New Year’s is an event celebrated by everyone around the world. But where are the best places to be when the clock strikes midnight? The cities below offer up a variety of New Year’s activities, from epic fireworks displays to all-night parties to one-of-a-kind cultural traditions. If you are looking to bring in the New Year in the most exciting way possible, consider heading to one of these ten cities.
1) New York City
New Year’s Eve in New York City has an atmosphere unlike that of any other city in the world. The most well-known event, is the annual gathering of a million people in Times Square to see famous musicians and the ball drop, in which a 12-foot-wide crystal ball weighing nearly 12,000 pounds descends atop One Times Square. For those looking to avoid the crowds, consider checking out one of the bars or restaurants overlooking Times Square. THe nighttime boat ride on New York Harbor is also an amazing time , offering the best views of the midnight fireworks display on Liberty Island.
2) Rio De Janeiro
The ironic Copacabana Beach hosts the world’s largest (and arguably wildest) New Year’s Eve party. You will find more than two million people crammed onto the two-and-a-half-mile stretch of sand. Known as Réveillon, this uniquely Brazilian celebration that blends religious, traditional, and superstitious beliefs. The locals dress head to toe in white, as it is believed to bring good luck, and toss handfuls of flowers into the ocean as a gift to Yemanjá, goddess of the seas. The celebration also features a large oceanfront stage for live musical and dance performances as well as a colorful fireworks display at midnight.
Sydney puts on one of the best New Year’s Eve celebrations in the world. Due to its location, Sydney is the first major city to see its block strike midnight. The city also puts on one of the largest fireworks displays in the world, with one taking place at 9pm and another at midnight. The iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House make for a truly spectacular atmosphere.
The celebrations in Edinburgh kick off well before the clock strikes midnight. The annual festivities actually last three days, beginning on December 30 with a torchlight procession through the city that culminates in a fireworks finale. New Year’s Eve is all about the massive street parties and outdoor concerts. At midnight, 4.5 tons of fireworks explode over Edinburgh Castle while the streets ring out with revelers singing “Auld Lang Syne.”
Londoners ring in the New Year surrounding the chiming of Big Ben at midnight. More than 250,000 people crowd the banks of the THames and its numerous bridges to see the spectacular ten-minute lightshow and fireworks display. There are many after-parties to finish the night, and on New Year’s Day the streets of central London see a parade that features colorful floats, marching bands, costumed dancers, and a procession of the Queen’s horses.
6) Hong Kong
Hong Kong boasts one of the most dramatic skylines in the world, which lights up every year with a display of fireworks that grows more impressive year after year. The dazzling finale concludes with a pyrotechnic dragon that dances across the sky. The events kick off in Hong Kong’s TIme Square shopping mall, where a ball drop takes place in homage to New York City’s famous festivities. You will see many savvy locals partying on boats, rooftop terraces or at the Avenue of Stars in Tsim Tsa Shui for the best views of the dazzling light show.
With the reputation of a year-round party city, you can only imagine what the New Year’s celebrations are like in Berlin. The centerpiece of the celebration is “Party Mile,” a two-kilometer stretch of bars, international food stalls, laser shows, video screens, party tents, and music stages. Once the fireworks display ends at midnight, the crowds all head to the city’s main dance floors, where they stay out till dawn or later.
8) Las Vegas
The Party Capital takes on a different atmosphere to bring in the New Year. The Strip becomes car-free and transforms into a giant street party with live bands, pyrotechnic displays, and laser shows. There is no shortage of entertainment in Vegas, with a variety of concerts, shows, clubs, and casinos to keep you going all night long.
9) New Orleans
Although it may not be Mardi Gras, New Year’s in New Orleans is an equally fun option. The main event is an exciting 15-minute fireworks show on the Mississippi River, along with the Fleur de Lis drop, where you will see “Baby New Year’ dropped from the roof of the Jax Brewery in Jackson Square. But the night does not end here, after all, you are in New Orleans. Visitors and locals then flock to Bourbon Street and the Latin Quarter, where the music booms from bars and nightclubs.
The City of Light is just that and then some on New Year’s Eve, when the Eiffel Tower becomes the site of a spectacular lightshow and fireworks display. Located only a short distance away, you will find people in the Nouvelle Année on the Champs-Élysées, which hosts a massive street party. You will be sure to find people popping bottles of Champagne and exchanging papillotes (chocolates wrapped sparkly paper that crackles like a firecracker when opened).