City Needs To Have Fireworks As Part Of A Big NYE Celebration
(Editor’s note:This article was posted after NYE 2020 and of course the situation is completely different for 2021 New Year’s Eve due to COVID-19.)
San Diego is one of the most fun cities in the world for 364 days a year. It’s just that 365th day that doesn’t quite cut it.
That’s the last day of the year, Dec. 31, otherwise known as New Year’s Eve. In many cities around the globe, it’s a time for celebration, huge gatherings, ball drops and spectacular fireworks shows.
However, in San Diego it’s like one of those fireworks that starts out with a lot of promise but then fizzles just as it should be exploding into the sky.
While it’s not exactly a dud – it does have the Gaslamp Quarter for nightlife, after all – San Diego needs to step up its party game for New Year’s Eve.
First of all, there are no fireworks over San Diego Bay. This seems impossible, but it’s true. How can the city have such a beautiful location and not take advantage of it by having New Year’s Eve fireworks?
There is also no “hey it’s New Year’s Eve” vibe.
I spent a night wandering around the Gaslamp looking for a party and never really finding one.
Most of the bars were charging $50-100 covers; to me, that’s such a waste of time and money because other than passing out hats and noisemakers, being in a bar for NYE is just like being in a bar any other night of the year. There’s nothing special about it.
So I walked up and down the streets. Most of this consisted of 5th Avenue, the prime place for the area’s nightlife. I kept looking toward the bay in case there were fireworks, but seeing none, at midnight I went to the most popular corner of the Gaslamp, 5th and Market in front of BarleyMash, to see if anything exciting would happen.
As midnight approached, a few people did a countdown and at there was a small round of “Happy New Year” chants when the New Year arrived, but there was no real fanfare. Ten seconds later it was over and back to normal.
This really surprised me because the Gaslamp is like New Year’s Eve in some places every weekend night. For the actual NYE, I expected it to be a fun, wild, oh-my-gosh-tell-all-my-friends-to-come-next-year kind of experience. Frankly, I was expecting something along the lines of Bourbon Street in New Orleans but in many ways, it was more like Sesame Street.
As a result, I don’t have any great New Year’s Eve photos from San Diego because there were none to take on NYE.
I would up going into one of the few bars that did not have a post-midnight cover, The Field, and joined a few fellow revelers singing and dancing to the Irish band. Las Hadas, a Mexican restaurant/bar, told me earlier in the day it has no NYE cover, but I did not make it there that night.
Suggestions For A Having Rockin’ New Year’s Eve In San Diego
The solution to this is simple. Here are my suggestions:
• Fireworks Over San Diego Bay. This is a layup. Imagine locals and tourists filling up the scenic waterfront, boats anchored in the water and a spectacular fireworks show. It would be awesome and would be a great tourist attraction for the city and its tourism board to promote to visitors.
• Bands On The Embarcadero & In Seaport Village. There needs to be some type of festival event happening here with live music and activities. Feature local bands; there’s no need to pay for a big name or weathered touring band. Plus they would help promote the event to their fans.
• A Sailboat Drop. Forget the ball drop; do something unique to San Diego – a sailboat drop! Key West has a wench and a high heel drop and a couple hours up the California coast Hermosa Beach has a beach ball drop. This would be part of the waterfront festivities.
• Gaslamp Block Party. First of all, 5th Ave., needs to be shut down to traffic. Then enhance this by putting a band (again a local one) and a DJ at the foot of it across from the Convention Center. Have beer and booze booths and charge vendors to sell things like NYE party favors. The event should be free to the public.
San Diego has so much potential to be one of the world’s best cities to spend New Year’s Eve. It just needs to do it.