New Year’s Eve means many things to different people. A time to gather with friends at home, a nice dinner out, then bed, and to others a night to simply hunker down and watch the ball drop on television. But most people want to have a big night out. One of the best ways to celebrate is to build a vacation around the event. Even if you’re not looking to count down the last seconds with a heard of people, it’s fun to experience how different cities around the world celebrate.
Want to be the first in the world to bring in the new year? Head down under to Sydney. There’s a big celebration in store for you, including an air and water show featuring aerial acrobats. Sydney has the largest fireworks display in the world, sensibly setting them off in two timeslots – at midnight, over the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and a hair earlier at 9 o’clock for those who want to get to sleep at a decent hour.
More than one million people turn out for the fireworks here, so if you’re in it for the flame, this is your destination of choice. Also, it’s summer in Australia, so you won’t be freezing cold all night, which is a pretty great bonus. Finally, events include an Aboriginal ceremony that cleanses all your bad spirits, so if you’ve been a little less than stellar in 2017, maybe you can still be saved. Ha!
Parisians are a classy bunch, so expect an elegant, festive Nouvelle Annee in the city of lights. The pretty city is decorated with white and blue tea lights from Christmas time and beyond, so just walking is enough to satisfy your cultural whistle. That said, there’s plenty of party to be had, as well.
As with all their major holidays, the Eiffel Tower glistens with a spectacular light show. Down by the Champs de Elysees a big street party is in full swing. Parisians get a little loose and celebrate with champagne and crackling chocolates, a la firecrackers. If you want to keep away from the crowds and still enjoy the fireworks and Eiffel Tower, book a cruise boat to coast down the Seine River, where you can dine and drink your bubbly in a very civilized, French fashion.
In a city known for their pints and quarts, you can expect Dublin to be an epicenter of fun on New Year’s Eve. And, you’d be right, although Dublin isn’t the raging party you may expect. Dubliners keep it energetic, but not over the top. That said, New Years is a three-day event, starting December 30th, that begins with a poetry slam (it’s the home of James Joyce and Oscar Wilde, after all), continuing with live performances, and a pretty amazing light show that happens all three nights of the event. Check out the live performances at the 3Countdown Concert, which annually brings in the new year.
Concert not your thing but you still want to get out? The holiday is best enjoyed in Temple Bar, where most revelers rejoice. Hunker down in a pub and make friends with everyone at the pub, then at the stroke of midnight run out into the street and celebrate with everyone else.
4.New York City
No New Year’s Eve list is complete with a nod to the Big Apple. Each year the city hosts the most widely broadcast celebration in the country, set in Times Square, where hundreds and hundreds of revelers rock out to live music in anticipation for the iconic ball drop.
For some, this sounds terrible, and for them, New York is nothing without a great dinner and a fun bar. Find a local band at a funky venue (see if you need to get tickets ahead of time), or make reservations at a top-notch restaurant. It’s possible to do both, as well! Make sure you check out the holiday displays on 5th Avenue before your big night out.
Sin City really does it up for New Year’s Eve. One of the last cities in the world to ring in the New Year, they go out hard. Each year over 300,000 people celebrate down on the famous Strip to get in on the action.
On New Year’s Eve, cars aren’t allowed on the Strip, which becomes a massive party complete with bands and light and laser shows throughout the night. You can find a ton of concerts and parties at clubs, hotels, and venues all over the city, too. Don’t worry, you won’t miss out on the fireworks if you decide to ditch the street – displays shoot from seven different rooftops throughout the city, so no matter where you are, you’re going to get a great view.
What’s your favorite New Years city? What’s the best way to celebrate?