The 2012 Olympics kick off with a grand opening ceremony today, but unless you have a seat at the actual event you'll have to wait until later tonight to catch the spectacle. The Danny Boyle-created ceremonies kick off at 9 p.m. London time (aka 4 p.m. EST) but NBC, in all its wisdom, has decided that American viewers will just have to wait until the tape-delayed screening begins at 7 p.m. eastern time. What do you have to look forward to? The theme, "Isles of Wonder," takes its inspiration from Shakespeare's The Tempest and draws in references to British cultural highlights like Harry Potter, James Bond and William Blake. And because no celebration of Britain can be without a former Beatle, the ceremony will conclude with a performance of "Hey Jude" by Sir Paul McCartney.

Don't want to wait until tonight to catch the action? Skip out of work a little early and head over to The Smithfield to watch the ceremony LIVE at 4 p.m. The bar will be showing the festivities on 21 screens and will also be opening up early to cover every inch of the games in the coming weeks.

If The Man won't let you leave early, consider enjoying the ceremony outdoors at Big Screen Plaza at the Eventi Hotel. Watch the extravaganza on a 35-foot wide screen in the hotel's courtyard while you sip on a double G&T called a Greg Louganis Springboard. Compete in the Beer Olympics in events like Keg Stands, Beer Pong and the like or show off your strength in a Tug of War contest on the Astroturf lawn. A food fair, curated by the Hester Street Fair, will make sure you don't go hungry and live, improvised commentary will spice up any dull moments. Best of all, the event is 100% free and opening to the public.

If you prefer the comforts of your own home, NBC will be streaming the ceremonies over the interwebs. And to keep up with America's total athletic domination the medal count, use this handy site from the NY Times.