Your 2011 New Year’s Eve FAQ

The new Boundary Stone in Bloomingdale is among the bars offering low-key, no-cover New Year’s Eve parties on Saturday. (Astrid Riecken/For The Washington Post)

What are the best places to go for New Year’s Eve?

See our Editors’ Pick list of recommended parties.

I want to see a band.

Drive By Truckers, blues guitarist Tom Principato and Peaches O’Dell and Her Black Cat Orchestra are among the artists in our list of New Year’s Eve concerts, some of which have open bars or dinner buffets included in the cost of admission.

Forget black-tie parties. I want to just hang out at a bar with my friends and not pay a cover charge.

There are many free parties this year, ranging from old standbys (Saint-Ex, Nellie’s Sports Bar) to cool new neighborhood hangouts (Smith Commons, Boundary Stone).

Where can I see fireworks?

The free, family-friendly public party in Annapolis includes two rounds of fireworks at the City Dock: One at 7:30, so the kids can see them, and another at midnight to welcome 2012. The Baltimore celebration also features fireworks.

Are there any good parties for families?

All of the First Night celebrations, from Warrenton to Alexandria to Annapolis, are kid-friendly. There’s also the afternoon Rocknoceros concert at Jammin’ Java and the family dinner at the Argonaut: Both feature a countdown and a juice “toast” for kids (and champagne for Mom and Dad).

How late can bars stay open?

Unless they’ve signed an agreement with neighbors promising to close at a certain time, all bars in Washington are allowed to stay open until 4 a.m., meaning last call is around 3:30 a.m. (In practice, many will close earlier.) Closing time in Virginia is unchanged at 2 a.m. Maryland leaves it up to each county.

Any other ideas?

See our whole list of New Year’s Eve events.

How do I get home?

The free SoberRide taxi service offers free cab rides between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Check that link for details; Call 800-200-TAXI for a ride. Metro runs until 3 a.m.

Have more questions? Fire away during Thursday’s Got Plans? discussion.