Best New Years Cities in World Image: Linh_rOm (flickr)
The best New Year’s cities complement their spectacular end of the year celebrations with an assortment of attractions that impress on any given day. In other words, visitors to these cities have plenty to enjoy on the side when they aren’t having a blast watching the clock tick down to 2016. Another key aspect to the best New Years cities is the myriad options that they offer in terms of how to celebrate the New Year. You aren’t limited to just a fireworks display at midnight. Considering all of this, we unveil our list of best New Years cities.
New York City
New York City Image: CherryPoint (flickr)
No other city in the world is more synonymous with end of the year revelry than New York City. The city’s famous celebration at Times Square debuted in 1904 in commemoration of the opening of the New York Times central headquarters, and it has grown into an internationally televised spectacle that features celebrities galore and hours of entertainment leading up to the ball drop. Thousands of people cram into Times Square to watch the countdown, and once the ball completes its descent, shimmering confetti and a dazzling pyrotechnic light show bring even more glitz to the City That Never Sleeps.
Sydney Image: coquetboy (flickr)
Watching the New Year’s Eve fireworks display at Sydney Harbour is truly something special. After all, it’s the world’s largest pyrotechnical performance. Before the fireworks light up Sydney Harbour Bridge and the surrounding buildings, Sydney offers an assortment of traditional ceremonies, including an immaculate light parade and awe-inspiring aerial acrobatic shows. Several Sydney hotels and restaurants offer wonderful Harbour views if you want to take in the fireworks that way. Other ideas for how to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Sydney include hiring a boat and watching it all in from the water or dancing the night away at Bondi Beach. For families with kids, there are Sydney New Year’s events that cater to youngsters. An example is the New Year’s celebration at the Taronga Zoo.
Edinburgh Image: volantra (flickr)
Easily one of the world’s best New Year’s cities, Edinburgh certainly goes all out to make the most out of its end of the year festivities. The result of these efforts is the multi-day Hogmanay celebration. One of the largest street parties on the planet, Hogmanay more specifically spans the course of four days and includes a scintillating fireworks display over Edinburgh Castle. Concerts add extra depth to the overall celebration, as do any other number of side events, and you can bet that there is lots of traditional Scottish dancing going on. Tip: While Princes Street is where the masses gather on New Year’s Eve in Edinburgh, it can be a good idea to whisk away to Carlton Hill. This is downtown Edinburgh’s highest point, and it is an amazing place to watch the fireworks.
London Image: wobble-san (flickr)
Whether you end up in a pub downing pints and sipping on champagne or you join the crowds on the Tower, Westminster, London, and Blackfriars bridges, your New Year’s Eve celebration in London is bound to be a memorable one. The city’s rich nightlife is available at any time of the year, but it gets an extra shot in the arm come New Year’s Eve. Those who gather on the bridges turn their focus towards the London Eye, which is at the center of the midnight fireworks display, and if you can’t get a spot along the water, you can always take in the scenes that are shown on the big screens at Trafalgar and Parliament squares. On New Year’s Day, the festivities continue in the form of the magnificent New Year’s Day parade, which departs from Westminster and finishes at Green Park.
Paris Image: viZZZual.com (flickr)
Giving London a real run for its money for spot number four on our list of the best New Year’s cities is Paris. The most romantic city in the world, the French capital combines its end of the year fireworks display with a dazzling Eiffel Tower lightshow and a giant street party that centers around the famous Champs-Elysees. Revelers pop bottles of champagne as the night wears on and exchange chocolates that are known as papillotes. The feeling of merriment is undeniable. Additional ideas for ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Paris include taking a river cruise on the Seine, heading up to the more relaxed Montmarte neighborhood, or venturing over to the Pigalle red light district to catch a cabaret performance at the Moulin Rouge.
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro Image: Leandro's World Tour (flickr)
Rio de Janeiro makes it on our list of best New Year’s cities, due in part to the fact that it throws the planet’s largest and wildest New Year’s celebration. Hailed as Reveillon, this celebration centers around world-famous Copacabana Beach and is essentially an almost-anything-goes dance party on the sand. More than two million people, many of whom are dressed in traditional white clothing, fill the beach, and the partying continues well into the next day. In addition to wearing white clothing, many of the people who congregate on Copacabana Beach on New Year’s Eve throw white flowers into the ocean and lay small gifts on the sand. This is all in honor of Lemanja – the goddess of the sea. Free concerts and midnight fireworks are just some of the other things that add depth to the Rio de Janeiro New Year’s Eve celebration.
Amsterdam Image: iamsterdam.com
In recent years, Amsterdam has established itself as one of the world’s best New Years cities. Reasons why include its relatively compact nature and very walkable appeal. While navigating the city streets by foot, those who are celebrating New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam can join the crowds that gather at such city squares as Nieuwmarkt and Leidseplein or visit any number of clubs for some drinking and dancing. As for fireworks, the main display takes place in the Oosterdok area, with additional festivities leading up to the pyrotechnics. Wherever you decide to go in Amsterdam on New Year’s Eve, expect the underlying theme at your chosen party site to be associated with the Dutch word gezellig, which roughly translates to warm, cozy, and friendly.
Las Vegas Image: InSapphoWeTrust (flickr), CC BY-SA 2.0
Hailed as “The Entertainment Capital of the World,” Las Vegas throws some of the hippest New Year’s Eve parties that you will find anywhere around the globe. These parties, many of which are held at the city’s best bars and clubs, feature big name celebrities who either serve as hosts or contribute in the way of live performances. Outside, the Vegas Strip is closed off to motor vehicles and essentially transforms into one large street party. Come midnight, fireworks are dynamically launched from the roofs of such notable casino hotels as the MGM Grand and Caesars Palace. Don’t forget the Fremont Street Experience in Downtown Las Vegas. It throws its own New Year’s Eve party, complete with talented cover bands, plenty of confetti, and an electronic fireworks display that is guaranteed to impress.
Orlando Image: WDWNews
Looking to enjoy a family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration? There’s no better destination than Orlando. At the area theme parks, numerous New Year’s events are designed to cater to families. Examples of such events include the Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and the giant LEGO brick drop at LEGOLAND Florida. The LEGO brick drop, it should be noted, takes place at a very kid-friendly time – 8 PM. Should you be interested in enjoying a more adult-oriented New Year’s Eve celebration in Orlando, there are options there as well. Pleasure Island in Downtown Disney hosts a New Year’s party for the 21 and over crowd, for example, and numerous Orlando bars and clubs put on their own bashes. Church Street is the center of the downtown festivities.
Berlin Image: visitBerlin (flickr)
Any other number of cities could take the last spot on our list of best New Year’s cities. New Orleans, Hong Kong, Miami, Barcelona, Toronto, and Melbourne are some of the cities that come to mind. We chose to give the nod to Berlin, however. More than one million people take to the Berlin streets and bars to celebrate New Year’s Eve, and it is undoubtedly the event of the year in the German capital. As evening descends upon the city, crowds begin to gather at the epicenter of the Berlin New Year’s Eve party – Brandenburg Tor (Brandenburg Gate). There’s also the two-kilometer “party mile” route, which stretches between Brandenburger Tor and the Siegessäule (Victory Column). Plenty of other options exist if you want to celebrate away from these areas. The Kulturbrauerei and its multi-faceted celebration provides one such option.
Top image: Hamilton Lund; Destination NSW