Whether you’re trying to blow a paycheck or just get moderately tipsy and bar-hop downtown, we’ve put together over twenty places to post up and toast to the new decade. 

First things first: First Night Raleigh, the sprawling NYE staple that takes over downtown Raleigh every year, isn’t exactly a dance party, but with a low ticket price ($11 in advance; $15 day-of) and a packed roster of musical performances and twinkly lights, it’s a decent warm-up. This year, the festival—now twenty-nine years deep—has a new addition: the Astro Botanicals Garden of Light, an installation of color-changing sculptures by artist Stan Clark. Ballroom dancing lessons, face-painting, comedy, sleigh rides, and marionettes round-out the evening bill. 

If you’re looking for a slightly more nihilistic approach to saying goodbye to 2019, Jenny Besetzt, Lonnie Walker, and Henbrain are playing a “Death to 2019” show at Slim’s. On theme, the goth “Doomsday Ball” New Year’s Eve party at The Wicked Witch features DJ DIES ALOT and special guest DARK CORE TRUTH. Tickets are $20 ahead of time and $25 at the door, so this is perhaps a destination event and not a drop-by. If you do commit, make sure to note the suggested dress code, which includes timeless looks like “wasteland fairy” and “zombie couture.” 

If you are on the move, you might catch a killer NYE lineup downtown at The Pour House, with sets from Zack Mexico, 2 Slices, Acid Chaperone, Jooselord, and Vacant Company. There’s also a blowout Queer Nation party at the Ritz hosted by Vivica C. Coxx, which features performances by Taylor ALXNDR, Dustin Reams, Jayden James Starr, Naomi Dix, Stormie Daie. 

But if waltzing is more your speed, a classy night of big band hits at Duke Energy Center with the North Carolina Symphony’s “Vienna with a Twist” concert might hit that sweet spot.

In Durham, a RAUND HAUS x RUNAWAY show at Motorco includes performances by Made of Oak, KIR, Oak City Slums, Chaos Control, and 2D Wave. At the end of last year, electronic collective The Floor moved from Arcana to the basement of The Fruit, and this year finds house music enthusiast Shelli, aka Monsieur, helming the afterparty (if you keep your Motorco wristband on, you receive a $5 discount) with appearances by  Strider, Marie, and Marshall Jones. 

Also downtown, and also very danceable: a benefit event at the Pinhook for non-profit The House of Pentacles, featuring the Mamis and Papis. If you’ve been practicing the Charleston all year, a roaring 20’s themed party at Arcana offers tarot card readings, drink specials, and live jazz. 

In Chapel Hill, there’s Drag me to 2020,  a drag show at Local 506, and a few doors down at the Cave, a boot-tapping, countrified offering from Dexter Romweber, Drunken Prayer, and Jimmy & the Teasers.

Meanwhile, for just an $8 door price, you can plant yourself at the Nightlight—no “cops, bros, or bigots allowed”—for five hours of dancing at the Cosmic Liberation Front party. To quote the invite: “Goodbye and good riddance, 2019.” 

Finally, in Pittsboro, the NC Reveler’s Orchestra will be at the Pittsboro Roadhouse from 9 p.m. until the midnight champagne toast. Call ahead for a $75 dinner reservation; the dance floor will be open all night. 


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