bunker hill, civic center, downtown los angeles

Angelenos United: Downtown LA Grand Park’s First New Year’s Eve Celebration Attracts 25,000

New Year's Eve Grand Park in Downtown LA

Over 25,000 revelers showed up at Grand Park on New Year’s Eve to celebrate the countdown to 2014 (Photo: Reuters/Gene Blevins)

How crazy is it that a city as worldly famous as Los Angeles hasn’t had a new year’s eve celebration where Angelenos from far and wide could congregate outside on public space together — until now? Better late than never. This past new year’s eve things were very different as 25,000 revelers packed into Grand Park (and spill over onto the Music Center steps) to countdown to 2014. The amount of people who took metro to the event was staggering as trains brought hordes of Angelenos back into the city to celebrate in the symbolic heart of Los Angeles — in Grand Park in front of our towering city hall where fanciful digital artwork was projected onto for all to see including the final exciting countdown (10…9…8…!). Finally, there was a celebratory venue with enough energy to be felt throughout the city instead of the chirping crickets most suburban Angelenos were accustomed to beforehand. Next year, expect the event to be even bigger.

Spill over onto the Music Center steps

Spill over onto the Music Center steps

Hot dogs anyone?

Hot dogs anyone?

Thousands upon thousands gather inside Grand Park

Thousands upon thousands gather inside Grand Park

25,000 revelers packed into Grand Park to countdown to 2014

25,000 revelers packed into Grand Park to countdown to 2014

Check out more pics of the event on Curbed LA!

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  1. This was a great start but what I really want to see is a citywide First Night celebration with multiple venues for all ages. The Grand Park celebration was great but it was oriented to the young and single. As a parent, I’d love to have some NYE events for my kid to attend, similar to the midnight skate in NYC’s Central Park.

    First Night events could be staged around transit hubs like downtown LA, Hollywood and Culver City to encourage people to leave the car at home on one of the most dangerous driving nights of the year.

  2. Was it really geared toward the young and single? How? I saw people of all ages and races and lots of kids too. There were lots of kids playing in the water near the fountain. I thought it went pretty good for a first try. I’d like to see more and better live music. As we go into the coming years we know its going to get bigger. My question is will Grand Park be big enough? And perhaps fireworks would be a nice touch.

  3. Jeremy says

    It’s a great start. There is always a myth LA has no heart and I always have to tell people it does. Budget permitting I think a global advertising campaign to promote LA using the images of the Bradley West at LAX, DTLA , the LA philharmonic and the Broad would change people’s perception

  4. sebastian says

    I think Hollywood blvd would be a better spot for this, close down the street to cars that night from Vine to la Brea and have a countdown there, but this was a nice touch for Los Angeles, they did fail on not bringing fireworks or confetti cannons.

  5. Dennis Smith says

    I’m not sure if it can get any bigger in size as the police and sheriffs were forced to close the perimeter at 10:30 p.m. due to overcrowding in Grand Park by order of the Los Angeles Fire Department. A friend of mine and I were walking the length of the park inside the perimeter enjoying the crowd scene but when we walked up to the Music Center to get some elevated views of the festival, we found ourselves prohibited from returning through the perimeter by the different security officers on duty that night. We found a good vantage point for watching the light show on the east side of Spring Street but it seemed like lots of folks were just arriving at the park when the perimeter was closed and were forced to turn away. Did they ever re-open the perimeter later before midnight?

  6. @Dennis the gates was never re-opened, we were locked out as well. I think it was a great turnout but overall I wish it could be better. Many people I know left, or were disappointed. It’s the first shot, so that’s expected. I would think amazing fireworks like 4th of July, confetti cannons like Chinatown Summer Nights, more stages, perhaps close 1st street for more venues/music. How can this get even bigger? There’s no room to grow! btw I loved the fact the metro was free the whole night, great idea!

  7. jdrcrasher says

    The idea of tearing down the government buildings surrounding the park sure sounds great right about now!

  8. John G. says

    jdcrasher makes an excellent point. Those two LA County buildings flanking Grand Park create DEAD ZONES. Look at Times Square at NYC. The Count Down works on those streets because there are tons of restaurants, bars, etc. all over the place that people can hang out in. It’s called INFRASTRUCTURAL DENSITY. Grand Park LACKS unfrastructural density by low-capacity buildings around it, with many non-mixed use or lacking primary uses conducive to public or nightly events.

    This is actually a GOOD problem. This means downtown LA is slowly waking up from its urban slumber after decades of neglect and lack of development. We need to support more and better development in downtown. No frickin NIMBYs and no low-density crap. This isn’t the suburbs. Any improvements for this event next year will only be lipstick on a pig until those two LA County buildings get demolished or redeveloped for more retail/restaurants…

  9. corner soul says

    I wonder if 7th St. or Broadway would be a better spot next year. All you’d have to do is close the street, and there’s already plenty more places to eat, drink, what have you nearby.

    Grand Park is nice, but like any civic center, it’s a boring area with very little to do at night.

  10. Chris says

    I walked through the park a few days later and the beautiful landscaping was, in many places, crushed and destroyed. I hope that we didn’t love our park TOO much.

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