20 World’s New Year’s Eve Luxury Destinations to Celebrate Like a Boss — Epic fireworks displays, all-night dance parties, one-of-a-kind cultural traditions… you’ll find all these and more in the world’s best places to celebrate New Year’s.
Since New Year’s comes just once a year, it’s worth it to make the festivities memorable, don’t you agree?! But which’s the best place on Earth to be when the clock strikes midnight on December 31? Thanks to the Fodor staff and their fantastic list of the best destinations for the last night of the year, Daily Design News has decided to share with you too the best annual celebrations, from the Rio de Janeiro’s beaches to Berlin’s Brandenberg Gate.
So brace yourselves, because you’re about to discover the 20 best places in the world to celebrate New Year’s Eve!
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This Hawaiian island offers a variety of New Year’s Eve activities in a gorgeous setting. In downtown Honolulu, the Aloha Tower New Year’s Eve party begins at 7 pm and goes until 2 am, featuring live music, dancing, and fireworks. There’s also a fireworks show at Waikiki Beach, which is a decidedly calmer affair.
This bustling metropolis’s locals and expats come together for New Year’s Eve festivities. The crowd numbers hundreds of thousands, and entertainment includes a spectacular light show, live concert, and video screens projecting celebrations from around the world. At midnight, of course, a series of fireworks displays illuminate the riverside.
#18. Cape Town
New Year’s celebrations span three days in this vibrant South African city. On New Year’s Eve, the Victoria & Albert Waterfront hosts a concert and midnight fireworks display, and the Victoria Falls New Year’s Carnival includes a carnival-themed train and live music. On New Year’s Day and the day after, thousands head to local beaches, and the Cape Town Minstrel Carnival parades through downtown.
With its world-class nightlife scene, Miami is a no-brainer for New Year’s celebrations, and the city offers celebrations both free and VIP, and everything in between. The festivities in downtown’s Bayfront Park start at 8 pm and include dancing and fireworks at midnight; in South Beach, Lummus Park on Ocean Drive hosts a party from 9 pm to 2 am, which also includes live music and fireworks.
With only four hours of daylight in late December, locals in the northernmost capital of the world are ready to party like no one else. New Year’s Eve kicks off with community bonfires around which people sing, dance, and play music. Meanwhile, fireworks light up from every corner of the city thanks to fairly relaxed government restrictions. As midnight approaches, crowds gather around local landmarks like Perlan and Landakotskirkja church for the best views of the official fireworks display and of the city, after which they head to bars and clubs.
Impromptu street parties are easy to find in the Dutch capital on New Year’s Eve, but there are organized parties in just about every large public space, including Rembrandtplein, Nieuwmarkt, Museumplein and Dam Square. There are fireworks displays in multiple locations, best viewed from the city’s bridges; after those are over, revelers head out to the clubs for drinks, live music, and dancing until the sun comes up.
This atmospheric city is famous for its New Year’s Eve Grand Ball, hosted at Hofburg Palace, but there’s more on offer than just throwback elegance. Vienna’s famous Christmas markets transform into New Year’s fairs, and hundreds of thousands of revelers crowd the Silvesterpfad (New Year’s Path) in the city center on New Year’s Eve.
The City of Light lives up to its nickname on New Year’s Eve when the Eiffel Tower becomes the site of a spectacular light show and fireworks display. Nearby, Parisians ring in the Nouvelle Année on the Champs-Élysées, which hosts a massive street party, where they pop bottles of Champagne and exchange cheek kisses and papillotes, chocolates wrapped in sparkly paper that crackles like a firecracker when opened.
#12. Walt Disney World
New Year’s Eve at Walt Disney World is a dream come true for families traveling over the holiday. The theme park stays open until 1 am, but it’s packed with fun activities all day long. Leading up to the midnight fireworks show, there are Cirque du Soleil performances, dance parties, live entertainers, and confetti explosions to keep visitors of all ages entertained.
#11. Jost Van Dyke
You may call it New Year’s Eve, but on Jost Van Dyke, it’s Old Year’s Night. The festivities on this tiny British Virgin Island take place at Foxy’s Tamarind Bar and other nightlife spots in Grand Harbor, and draw a crowd from around the Caribbean and, in fact, the world. One of the most raucous New Year’s parties in the region, Old Year’s Night celebrations actually consist of 48 hours of live music, drinking, and eating; the annual event attracts thousands of shirtless or bikini-clad partygoers who stay up late and sometimes sleep on the beach.
#10. New Orleans
It may not be Mardi Gras, but New Year’s Eve in New Orleans is just as memorable. The main event is a thrilling 15-minute fireworks show on the Mississippi River, along with the Fleur de Lis drop, where “Baby New Year” is dropped from the roof of the Jax Brewery in Jackson Square .
New Year’s Day is just as exciting as New Year’s Eve in the Bahamas, where the locals follow Junkanoo street parades that conclude with informal beach gatherings and fireworks displays around the islands. The notable New Year’s Day Junkanoos can be found in downtown Freeport on Grand Bahama Island, along Bay Street in downtown Nassau, in Nicholls Town on North Andros, in Plymouth on Green Turtle Cay, and in Alice Town in North Bimini.
#08. Las Vegas
More than 300,000 revelers descend on this party capital for the big night, when the Las Vegas Strip becomes car-free and transforms into a giant street party with live bands, pyrotechnic displays, and laser shows. The city also hosts a mind-boggling number of concerts, shows, and parties in clubs, hotels, and casinos, meaning there’s no shortage of evening entertainment options.
The German capital has a reputation for being a party city year-round, so you can imagine what New Year’s Eve (known as “Silvester”) is like here. After the fireworks show at midnight, the crowds head to the city’s many dance floors, where they stay out until dawn or later. To somewhat counteract the debauchery, locals partake in the Berlin Silversterlauf during the day or participate in the annual, free four-kilometer New Year’s Run the next day.
#06. Hong Kong
One of the world’s most dramatic skylines lights up every year with a display of fireworks that grows more impressive every year, concluding with a dazzling finale: a pyrotechnic dragon that dances across the sky. The events kick off in Hong Kong’s Times Square shopping mall, where a replica ball drop takes place in homage to New York City’s famous festivities.
More than 250,000 people crowd the banks of the Thames and its numerous bridges to see the spectacular ten-minute light show and fireworks display, with the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament (also known as the Palace of Westminster), and the Shard among highlights of the urban scenery.
New Year’s fireworks over the city of Edinburgh with major famous attractions such as the Castle, Princes Street, and other heritage buildings. Hogmanay translates to “last day of the year,” but the annual festivities in Edinburgh actually last three days. Things kick off on December 30 with a torchlight procession through the city that culminates in a fireworks finale, while New Year’s Eve is all about massive street parties and outdoor concerts, including a massive, open-air Kelidh (traditional Celtic party).
Sydney puts on the largest fireworks display in the world, with one at 9 pm and another at midnight, with the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House making for a striking setting. More than a million people attend the waterfront show, which also includes an air and water show featuring aerial acrobatics, an Aboriginal smoking ceremony that is said to cleanse bad spirits, and the Harbour of Light Parade, a flotilla of more than 50 illuminated boats in the harbor.
#02. Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro can be most known for its Carnival festivities, but its New Year’s Eve celebration comes in a close second. Iconic Copacabana Beach hosts the world’s largest New Year’s Eve party, in which more than two million people cram onto the two-and-a-half-mile stretch of sand .
#01. New York City
New Year’s Eve in New York City has an atmosphere that few other cities can rival. Most famous, of course, 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.
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