You don’t have to go far to enjoy the holiday season. Many local hot spots are ramping up for fun, festive celebrations with specials events and packages perfect for a night out or weekend get-away. Plus, fun for kids!
Raue Center for the Arts (26 N. Williams St., 815-356-9212, visit www.rauecenter.org) — the beautifully restored showcase theatre in downtown Crystal Lake — will kick off New Year’s Eve at 8 p.m. with the wit of Chicago comedian Larry Reeb followed by dancing to a band that will take you back in time — The Neverly Brothers, a feel-good band that bridges the gap between ’50s rockabilly and early ’60s British invasion.
Pump It Up (1095 Pingree Rd., Crystal Lake, 847-854-3737, www.pumpitupcrystallake.com) invites families with children ages two to 10 to celebrate the New Year with a bounce during its annual Jump ‘N New Year’s Eve in the fully decorated Inflatable Winter Wonderland. This two-hour event in the late afternoon includes lots of jumping followed by a pizza dinner with ice cream cake. An exciting countdown celebration in “Bounce Square” will ring in the New Year with lots of lights, party favors and a bubble drop. Take home your “bounced out” kids and go out for your own evening celebration.
La Petite Creperie’s (115 N. Johnson St., Woodstock, 815-337-0765, www.lapetitecreperie.net) December special is cassoulet, a hearty and flavorful dish of northern beans, pork sausage, duck confit and smoked sausage — stop in for a bowl today! The restaurant will also be offering a new wine list and 10 percent off dinner bills for the month. Enjoy breakfast and lunch on Christmas Eve. On New Year’s Eve, it will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, offering its regular menu a specials menu with a three-course prix-fixe option.
Duke’s Alehouse and Kitchen (110 N Main St., Crystal Lake, 815-356-9980, www.thedukeabides.com) will be open until 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day, it opens at 7 p.m. for Christmas Karaoke (prizes for best impression and funniest performance). It is also open all day on December 26. The restaurant will be offering seasonal specials like half-roasted Nick’s Farm chicken with bacon-braised collard greens and corn bread polenta, as well as chocolate-peppermint crème brûlées. Duke’s opens at noon on New Year’s Day.
Warsaw Inn (217 N. Front St. in McHenry, 815-344-0330, www.warsawinn.com) is open on Christmas Eve and usually offers turkey, pork loin, sweet potatoes and other holiday favorites. Reservations are recommended on this busy day. It will also offer a New Year’s Day buffet. “Grandma’s Eat Free” is its current promotion — when a family brings their grandmother on the weekend, she eats free. Bring a family photo to add to Warsaw Inn’s “Family Board.” Warsaw Inn offers delicious buffets in the traditions of hearty Polish and American cooking.
Biaggi’s (1524 S. Randall Rd., Algonquin, 847-658-5040, www.biaggis.com) will be open on Christmas Eve until 7 p.m. — perfect for dinner after last-minute shopping on Randall Road! It will also be open during the day on New Year’s Eve. This casual Italian restaurant offers homemade and imported pastas, soups, salads, pizzas seafood and steaks.
Big Foot Inn (11508 N. Rt. 14, Harvard, 815-943-4740, www.bigfootinn.com) will be offering a Christmas Eve dinner special, as well as a special New Year’s Eve menu that includes chicken, beef, prime rib and lobster. It will be open New Year’s Day with a regular menu, featuring traditional American dishes, seafood and Greek cuisine.
Niko’s Grill & Pub (11900 Freeman Rd., Huntley, 847-669-6644, www.nikosgrillandpub.com) will be open Christmas Eve with its regular Thursday special — All-You-Can-Eat Dungeness Crab Legs. It will be open New Year’s Eve with a special menu including four appetizers, surf and turf, chicken, ribs and pasta, as well as a special drink and desserts and live entertainment.
Pablo’s Mexican Grill (230 W. Virginia St., Crystal Lake, 815-455-7398) will be open on New Year’s Eve. It is rolling out new weekly specials in December including $3 Margarita Mondays; Taco Tuesdays; $2 pints of Dos Equis and Negra Modelo on Wednesdays; $2 Corona and Corona Lights on Thursdays; $1.50 domestic Miller Lite pints on Saturdays; and Sundays, kids receive a free ice cream sundae with a kids’ meal.
Port Edward Restaurant (20 W. Algonquin Rd, Algonquin, 847-658-5441, www.portedward.com) is open for lunch on Christmas Eve until 3 p.m. and will be closed Christmas Day. Port Edward will be celebrating New Year’s Eve with a special dinner package — reservations can be made via phone or online. On New Year’s Day, guests are welcome to enjoy its annual Champaign Holiday Brunch Buffet from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. During December, it will feature daily lunch and dinner specials with music Fridays and Saturdays.
Doyle’s Pub (5604 Mill St., Richmond, 815-678-3623, http://doylespubrocks.com) will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, featuring a special menu consisting of prime rib, red snapper and fresh salmon. Enjoy a complimentary glass of champagne with each entree. Doyle’s will also be open on New Year’s Day from noon to 5 p.m. The restaurant is beautifully decorated for the holidays and can seat parties up to 40 people (reservations recommended for parties of five or more).
Holiday Inn (800 S. Rt. 31, Crystal Lake, 815-477-7000) is offering a holiday special December 20-27. The $79 a night package includes a beautifully decorated king or double room; carrot cake or ready-to-bake apple or pumpkin pie; pet-fee waived; and a 2 p.m. late checkout. Ring in the New Year with the hotel’s Ballroom Package — the $339 per couple package includes deluxe overnight accommodations, dinner for two in the decorated ballroom; a champagne toast at midnight; open bar from 7:30 p.m. to 12.30 a.m.; breakfast buffet the next morning; and hats and noisemakers.
Odd Fellows (214 Main St., Woodstock, 815 527 7250, www.oddfellowswoodstock.com) will be hosting an “Eve Before the Eve” celebration on December 30 starting at 9 p.m. that will include champagne, a countdown, festive décor and party favors “as if it’s New Year’s.”
Porter’s Oyster Bar and Yellowtails Sports Bar and Grill (446 W. Virginia St., Crystal Lake 815-356-0700, www.portersyellowtails.com) Porter’s will be open with limited hours on Christmas Eve. Its New Year’s Eve party will include an eight-entrée menu with appetizers. Live entertainment includes local band High Life, which features classic and modern rock and country. Ring in the New Year with a champagne toast and party favors. Porters will be open on New Year’s Day, too.
Deeter’s (15105 Rt. 14, Woodstock, 815-338-6550, www.deetersrestaurant.com), known for its authentic German fare, is hosting a New Year’s Gala in its banquet room featuring a prime rib buffet, dancing, live music and party favors. Its dining room is also open New Year’s Eve serving its regular menu. Reservations are recommended for the gala. Starting in January, Deeter’s will be celebrating Oktoberfest one weekend per month due to its huge popularity.
La Trattoria (9541 Ackman Rd., Lake In the Hills, 847-669-9840) will be open New Year’s Eve. The restaurant offers fresh, home-made dishes inspired by Naples, such as the Linguini Pescatore – a customer favorite that includes mussels, clams, shrimp and calamari in a red sauce.
Chris’ Coach House (6414 Hilly Way, Cary, 847-639-9675) will be open Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve for dinner between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. serving its regular menu. Chris’ – a historic barn renovated into a restaurant – is best known for its ribs that feature a secret family recipe.