Whether you enjoy an eye-popping fireworks display, vibrant party scene that rages into New Year’s Day, or a quiet evening at home — well, probably not that last one — certain cities just do New Year’s parties better. Here are five cities across the globe that you should visit at least once on December 31 to have a truly unforgettable New Year’s Eve experience.
A New Year’s Eve in Sydney affords you the chance to say that you rang in the new year before the rest of the world, as it’s the first major city where the clock strikes midnight. The city also lays claim to the largest fireworks display on the planet, lighting up the Sydney Opera house for more than a million spectators.
Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Who wouldn’t want to spend New Year’s Eve in their bathing suit at a beach party with thousands of other party-goers when the clock hits midnight? Rio’s New Year’s festivities truly give this city it’s Carnival reputation with hordes of people gathering on Copacabana Beach for the world’s largest (and probably) wildest beach party. Locals dress head-to-toe in white (though many wear bathing suits underneath) and and toss flowers into the ocean as gift to Yemanjá, goddess of the sea before jamming out to the bands and djs at nearby clubs.
Hong Kong, China
Hong Kong boast one of the most impressive skylines in the world and it becomes the stage for an impressive fireworks and light display every New Year’s Eve. (There’s a pyrotechnic dragon that dances in the sky.) If you never make it to NYC for New Year’s Eve, Hong Kong is a close second with a replica ball drop, only without the confines of being stuck in Times Square. Victoria Harbour is the center of the evening activity, with locals partying on boats and rooftop terraces to take in the show.
Cape Town, South Africa
We’re not talking just one night of celebration here, but a party that spans three days. The city’s gorgeous Victoria and Albert Waterfront is the spot to be at midnight when a concert breaks out to go along with the fireworks display. On New Year’s Day and the day after, thousands gather on the local beaches to celebrate the new year as well as take in the sights of the Cape Town Minstrel Carnival. The carnival parades through downtown with 10,000 performers dancing and singing in the streets and is a tradition that dates back over 300 years.
Spending New Year’s Eve in the City of Lights should be a no-brainer. The city lives up to its reputation with the Eiffel Tower becoming the centerpiece of an unbelievable fireworks and lights display. And for those who might want to skip the fireworks and party the night away, Champs-Élysées hosts a massive street party, where Parisians pop bottles of champagne before flocking to the city’s numerous nightclubs. Those who might be looking for something a bit more intimate than grinding up on strangers might want to take in a New Years cruise on the Seine river.