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Lame New Year's Eves were so 2012

Champagne Supernova

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Peace out 2013. It's been real, but 2014 is coming for us, and we're ready. Something about the new year gives even cynics a bit of hope. Maybe this will be the year we finally invent flying cars? Or floo powder? Perhaps the Middle East will see peace? Or *NSYNC will go on a reunion tour? Sisqo could come up with a song that tops "The Thong Song." OK, let's not get crazy.

What doesn't give us hope? That New Year's Eve lives up to its expectations as the best night out ever. Poor NYE, having an absurd amount of expectation all wrapped up into a drunken night must be tough, which is why we wanted to help it out. We've compiled a couple of tips to help your night live up to these demands.

Dress appropriately

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You don't want to be the schmuck that showed up in a ball gown to the blue jean affair, and vice versa. And ladies, take into account your shoes. If you're more of a flats wearer, now is not the time to try out four-inch stilettos. If you still want to up your footwear game, we suggest wedges, which provide more stability. Nobody wants to be constantly calling "timber" when you're around. And dudes, just accept the fact that your lady friends will probably complain about their shoes. Go with it.

Eat

Open bars and big nights out can lead to overindulgence. Pace yourself but also eat a decent meal beforehand. And make it something substantial, maybe some bread or pasta. No one wants to be a slouched over baby doll who's unable to stand at 9 p.m.

Getting home

Plan your safe ride home in advance. Order a cab (we recommend doing this at least a couple days in advance), determine a designated driver, or go somewhere close enough to walk — just please don't drunkenly drive home. And if you're waiting for a cab, wait for one. No one likes a cab stealer. That's just bad manners.

Go to an ATM

Grab some cash beforehand. Even if you don't use it, it's better to have an emergency back-up in case your ride bails on you — or finds their soul mate du jour. Also, if you're going to a party without an open bar, you don't want to be waiting to cash out and miss the ball drop. While we're talking money, tip your bartenders too.

Find the best party

And that's where we really come into play. We've rounded up the best parties of the night — whether you want a tried-and-true one like Snyder's Grand Ball or something new at the Bay Street Biergarten. We've compiled a list of parties all in one place for you and broken them down into three categories. Be Merry is for parties that cost more than $25, Drink is places to get your drink on, and Eat, well, that's for dinners around town.

We've also picked five kickass parties and one way to recover from a monster of a hangover in our City Picks. Bring it 2014, we're so ready.

For more tips about heading out on Dec. 31, see Angela Hanyak's column.

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