10. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil -
The New Year’s Eve celebration in Rio de Janeiro makes it one of the best destinations in the world for travelers to ring in a new calendar year. On this night, the famous Copacabana beach is filled with millions of party revelers who roam the sandy strip, listening to music at several stages, dancing, and having fun with friends. At the stroke of midnight, everybody pops open a bottle of champagne while watching an impressive fireworks display. Local tradition dictates wearing white clothes for good luck in the new year.
9. London, England, United Kingdom -
London is another popular New Year’s destination. The party is celebrated near the famous Big Ben clock and the London Eye, a giant Ferris wheel, along the Thames River. A countdown clock is also on display to help party-goers ring in the new year. The city has also put on a fireworks show since the 2004-2005 celebration. For the 2013-2014 event, the fireworks display became the first in the world to project a multi-sensory experience complete with scented spray and edible foam. The next day, visitors can check out the New Year’s Day Parade, which offers performances by over 10,000 musicians, dancers, and cheerleaders.
8. Bangkok, Thailand -
World renowned as a prime party destination all year long, Bangkok hosts a New Year’s celebration that lives up to this reputation as well. Although parties can be found all over the city, the biggest and most popular of these is held at the Central World Square in the shopping plaza. Hundreds of thousands of visitors come together here and enjoy the live music, beer garden, light show, and a projection of New Year’s celebrations and fireworks displays around the world. At midnight celebrators in Bangkok enjoy a live display of fireworks.
7. Cape Town, South Africa -
Perhaps the largest celebration in Africa, the New Year’s Eve festivities in Cape Town are not to be missed. In this city, the majority of the partying takes place on the Victoria and Albert waterfront, looking out over the harbor with Table Mountain in the background. While waiting for the countdown, visitors can head over to the amphitheater which presents over 7 hours of live music.
6. Reykjavik, Iceland -
Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, hosts one of the best New Year’s Eve celebrations in the world. The festivities begin around 8 pm with most of the population of 200,000 visiting 1 of the 9 large bonfires around the city. Here they sing and socialize with their neighbors. From 10:30 until 11:30, the majority of locals watch a famous annual TV show pokes fun at the year’s events, politicians, and famous acts. What is unique about the New Year’s celebration in Reykjavik is that government does not put on a fireworks displays. Instead, the citizens and residents of the city put on their own pyrotechnics shows, meaning visitors can see fireworks from any location, beginning around 11:30 in the evening. After the countdown, people head to clubs to dance until morning.
5. Hong Kong, SAR China -
Another excellent destination to celebrate the New Year’s countdown is in Hong Kong. The celebration takes place on the beautiful Victoria Harbor and first began in 2007. This was the first year that the government put on a fireworks display leading up to midnight. Since then, the festivities have included a countdown clock projected on the side of Two International Finance Center. Now, several of the buildings in the harbor are involved and beginning around 11 pm, fireworks are launched from the tops of the most prominent skyscrapers. Visitors can view the show from the street, boats in the harbor, or the top floors of high-rise buildings.
4. Sydney, Australia -
The New Year’s events held in Sydney, Australia are famous all over the world, and are held in Sydney Harbor. The celebration centers around two incredible fireworks shows, one at 9 pm and another at midnight. The midnight pyrotechnics have been televised around the world since the 1996-1997 celebration. Other activities begin earlier in the evening and usually include a show on the water, like a parade of lighted boats. In addition, the Harbor Bridge has a rope light display designed to reflect the year’s theme. Over 1 million people come to the harbor to celebrate every year and another 1 billion watch the midnight fireworks on television.
3. Nassau, Bahamas -
Millions of people travel to Nassau for vacation every year, particularly during what are the cold winter months in the Northern Hemisphere. Around New Year’s is an excellent time to make the trip in order to experience a unique celebration. The Junkanoo Parade is the main focus of this celebration, which begins on December 26th and lasts through January 1st. It involves music, dancing, and people dressed in traditional clothing of the Igbo, a people of African ancestry, and is a celebration of the abolition of slavery. The parade usually ends at the beach where the festivities continue and a fireworks display kicks off the final countdown of the year.
2. Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom -
The Edinburgh New Year’s Eve celebration, referred to as the Hogmanay celebration in Scotland, takes place on Princes Street. The celebration begins on December 30 with a parade of hundreds of people carrying torches and accompanied by bagpipes and drumming. This lively procession ends on Calton Hill with a fireworks show. The next day, the party begins on Princes Street with Edinburgh Castle in the background. Here there are outdoor bars, live entertainment, and disc jockeys to set the celebratory mood. At midnight, fireworks are set off at the castle and everybody holds hands to sing Auld Lang Syne.
1. New York City, New York, United States of America -
Arguably the most notable New Year’s Eve celebration in the world takes place every year in New York City. Here, crowds of party-goers gather in Times Square where the city holds its famous ball dropping ceremony. This event has been taking place since 1907. The 11,875-pound, 12-foot diameter, Waterford crystal ball that is covered in 32,256 LED lights begins to descend at 11:59 pm, marking the beginning of the 1 minute countdown. Prior to the drop, the square is filled with live entertainment, dancing, and celebratory activities. One million people come together here every year, another 100 million in the US watch the festivities on television, and many more watch from around the world.
About the Author
Amber is a freelance writer, English as a foreign language teacher, and Spanish-English translator. She lives with her husband and 3 cats.
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