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

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? Every country has its own way to welcome the new year, bringing joy, good wishes, and, yes, plenty of par-tay around the world. So come on, pack your luggage and say goodbye to the bad stuff the last 365 days brought to your life by traveling to any of these 17 destinations to celebrate New Year’s Eve!

The Bahamas

Bahamas

Get away to the Bahamas islands to enjoy their world-famous parades!  Junkanoo is the best example you can get, a Bahamian Mardi Gras of sorts filled with all kinds of elaborate costumes, live bands, street performers, and plenty of merrymaking. These parades lead to the beach just in time for the midnight fireworks, prolonging the celebrations throughout the most part of January 1st.

Berlin

Brandenburg 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 the 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 whole continent.

Cape Town

Image via Flickr — CC BY 2.0 guillaume inconito

With majestic Table Mountain as the perfect backdrop, Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront is quite a fine setting to rock in the New Year. Lots of locals also like to actually party atop this peak to enjoy the twinkling lights and massive midnight fireworks from a lofty perch. January 2nd, locally known as Tweede Nuwe Jaar (Second New Year), sees the annual Cape Town Minstrel Carnival parade — or Klaapse Klopse — that showcases thousands of performers, honoring a tradition that dates back to the 19th century.

Edinburgh

Edinburgh

In the grand Scottish city of Edinburgh, New Year’s Eve means Hogmanay (Scots word for “last day of the year”) for the throngs of folks from near and far that take the party to the streets … you will actually need two nights to enjoy it to its fullest! Hogmanay festivities kick off on the 30th, with a torchlight procession through town that culminates with a giant fireworks display. The next night, New Year’s Eve celebrations are focused on Princes Street with more fireworks, street parties, and outdoor concerts.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong Harbor

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’s sky. Savvy locals know that the best options to get great views of the city’s skyline are hopping into one of the boats in the harbor or getting on to a rooftop party. Many others, though, prefer to go to the Time Square shopping mall to see a recreation of the world-famous New York ball drop!

Las Vegas

Downtown 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 tons of concerts and 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, of course, the Downtown Countdown at the Fremont Street Experience.

London

Tower Bridge London

One of the world’s largest shows of fireworks, live music, and street performances take place in London every New Year’s Eve, with the riverfront at Victoria Embankment, Westminster Abbey or the Waterloo Bridge the best places to be when the party starts. To many, on the other hand, nothing compares to enjoy the memorable spectacle right next to Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. So, if you intend to score some cheap flights to London for New Year’s Eve, know that you have plenty of options to choose from!

Madrid

Madrid Puerta del Sol

Celebrating New Years’s Eve (or Nochevieja, as it’s known to Spaniards) in Spain’s capital is such a memorable experience. Just head to the hub that is Puerta del Sol a few hours before midnight and join the crowds … but be sure to bring with you a dozen grapes so you don’t miss out on the country’s tradition of eating a grape for each month of the year as the clock strikes 12. It’s harder than it sounds, especially after you’ve had a few glasses of cava!

Miami

Lummus Beach 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 8 pm with live entertainment, dancing, and, of course, 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.

You may also like: Check Out These Adventurous, Life-Changing New Year Destinations!

New Orleans

New Orleans French Quarter

If ever there was 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

Times Square New Year

Thousands of people attend the famous ball drop at Times Square with millions more watching from their homes across the globe. Of course, there’s a lot more to the Big Apple than Midtown Manhattan if you want to celebrate with an urban flair. Many locals cross the Hudson River to admire the fireworks from Hoboken, in New Jersey, although another popular (and completely free!) option is to go to the Brooklyn Bridge. But be warned, it’s going to be cold out there!

Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls News Year's Eve

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

Orlando

Disney Orlando

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

Paris

Eiffel Tower fireworks

An Eiffel Tower light show with a firework backdrop? C’est magnifique! You can get the best views from the Montmartre and Trocadero areas, as well as near the fabulous Champs-Élysées. Just be there early enough to ensure you’re not staring at the back of someone’s head!

Rio de Janeiro

Copacabana Rio de Janeiro fireworks

The beach at Copacabana is the place to go in Rio for New Year’s Eve, where close to a million Brazilians come to dance samba and enjoy live music while watching the city’s stunning fireworks display every year. 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

Sydney

Due to its proximity to the International Date Line, Sydney is the first major city to usher in the New Year in the entire world. And they do it with style, displaying a lavish and expensive fireworks show every year that completely lights up the night sky above the iconic Opera House and Harbour Bridge.

Vienna

Vienna New Year Concert

For a more elegant NYE celebration, historic Vienna sets the bar really 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 and drinking. But nothing screams New Years’s like the Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year’s Concert in the Large Hall of the Musikverein, a tradition that dates back to 1939. No 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!

About the author

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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