Before any thoughts of saintly New Year resolutions occupy your mind, we have compiled a list of all our favourite very cool places to party this New Year’s Eve that will have you knocking back the champers, dancing until your feet hurt and scrambling around for that all-important midnight kiss…
Berlin is known for being a cool place to party so spending New Year’s Eve here is a pretty safe bet. The main event in Berlin is a street party extravaganza including a mind-blowing light show, two kilometres of live music stages, party tents and refreshment stands which, has been a tradition since the fall of the wall and is now broadcast all over the world. Toast the incoming year with steins of German beer or alternatively, board The Party ship Ms Kurier. Once on board you can enjoy all-inclusive cocktail, a resident DJ and splendid view of the city. Regardless of whether you’re bobbing in the ocean or on dry land, the atmosphere as midnight approaches completely electric as over a million people chant the countdown and over 2,000 fireworks cascade down over the city.
Sydney Harbour is probably one of the most famous New Year’s Eve destinations, this year the theme for New Year is ‘Shine’ which completely epitomises the city and especially the scene at the harbour as brilliant fireworks light up the city and the reflections that glimmer in the harbour waters. Jostling for a good spot to take in the fireworks among the 1.6 million spectators takes a lot of patience and planning so to avoid the crowds, spring for a seat on one of the cruises that slink along the harbour as the sensational, world-famous fireworks unfold in front of your eyes. A ticket for a cruise includes drinks and a five course harbour banquet and a great atmosphere is guaranteed. After the big night make the most of the endless sunshine and head up the coast with an Australian tour.
New Year’s Eve at UNESCO heritage site, Valparaíso is definitely bucket list material, the city lays claim to being home to the biggest and best firework display in South America. There’s something quite surreal about celebrating New Year on the beach and for a truly unforgettable experience charter a boat and watch the show from the water or trek to the top of the hills and look down on the city. This is truly an electric city as everyone dresses up in sparkly clothes complete with NYE regalia including party poppers, shiny hats and noisemakers. This is a party hard festival and partying in the streets continues long past the midnight countdown and fireworks with the last live band finishing their set on the main stage at Plaza Sotomayor at around 8am. To complete the feeling, add pineapple ice cream to your champagne after spraying a little around you, hug everyone and dance in the confetti.
Hong Kong’s famous Times Square and Victoria Harbour are the centre of the New Year festivities which is comprised of a HK$7 million spectacle of fireworks and pyrotechnics, cementing the city’s position as one of the best New Year destinations in the world. Over at Times Square there is a ball drop, a replica of the American version, while at Victoria Harbour, spectacular countdown begins. There are options to watch it from dry land or on the harbour waters but whatever you decide the party atmosphere will reign supreme as an eight-minute pyro-musical display takes centre stage and brings in the new year- with a bang!
The famously friendly Canadians really know how to party – Toronto has a huge range of events taking place this New Year’s ranging from some cool clubs (Muzik and the C lounge) to an elegant affair at elegance at the Toronto landmark, The Fairmont Royal York. The biggest New Years bash in Toronto although, is hosted at Nathan Phillips Square. It’s a huge family-friendly event with a free concert hosted by CityTV. This year the event is going to be pretty special with performers including Canadian rapper Kardinal Offishall and Disney on Ice.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Amsterdam offers a fun range of events to suit everyone’s tastes on New Year’s Eve, from costume parties to massive dance shindigs. Although the official city celebrations take place at The Oosterdok area with a spectacular firework display illuminating the River IJ. The atmosphere really heightens in Amsterdam as soon as the sun sets on December 31st with excited kids setting off firecrackers, the gentle hum of music emanating from private houses, cafes and bars as parties get into the swing of things but as soon as the seconds to midnight approach the whole city erupts with light, cheers and music. To check out the atmosphere, hit Dam Square for live music tents, beer and food stands and a lively crowd but for a good, quiet spot for the fireworks try any of the bridges on the city’s main canals.
It’s well documented that you’ll have no problems finding an NYE party in Waikiki but the main event takes place on Waikiki beach on Honolulu with a gorgeous firework display and a party atmosphere until dawn. Many people head to the beach in crowds to have their own private party, a tradition which lends itself to a unique, convivial atmosphere. Many of the high-end hotels in the area conduct extensive, expensive firework displays to the delight of their residents. The ultimate selling point to add Honolulu to your NYE celebration destination of choice is that it has the exclusive status as being one of the last places in the world to ring in the New Year. The locals make enjoy their position and don’t disappoint by hosting amazing street parties and festivals throughout the streets.
If you find yourself in Barcelona on December 31st, make your way to Playa Catalunya where you’re bound to find a lively group of revellers, with most locals emerging from private parties just before midnight. The Catalan capital however, does host a series of fantastic events to embrace the incoming year but instead of one major firework display, it is traditional to see many different venues releasing fireworks to dazzle the Spanish sky. As any visitor to Barcelona will know, there are many, many options to choose for nightclubs, restaurants and pubs to begin the party vibe, all of which spill into the streets to begin the countdown to Ano Nuevo.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
The party scene in San Juan is centred around the city’s most stylish hotels like the Conrad San Juan Condado Plaza and La Concha (think salsa, merengue and music until the small hours). Before hitting the streets to check out the fireworks, be sure to partake of the island’s traditions for Ano Nuevo, for example, those who eat 12 grapes for the 12 seconds before midnight are guaranteed a year of good luck. The music drives the celebrations of San Juan with loud music pumping from every corner. The city itself is known for throwing some of the most stylish and glamorous parties in the region however, whether you’re into a sophisticated hotel scene or a cooler oceanfront bar, there’s something for everyone but for something a bit different- watch the beautiful midnight fireworks from a super cool beach tepee.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re living it up in the glitzy Thonglor district or chilling out in the backpacker district of Khao San Road, Bangkok is always heaving with revellers on NYE. The biggest event of the night takes place at Central World Square where the Thai and international populations come together to partake in a spectacular light show and concert. As the dramatic countdown begins, big screens project images of the NYE celebrations from all around the world and as the bells ring for midnight a massive firework display is launched along the riverside. All around the city, the streets are lined with street food stalls to suit all tastes and beer tents which, undoubtedly also satisfy all!
New Year’s Eve is the culmination of a years’ worth of celebrations and perhaps, the most hedonistic of all the holidays as people endeavour to squeeze in one final guilty pleasure before turning over a new leaf and renouncing all on the stroke of midnight. So regardless of what part of the world you’re in, whether on land or on the sea, high in the hills or deep in the thick of it, don your dancing shoes and make sure you thoroughly embrace the spirit of it all.