Where to go for New Year
New Year is the time or day at which a new calendar year begins and the calendar’s year count increments by one.
Many cultures celebrate the event in some manner and the 1st day of January is often marked as a national holiday.
In the Gregorian calendar, the most widely used calendar system today, New Year occurs on January 1 (New Year’s Day). This was also the case both in the Roman calendar (at least after about 713 BC) and in the Julian calendar that succeeded it.
Other calendars have been used historically in different parts of the world; some calendars count years numerically, while others do not.
The Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year, occurs every year on the new moon of the first lunar month, about the beginning of spring (Lichun). The exact date can fall any time between January 21 and February 21 (inclusive) of the Gregorian Calendar. Traditionally, years were marked by one of twelve Earthly Branches, represented by an animal, and one of ten Heavenly Stems, which correspond to the five elements. This combination cycles every 60 years. It is the most important Chinese celebration of the year.
The Korean New Year is a Seollal or Lunar New Year’s Day. Although January 1 is, in fact, the first day of the year, Seollal, the first day of the lunar calendar, is more meaningful for Koreans. A celebration of the Lunar New Year is believed to have started to let in good luck and ward off bad spirits all throughout the year. With the old year out and a new one in, people gather at home and sit around with their families and relatives, catching up on what they have been doing.
The Vietnamese New Year is the Tết Nguyên Đán which most times is the same day as the Chinese New Year due to the Vietnamese using a lunar Calendar similar to the Chinese calendar.
In Tibet a New Year is Losar and falls between January and March.
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It’s easy to sneer at New Year’s Eve: too expensive, too crowded, too much pressure to have the greatest night of your life. OK, you could hunker down at home – or you could make it really memorable by hitting up one of the best New Year’s Eve parties in the world. From fireworks blasting across breathtaking backdrops to raucous street parties in cool capitals and all-night raves on blissed-out beaches, there’s no shortage of amazing ways to ring in the new year. So start the year as you mean to go on holiday
Celebrate New Year doing the Highland Fling in Edinburgh, watching fireworks over Sydney Harbor Bridge or dancing on the beach in Thailand. Get a little help deciding where to go with this guide to the top New Year destinations in the world.
Some of the details may change, but year in and year out, these destinations around the world have a well-deserved reputation for traditionally throwing a great New Year’s Eve shindig.
Be sure to plan early for prime parties and the best viewing areas for fireworks. Some venues charge admission, and tickets sometimes sell out months ahead.
Here are some great places where you can travel for a New Year’s Eve you’ll never forget:
Where to go for new year
Sydney, Australia, is the first major international city to greet the New Year at midnight. The major fireworks display takes place at Sydney Harbor with the Opera House and Harbor Bridge providing a spectacular backdrop.
The firework extravaganza is watched by more than a million people gathered along the foreshore – but a better idea is to join the boatfuls of revellers bobbing in the water. You can hire out a boat, bring your own bubbles and start the countdown early. Landlubbers might prefer to reserve an outside table at one of the waterfront restaurants by Sydney Harbour Bridge for a front-row seat.
Alternatively, motor out to Cockatoo Island and set up a moonlit picnic in preparation for the show; you can even camp or glamp there for the night, as long as you book a spot in advance. New Year’s Eve without the end-of-night battle for a taxi? Yes, please.
Islands in the harbor or family-friendly parks on either side offer great views.
A bonus for Sydney: Summer’s just started there, and you can also take advantage of the city’s beaches.
The dramatic skyline in Hong Kong provides a sight visitors never forget, and New Year’s Eve fireworks just up the ante. The fireworks that illuminate stunning Victoria Harbor are set to music.
You might catch the dazzling display from one of Hong Kong’s many hotels with great views. Crowds gather a couple of hours early at Star Ferry Pier (Tsim Sha Tsui) for some theater, dance and circus performances.
While you’re in Hong Kong, you may also want to take in Ocean Park, a favorite amusement area.
A spectacular pyro-musical display lights up Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbor at the stroke of midnight with lasers, fireworks and choreographed LEDs exploding across this frenetic city’s famous landscape. Our tip: forget joining the crush on the waterfront. Instead, watch the show from a traditional junk on the water, or one of HK’s many world-class rooftop bars.
There are a number of quieter venues on the Kowloon side of the water that offer great vantages without big crowds.
Bangkok often tops roundup lists of Asia’s best nightlife cities. So of course, it’s a natural place to ring in the new year if you like crowds, noise and revelry.
Bangkok’s answer to Times Square, CentralWorld Plaza is one of the main gathering spots for celebrations. Another popular gathering spot is the Asiatique shopping and entertainment area along the Chao Phraya River.
There aren’t many places on Earth to witness more (manmade) spectacle than Dubai, and New Year’s Eve is the perfect time to take it in. Explosive fireworks around the city are visible from public spaces, but the best views come from the decadent parties held in the city’s towering skyscrapers, especially the world’s tallest, the Burj Khalifa, where parties rage on the 122nd floor. Dubai was once the world record holder for the largest fireworks display ever, launched on New Year’s Eve 2013, before the Philippines unseated the city in 2016. Dubai loves records, so watch for the city to take back the title someday.
Not too far away, Burj Plaza is a little quieter and popular with families. And if you have shopping in mind, check out Dubai Mall, one of the world’s largest.
Dubai is building a reputation as a major food destination, so you may wish to indulge in top-tier restaurants while you’re there.
Historic Red Square in Moscow provides one of the coldest but also one of the most visually appealing settings for a New Year’s Eve fireworks display.
While you’re there, you may want to see one of the world’s most visited tombs, that of communist leader Vladimir Lenin, or take a tour of Cold War relics from the Soviet era.
If you want to celebrate in truly grand style with Russian flair, the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow may be for you. It’s centrally located and has a rooftop bar.
Cape Town is one of the most beautifully situated cities in Africa — and the world. New Year’s Eve fireworks make it all the more spectacular.
If you’re in the mood for a party, Cape Point Vineyards is one of many places to consider.
Make the most of your trip by visiting South Africa’s renowned vineyards around Cape Town.
London is a special place at the turn of the year. The city is lit up and establishments across the capital will pull out all the stops to make this New Year’s Eve in London a memorable one. So, get your nearest and dearest together and say cheers to the New Year. At midnight on New Year’s Eve, London’s night skies will be a blaze of light and color with a display of stunning pyrotechnics from the river on London’s famous South Bank, presented by the Mayor of London and Unicef.
Stately London along the Thames always provides a remarkable backdrop for New Year’s Eve fireworks. Tickets sell out fast for the official staging area, but you may be able to see the fireworks for free from hilltops such as Primrose Hill, Parliament Hill on Hampstead Heath, Greenwich Park and Alexandra Palace.
One great vantage point is a river cruise on the Monsoon Clipper or other boats.
A perfect way to greet the prospect of a new year is to settle down in one of London’s pubs. While there, fans of British royalty may want to visit sites such as Kensington Palace, where Queen Victoria was born.
London continues to usher in the New Year on 1 January with the New Year’s Day Parade. (©visitlondon)
It’s practically midsummer in Rio de Janeiro this time of year, which is why many partygoers shun sweaty indoor clubs and take the party to the beach instead. A whopping two million people gather on the 2.5-mile-long Copacabana for samba, Champagne and fireworks on New Year’s Eve – to find a good spot, start staking your place from 10pm. Note that it’s busiest in front of Rio’s landmark hotel, Copacabana Palace, as this is the location for main-stage concerts.
It’s customary to wear white in Rio on NYE – said to bring luck for the New Year. But perhaps leave your favorite clothes at home, unless you don’t mind getting doused with Champagne, sprayed F1-style by rapturous crowds.
Wrap up warm and crack open the champagne to celebrate New Year with the New Yorkers. Millions gather to watch the famous Waterford crystal ball drop on Times Square at the stroke of midnight and fireworks light up the Statue of Liberty.
Year-round, the Big Apple is the center of the universe to plenty of people, but on New Year’s Eve it’s the center for everyone. There are 38 different time zones counting down to midnight on December 31, but all eyes are on Times Square, as more than one billion revelers around the globe tune in to see the glittering ball drop high above the crowd of one million partiers ringing in a new year. Star-studded concerts entertain the throngs who arrive as early as noon for prime viewing, but rooftop parties citywide provide views of the dazzling fireworks for those not down with squeezing up against strangers on a frigid New York night.
Times Square in Manhattan. It’s synonymous with New Year’s Eve across the United States. Even if you aren’t there in person, there’s a good chance you’ve watched the famous ball drop on television.
If you don’t feel like jamming into Times Square with around 1 million other folks, here are some other options:
— Head to Grand Army Plaza, which is just off Prospect Park in Brooklyn, for fireworks and fun. You need to arrive early for the best views.
— If you’re 21 or older, try your luck at Resorts World Casino, the only casino in the city. Near JFK Airport, it traditionally throws a blow-out NYE party.
Vegas is bright lights year-round, but it goes all out for New Year’s Eve.
The Strip is closed off to vehicles, and pedestrians take over for an unforgettable festival. At midnight, various casinos launch an impressive barrage of fireworks off the roofs of their buildings. You can watch the show from atop the Stratosphere Tower.
Visitors are advised to book hotel rooms early, as prices in Vegas shoot up for the holiday. They’re also cautioned to dress warmly — the desert cools off a lot at night, especially in winter.
Madeira Islands, Portugal
From the deck of your cruise ship or from the port of Funchal, the fireworks are so huge that you cannot miss it.
The famous fireworks display, officially recognized by the Guinness World Records, in 2006, as the largest display of fireworks in the world.
This magnificent scenario, of rare beauty, is simply unique, with thousands of multi-colored lamps decorating the amphitheater of Funchal, transforming it into a grandiose stage. As the clock strikes twelve, on the 31st, the sky is lit up with color, light and hope in a new year that is just beginning.
Don’t miss it and come to live up this event in Madeira!
Berlin is celebrating New Year’s Eve in style – with around one million visitors gathering at the Brandenburg Gate to welcome in the New Year! All the traditional treats are lined up – more than two kilometers of fun stages for shows, party tents, light and laser shows as well as a mass of food and drink stands. The spectacular firework display starts at midnight on the dot – like the clinking of glasses as Berliners and visitors toast the New Year in. The following parties will last well into the small hours!
Berlin’s anything-goes energy is well and truly buzzing at this massive open-air party between the Brandenburg Gate and the Victory Column. One of Europe’s largest outdoor celebrations, this jamboree sees around a million people gathering along the event’s 1.6-mile stretch. Better still, it’s free of charge and keeps pumping until 3am. Expect live music, DJs, laser shows, food and, of course, fireworks.
Berlin’s not short of world-class clubs, but the rooftop garden at House of Weekend comes into its own on New Year’s Eve, offering astonishing views of the pyrotechnics and the city’s skyline. Plus, you don’t have to worry about that infamous Berghain bouncer. (©visitberlin.de).
The Eiffel Tower, the Seine, the bridges of Paris … a magical setting for a New Year celebration. And for a night you’ll never forget, there is a special festive menu (scallop céviche, duckling breast, Christmas Log) and entertainment from a live orchestra. Please note that guests must be dressed appropriately to board the boat. (©paris.info)
Wailing bagpipes, beating drums and jigging rings in the new year (or Hogmanay) in Edinburgh. A highlight is the flaming torchlight parade on 29th December. Here, torch-bearing Scots dress as Vikings and set fire to a long ship at the top of Calton Hill.
Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is one of the biggest and best New Year celebrations in the world. Join thousands of torch carriers as they create a river of fire from the historic Royal Mile to the son et lumiére and fireworks finale on Calton Hill.
On Hogmanay itself, the action moves to Princes Street in the very heart of the city of Edinburgh beneath the spectacular backdrop of Edinburgh Castle. Around 80,000 people party their way into the New Year at the Concert in the Gardens featuring incredible live music and entertainment, DJ’s, giant screens, outdoor bars and of course, the world-famous Edinburgh Hogmanay Midnight Fireworks on the castle ramparts. Join spirited partygoers for whisky, fruit cake and Auld Lang Syne sing-alongs on New Year’s Eve itself.
You probably won’t spot many Edinburgh natives at official Hogmanay festivities for one, entirely rational, reason: they know to be skeptical about the weather. Instead, find the Scots hedging their bets with indoor jollities before bagging a free spot to watch the castle’s midnight display. Smart, boho Stockbridge has a wealth of great pubs.
The Balmoral is the grandest hotel in Edinburgh, and the most comfortable place to recover from Hogmanay celebrations. For something more on-point, Eden Locke, in a New Town Georgian townhouse, offers a perfect storm of millennial pink and Elephant’s Breath, brass detailing, wicker chairs and tropical plants. (©VisitScotland).
New Year’s Eve in Porto can be celebrated in several locations around the city.
On December 31st, there are many street parties and more elaborate programs that serve as options for the thousands of tourists that choose to celebrate the New Year in Porto.
The largest party takes place on Avenida dos Aliados, in front of the Porto City Hall.
This is where the largest number of people gather together and the night always features musical entertainment and fireworks.
However, if you prefer, you can spend New Year’s Eve in a different manner: on board one of the various cruise ships that fill the Douro River on this night.
Porto’s nightclubs, on the other hand, prolong the night’s excitement until dawn. (©Visitporto&norte)
Experience delirious tourist and cultural activities such as the Atomium and the Manneken Pis. Discover the charming city streets of the Fashion District shopping, packed with clothing and concept stores and a variety of authentic and trendy bars, each with their own selection of renowned Belgian beers. More than 60 DJs in 15 New Year’s Eve parties around the city. A range of parties for all tastes, going from rock ‘n’ roll, hip-hop to house and techno, as well as gay friendly parties for which Brussels is known for. (©happybrussels).
You can arrive in Dubrovnik from all the corners of the earth. You can leave it for the most different corners of the earth too, but you can also come back to Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik is not a city for one time; it’s a gift for a lifetime.
Great entertainment on New Year’s Eve is provided by the selection of the most famous Croatian performers. Dubrovnik residents and their guests will start welcoming the New Year with a rich music and entertainment program. (©dubrovnik.hr).
At the change of year, the whole of Vienna is given over to partying and dancing. The New Year’s Eve Trail in the Old City is the highlight. A great ambience can be enjoyed as much at a gala dinner or festive ball as it can at a concert, the opera, in a hip club or a sophisticated bar. (©wien.info)
The province of Rome is a matching frame for the many treasures of the capital, and the surrounding area has, more or less directly, experienced the influence of the history of the Eternal City. Rome is probably one of the most romantic places for your New Year’s Eve, the Eternal City of love.
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague has been considered as one of the most beautiful cities in the world since Middle Ages. Adjectives such as “golden“, “city of a hundred spires“, “the crown of the world“ were attributed to Prague, which is located right in the heart of Europe.
Prague welcomes the year with a traditional fireworks display.
The fireworks will be launched from Letná Parks and can be best watched from the bridges and embankments. (©praha.eu)
On December 31st Lisbon dresses up to welcome the New Year. Thousands of people fill the city main streets and public squares to celebrate amongst the New Year friends.
The Terreiro do Paço will be the giant party hall for the city’s New Year’s celebrations featuring lots of entertainment to mark the passage into the New Year.
Lisboa has begun the countdown to its big New Year’s Eve night, which will be held in Terreiro do Paço. But this New Year’s Eve promises much more. To mark the entry of the New Year Lisboa’s skies will light up with a fabulous fireworks display and musical entertainment.
Do not make any more plans for New Year … and enter Lisboa’s largest “living room”, Terreiro do Paço, with a fabulous view of the River Tagus and the best Portuguese music. (©Visitlisboa)
Like many other festive occasions in Sweden, the New Year has become increasingly dominated by the traditional offerings of the media.
Each year ends with a live broadcast from the Skansen open-air museum in Stockholm, where the bells chime and a New Year’s verse is solemnly declaimed to the nation. There’s something nice and secure about rounding off the year in front of the TV in your living room.
Many, however, prefer the cold night air. Those who are not lucky enough to live in a town flat with a view, tend to seek out public places at midnight from where they can fire off rockets and sneak a look at other people’s firework displays.
You stand there, enveloped in your heavy winter coat, gazing open-mouthed as the horizon − whether high-rise buildings in silhouette or a sparse line of pine-trees − comes alight, flashing and crackling.. (©sweden.se)
There is no other place like Gdansk. Other cities can just resemble Gdansk. Its unique location and over a thousand years’ history shape Gdansk’s expressive and distinctive character and give it strong and implicit recognition among European cities. Nonetheless, the city holds an abundance of mysteries; it has got its own spirit which makes it impossible to mistake Gdansk for any other place. (©gdansk4u)
Although there are no official city sponsored events, there are plenty of private parties and smaller happenings going on all over the city
New Year’s Eve in Reykjavik is an extraordinary experience, especially given the fact that there are no official firework displays in the city. This legendary night is very much created by the people of Reykjavik who collectively do an amazing job. At 23:35 a brilliant display of fireworks is unleashed as 200,000 people (approx.the population of Reykjavík) set off around 500 tons of fireworks. After midnight, the nightclubs and pubs remain open and the celebrations go on well into the morning. (©visitreykjavik.is)
When the clock strikes 12, the ordinarily restrained Danes gather at Town Hall Square for a rowdy, BYO bacchanal of popping champagne corks, whooshing rockets and fizzing Roman candles. For a slightly more orderly take, twinkly Tivoli Gardens lights up the sky with its own Firework Festival; its restaurants are all serving New Year’s dinners; and the roller coasters are open – plus, plenty of glögg stalls serve liquid courage.
Watch how Copenhageners abandon hygge for hedonism on New Year’s Eve as thousands of merry folk take to the streets to light their own fireworks just after midnight. A favored local spot to watch the mayhem – which is loud, raucous and just a tad nerve-wracking – is Queen Louise’s Bridge, which stretches across The Lakes, in the heart of the city.
Barcelona is a city of night owls, so the revelry doesn’t really start gearing up until about 11pm. That’s when crowds gather at Plaça d’Espanya to watch the midnight pyrotechnics on Montjuïc, the hill just above. A few yards from here, Poble Espanyol, the open-air architectural museum, hosts a huge dance party until 6am.
One of the stranger traditions – other than eating a grape for each chime at midnight (seriously, everyone does it) – takes place at Plaça de Catalunya, in the city centre. As soon as the New Year has been rung in, the assembled thousands throw their Cava bottles into the middle of the square. If that sounds slightly frightening, head instead for the most popular club bashes.
Conveniently compact and always-down-to-party Amsterdam is an amalgam of impromptu street frolics on 31 December, but if there’s one reliable place to be at midnight, it’s the Magere Brug (‘Skinny Bridge’). Here, merrymakers gather to watch countdown fireworks bursting over the River Amstel, and then continue their festivities all across town. Nieuwmarkt (Chinatown), in particular, is known for its rambunctious atmosphere.
Percolating its way through 25 historical buildings – from 17th-century canal-side mansions to artisans’ workshops – the Pulitzer Amsterdam has soaked up 400 years of stories from previous residents, including grand families and a friend of Rembrandt’s. Bedrooms come in all shapes and sizes, but the mood is one of calm and comfort, with muted pastels and luscious touches of lime and purple. Connects with both the old bones and the vital, contemporary spirit of the city.
The big blowout in Europe’s new capital of cool is at Praça do Comércio, the main square right on the Tagus River. In typically Portuguese fashion, the fiesta runs late: live music starts up at around 10pm and continues after the midnight fireworks. Plenty of locals – armed with their own fizz and plastic cups – can be found drinking and dancing in the heart of the action, so it doesn’t feel like a tourist trap.
Lisbon’s central Bairro Alto district is always a party locale – thank the lax open-container laws – and NYE here is no exception. Partygoers often head here after the Praça do Comércio fireworks, and the neighbourhood is also home to some outstanding fado houses, where you can watch traditional Portuguese music with dinner.
Koh Phangan, Thailand
There are parties on the beaches of Thailand’s islands all year round, but the wildest of them all is New Year’s Eve on Koh Phangan, home to the world’s most famous full-moon party. Revolving around Sunrise Beach in Haad Rin, the maelstrom starts as soon as it gets dark and romps on well beyond sunrise and into the following afternoon.
Go for cocktails and a dinner of freshly caught and grilled fish over on the Sunset side of the island, and don’t even think of joining the party until just before midnight. Then head back to Sunset Beach for a dawn swim.
Some say Goa’s parties are not what they used to be. We say it’s still hard to beat dancing on the beach, with the sand between your toes and fairy lights strung on every palm tree, sequined sari skirts twirling under the stars. And New Year’s Eve is the best time of year to party in Goa, with fireworks and celebrations all along the coast of India’s good-time state. Inevitably, the biggest and loudest bashes tend to be centred around Anjuna, where world-class DJs play to huge crowds long into the night.
For a more intimate party, head to Palolem, in the south. This jungle-lined bay is dotted with ramshackle beach bars that join up for a night of trance tunes, free-flowing cocktails and fireworks at midnight.
Cape Town, South Africa
The mother of all celebrations in the Mother City is on the V&A Waterfront, where there’s everything you could possibly require in one handy spot: dinner, live music, dancing, fireworks. Plus, there are views of Table Mountain and the Atlantic shore. It’s spectacular – but if you want a party with a more local flavor, you have to head for the sand.
A sunset picnic on Clifton 4th Beach, a gorgeous cove in the affluent Clifton neighborhood, is a popular choice for Capetonians. Then it’s time to hit one of the city’s many glam beach clubs. The hottest ticket: Pacha’s elite soirée at Grand Africa, on the Grand’s private beach, facing Robben Island.
Fondly known as South Africa’s “Mother City,” Cape Town is a favorite destination for countless travelers to the continent, and New Year’s Eve is an ideal time to check out the diverse cultural offerings of this scenic city for free. The city hands out free location-assist bracelets for you and any little ones you may be celebrating with.
If you thought Disney was the best reason to go to Orlando, well . . . you’re still not wrong. There’s no question that no one does hospitality quite like Disney, and when there’s a parade and fireworks every night of the year, you can be sure that holidays are extra spectacular. New Year’s Eve at Disney is packed with themed parties, special menus, and events at restaurants throughout the parks, and photo ops with all your favorite characters, but Countdown to Midnight is the main attraction on December 31. This massive soiree includes cocktails in the Fantasia Ballroom, “cheftainment” (which adds new meaning to playing with your food, as chefs prepare shadowbox spectacles), an interactive DJ, a live band, and, of course, a champagne toast under one magical fireworks display.
For a spiritual start to the year, head for Tokyo’s Shogatsu celebrations. Locals burn Daruma (wish dolls) at temples and tie fortune predictions to shrines. The watch-night bell rings in the New Year with 108 strikes to banish 108 worldly desires. On 2nd January, the Imperial Palace opens to the public for the New Year’s greeting.
If you’re looking for fireworks and all-night parties, head to Yokohama just across Tokyo Bay. Though not technically part of the city proper, it’s part of Greater Tokyo and, with nearly four million citizens of its own, there’s plenty of action as it’s one of the only regions that celebrates this holiday in Western fashion. Elsewhere in Tokyo, take an alternative approach to New Year’s Eve and visit one of the many temples for the ringing of the bell. Crowds form early for this annual tradition, so arrive before 10.
Christmas Islands may have a stronger connection to another holiday (they were named by Captain Cook when he came across the islands on Christmas of 1777), and are more of a relaxing, natural destination than a party place, but the islands hold a very special place in New Year’s tradition: They’re in the first time zone to reach midnight. A few parties can be found at hotels across the islands, especially in the most populated island of Gilberts, but this is a spot to visit for New Year’s Eve bragging rights more than anything else. You can’t visit the last places to see midnight (Baker Island and Howland Island, US unincorporated territories about halfway between Hawaii and Australia, are only accessible by special permit, usually for researchers), so Christmas Islands are your only option for setting a time record of this kind.
It’s no secret that Greece hasn’t been in the best financial shape for quite some time, but large-scale New Year’s Eve events have recently returned to the city of Athens, and the relatively low cost of entertainment in the ancient city only adds to its holiday appeal. Atop the Acropolis, the Parthenon serves as the backdrop to an evening of concerts and other live entertainment before fireworks light up the sky at midnight, but your best bet is to attend one of the many parties at hotels providing rooftop vantage points. Athens is home to a surprising number of these outdoor venues, and just about all of them will be celebrating in style with panoramic views of the pyrotechnics.
If you’re willing to swap bubbly for beer, Denver should be high on your list for New Year’s Eve revelry. Plus, you can enjoy other things in the Mile High City that you can’t legally find in most other cities. But even if you’re looking for the traditional black-tie evening with a champagne toast, Denver is home to tons of balls and galas hosted by everything from hotels to the opera house. For families, Denver is one of those swell cities that offer an early rendition of their fireworks displays (8 pm), and the zoo even hosts a walking safari of 150 illuminated animal sculptures.
Venice is always crowded and, admittedly, this time of year brings even more throngs than usual to the tiny, twisting alleyways of Italy’s famed floating city. But for a good reason. Despite the cost, cold, and crammed canals, the magic of the holiday season seems to eke out even more charm than usual from this romantic destination, making it an ideal spot for that midnight kiss. Venice isn’t traditionally a party town (at least not publicly), but St. Mark’s Square makes a major exception on New Year’s Eve, with concerts filling the enormous piazza until fireworks erupt from a barge in the basin.
Public fireworks are the main event of just about every top New Year’s Eve extravaganza on this list, and Helsinki does have its own dynamic display to offer, but the Finnish fireworks situation is especially interesting on the private side. Fireworks are sold to citizens exclusively during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, and can be used only from 6 pm on December 31 until 2 am on January 1, making those eight hours the focus of a year’s worth of pyrotechnic planning. Don’t forget to partake in another funky Finnish tradition before the night is over: Pouring molten tin into water and having your fortune read from the resulting glob is probably the coolest way to foretell your coming year (and don’t worry—they just about never say anything bad).
New Year’s Eve is summertime in Buenos Aires, and that makes rooftop pool parties prime spots for ushering in the New Year. From here, views of the fireworks are unbeatable (and so are the sunrises if you party long enough). On the ground, street parties rage in just about every neighborhood from enthusiastic local bashes in working-class neighborhoods to glitzy celebrations in more touristy areas. And, of course, the city’s infamous nightclubs are no strangers to the crushing crowds of New Year’s Eve celebrants.
San Miguel de Allende
There’s no dull time to visit San Miguel de Allende, quickly topping the bucket list of many a world traveler, but holidays and festivals are when this cobblestoned city truly shines. Parades, music, and general revelry spill out from many of the narrow lanes of SMA, but the exuberant crowds in El Jardin, the city’s main square, exudes an infectious spirit of celebration that shouldn’t be missed. It’s possible that no city cherishes pyrotechnics as enthusiastically as San Miguel de Allende and, once again, El Jardin is the ideal location for experiencing the chaotic and seemingly unending fireworks soaring above the famed neo-gothic Parroquia (church). Still, if the street scene isn’t for you, plenty of elegant rooftop parties provide spectacular views, but you’ll need to reserve your spot far in advance. Keep your camera ready for mojigangas, the larger-than-life puppets parading down streets and whirling devilishly overhead.
It may be cold, but it’s generally warmer than many other parts of Canada. Join 100,000 other revelers at the all-night street party in Canada Place for concerts and tons of food trucks, culminating in all the fireworks you’d expect (including an early show for families at 9 pm). Or, embrace the winter and spend the holiday at a snowshoe fondue party at Grouse Mountain, polar bear plunging in English Bay Beach, or stumbling across a torch-light parade at Sasquatch Mountain. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of traditional New Year’s Eve celebration to be found at glitzy parties across the city, too.
Ski parade in Les Deux Alpes, France
Grab your skis to glide into the new year in Les Deux Alpes, one of France’s most famous Alpine resorts. Enjoy fondue and fireworks before the New Year’s Eve torchlit procession, where you can watch ski instructors showing off their skills on the piste.
Canary Islands’ midnight grapes
Toast New Year’s Eve with parties on the plazas and lounging on black-sand beaches in the Canary Islands. Follow Spanish tradition by eating 12 lucky grapes – one for each chime – as the clock strikes midnight.
Roses in Pasadena, Usa
Floral artistry and Californian sunshine make Pasadena one of the world’s top 10 New Year destinations. A million spectators flock to the century-old Rose Parade on New Year’s Day. Join them to watch incredible flower-decked floats, horse-drawn carriages and marching bands parade along Colorado Boulevard.
What ever you do and where ever you go have a happy New year!
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