It’s that time of year again. You’re still trying to decide what to do for New Year’s Eve, and cuddling the sofa cushions while watching others have fun on TV isn’t an option this year. Vacation’s got you covered! From street gatherings to firework extravaganzas, we’ve scoured the globe to find the biggest New Year’s events, where the locals really know how to have a fun time. And with help from an expert travel agent, you could travel to one of these festive destinations for a surprise proposal, and then plan for that special destination wedding in a year or two!
Ring in the New Year in Style
Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Street Party is one of the world’s greatest New Year celebrations, with crowds from all over the globe descending on the Scottish capital. The festivities kick off on December 30 with the spectacular Torchlight Procession. On New Year’s Eve, the action moves to Princes Street beneath the spectacular backdrop of Edinburgh Castle. Around 80,000 people party well into the morning with live music, outdoor bars and world-famous midnight fireworks on the castle ramparts.
Slip and Slide on the Ice
Known for its amazingly intricate sculptures and massive replicas of global icons, the Harbin International Snow and Ice Festival is held every January and attracts hundreds of thousands of locals and visitors from all over the world. Made up of several zones — each with a different theme — the entire event covers an area of approximately 50 miles. Works, which are mostly inspired by famous international landmarks or Chinese fairy tales, are best seen at night when sculptures are lit up, giving it a fairyland feel.
New York City, New York
Watch the Famous Ball Drop
Arguably the most famous event of its kind across the globe, the big ball descending in Times Square is watched by approximately a million people in the Square and close to a billion more around the world. Star-studded musical performances and madcap pyrotechnics make this a big party you won’t find anywhere else but in New York City. It’s also so firmly etched into popular culture that it’s simply something you have to experience at least once in your life.
Explore the Unknown
The largest Central American country remains one of the least visited. As a tourist destination, it’s not as popular as Costa Rica (chosen by travel agents as a top honeymoon destination), which is surprising given its wildlife, lakes, beaches, volcanoes and spectacular rainforests. The weather is at its best from December through April when the temperature rises and the country enjoys sunny and dry conditions. Ring in the new year on the beach! Nicaragua has several options for sand, surf and sun on both the Caribbean or Pacific coast. Surfs up!
Bask in the Glow of the Eiffel Tower for a Romantic New Year’s
The Champs-Elysees is the place to be if you’re ringing in the new year in Paris. Locals and visitors alike flock here armed with bottles of champagne and baskets of food to watch the Eiffel Tower turn into a giant pyrotechnic display. Expect a typically refined and romantic ambiance to the event’s proceedings with thousands of revelers enjoying good food and wine and offering well wishes to anyone within earshot.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Join the Revelers at Réveillon
A New Year’s Eve beach party in Brazil is hard to beat. With beautiful people, spectacular fireworks and a carnival vibe, set on one of the most famous beaches in the world, you have all the ingredients for an unforgettable night. Known locally as ‘Réveillon’, this is when Rio’s Copacabana beach transforms into an all-day party, with music stages, dancing and plenty of locals and tourists dressed in white. Join more than two million for the ultimate New Year’s celebration.
Don’t Miss in this Big Party Down Under
As one of the first cities to celebrate New Year’s Eve, Sydney celebrates big to ensure that the rest of the world has a tough act to follow. A midnight fireworks display, the ‘Harbour of Light’ parade and myriad drinking establishments combine to make this a world-famous event – attracting well over a million revelers each year. And given it’s summertime in Australia, you won’t have to wrap up to stay warm in the evening. Sweet!
Inspired by this article and want to speak with a Vacation travel agent about how you can plan amazing luxury trips in the new year? Let one of Vacation.com’s on-call travel experts match you with a travel specialist, who can customize a dream vacation you deserve.