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17 New Year’s Celebrations Around the World You’ll Love to Take Part In

New Years Celebrations Around the World
Chris Osburn
Written by Chris Osburn

Does your ideal New Year’s Eve involve sticking your toes in the sand on the beach or gliding across a ballroom to the sounds of a Viennese waltz?

Have a look at these 17 destinations celebrate New Year’s Eve.

Bahamas

Get away to the islands for New Years with a trip down to the Bahamas. To be sure most hotels and all the major resorts will be hosting their own world-renowned New Year’s Eve events while locals and visitors alike will gather on the streets for the wild parades. Junkanoo might be best described as Bahamian Mardi Gras replete with elaborate costumes, live bands, street performers and plenty of merrymaking. Parades lead to the beach in time for midnight fireworks, with more parades continued throughout the day on January 1st.

Berlin

One of the hottest party capitals of Europe, Berlin is an awesome destination for revelers looking to dance the night away and ring the New Year in raucous style. Festivities around Brandenburg Gate draw up to a million people on New Year’s Eve for what many claim to be the biggest street party not just in Germany but across the entirety of Europe.

Cape Town

Image via Flickr — CC BY 2.0 — tsn92

With majestic Table Mountain as the backdrop, Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront is a fine setting to rock in the New Year. Vice versa, lots of locals prefer to party atop South Africa’s most admired mountain to enjoy the twinkling lights and massive midnight fireworks from a lofty perch. January 2nd is known locally as Tweede Nuwe Jaar (Second New Year) and sees the annual Cape Town Minstrel Carnival parade through downtown Cape Town with thousands of performers for a tradition that dates to the 19th century.

Edinburgh

In the grand Scottish city of Edinburgh, New Year’s Eve means Hogmanay (Scots word for “last day of the year”) with throngs of folks from near and far taking to the streets to celebrate. Needing two nights to party in full, Hogmanay festivities kick off on the 30th with torchlight procession through town ending in a giant fireworks display. The next night, New Year’s Eve celebrations are centered on Princes Street with more fireworks, street parties and outdoor concerts.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s famed New Year’s Eve fireworks show gets bigger and bigger every year but still culminates with a dragon dancing above Victoria Harbor in the sky. Savvy locals know some of the best views of the fireworks and the city skyline are from boats in the harbor though many choose to take it all in from Time Square shopping mall, where a replica ball drop pays homage to New York City celebrations or from one of the many rooftop parties held during the night.

Las Vegas

Looking for a party? You’re in the right place! Practically every club, casino, hotel, resort, restaurant and bar in Las Vegas (and there are a lot of all of these) throws its own special bash on New Year’s Eve with loads of concerts and special shows to get you revved up for midnight. Among the best outdoor areas to welcome the New Year and see the city’s fireworks is Downtown Countdown at the Fremont Street Experience.

London

One of the world’s largest fireworks displays accompanied by live music and street performances happens in London every New Year’s Eve. Best views are along the riverfront at Victoria Embankment or from Westminster or Waterloo Bridge. Many say the view of fireworks over Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament to be a most memorable spectacle. Keep in mind that the best views of the fireworks are from ticketed seating.

Madrid

Madrid New Year's Eve

Image via Flickr – CC BY 2.0 – Börkur Sigurbjörnsson

If you’re in the Spanish capital of Madrid on New Year’s Eve, head to Puerta del Sol before midnight to celebrate with thousands of others coming together, many in outrageous costumes. Yes of course you’ll be dazzling by an annual fireworks display and live entertainment. But be sure to bring along a dozen grapes so you don’t miss out on the city’s New Year’s tradition of downing a grape for each month of the year as the clock strikes 12. It’s harder – and sillier – than it sounds, especially after you’ve had a few glasses of wine.

Miami

As if you needed an excuse to party in Miami. The club scene, the Latin rhythms and the beach all add up to a hot NYE in this sizzling South Florida destination. Downtown official celebrations kick off around 8pm with live entertainment, dancing and fireworks. Over at Miami Beach, Lummus Park is the scene of an all night outdoor party lasting well into the wee hours of the morning.

New Orleans

If ever there were a city designed to party, it’s NOLA, y’all. The French Quarter’s the place to be for the rowdiest goings-on, but restaurants and bars throughout the city play host to revelers of all sorts.

New York

Millions attend the famous ball drop at Times Square with millions more watching from their homes and events across the globe. Of course, there’s a lot more to the Big Apple than Times Square. However you like to celebrate, as long as it’s with urban flair you can do it there. Many locals know for the fireworks displays, the best views of from across the Hudson in Jersey City or Hoboken or at Liberty Island or on a cruise with the Manhattan skyline in view.

Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls News Year's Eve

Fireworks over the falls in this beautiful Canadian resort town means fun for all with an early display at 9 pm followed by a light show at midnight – with loads of live entertainment and festivities in between.

Orlando

For families with small children and kids of all ages, it’s hard to beat Disney World for sheer scale of NYE entertainment. The park stays open until 1 am after ringing in the New Year for this special occasion with a parade, fireworks, Cirque du Soleil performances and more. But that’s just one theme park in the Orlando area!

Paris

An Eiffel Tower light show with a firework backdrop? C’est magnifique! Best views are from Montmarte and the Trocadero – but be early to ensure you’re not staring at the back of someone’s head. Elsewhere in the City of Lights, a street party the fabulous Champs-Elysees and celebrations throughout the town ensure a happy New Year will be had in Paris.

Rio de Janeiro

The beach at Copacabana is the sight of Rio’s revelries on New Year’s Eve, where close to a million Brazilians come to samba the night away to live music and watch the city’s fireworks display. When you go, do as the locals do. Wear white for good luck and cast flowers into the sea to honor the Yoruba goddess, Yemanjá.

Sydney

Due to its proximity to the International Date Line, Sydney, Australia is the first major city to usher in the New Year. And they do it with style with one of the world’s most lavish and expensive fireworks displays every year lighting up the sky above the iconic Opera House and Harbour Bridge.

Vienna

Vienna New Year's Eve

Image via Flickr – CC BY-SA 2.0 – Cha già José

For more elegant New Year’s celebrations, historic Vienna sets the bar high. The New Year’s Eve Grand Ball at Hofburg Palace offers a black tie opportunity to kick up your heels in gala fashion. There’s plenty of fun for the more casually dressed though, with events and festivities held throughout town including a New Year’s Path starting at Sylvesterpfad in the Old City with waltzing, drinking and more to be enjoyed along the way. Come New Year’s Day, it’s time for the Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year’s concert in the Large Hall of the Musikverein, as it has been done since 1939. Without a ticket? Don’t worry. Many locals and visitors have just as much fun watching the concert on a giant screen outside the Rathaus (City Hall).

Think we missed an international New Year’s Eve celebration worth visiting? Let us know in the comments section below!

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About the author

Chris Osburn

Chris Osburn

Chris Osburn is a freelance writer, photographer, consultant, and curator and the driving force behind the long running and award winning blog, tikichris.com. Originally from the American Deep South, Chris has lived and worked all over the world and has called London home since 2001.

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