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Your guide to tonight's Famously Hot New Year's party

Lauryn Hill will perform at FHNY.
Lauryn Hill will perform at FHNY. Invision via AP

Still need plans for New Year’s Eve? We’ve got you covered.

Famously Hot New Year is the biggest end-of-year party in town, and it’s arguably the best place to be when the clock strikes midnight.

So kiss 2015 goodbye by listening to four live music acts, sipping some bubbly and watching fireworks explode over the State House.

Did we mention it’s free?

1. When is Famously Hot New Year?

6:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 31

2. Where is it?

Main and Gervais streets in downtown Columbia

3. How much does it cost?


4. Who’s headlining?

Acclaimed singer and rapper Lauryn Hill will headline Famously Hot New Year. Hill’s lone full-length album, 1998’s “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” makes her a legacy act, but she’s still one of the biggest headliners to grace the FHNY stage in the event’s five-year history. Hill is a five-time Grammy winner known for her hits “Do Wop (That Thing),” “Ex-Factor” and “Everything is Everything.”

5. What other bands are playing?

Three South Carolina bands will open for Hill: Charleston vintage rock group Dead 27s, Columbia’s folk-hop duo ColorBlind and Charleston alt-country band SUSTO.

6. How do I get there?

FHNY organizers urge partygoers to use The COMET.

Get unlimited rides to and from the street party for $3 by visiting a local bus stop and hopping on one of 12 regularly running routes, or driving to one of six park-and-ride locations. Buses will run beginning at 6 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 31, with the last pickup from FHNY at Sumter and Lady streets at 1:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 1.

You can pay in cash at the beginning of your first ride, or on your phone with the Catch the Comet app: http://catchthecomet.org/app.

View bus stops, routes and park-and-ride locations online at www.famouslyhotnewyear.com/getting-to-FHNY-transportation-options.

7. Where do I park?

Eight downtown Columbia parking garages will be free as of 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 31, but parking will be limited. The free parking garages are:

▪ Arsenal Hill Garage

▪ Taylor Garage

▪ Cannon Garage

▪ Sumter Street Garage

▪ Lincoln Street Garage

▪ Washington Street Garage

▪ Lady Street Garage

▪ Park Street Garage

If you’re driving, note that the following streets will be closed:

▪ The westbound lanes of 1100 and 1200 blocks of Gervais Street and 1300 block of Main Street will be closed beginning at 7 a.m.

▪ The 900 block of Main Street will be closed beginning at 9 a.m.

▪ The remainder of the 1100 and 1200 blocks of Main Street and the 1100 and 1200 blocks of Lady Street will be closed beginning at 4 p.m.

All streets will reopen at 8 a.m. Friday, Jan. 1.

8. How do I get in?

There are five entry gates. They are at Lady and Assembly streets; Lady Street and Sumter streets; Gervais and Assembly streets; Gervais and Sumter streets; and Main and Washington streets.

9. What can’t I bring?

Items that are not allowed inside entry gates include coolers, chairs, tables, pets, backpacks, skateboards, scooters, bicycles (bike parking is available throughout downtown Columbia), fireworks, laser pointers, picnic baskets, umbrellas, weapons, illegal substances and food or alcohol (food, beer, wine and champagne will be for sale at the event).

10. Where should I eat?

Many restaurants around the downtown area and nearby neighborhoods are offering special New Year’s dining. Among them:

Capitol City Club is offering a five-course dinner created by executive chef Howard Stephens. Seatings are at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m for $65 per person. Reservations are required: (803) 256-2000, http://bit.ly/1J9Q8br

Motor Supply Co. Bistro’s executive chef Wes Fulme will prepare a special New Year’s Eve menu featuring pheasant, fresh-caught fish, steak with truffles, pork osso buco, foie gras two ways, and scallops, with special wine pairings and cocktails. Reservations required: (803) 256-6687, www.motorsupplycobistro.com/reserve.

Cowboy Brazilian Steakhouse has a dinner-for-two deal for $100 that includes a salad bar; six hot dishes; endless prime cuts; champagne, wine or beer; and a shared dessert. http://bit.ly/1m4E71t

M Grille’s New Year’s Eve dinner special is a $50 dinner for two that includes an appetizer, two entrees and two drinks. (803) 708-8881, http://gomgrille.com

SakiTumi will have 50-cent sushi pieces and $3 pints. Kitchen is open 5-10:30 p.m. (803) 931-0700, http://sakifresh.com

Ruth’s Chris will have a $65-per-person prix fixe menu that includes a starter, entree, side and dessert. (803) 212-6666, www.ruthschris.com/restaurant-locations/columbia

11. Where else can I go before the party starts?

The Oak Table and Bourbon will have pre-FHNY celebrations on Main Street that include heavy hors d’oeuvres and specialty drinks. Both parties begin at 8 p.m., and tickets are $150. http://on.fb.me/1Uv2kdt, http://bit.ly/1YihBi4.

12. What is there for kids to do?

The city of Columbia’s WOW! NYE Carnival will be open 6-11 p.m. with games and carnival rides galore with the purchase of a $10 unlimited ride wristband.

Main Street ICE also will be open in front of the Columbia Museum of Art from noon to midnight. Inside the FHNY street party, there will be face painters, balloon animal artists and karaoke before the concert begins.

13. What else is going on?

Share your hopes, wishes and visions for South Carolina in 2016 by participating in a hands-on public art piece. The #SCStrong Wall, built by Karl Larsen, will stand at Lady and Main streets.

14. How do I get home?

Those who need a safe ride home can take an Alert Cab. The first $10 of each fare is free. Catch an Alert Cab on Lady Street, between Main and Sumter streets.

15. What if I can’t make it?

The event will be broadcast live on TV by WLTX News 19 and via radio on The Big DM 101.3/WWDM and Hot 103.9/WHXT. Tune in and feel like you’re there.

16. How can I get more information?

Find out more at www.famouslyhotnewyear.com.

Related content:

Lauryn Hill to headline Famously Hot New Year

FHNY celebration schedule

12 p.m.-midnight: Main Street ICE rink at Boyd Plaza (Main and Hampton streets)

6-11:00 p.m.: WOW! New Year’s Eve Carnival (Main and Hampton streets)

6:30 p.m.: Concert gates open

7-7:45 p.m.: Dead 27s perform

8-8:30 p.m.: ColorBlind performs

9-10 p.m.: SUSTO performs

10:30 p.m.-11:55 p.m.: Lauryn Hill performs

11:55 p.m.-12:10 a.m.: Midnight festivities and fireworks

12:10-12:30 a.m.: Headliner finale and dancing

12:30 a.m.: Beer, wine and champagne sales end

1 a.m.: Celebration ends