New Year's Eve can be a tricky holiday for teens to celebrate. Too old to be entertained by children's festivities consisting of silly hats and noisemakers, they are nevertheless too young to join the grown-ups in welcoming midnight with a champagne toast. Throughout the state of Michigan, however, there are several New Year's activities that welcome teenage participants. These range from outdoor festivals to indoor water parks, all-night laser tag and even a teens-only nightclub.
Countdown to Midnight
Watch the 7-foot-tall lighted cursive “D” as it drops in downtown Detroit's Campus Martius park at midnight to mark the arrival of the New Year. Although teens cannot join in the adults-only indoor parties held inside the Compuware Atrium and Hard Rock Cafe, the outdoor drop is an all-ages event. In Traverse City, a giant cherry drops at midnight, in an event that draws between 8,000 to 12,000 people each year. The CherryT Ball Drop is an alcohol-free family festival featuring live music, DJs and a short fireworks display, weather permitting.
Radio Station HOT-FM throws a giant party in Grand Rapids each New Year's Eve, complete with midnight ball drop and free musical entertainment. Performers who have appeared at past Hot New Year's Eve parties have included such teen favorites as Jesse McCartney, Good Charlotte and The Plain White T's. The city of Kalamazoo holds its family-friendly New Year's Fest with comedians, jugglers, live music and dancing. Teens can participate in the United Teen Talent Show or watch other teen-friendly acts at the Epic Center.
Swim in the New Year
At the Best Western Plus Sterling Inn, teens and their families can enjoy a night at the indoor water park, with its slides, whirlpool and lazy river. The hotel's New Year’s Eve Splash Bash also features activities such as magic shows and a video game contest, and the price includes not only overnight accommodations but also breakfast in the morning. The Double JJ Resort in Rothbury has a New Year's Eve family package that includes snowtubing as well as unlimited access to its indoor water park. Families can book this package with an overnight stay, or just for the night's festivities, which conclude with fireworks at midnight.
Party Without Parents
Adventurous teens may enjoy seeing in the New Year with an all-night game of laser tag at one of Zap Zone's seven Michigan locations. These all-you-can-play events last until 6 a.m. and are lock-ins where teens can attend on their own with a signed permission slip from a parent or guardian, but will not be permitted to leave the facilities before the event is over unless chaperoned and given parental permission. Teens who prefer the club scene can dance the night away at Club Inferno in Walled Lake. This venue puts on a New Years Eve bash for ages 15 to 18 and features a DJ spinning hip-hop, techno, electro and dubstep while fog machines fill the air and the bar serves up energy drinks.