As the calendar moves into the last few months of the year one of the key questions in life becomes: What should we do for New Year’s Eve? The best way to ensure you have a rockin’ NYE is to pack your bags and celebrate somewhere else, where the people, partying and traditions are sure to satiate your craving for a perfect night worthy of the brilliant New Year on its way.

That’s our philosophy anyway.


1.) New York City

There may be unlimited options for where to spend New Year’s Eve on this eclectic little globe of ours, but very few places can claim the same level of notoriety for their celebration as the sparkling concrete jungle. New York is most famous for its Times Square show, which features singing and dancing performances throughout the day and evening, around one million dedicated revellers who start gathering mid-morning, and a 12-foot-wide crystal ball weighing up to 12,000 lb leading the countdown and stealing the show at midnight right before the fireworks blast off.

If standing around for hours in minus temperatures isn’t your thing, book into one of the parties in any number of surrounding venues for better views, less elbowing and better access to bathrooms.



2.) Sydney, Australia

As the first major city to hit midnight (sorry, Auckland) all eyes swivel down to Sydney on the last day of the year – and for good reason. Set against Sydney Harbour, the Aussies throw a fireworks display like no other. There are two shows: one at 9pm and the other at midnight, and the display is the biggest in the world. Fireworks, music and the Harbour of Light Parade, which features 50 illuminated boats, fill the renowned harbour, with landmarks like the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge taking centre stage.

Don’t forget in this part of the world NYE is celebrated in summer, so swap your Times Square mittens out for a picnic blanket and some thongs, as we call them Down Under.



3.) Hong Kong

Hong Kong is emerging as one of the most exciting places to spend NYE in Asia. The party begins in Times Square shopping mall before the focus switches to fireworks on Victoria Harbour, which culminate in the appearance of a spectacular pyrotechnic dragon a la Gandalf (we imagine). Head to one of the many rooftops offering exceptional views of the harbour to enjoy the party like a local.

4. Berlin, Germany

No list of places to party would be complete without Berlin, and NYE is no exception. The star of the show here is ‘party mile’, where bars, international food stalls, video screens, laser shows, party tents and music stages await. There are also activities around the Brandenburg Gate and the Victory Column, along with the Berlin Silvesterlauf – a running race where participants flip pancakes as they ‘hurtle’ toward the finish line.

5. Las Vegas

New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas sees the multitude of festivities happening around the city at any one time emerge into the real world and for once, pay attention to a clock in what is essentially a giant street party. The Strip is closed to traffic, leaving the hundreds of thousands who flock to the city to enjoy live bands, pyrotechnic displays, laser shows, concerts and more unencumbered – by vehicles at least. At midnight fireworks shoot into the sky from the rooftops of the modest collection of buildings that call Las Vegas home.


vegas new years


6. Vienna

For those that like to ring in the New Year in style, Vienna is the place to be. The premier event of the evening is the NYE Grand Ball held in Hofburg Palace, but there are activities for the less fancy among us as well. The city’s famous Christmas markets transform into NYE fairs, while the Silvesterpfad (New Year’s Path) guides the debauchery of thousands of party-goers throughout the afternoon and into the evening. At midnight fireworks take place over Wiener Prater, and on January 1 thousands gather outside the Rathaus to nurse their hangovers and watch the Vienna Philharmonic New Year Concert.



7. Bahamas

The Bahamas bring in the New Year with a colourful, extravagant Mardi Gras-style event. Beach gatherings, Junakanoo street parades and fireworks displays are the main activities here, and are held in various cities. Some parties are marked as family-friendly while others are not, so choose your adventure wisely. Parades are also held on New Year’s Day in case you don’t last the whole evening, as has been known to happen.


8. Walt Disney World

Is there any place in the world better than Disney World? Be a kid again and celebrate NYE in this most magical land, where a program of activities with something for everyone kicks off in the morning and carries through to 1am. There are performances, dance parties, a lights and laser show at Epcot right before midnight, all your favourite characters, and naturally, the midnight fireworks display.


9. Reykjavik, Iceland

When you have just four hours of daylight and freezing temperatures to contend with, there’s little for Icelanders to do but throw a huge party. In Reykjavik the celebrations begin with community bonfires symbolising the burning away of troubles as the relaxed laws on NYE fireworks allow the streets to be filled with rogue displays. At midnight crowds head to major landmarks like the Perlan and Landakotskirkja Church for the official fireworks.

One of the best parts about choosing Reykjavik as your NYE party venue is that you can spend the full day on January 1 recovering at the hot springs, with locals beginning the stumble to these magical pools as festivities wind down around 5am.


10. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Brazilians are known for the ability to throw a killer party, and New Year’s Eve is their biggest celebration after Carnivale. The party is known as Reveillon, a celebration with traditional, religious and superstitious roots, and is centred round world-famous Copacabana Beach, where approximately two million people somehow fit on a 2.5 mile stretch of sand and Tinder and Grindr profiles promptly go crazy.

Those partaking in the Reveillon dress all in white and throw flowers into the ocean as a gift for the god Yemanja, while others crowd around various performance stages and take in the midnight fireworks show.




Author’s Bio: Courtney Gahan is a serial expat, traveller and freelance writer who has bartered with Moroccan marketeers, seen the sun rise at Angkor Wat and elbowed her way through crowds on NYE in NYC.