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New Year's Eve In Houston: A MapQuest Guide

On New Year's Eve in Houston, locals and visitors revel in the possibilities of the months to come. From ball drops to fireworks to First Night activities, every locale rings in the new year a little differently. As part of NewYearsQuest -- a MapQuest guide to the best New Year's Eve sights and sounds in the U.S. and in major cities around the world -- here are three recommended events for New Year's Eve 2011 in Houston.

Houston New Year's Eve Events Map

New Year's Eve Live

Houston's eccentric side is on flamboyant display during the city's official New Year's Eve Live celebration at the George R. Brown Convention Center and nearby Discovery Green park. The festivities begin at 8 p.m. with an art-car parade. The autos are creatively transformed into everything from UFOs to giant rabbits, and then wrapped in lights. Later in the evening, a 3-D light show is projected onto the wall of the convention center, creating a convincing illusion that the colorful images are actually emerging from the wall. Meanwhile, the stages at Discovery Green park feature family-friendly music all night long. The night ends with a countdown clock and eye-popping fireworks synchronized to music. Admission is free.

George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas, Houston, TX 77010

Continental Club Annual No-Cover New Year's Bash

This cavernous, no-frills nightclub in Houston's Midtown area has hosted a free New Year's Eve party since 2000. The musical lineup typically includes a sampling of the Continental Club's regular blues, country and rockabilly performers, such as Glover Gill, Paul Ramirez and the Allen Oldies Band. While the latter is a cover band, it's a cut above the typical party band, according to New York Times music blogger David Menconi, who writes "... frontman Allen Hill was a dervish in constant motion, working the crowd and testifying to the power of old-time rock 'n' roll." The Continental Club attracts a laid-back crowd of bikers, bankers and everything in between. Doors open at 8 p.m.

The Continental Club, 3700 Main St., Houston, TX 77002

Ars Lyrica's Annual New Year's Eve Concert At The Hobby Center

Ars Lyrica is an ensemble of musicians and vocalists who present operas and classical music using period instruments to produce a richer, more authentic sound. Their annual New Year's Eve Concerts have featured early baroque composers, such as Alessandro Scarlatti and Marc-Antoine Charpentier, as well as more well-known composers, like Bach and Handel. The group's recording of J.A. Hasse’s Marc Antonio e Cleopatra was nominated for a 2011 Grammy Award. Held in the luxurious Hobby Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Houston, the concert and after-show party provide an elegant way for arts aficionados to ring in the new year. The concert begins at 9 p.m. Ticket prices range from $31.25 to $41.25. Separate admission for the after-show Champagne Gala is $60.

Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby St., Houston, TX 77002

New Year's Eve In Houston: Video

Wacky and wonderful illuminated vehicles roam the streets during Houston's New Year's Eve Art-Car Parade.

Did we miss a Houston New Year's Eve event? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

Related MapQuest New Year's Articles

Check out our coverage of New Year's events around the world, including Texas, Dallas-Forth Worth and Oklahoma!

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