For modern travellers, the most pertinent question that they face all year is: where will you be when the ball drops? Even if you’re the kind that views New Year’s Day as over-marketed hype, the D-Day finally draws near, the excitement in the air is palpable and the energy is contagious. To help you make your New Year’s celebrations even more memorable, we’ve put together a list of the top holiday destinations for ringing in the New Year.
New York City
The place that literally invented the term ‘ball drop’, New York City is one of the most vibrant places to celebrate the New Year. The Times Square crystal Time Ball is a prominent part of the celebrations, and descends down a specially designed flagpole in the seconds leading up to midnight to signal the start of the New Year. Times Square is abuzz with revellers on New Year’s Eve and you can expect to see famous musicians. For a less chaotic but equally irresistible experience, take the night-time boat ride and enjoy the spectacular fireworks display.
Rio de Janeiro
The city’s New Year’s celebrations are a worthy contender to its internationally-acclaimed carnival. Copacabana Beach hosts the world’s largest New Year’s Eve party for more than two million revellers. This celebration, known locally as Réveillon, these celebrations combine religious, traditional and superstitious elements with wild merrymaking. Wear white while partying here (locals believe it will bring you good luck) and make sure to toss flowers into the ocean as a tribute to the goddess. You can also enjoy live musical and dance performances at oceanfront venues and a colourful fireworks display.
The first city to ring in the New Year globally, Sydney’s new year celebrations include the world’s largest fireworks display over the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. The waterfront show features aerial acrobatics, an Aboriginal smoking ceremony to ward off evil spirits and the Harbour Parade where more than 50 illuminated boats cruise through the harbour, and is attended by more than a million people every year.
New Year is celebrated over three days here, beginning on December 30 with a torchlight procession through the city that culminates in a gorgeous fireworks display. Massive street parties, outdoor concerts including the open air Celtic party, and the explosion of fireworks at midnight over the Edinburgh castle make this an affair to remember. For a truly exceptional experience, jump into the ice-cold waters of River Forth at the end of the for-charity Loony Dook parade.
Go old-school with the grand New Year’s Eve Ball at Hofberg Palace, wander through the colourful New Year’s fair and party your heart out with thousands of revellers in the city centre. Watch the Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year’s concert while sipping on mulled wine and watch fireworks explode over the Wiener Prater fair. The party begins at 2 pm here, and continues well past midnight.
This city comes together for a truly global New Year’s celebration, with the festivities in Central World Square drawing huge crowds. Merrymakers enjoy a spectacular light show and live concerts, as video screens project celebrations from around the world. At midnight, the riverside is illuminated by lavish fireworks displays, and the party continues well into the wee hours at the city’s many nightclubs and beer gardens.