Category Archives: Vancouver

long weekend

Exciting Long Weekend with Events & Adventures Vancouver

This past long weekend Events & Adventures Vancouver members spend four days on a houseboat docking from the Houseboat Capital of Canada—Sicamous, British Columbia. The houseboat rental company we chose was Twin Anchors Houseboats where we booked two houseboats, one that accommodated 15 people and one that held 22. We spent four days slowly making our way along Shuswap Lake, overnighting on beaches in the evening, enjoying some beautiful hikes, a waterfall, and of course a whole lot of swimming.

The first afternoon was a rush. The weather was perfect and apparently the hottest it’s been over this weekend since 1999 (typically it rains or snows for our May long weekend). Being on the water was amazing as we were surrounded by mountains covered with evergreen trees. The first evening was spent getting to know each other while lounging on deck in the warm summer sun. We fired up the kickoff barbecue and got settled as we made our way to our first destination, Marble Point Beach. We also had a theme party the first night with both boats competing for the title of best costume. Our boat had a nautical theme while the other boat’s theme was Gilligan’s Island.

The next day of this long weekend we cruised around the lake to find us sitting mid-lake surrounded by 20 other houseboats.

Each one of them brought their own energy to the lake. One boat was dressed as the band KISS, while another boat had an actual band that was playing a mini-concert for everyone on the lake. The water is pretty cold this time of year, with water temperatures only at 10 degrees Celsius, but that didn’t stop us from taking a dip, sliding down the big slide that went off the back of our boat, and using floaties with a drink in the hand.

We had a big Mexican fiesta the second night with the winners of the costume party winning margaritas with dinner. We docked at Nielsen Beach, also known as the “party beach”, and followed suit by partying the rest of the night away. The third day we made our way to Albas Falls, a five-tier falls accessible by a three kilometer trail. It was a beautiful day and a great timee to get moving around and off the boat.

The best thing about being on the houseboat was really getting to know each other and becoming more like a family rather than some strangers cooped up on a boat. We find that the weekend trips away really bring all the members of Events & Adventures Vancouver together! We can’t wait to see what our Labour Day weekend will bring!

trip to china

My Trip to China, by Events & Adventures Member Gustavo

Many people asked me, “Why do you want to take a trip to China?” Everyone knows the food is horrible, it’s crowded, and it has a lot of pollution. Regardless, my answer has always been the same—because I had never been there and I wanted to experience for myself how China is different from the countries that I have visited. And I can tell you, I do not regret it at all; China has been one of the most amazing trips that I have ever taken. It was different, it was magnificent, it was…simply amazing!

Let’s start with the language barrier. When you are trying to order food and you have no idea what you are ordering, basically you just go by the pictures or how it looks on the table. You just try it, because at the end of the day this is all about experiencing the unknown. When do you really get to eat something crazy, anyway? It was always good food; sometimes it was better than others but overall it was healthy.

We visited three different cities, and when I say different, I mean it. Beijing is a combination of an ancient city mixed with modern construction; the contrast between the styles of architecture was really clear. Xi’an is a smaller city but with a lot of people. It’s very crowded and there’s a lot of traffic, and despite it seeming more polluted than Beijing it still felt like an ancient city. Shanghai was just magnificent. It looks like a modern metropolis and has an amazing skyline with big, colorful buildings. It looks like what it represents–a cosmopolitan and important global center.

As far as sightseeing during my trip to China, the Great Wall just blew my mind!

This should come as no surprise, but what a hike. Obviously, there are no elevators or any easy ways up the wall. There are only stairs and all of them are different heights, sometimes narrow and sometimes very wide. We hiked through 12 separate forts built into the wall to make it to what we think was the top of the wall. Going up was challenging but going down was downright scary, you always want to make sure that you watch your every step.

We visited the Ming Tombs, the Sacred Way, the Temple Of Heaven, the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and the Last Government Protected Historical Hutong District—all of in Beijing. In Xi’an we had the chance to visit the Terracotta Army, a Buddhist Temple, the Great Wild Goose Pagoda, and the Xi’an City Wall. Finally, in Shanghai, with its spectacular skyline and impressive new architecture, we still got to enjoy the city’s old gardens and a town market where you can buy almost anything and bargain for everything.

I do not have a bucket list of the places that I want to visit—I just want to go everywhere. But before the trip, it was clear to me that China was one of those countries where I would go only with a group, and once again Events & Adventures did not disappoint. The trip was very well-organized from the beginning, the tour guides were terrific, and the staff was always trying to make sure everyone had a great time. I had the chance to make new friends that I had so much in common with and I am sure we will share more awesome adventures in the future. That was my trip to China!

shanghai adventure

A Shanghai Adventure Ends Our Amazing Trip to China

On Day 5 was the first day of our Shanghai adventure, but we were finally able to have a bit of a downtime before our afternoon flight there. The tour days are long and packed so it was nice to be able to relax at the hotel and visit a few local spots. It wasn’t too long before we arrived in Shanghai and met our local tour guide Allen, who was extremely knowledgeable about the city and gave us so much information on the way to our hotel.

The first evening in Shanghai was like a dream. Our tour guides offered a cruise on the Huangpu River, where we were situated in the boat’s VIP section. Being in the VIP meant we wouldn’t have to fight for good photos of the Shanghai skyline! The Huangpu River is considered a symbol of Shanghai, originating at Dianshan Lake and emptying into the Yangtze River at Wusongkou. It is 71 miles long and 437 yards wide and is ice-free year round. The river basically divides Shanghai into east and west. One spectacular sight is that the two suspension bridges, the Nanpu Bridge and the Yangpu Bridge, appear to arch over the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, and is said to resemble “two dragons playing with a ball”.

The west bank of the Huangpu River is the cultural, residential and entertainment center of Shanghai. The Bund, Monument to the People’s Heroes, Waibaidu Bridge, and the oldest park in Shanghai, Huangpu Park, are located on the west bank. In addition, many historical buildings left over from Shanghai’s colonial days have been preserved. The east bank of the river (Pudong) is the newer district of Shanghai and is its financial and commercial hub. Steel and glass structures are abundant here. The Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Jin Mao Tower, skyscraper hotels, offices, and malls of the Lujiazui Financial Zone are located on this side of the river.

Cruising on the Huangpu River has become a must for most visitors to Shanghai. The busy wharfs and the “three-layer waters (or three-color waters)” at Wusongkou are within sight while on the boat. The ‘three-layer waters’ are formed by the convergence of the Huangpu River (gray white), the Yangtze River (yellow), and the East Sea (green) during high tide. When the sun sets, the river is veiled in the glittery neon lights. The nighttime skyline of the city was definitely one of the most breathtaking sights I have ever seen.

Day 6 was our last full tour day of the trip as Day 7 was a free day. Our Shanghai adventure continued with a tour of the silk factory. China, and specifically Shanghai, is known for its silk and Suzhou is most famous place for silk producing. We learned about the entire lifespan of the silkworm followed by watching them make silk products.

After the silk factory we arrived at The Jin Mao Tower which is 420.5 m high, with altogether 88 stories and total construction area of 290,000 square meters. It is a perfect combination between the Chinese Traditional Architecture Style and the advanced building technologies of the modern world. Some of our members decided to try the Sky Walk—walking around the outside of the tower on the 88th floor attached to just a bungee rope. Don’t look down!

After exploring the views at The Jin Mao Tower we arrived at The Bund, which we had seen on the boat tour the evening before. It was a beautiful day for walking, exploring, and seeing that it is a boulevard lined with impressive neo-classical buildings. The Bund is the classic image of Shanghai and the city’s main attraction. Sweeping along the western side of the Huangpu River, the majestic building dates back to Shanghai’s grandest days. Many banks and financial companies built impressive offices here in the early 20th century when Shanghai was the financial capital of Asia.

After The Bund we decided to head to what they call the “Shanghai Bazaar”, the Yu Yuan Markets. It was packed as it just so happens it was a National Holiday in China called “Labour Day”. Here we were able to purchase a mish-mash of items including traditional Chinese arts and crafts and souvenirs, ornate chopsticks, Chinese medicine, walking sticks, fans, silk umbrellas, bamboo and rattan furniture, goldfish, pottery, and much more. We all did some shopping, had lunch on our own and then met up with everyone to go check out the Yu Yuan Gardens which was a stunning layout of beautiful pavilions, miniature lakes, bridges and rock formations.

After exploring the Yu Yuan Gardens we had time left over so our tour guide’s brought us to what is called The Shanghai French Concession. The French Concession is the area of Shanghai once designated for the French, consisting of today’s Luwan and Xuhui Districts. Luwan’s Huaihai Road is a busy shopping street and is also home to both Xintiandi and Tian Zi Fang, extremely popular shopping and dining spots for tourists. Xuhui is also ever popular for tourists and is home to Shanghai Stadium. The tree-lined avenues and their many Tudor mansions in the area still retain an air of the “Paris of the East”. This place was a little bit of home to us as it had classic western food, draft beer and many people spoke English.

It was bitter sweet arriving at dinner that night knowing it was the last dinner together as the little family we had created on our travels! The friendships created, the memories made, and the laughter would be something that would last a lifetime. To travel with 42 strangers who would become like family was the most surreal experience of the trip. I had expectations going into this trip and this experience had exceeded them all.

The last day of our Shanghai adventure we had to ourselves to be able to explore whatever our hearts desired. Our tour guide Allen put together a tour of his home village of Suzhou, which they call the “Venice of China”. The city’s canals, stone bridges, pagodas, and meticulously designed gardens have contributed to its status as one of the top tourist attractions in China. Some of our members visited The Classical Gardens of Suzhou that were added to the list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1997 and 2000.

Other members visited Shanghai Disney which was only opened last June and is the biggest Disney in the world. They went on rides, ate food, bought souvenirs and had a blast seeing the differences between Disney US and Disney China. Some members went on food tours and ate things such as Szechwan tofu, lamb kebabs, crawfish and wok fired snake. Others checked out markets and museums.

Upon arrival back to the hotel we decided to go out as a group for one last dinner to close out our Shanghai adventure. We went to a French restaurant called Va Bene located in the French Concession that we had seen the day before. We ate the most delicious French cuisine, drank some wine, and reminisced over the past week of our China adventure. Shanghai adventure

Although there are some things I won’t miss, such as Squatty Potties, the smog, language barriers, and having to pay for water everywhere I go (just some of the luxuries we have living in the US and Canada), it will be very difficult to say goodbye to this amazing group of people that I did not know a week ago. Watching the dynamics of everyone come out of their shell from Day 1 to Day 7 was really great to see. The best thing about Events & Adventures is the lasting friendships created, the love connections that have flourished, and that we are all here for one purpose—to have an adventure of a lifetime. Until next time, whether it’s a Shanghai adventure or another amazing place across the world!

exploring china

Exploring China with Events & Adventures Members!

We started Day 3 of exploring China with a trip to the Beijing Zoo…and we got to see the pandas (amazing!), among many other animals, such as hyenas, monkeys, wolves, and many more. After the zoo we took an hour rickshaw tour to a 250-acre village of the Shichahai area, which is the most renowned historical and cultural quarter in Beijing. The ancient imperial mansions, celebrities’ residences, and the trendy boutiques and bars along the narrow alleys showcased both ancient and modern glamour of Beijing.

We experienced the local resident’s daily life by tracing the age-old hutongs (alleys) and courtyards. When we got there we went to visit a local family. While in their home we soon found out that the man of the house was actually an artist who has travelled to 35 countries showcasing his art. They told us about the village, told us some family history, and showcased some of the art work. We were also able to purchase signed artwork from the home studio itself.

After the rickshaw tour, we had to quickly go to the airport as we had an afternoon flight to our next destination—Xian! Upon arriving in Xian we met our local tour guide, Francis, who led us on a very informative tour of Xian on our way to dinner and the hotel. (Did I mention it was all you can eat & drink?) It was a short day for us as it was a travel day and a free night to recuperate. We would need the energy for our Day 4 trip to see another great Wonder of the World!

Day 4 of exploring China was our first full day in Xian. We had a jam-packed agenda as we leave tomorrow for Shanghai. We started our day at the Terracotta Workshop where they actually create the world-famous warriors. They use clay to mold the statues; they then put them in a kiln and bake them. The craftsmen let them bake for up to a few days depending on the size of the statue. Next they let them cool before painting them by hand. We also got to see the statues in the different steps of creation. After the workshop we were able to purchase our own warrior statues.

Once we had finished at the workshops, we ventured to the Terracotta Warriors Museum which is considered an “Eighth World Wonder”. The museum was founded in 1974 when villagers happened upon one of the world’s most astonishing archaeological findings—an 8,000 man army in battle ready formation, each warrior a life-size figure made over 2,200 years ago. When the warriors were found, people in the community thought it was a bad omen from the earth god and that a curse was coming. We explored three different pits, each showcasing a different size, style, and form of statue before grabbing lunch at a local restaurant nearby.

After lunch, we arrived at the Big Wild Goose Pagoda which was built in 652 AD and is filled with many Buddha shrines, gardens, and courtyards. At the Pagoda there were many shops, filled with items for sale such as like Buddha statues, books, jewelry, incense, and much more. The whole courtyard smelled of incense with a huge pot containing all the incense sticks in the middle. We quickly went to explore the Xian city wall while we still had about a half-hour to kill before our show and dinner. The Xian wall runs 12 kilometers in length and features some very imposing guard towers. It also features a lamp post with a red drapery and a small dragon that outlines the city wall. You will find a mixture of old and new Chinese architecture along the wall, as you will exploring China in general.

We arrived at our nightly show, which this night was the Tang Dynasty show. The Tang Dynasty is distinguished as the most progressive and prosperous era in the history of China. The dances were traditional Chinese dances that gave thanks to prosperous seasons and weather. The costumes and the performances were simply stunning. After the show we were treated to a Dumpling Ceremony right in the theatre. Chinese dumplings are among one of the most famous dishes in Xian. Each dumpling is hand-wrapped and stuffed with a freshly prepared filling. Sweet, savory, vegetarian, meat-filled, fruit-filled, and many other flavours were available, each with its own unique design.

We continue exploring China tomorrow in the vast country’s largest metropolis—Shanghai! I, and all the members of Events & Adventures, can’t wait to see what’s in store for us there!

china trip

Events & Adventures China Trip Day 2

We started off the second day of our China trip by heading to the Temple of Heaven, which is ranked among the most famous structures in China. The temple was used several times annually when the emperor, bearing the hopes and sins of the Chinese people, humbled himself before heaven and performed rituals believed to ensure good harvests. It is a very popular place for retired Chinese folk to hang out, exercise, and play games such as hacky sack or cards.

From there we went to The Pearl Exhibition Centre were we learned a pearl’s life, how to tell the difference between a fake and a real pearl, and the different colours and sizes of pearls. We had lunch at a local restaurant and then went to Tiananmen Square, which covers 44 hectares and is the largest public square in the world. In the centre of the square are the Monument to the People’s Heroes and the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall, where Mao Tse Tung’s embalmed body lies in state. The most recognizable feature of the Rostrum is Mao’s portrait–an almost required backdrop for any photo visitors may take of themselves. Often people go here to protest by lighting themselves on fire (true story) and you will find guards here standing near fire extinguishers.

Crossing Changan Avenue and directly behind the Rostrum is the entry to the Forbidden City, so called because it was off limits to commoners throughout the history of Imperial China. Commoners caught in the palace during this period were executed. The current construction was originally built between 1406 and 1420 by 100,000 artisans and a million labourers as a palace for the Ming and Qing Emperors; it lies on more than 178 acres and has more than 9,999 rooms (9 is a lucky number in China).

After the Forbidden City, the next stop for our China trip was the Academy of Chinese Medicine to get reflexology massages–which was much needed after the hike up The Great Wall yesterday! Both form Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper and President Obama have been treated at this academy. We finished our evening at a kung fu show with acrobats, kung fu masters and a story of a boy who grew up to be a kung fu master. We can’t wait to see what tomorrow has in store for Events & Adventures!

visit china

Events & Adventures Members Visit China!

The chance for Events & Adventures members to visit China is finally here! Day 1 here in Beijing is winding down and it was nothing short of incredible! It was a jam-packed day full of adventure, laughter, and a lot of great new memories.

Our first stop of the day was The Sacred Way—referring to the road travelled to heaven—of the Ming Tombs. Our tour guide Frank was well-informed of the area’s history as he shared the meaning and significance of the many things we would see and experience. The pathway starts with a huge stone memorial archway lying near the entrance. It was constructed in 1540, during the Ming Dynasty, and is archway is the earliest and biggest stone archway in China.

The pathway is lined with stone statues which are considered crucial decorations to the mausoleum. These statues include 12 human figures, including a general, civil officials, and meritorious officials, and 24 animals, including lions, camels, elephants, xiezhis (a mythological unicorn), horses, and qilin, which is one of the four “divine animals”. The other three divine animals are the dragon, phoenix, and tortoise. There are four of each of the animals, two standing and two squatting, each implying a different meaning.

We learned that the lion symbolizes awesome solemnity because of their ferocity. The camels and elephants suggest the vastness of the territory controlled by the court because of their dependability in places like the desert and tropics. Xiezhi was placed there to keep evil spirits away because it was believed to possess the sixth sense to tell right and wrong. The horse, as the emperor’s mount, is absolutely indispensable. It is said that these animals are supposed to change guard at midnight.

We knew if we were going to visit China, we had to see how jade was made!

After exploring The Sacred Way, our next stop was The Jade Factory. This factory was actual produced the 2008 Olympic Medals that featured white jades. We learned about the different textures and colors of jade and how each figure has its own meaning. For example, the Psu statue made from jade is believed to bring more money into the household. The male statue represents bringing the money and the female represents keeping the money.

After The Jade Factory we stopped for lunch before heading onto The Great Wall of China, a UNESCO World Heritage Site (obviously). It was a dream come true. I can honestly say I never thought I would have ever made it to one of the Seven Wonders of the World. We hiked up to the top of the wall, which was beautiful and provided spectacular views (and was also really windy).

We closed out the day with a visit to a Chinese Tea Factory, where they brew the most delicious loose leaf teas, and followed that with dinner and an acrobatic show. It feels as if we have been here for a week instead of just a day. We cannot wait to see what the rest of the week will bring. Only Events & Adventures can play host to a once-in-a-lifetime experience like this, it’s definitely the only way to visit China!

Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day in Vancouver 80s Style

It’s that time of year when love is in the air–Valentine’s Day. That day when many people exchange cards, candy, gifts, or flowers with their special Valentine, while others feel social pressure from all the newly engaged sharing their pictures on social media. Whether you love the idea of Valentine’s Day or think it is just another overpriced commercial holiday, one thing is for certain—it can be a very lonely holiday if you are single. However, it definitely doesn’t have to be lonely, and you don’t have to pretend like it’s any other day just to get through it, either!

Events & Adventures has got the cure for the Valentine’s Day blues. The best thing about Events & Adventures is you never have to feel alone. With over 30 events per month, you will always have something to do—even, and especially, on Valentine’s Day. This year for Valentine’s Day we are going back all the way back to the 80s for one night only with our annual Valentine’s Day Bash! If you love Footloose, Top Gun, The Goonies, Dirty Dancing, or Ghost Busters then this is one party you don’t want to miss. Events & Adventures staff and members will be pulling it all together to make the event like stepping out of a DeLorean and re-entering 1985.

This is How E&A Does Valentine’s Day in Vancouver

With 80s attire, tapas, a mac and cheese station, champagne upon arrival and a live DJ, this will be the Valentine’s Day bash to attend in Vancouver. Valentine’s Day doesn’t just have to be about the love between two people but the love of a community of people, the pure enjoyment of new friends, new connections, and maybe even a new significant other. Events & Adventures has been hosting the Valentine’s Day events for almost 10 years, and we make sure all members leave with memories that will last a lifetime.

Weekend getaway

Weekend Getaway with Events & Adventures

I know I’m not alone when I say traveling and experiencing new worlds is always a blast. Sure, getting to your destination can be tedious, but if you plan your trip right, it’s always worth it.  And Events & Adventures always does it right!  This time it was a weekend getaway out to Tahoe for some skiing and relaxing.  I arrived in South Lake Tahoe late Friday night at the house Events & Adventures rented for the weekend.  Even though it was almost pitch black, I could tell how beautiful it was, perhaps even more so with all the powder surrounding it!  I was greeted by super-friendly members from Events & Adventures clubs in other cities, and the hosts still managed to make me feel welcome and help me get settled even though it was two in the morning.

Both Saturday and Sunday mornings, we were served a full breakfast that was prepared by other members that signed up to help out.  We only had to help out with cooking or cleaning once throughout the entire weekend.  While cooking for a group of 35 might be daunting, the members were outstanding in getting the food well prepared and in a timely manner. It was no small task, but they did a great job and it was the perfect way to get charged up for the day.

Why choose between snowsports or relaxing on a weekend getaway when you can do both?

During the day, we had the option to go to Heavenly Ski Resort or a few others that were not as close by.  Heavenly offers skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing and a gondola.  The views are stunning, and on our excursion the snow just kept coming down.  But if adventuring into the heavy powder isn’t quite your speed, the rental house was perfect alternative for just chilling and relaxing.  Several members did just that, including me on Saturday.  The house was equipped with two hot tubs, an indoor swimming pool, a movie theater, and a game room that had pool, shuffle board, ping pong, and foosball.  There were some members who also brought some board and card games from home, as well.  Needless to say, there was plenty to keep the whole squad entertained!

Different members took turns cooking delicious dinners on Saturday and Sunday evenings. It was really nice to see so many people teaming up, helping each other, and enjoying themselves while doing so.  Though we were back at the house relaxing, a couple of serious Jenga games broke out that actually resulted in way more laughs than I ever thought possible from balancing wooden blocks.  On Sunday morning, we had a grab and go breakfast with more pastry, muffin, and bagel options than the continental breakfasts you get at most hotels, which was a nice way to kick off the morning.

The hosts from Events & Adventures did a great job at making everyone feel welcome, making sure there was plenty of food, and catering to those with special dietary needs.  They were also really helpful in making sure anyone had a ride to and from Heavenly Ski Resort as needed.  This was my first time to South Lake Tahoe and it was definitely a trip to remember. I am already looking forward to the next weekend getaway to South Lake Tahoe to be posted so I can go again!

~ Erica P, Events & Adventures Member

 

new resolutions

New Resolutions with Events & Adventures Vancouver

It’s 2017, and a new year always brings new resolutions, goals, and visions to life.  But we should remember and celebrate the year that is behind us.  We had so many adventures and made so many new friends, and little by little we went out of our comfort zones to experience so many new things that we have never done before.

Even as event manager for Events & Adventures Vancouver, it was a year of many firsts.  In 2016, I experienced white water rafting, paddle boarding, and snorkeling with seals all for the first time, as well as my first salsa cruise, my first swing dance lesson, and my first camping experience in the US.  More importantly, there were many firsts for our great members.  Here are some of their favourite memories of 2016:

“My favourite activity this year was the camping trip at Concrete in May. There was a great group of people and great food. I couldn’t have asked for more—except to do that every weekend, since I’m hooked! There is not enough time to do everything, but 2017 is already off with a bang!” – JoAnne (member since May 2016)

“I can’t choose between the camping trip from the long weekend in September or the New Year’s party in Parksville. Both were amazing events. Overnights are the best because you get to socialize with people for longer periods of time and get to know them on a better level than the weekday events. I got to reconnect with people I know, as well as meet new members. The memories you create will last a life time. I’m looking forward to all the fun 2017 has to offer!” – Samantha (member since December 2015)

“One of my favourite events was Oktoberfest; I visited Munich long time ago and it has the same feel of being in Germany. I love beer and mingling with people so it’s a perfect night for me.” – Chantal (Member since August 2015)

So Let’s Welcome 2017 with New Resolutions!

It is a chapter that has yet to be written, a year full of things that yet to be experienced.  As the Event Manager in Vancouver, my new resolutions for 2017 are to create more events that you may have never heard of or done before, to create a bigger community through our Events & Adventures family, and to not look back at 2017 saying, “I wish”. I want to make everyone who walks into our home feel the sense of comfort and ease and experience a sense of adventure in their everyday lives.  Events & Adventures may be a singles club, but we are way more than that, as well.

Helen Keller once said, “Life is either a great adventure or nothing”, and I believe there is so much truth in that. My hope for you in 2017 is that you live, laugh, and experience many new things in the 12 chapters that make up 2017. Contact Events & Adventures if you want to learn how we do it!

~ Michelle, Event Manager for Events & Adventures Vancouver

New Year's Eve Party

New Year’s Eve Party How-to Guide

The Experts at Events & Adventures Share How to Throw a New Year’s Eve Party

  • Location. Where you choose to throw your party is almost as important as what you do at your New Year’s Eve party!  Are you going for a destination event, like hosting it at the beautiful and historic Hotel Galvez?  If your guests are going to travel you want to make sure you make it an all-day or two-day affair.  Planning meals and cocktail hours in the area makes for a complete experience your friends will enjoy.  If you want to stay in the city, look and feel is important.  A good planner can transform any space, but why spend the extra time if you don’t have to?  Book early if you can, but if you have to book late then make sure to negotiate.  Banquet/event coordinators will be willing to negotiate because an additional, unexpected end-of-the-year sale will bump their paycheck and year-to-date totals. So we recommend going private if you can.  Separating yourself from the party people who have a carefree spirit on New Year’s is a way for your guests to relax and get into the event.  If you book a room in a restaurant or bar hire security to keep out unwelcome guests and under-age explorers.
  • Theme?  Putting pressure on your guests to dress up or do work for your event must be taken seriously.  Am I really going to have more fun if I make a mask for a masquerade ball or a western theme?  If the answer is yes, make sure your guests know exactly what to expect.  To put it bluntly—don’t half-ass it.  Expect to put in some money to make it come to life in the space you are using.  Simple color scheme themes make it easy for people to participate without having to put in a lot of effort.
  • Food?  Start later and go lighter.  If you start around 9pm, most of your guests will have eaten dinner beforehand allowing you to have more fun with your food budget.  Finger foods only with light or no sauce—you don’t want there to literally be stain on your evening! Food is important if you plan on a night of drinking so think about serving lite bites that will soak up at least a couple Manhattans.
  • Drinks.  We’re talking booze for a New Year’s Eve party, so this is where you want to focus your budget.  Don’t cheap out.  Open bar at most venues will run you about $15-25 per hour per person depending on your options.  The perfect time to host a bar is from 9:30 pm to 12:30 am.  If you are running the bar yourself, try to focus on one or two signature cocktails, two wine choices, and a mix of quality beer and domestics.  If you are hosting the party you shouldn’t feel obligated to stock an entire bar.  Choose one or two of your favorites and stock up.  A fun bourbon drink and vodka will cover most of your bases. You can still serve bourbon on the rocks and shake up a martini for those guests who just have to have it their way.
  • Entertainment.  Friends and tasty cocktails should be all you need for a fun-filled evening.  If you must add on, keep it simple.  A photo booth and casino are easy.  You don’t want your guests to separate themselves from the party vibe or have to sit and think about anything else other than socializing.  If you must spend more money, consider upgrading your drinks or investing in drivers to take guests home at the end of the evening.
  • Champagne Toast.  This is a must have, but even though it’s a New Year’s Eve party, don’t overspend on champagne.  Get the cheap stuff and rip the label off or keep it in the kitchen, then pour and serve to your guests.  You’ve already given them drinks and no one needs more than a sip of champagne after their liquor or they will regret it the next day.  If you are hosting a house party, only people trying to look cool will splurge on fancy champagne glasses they will only use once, so use the plastic.  When half of your guests drop their glass they won’t have to feel bad for breaking your stemware.

Hopefully, these tips that we’ve learned over the years at Events & Adventures will help you throw some awesome New Year’s parties of your own.  And if you’re ever in doubt, or want to skip the work, joining Events & Adventures is a great way to take part in legendary bashes and meet new people without having to buy all the booze and handle all the planning!