The World’s 10 Best Cities for Celebrating New Year’s Eve
December 12, 2016
Lose yourself to the lights and intoxicating musical performances in one of the world’s best cities for celebrating the new year
In front of Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate you’ll find one of the largest New Year's Eve street parties in Europe. Several stages, light productions, and food and party tents span more than a mile from the gate to the Victory Column. Then, at exactly midnight, fireworks go off and the partying continues into the early morning. If you plan on spending New Year’s Eve in Europe, this is one of the best places to be.
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Hong Kong's celebration of the Western (as opposed to Chinese) New Year’s takes place along the city’s waterfront on Victoria Harbour with live music and DJ performances to start things off right. It is a free event, so arrive on the early side to ensure a prime viewing spot. Still, you’ll have a blast being part of this spectacular celebration from anywhere along the waterfront. While you’re there, make a reservation to try one of the most affordable Michelin-starred restaurants in Hong Kong.
It makes sense that Sin City, with its notorious party culture, would throw a pretty spectacular New Year’s Eve celebration. The Strip in Las Vegas is transformed into a block party with roughly 300,000 people filling the sidewalks. You can take the party inside to some of the city’s best nightclubs, but make sure to see the casinos’ choreographed fireworks shows at midnight! If time permits, enjoy a nice meal at one of these 10 Las Vegas restaurants with artwork worth seeing.
Catch the beautiful New Year's Eve fireworks display over the Thames in London. The five best viewing spots are now cordoned off for ticket holders only (tickets are €10, or $10.64), but even from the free positions, the display will mesmerize you — and is definitely worth a place on your bucket list. If standing outside isn’t for you, London also has countless parties and balls that you can attend to ring in the new year.
New Year’s Eve in the Bahamas includes a century-old celebration called Junkanoo. It’s a cultural festival created over the course of several months featuring lively music, more than 1,000 dancers, and vibrant costumes. Although there are several Junkanoo parades across the islands, the largest one takes place in Nassau. You’ll also find plenty of local food stalls near the parade where you can feast on rum cakes and conch fritters.
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New Orleans has something for everyone on New Year’s Eve. The Audubon Zoo puts on an event for children featuring music and games, and even a countdown to noon that allows kids to partake in the day’s excitement without being cranky the next day. Starting later in the afternoon is the Allstate Sugar Bowl New Year’s Eve Parade with floats and bands, making its way through the French Quarter and ending on Canal Street. Take a break for a celebratory dinner at one of NOLA’s numerous restaurants, and then head back out to Jackson Square for a few hours of live music and to watch the fleur-de-lis drop at midnight with fireworks over the Mississippi River.
New York City
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Since 1973, NYC has been home to Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, with Ryan Seacrest as the current host of the annual televised event. Times Square is dominated by a million people gathering to see the 12,000-pound ball drop at midnight and celebrate with performances by famous musicians. Grab an early dinner at one of the area’s many restaurants and then walk over to Times Square, since traffic on the occasion can be unbearable. If the chaos is too much for you, make a reservation at a restaurant overlooking Times Square for a calmer bird’s-eye view of the festivities.
Rio de Janeiro
For a warm New Year’s Eve celebration, travel to Rio de Janeiro, where it’s currently summer. Last year, 2 million people celebrated the Réveillon (New Year’s Eve celebrations) on Copacabana Beach in Rio. Make yourself part of that number this yea. You can see bands and DJs perform at several of the stages along the four-and-a-half mile stretch of beach starting at 7 p.m. Then stick around for the 20-minute firework display at midnight that won’t disappoint. For good luck in the New Year, be sure to wear white.
If in Sydney on Dec. 31, you must see the Sydney Harbour light up the sky with fireworks and light displays all evening long. Different places in the area, such as the Opera House and neighboring Sydney Harbour Islands, put on events and parties with prime viewing of the Harbour’s spectacular evening show. It kicks off with air and water displays at 6 p.m., then a firework display at 9 p.m., followed by the Harbour of Light Parade. The finale occurs at midnight with an enchanting fireworks display coming from the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Opera House, and water barges. With displays all night long, it’s fine to take a break for dinner before continuing on into the night.
Vienna’s Old City center is a destination growing in popularity for New Year's Eve celebrations, with a concert near City Hall and the town square transforming into one large dance floor. The party runs from 2 p.m. on Dec. 31 until 2 a.m. on Jan. 1. In addition to watching the beautiful fireworks set off at midnight over the city and dancing the night away in the city center, there are also plenty of functions and performances put on by venues and hotels nearby for your enjoyment.
On New Year’s Day, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra has a well-known performance that rings in the new year from he Wiener Musikverein, broadcasting to more than 50 million viewers in 90 countries.