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Keep the Party Going at These New Year’s Day Raves, Shows and Polar Plunges

Written by Peter-Astrid KanePublished Dec. 27, 2022 • 4:00pm
Joe Houston of San Francisco runs with an inflatable champagne bottle toward the water for his second plunge into the water on Ocean Beach on New Yearís Day with others during an unofficial 2021 New Years Day Polar Plunge on Friday, January 1, 2021 in San Francisco, Calif. (Photo By Lea Suzuki/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

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In the hierarchy of party-centric holidays, some people tend to look down on New Year’s Eve. Granted, it may not be as amateurish as St. Patrick’s Day, as vulgar as SantaCon or as borderline-offensive as Cinco de Mayo—for white people in sombreros, anyway—but it certainly has detractors. New Year’s Day, though, is a different beast, built for people who want to keep the prior evening’s festivities going (or swim across the frigid bay).

Many of us are blessed with Monday, Jan. 2, off. So don’t sit at home watching the annual Twilight Zone marathon on Syfy. Cross over into 2023 in style!

It’s a New Day + Breakfast of Champions

This is the biggie, an all-day event and de facto Burning Man reunion with 70 DJs, both local and global. Numerous Bay Area parties and crews unite from 4 a.m. to 9 p.m., forming a sort of Transformer of raves in the streets outside the Great Northern. Expect metallic ski suits and more fake-fur trim than you’ll see anywhere else, with prudently rested folks dancing cheek-by-jowl with bleary-eyed types who haven’t gone to bed yet. Yes, there’s an after-afterparty indoors until 3 a.m. on Jan. 2.

📍 The Great Northern, 119 Utah St., SF
🕑 4 a.m -9 p.m. (with indoor afterparty, 8 p.m.-3 a.m.)
🎟️ $30+ 

Fresh Start’s main stage going off into the night on Jan. 1, 2022. | Peter-Astrid Kane/The Standard

Fresh Start

Why have one New Year’s Day rave when you can have two? Except while Breakfast of Champions is a 17-hour marathon, Fresh Start has stealthily expanded over the past couple years to become a three-day, indoor-outdoor festival. Sofi Tukker, ZHU and John Summit headline the Midway’s carnival-esque party, with multiple rooms and plenty of food options to keep you refueled.

📍 The Midway, 900 Marin St., SF
🕑 Friday, Dec. 30, 8 p.m.-2 a.m.; Saturday, Dec. 31, 2:30 p.m.-3 a.m.; Sunday, Jan. 1, 1 p.m.-midnight
🎟️ $30-$195 

New Year’s Day at 1015 Folsom feat. Dabin

French house DJs Polo + Pan are ringing in the New Year at 1015 Folsom, but those in the know know to come back the next day for Dabin, the Canadian producer whose glitchy work could be the soundtrack to a falling-in-love montage from some cyborg rom-com in the distant future. A multi-instrumentalist from his youth, the JUNO Award-nominated Dabin’s live sets are a genre-spanning, emotional tour de force.

📍 1015 Folsom St., SF
🕑 9 p.m.-2 a.m.
🎟️ $40-$45

Monsieur Periné at SFJAZZ

Leave the EDM to the kids and enjoy a maximally cosmopolitan evening, as the Grammy-winning Colombian band Monsieur Periné storms SFJAZZ in the suavest possible way. Combining the sophisticated sounds of 1930s Parisian clubs with a pan-Latin American sensibility, this sprawling ensemble with the cheeky name takes the stage at the appropriate-for-Buenos-Aires hour of 10:30 p.m.

📍 SFJAZZ,  201 Franklin St., SF
🕑 10:30 p.m.
🎟️ $50-$115

Hanna Levitz pours a glass of celebratory bubbly before the start of the annual New Years Day polar plunge at Ocean Beach in San Francisco, Calif. on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. (Photo By Paul Chinn/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

World Naked Bike Ride and Polar Bear Plunge 

There’s no better way to sober up than getting some exercise by the beach, then drinking some more. The annual World Naked Bike Ride—nudity optional, fun mandatory—is like a Critical Mass ride that ends with everybody running into the ocean, then having another drink or two before warming up at The Riptide, the Outer Sunset’s best dive. If your New Year’s resolution was to grab life by the horns, there’s no better way to start.

📍 Great Highway and Taraval Street, SF
🕑 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
🎟️ Free, reservation recommended

Polar Bear Skate

The Union Square skating rink is famously home to Drag Queens on Ice, but once the Zamboni is done clearing their errant sequins it’s time for a New Year’s Day spin in your Speedos and bikinis. Those who dare brave the chilly air—for California, anyway—compete for prizes, although attempting a triple axel while holding an Igloo cooler full of LaCroix is strongly discouraged.

📍 Union Square, SF
🕑 2:30-3:30 p.m.
🎟️ $15-$20

English

Peter-Astrid Kane can be reached at [email protected]


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