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Winter Guide: 7 Places to Celebrate New Year's Eve in Cleveland 

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Cleveland might not have made WalletHub's list of 2016's Best Places for New Year's Eve Celebrations but then the determining data, which includes criteria such as "legality of fireworks" and "forecasted precipitation for Dec. 31," didn't really skew in our favor. Given those parameters, no wonder Orlando ended up on top of the list.

Still, for those willing to brave the crowds and cold to ring in the New Year, the city has plenty to offer. Here's a rundown of what's happening where.

Cleveland Pops 21st Annual New Year's Eve Celebration

After becoming one of the winners in Season 6 of American Idol, Melinda Doolittle quickly became a national sensation who critics have called "one of the most exciting and talented young vocal artists in America." Tonight at 9 at Severance Hall, she joins the Cleveland Pops Orchestra for its 21st annual New Year's Eve concert. After the concert, there will be dancing as a pop and a rock band will perform in two separate locations in Severance Hall. Guests will receive free coffee and can order food from a special dessert menu. A balloon drop takes place at midnight. Tickets start at $48.

11001 Euclid Ave., 216-231-1111, clevelandorchestra.com.

First Night Akron 2017

Downtown Akron's annual New Year's Eve Celebration, First Night Akron will feature more than 40 performances. Theater, visual arts, dance and music groups will be on hand and there will be children's activities, delicious food trucks, and two "bursting" firework shows. Metro shuttles will be available to help make getting around downtown easier. Downtown admission buttons are $10 and are available online, at Acme Fresh Market and at participating FirstMerit Bank locations. Children under 10 are free. The party gets started at 6 p.m.; tickets are $10.

downtownakron.com/explore/first-night-akron.

Let's Go All The Way '80s Prom & Burlesque Show

One of the wilder New Year's Eve parties happening in town, the Let's Go All the Way '80s Prom & Burlesque Show takes a retro approach to ringing in the New Year. Organizers encourage patrons to wear '80s prom dresses, neon bike shorts, rubber bangles and Miami Vice jackets. There will be an '80s-themed burlesque show featuring regional acts such as Ms. Fever Blister, Pandora Foxx, Devon Ayer, Crystal Swarovski, Bella Sin, Shrimp Cocktail and more. A complimentary champagne toast takes place at midnight. It all starts at 9 p.m. Tickets are $15 for VIP seating, $10 for general admission.

11904 Detroit Ave., Lakewood, 216-521-4906.

New Year's Eve Big '80s Dance Party

The '80s are known for New Wave music and arcade video games like Pac-Man and Donkey Kong. Quality musical acts such as Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince, the Police, Guns N' Roses, R.E.M. and U2 emerged during the period as well. Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park aims to celebrate all things '80s with its Big '80s party slated to take place on New Year's Eve. The tribute act the Spazmatics will throw a "nerdy" New Wave Dance Party, and there will be screenings of '80s music videos. Patrons can also play classic arcade games and participate in a Rubik's Cube contest. The party will kick into gear at 9 p.m. Tickets cost $35 in advance, $50 at the door.

10777 Northfield Rd., Northfield, 330-908-7771, hrrocksinonorthfieldpark.com.

Pete George: The Rock Star of Comedy

A Cleveland native, comedian Pete George has come a long way since the days when he would open for a local magician. George, who got his start in show business as a lead guitarist in a Cleveland based '80s rock group, says he wanted to be like the band A Flock of Seagulls and call his group A Peck of Peckers. He has now played some 7,500 shows over the course of a 20-year career. He's also had roles in The Shawshank Redemption and The Majestic and has made appearances on Blood Relatives, Tabloid, Night Shift, Now That's Comedy and several national commercials including Audi and nick@nite. He also has a television show about his life in development and has released the comedy CD, Comedy You Can Dance To. He performs at the Hard Rock Rocksino's Club Velvet at 7 and 9:30 tonight and has shows scheduled through Saturday. Tickets are $35 to $40.

10777 Northfield Rd., Northfield, 330-908-7771, hrrocksinonorthfieldpark.com.

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Red Wanting Blue

The indie pop/rock band Red Wanting Blue might hail from Columbus, but the guys play the Cleveland area so regularly, we might as well think of them as an honorary local band. The group just released the live album/DVD, RWB20: Live at Lincoln Theater, in celebration of its 20th anniversary. Singer Scott Terry calls it the "midlife crisis" that comes to many bands after the guys have spent two decades together. In support of its 20th anniversary, Red Wanting Blue ends the year with its annual New Year's Eve show at House of Blues. The show starts at 9:30 p.m., and tickets are $49.50 to $69.50.

308 Euclid Ave., 216-523-2583, houseofblues.com.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

When he was young, Trans-Siberian Orchestra mastermind Paul O'Neill had trouble reading anything more sophisticated than Cat in the Hat. In the first grade, he was in danger of falling behind. But then his mother spent a summer teaching him phonetics, and the floodgates opened as O'Neill, whose parents forbid him to watch TV, started devouring the books around the family's home. As he toured with Aerosmith in the '70s, he started collecting letters and developing his esoteric sense of the world. Those literary sensibilities would inform the prog band Savatage, which originally recorded "Christmas Eve Sarajevo 12/24" in 1995. The song would reappear on TSO's debut, 1996's Christmas Eve and Other Stories, and launch the band into the behemoth that it is today. Twenty years on, O'Neill says he feels like he blinked and two decades passed. Trans-Siberian Orchestra performs at 3 and 9 tonight at Quicken Loans Arena. Tickets start at $40.

1 Center Court, 216-420-2000, theqarena.com.

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