a midnight toast. The party begins at 9 p.m. Tickets are $60 per person.

Roaring 20s in Alpine — Relive the Prohibition era while still having a drink at Viejas’ 1920s-theme New Years Eve party. Wear your flapper dress and stylish fedora. There’s entertainment by the Cassie B Project and DJ Ayla. The party starts at 8 p.m. and tickets range from $15 up to $175.

Pacific Ocean View — The Serẽa restaurant in the iconic Hotel del Coronado pairs unmatched ocean views with a sustainable, sea-to-table culinary experience. The menu includes lobster croquettes, crispy sunchoke, tuna carpaccio, red snapper, crispy duck and a complimentary glass of champagne. Dinner begins at 5 p.m. and costs $175 per person.

An MTS trolley leaves the Little Italy station

Free Transit Is Your Ticket — Where would you go and what would you do on New Year’s Eve if you didn’t have to worry about driving? Both the San Diego Metropolitan Transit Systrem and the North County Transit District are providing free service after 6 p.m. Trolleys will run until 2 a.m., and the last COASTER trains leave Oceanside at 11 p.m. and the Santa Fe Depot at 12:45 a.m. Who needs a party bus in San Diego?

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.