Traveling to celebrate New Year’s Eve can be fun. It’s the popular time of the year, especially since it’s only a few days after Christmas, which makes you get the most out of the holidays. Deciding where to go or the best place to visit for New Year can be hard, and that’s why I’m compiling this post to showcase some of the best places to celebrate this festive event.
While celebrating New Year’s Eve sounds like a novelty, there are also some downsides to it since it’s the peak season and almost everything, from accommodations and tourist attractions, increases their rate during this time of the year.
If you’re currently planning a trip to celebrate the next New Year’s Eve in a new place, you may want to consider one of these best places to visit for the new year. So, where would you celebrate it next year?
Pros & Cons of Traveling on New Year’s Eve
I traveled around Serbia on my last new year, and I spent my New Year’s Eve in Novi Sad during that time. I’ve learned the hard way that traveling during the holidays isn’t all fun and game. If anything, depending on the destination, sometimes it has more downsides than advantages for you as a traveler.
Before planning your next trip over New Year, here are some pros and cons of traveling over the New Year!
✅You’ll get a chance to enjoy the novelty of celebrating New Year’s Eve in a new place.
✅ There’s a chance you’ll also learn a new custom and culture when it comes to New Year in your destination.
✅ If you hate cold weather, there are plenty of places you can pick to celebrate New Year and escape winter at the same time!
❎ Expect a spike in the price of accommodation and transportation!
❎ In some destinations, some attractions, including shops and restaurants, are usually closed on New Year’s Eve. Even if they’re not, a reservation is required to be able to spend your time there.
❎ People! Some hot spots in your destination can be super crowded, and there’s no way to escape the crowd during this time of the year!
Now that you know the pros and cons of traveling over New Year, it’s time to pick the best destination to go to for New Year’s eve and prepare for your next trip!
29 Best Places to Visit for New Year
Some cultures have their own version of New Year that isn’t on the first of January. For instance, some countries also celebrate the Lunar new year, and sometimes the celebration is even more festive in some destinations.
In this post, we’re going to focus on the New Year’s Eve celebration that falls between December 31 and January 1. There are some best destinations that you can visit over New Year during this time, from becoming the first to wish “Happy New Year” in Australia to escaping winter in Florida.
So, which destination is the best place to celebrate New Year’s Eve? How do you make the best out of starting your new year in the destination? Let’s find out!
1. NYE in Sydney, NSW (Australia)
Sydney is one of the first cities in the world to celebrate the New Year and if you want a head start on the party or your New Year’s resolutions, it’s the place to be.
The highlight of Sydney’s New Year celebrations is the fireworks over the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Both locals and visitors will head to viewing points hours before midnight to stake out their spot.
New Year’s Eve is in the middle of the Australian summer, so it’s a time for beach days, outdoor barbecues, and drinks by the waterfront. Visitors from the Northern hemisphere will find it a fun change from mid-winter festivities.
You can opt for a more relaxed night by heading to one of the waterfront parks – try Birchgrove Oval or the Botanical Gardens for a pre-fireworks barbeque or book a ticket to one of the high-end parties around Circular Quay. For an extra special experience, head to Cockatoo Island, in the middle of the harbor, for an opera performance and the best views in town. Then spend the night in one of the island’s glamping tents.
For families, or anyone wanting an earlier night, there is a smaller display of fireworks at 9 PM in Darling Harbour.
2. NYE in Auckland, New Zealand
Auckland is one of the best places in the world to ring in the New Year. Not only does the city have amazing views of the harbor and skyline, but there are also tons of great events and activities to enjoy.
One of the most popular things to do is to watch the fireworks display at Sky Tower. The tower is over 1,000 feet tall, and the fireworks are set off from the top, so you can get an incredible view of them.
Another great option is to take a yacht cruise around Auckland Harbor. You’ll get to see the city skyline from the water, and you’ll be able to watch the fireworks up close.
If you want to stay on land, there are plenty of great parties and events happening around town. Queen’s Wharf is a popular spot for New Year’s Eve, as there are often live bands playing and there’s a large outdoor area where you can see the fireworks.
Whatever you choose to do, you’re sure to have a great time in Auckland on New Year’s Eve.
To make the most of New Year’s Eve, it’s best to stay in a downtown hotel. Public transit, Uber, and taxis can’t get downtown due to road closures. You’ll also be competing with many people trying to get them after the fireworks, which makes for a lame ending to an epic night.
There is a range of hostels and hotels in downtown Auckland that are much more accessible.
3. NYE in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is a great place to visit for New Year’s Eve because of its many attractions and festivities. Malaysia’s capital city is home to many restaurants that host special dinner menus and parties. They tend to pre-book and some sell out, so make reservations in advance if you want to attend.
There are also fireworks at KLCC Park which are one of the most anticipated events of the year. This large fireworks display can be seen from several notable locations, including KL Tower and the Ampang Park elevated train platform, in addition to KLCC Park itself.
In addition to KLCC Park, there are several other places around the city to see fireworks as well: Sunway Lagoon theme park, Merdeka Square, Sunway Velocity Mall, and Bukit Bintang. If you get a hotel with a panoramic view of the city, you can enjoy a variety of different fireworks displays right from your hotel room!
Additionally, New Year’s Day is a National Holiday in Malaysia, so New Year’s Eve is host to many celebrations, large and small, throughout the city. These celebrations make Kuala Lumpur an exciting and fun place to be for New Year’s Eve, and the city’s many attractions ensure that there is something for everyone to enjoy.
4. NYE in Singapore
Singapore is one of the most incredible places to celebrate New Year’s Eve. You can witness a vibrant fusion of cultures with parties happening in different parts of the city, each bringing a different vibe for welcoming the new year.
Enjoy the Marina Bay countdown, which is the most iconic celebration in Singapore. See the stunning fireworks display, then start the festivities with your loved ones. As a tip, stay at the Fullerton Bay Hotel for the best view of the display. Alternatively, arrive early at the Merlion for a perfect vista point.
For something a little different and more youthful, head to the Siloso beach party near Sentosa Resort. There will be non-stop music and the kilometer-long beach is basically transformed into a massive dance floor.
If you want classy, then the Civic District is the place to be with free film screenings, a dance fitness party and a food bazaar. Just be mindful that it does get very busy.
Families with kids might want to purchase tickets to Universal Studios in Singapore where everyone can enjoy activities, light shows and fireworks. There are special fun rides and games for New Year’s Eve. Needless to say, this is extremely popular, so purchasing tickets in advance is a must.
Singapore is a shopping heaven, and New Year’s Eve is the best time for it too. Many malls stay open 24/7 during the festivities, and places like Mustafa Centre and DON DON DONKI are ideal for shopping enthusiasts.
5. NYE in Osaka, Japan
The city of Osaka is famous for its food and nightlife, and it’s a great place to celebrate New Year’s Eve. This is one of the best things to do in Japan!
One of the most popular activities for New Year’s Eve in Japan is ‘hatsumode,’ which is the year’s first visit to a shrine or temple, and trains run throughout the night on NYE to accommodate all the people traveling for this. There are lots of ancient temples in the Osaka area, and you can also do short day trips to others in nearby Nara or Kyoto.
If you’re mainly wanting to enjoy a typical New Year’s Eve celebration with fireworks, music, or a New Year’s Eve countdown, you can see those at Kitamido Temple or Universal Studios Japan, which usually put on a good show.
Osaka is a big city, so there are lots of other great activities that might be a fun way to spend New Year’s Eve. A favorite area for nightlife in Osaka is the Dotonbori district, which is loaded with good restaurants, food stalls, bars and cafes, and interesting things to see and do. It’s a foodie paradise, and it really comes alive after dark!
6. NYE in Goa, India
Celebrating New Year’s Eve in Goa should be on your bucket list if you love the beach and are looking for a warm destination to start your new year. Goa is located in India, some 600 kilometers to the south of Mumbai.
The region is a former Portuguese colony, which can still be seen in the Goan architecture and food culture. People are laid back and a friendly lot. Most understand English perfectly well and are used to accommodate travelers from around the world.
Goa was a popular place for the Hippie movement back in the day, and you can still catch on this vibe. Celebrate at a beach party for New Year for an unforgettable experience.
Psychedelic Trance dominates the music scene, but you can also find techno and house music parties across the state. The most popular party areas are located in North Goa, such as Baga beach or Vagator beach. Unique tribal feels with jam sessions can be experienced in Ashwem beach or Arambole beach.
Both places are connected by a large and long beach. Another insider tip is to spend your new year’s at Palolem beach, down in the south. Palolem is known for its perfect beach and the relaxed bay it is located in.
Our favorite hangout is always at the Cozy Nook because the atmosphere is a St.Tropez meats “The Beach” movie place. Go for a sunset walk, enjoy a cocktail, talk and make new friends with people from around the world and celebrate the onset of a glorious new year in Goa!
7. NYE in Abu Dhabi
The weather in Abu Dhabi is absolutely perfect over the Festive period attracting lots of visitors. The Emirate celebrates New Year in style in the form of lavish brunches and banquets, not to mention some of the most elaborate fireworks displays in the world.
In fact, last year Abu Dhabi had the biggest firework display in the world on Al Maryah Island close to Al Reem and the infamous Saadiyat Island.
Featuring a 3D drone show it could be seen from multiple places around the city. However, there are also displays along the Corniche and Yas Island. Yas is a hub for tourists with many attractions such as Ferrari World, Warner Bros and Yas Waterworld.
The best place to be on NYE is either at The Rosewood Hotel or any of the establishments in Yas Bay. With banquet dinners and parties into the night it is a fantastic place to see the fireworks.
Many hotels and establishments offer packages for the night, and some also offer New Year’s Day deals with unlimited soft drinks and liquor.
Interestingly, Islamic New Year is based on the moon and falls at a different time of year. However, no matter the celebration, be it Christmas, Diwali, Easter, or Eid, everything is celebrated in style in Abu Dhabi.
8. NYE in Mauritius
Mauritius. Recommended by Jan of Jan Adventures.
Mauritius is one of the best places to spend New Year’s Eve if you’re looking for a destination to escape winter in January. It’s a faraway place from Europe with an 11+ hours flight, but only a two-hour difference in terms of timezone.
Mauritius is an island country in the Indian Ocean, located off the eastern coast of Africa. The island is volcanic in origin and almost entirely surrounded by coral reefs. The capital is Port Louis.
It is a perfect place to go with warm temperatures (around 25-29°C or 80-84° F) and many activities to do. From kitesurfing lessons, snorkeling with dolphins, biking and hiking, and you can even opt to stay at the most beautiful resort on the beach next to a huge rock mountain for the scene.
The 5-star hotel, LUX Le Morne, is located on the far southwest edge of the island and it offers a scenic view. The mountain next to the hotel is called ‘Le Morne Brabant’ and has a peak of 556 meters (1824 feet) above sea level. We went on a guided tour one day to climb to the top of this mountain. It was amazing!
For New Year’s Eve, the hotel put on a glamorous evening complete with many decorations and a band that was playing on a platform inside the pool. You can have champagne, delicious food, and top-notch service and entertainment during the celebration. By midnight, you can also watch the beautiful fireworks surrounding this beautiful island.
If you are up for going somewhere far and isolated for your New Year’s celebration, Mauritius is the place!
9. NYE in Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is a great place to visit for New Year’s Eve if you want to enjoy sunny summer weather, relax on the beach, and party. You can enjoy New Year’s Eve without worrying about getting cold.
The city offers a great variety of New Year activities, such as fireworks at V&A Waterfront, open-air concerts, themed parties, festivals, and special activities for families with children.
Victoria and Albert Waterfront is the best area to stay in the city for celebrating New Year’s Eve. Here you can find open-air stages, restaurants with live music, street shows, etc. The largest city party takes place here. It usually starts between 6 pm and 7 pm and reaches its peak by midnight with the midnight countdown at the Clock Tower.
Every year the party has a different theme that is usually announced a month before. From the Waterfront, you can enjoy impressive midnight fireworks with Table Mountain in the background.
Doing a boat cruise from the Waterfront is another great way to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Cape Town. The boats offer live DJ music, food, and drinks.
For a special New Year’s Eve, you can go to the top of Table Mountain and enjoy stunning views of the night city and the fireworks from the top.
10. NYE in Istanbul, Turkey
If you’re looking for somewhere different to ring in the new year in style, then perhaps you might enjoy spending it in Istanbul! This vibrant city is always alive with energy and is world-famous for its nightlife, and on New Year’s Eve, the party is taken to a whole new level.
There are plenty of things to do in Istanbul on New Year’s Eve, from dazzling fireworks displays over the Bosporus Strait to lively nightclubs hosting their own parties, there’s something for everyone in this amazing city.
One of the best ways to spend New Year’s Eve in Istanbul is by watching the fireworks display on a Bosphorus cruise. As the boat sails along the strait, guests can enjoy delicious Turkish food and drinks while taking in the stunning nighttime views of both the European and Asian side of the city.
Another option is to join in on the festivities at Taksim Square, where there are often street parties filled with music, dancing, and some of Istanbul’s top street food.
Of course, no New Year’s Eve is complete without spending time with friends and family, enjoying delicious food and drink, and having a good time. Turkish people are some of the most friendly in the world, and they love to celebrate.
Full disclosure, bag snatchers and pickpockets are rife this time of year, but as long as you keep your valuables safe, it won’t spoil your fun! Just head to a rooftop bar for drinks, and you’ll stay out of trouble. Istanbul is totally safe!
11. NYE in Barcelona, Spain
Spending New Year’s Eve in Barcelona is a wonderful way to say goodbye to one year and welcome in the next.
The official New Year’s Celebration is held on Avinguda Maria Cristina next to Plaça Espanya, with a light and music performance at the Magic Fountain followed by an impressive fireworks display just before midnight, all of which is completely free.
The metro system runs all night, although it will be busy, especially after midnight, so if you don’t fancy braving the crowds, then book accommodation with a rooftop terrace so you can watch fireworks all around the city without even leaving your hotel.
Plaça Catalunya is another popular gathering place on New Year’s Eve, where locals gather to drink cava and eat their lucky grapes – one at each stroke of midnight – then throw their empty bottles into the centre of the square.
One other fun tradition in Barcelona is to wear red underwear on new Year’s Eve – it’s supposed to bring good luck!
No matter what you choose to do on New Year’s Eve, it will be a night to remember, then taking a walk along the beach on New Year’s Day is a great way to clear your head!
Then you have the rest of the fabulous things to do in Barcelona to enjoy, from admiring Gaudí’s designs at the iconic Sagrada Familia to strolling down la Rambla and exploring the Gothic Quarter.
12. NYE in Rome, Italy
If you are looking for an epic destination to celebrate New Year’s Eve, look no further than Rome, the Eternal City!
With epic firework shows in impressive places and in the historical center like Piazza del Popolo, you can join thousands of others in ringing the new year in from one of the most historical places in Europe. Like in Spain, Italian tradition also believes wearing red underwear will bring good luck for the new year!
Your last dinner should also be lentils – tradition says that the more hot lentils you can grab with your hand and eat on New Year’s Eve, the more money you will be blessed with the coming year. If this is true or not, it can be worth having a good portion of lentils just in case, though I would probably avoid using my hands in a restaurant.
Rome in winter is truly magical. With Christmas lights lighting up the dark cobblestoned streets, giving it a warm light in the cool winter evenings, it is one of the best times of the year to spend in the Eternal City.
If it is your first time in Rome, you will want to visit the most famous sites like the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and St. Peter’s Church. But even if you have traveled there many times before, there are enough hidden gems to keep you occupied. Peek through the Keyhole of the Order of Malta or get spooked in the Bone Chapel.
13. NYE in London, England (UK)
London is one of the most spectacular places to celebrate New Year’s Eve. The fireworks display by the river Thames and London Eye is one of the biggest annual events in the world. Moreover, the countdown on Big Ben – the most iconic tower on our planet is a unique New Year’s experience.
Therefore, visit London in winter to admire not only beautiful fireworks but also observe unique illuminations in the sky. Millions of pounds are allocated every year to celebrate this event so the city of London will not let you down.
Moreover, London also hosts the largest Chinese New Year celebration outside Asia. So, if you want to watch some incredible performances and try delicious Chinese cuisine, visit London at the end of January/beginning of February.
Chinatown in London is a truly magical place to visit. However, New Year’s parade starts near Trafalgar Square and flying dragons wander the busy streets of London and delight millions of visitors. Just keep in mind that this area can get really busy. Moreover, wearing red clothes in Chinese culture on New Year’s Eve will bring you fortune for the next year. Participating in this event is the best way to learn more about China and experience a unique New Year’s Eve in Europe.
14. NYE in Tromsø, Norway
Tromsø is an exciting place to spend the holidays with its many wintertime activities. You can ski, sled, hike, snowmobile, dog sled, snowshoe, whale watch, visit reindeer, and so much more!
It’s a great way to start off the new year in nature. The end of December falls in the period of the polar night, when the sun does not rise at any point in the day. Despite the lack of sun, the town is beautifully lit by the dazzling Christmas lights. The sky is also often lit by the Northern Lights.
On New Year’s Eve, Tromsø puts on quite the fireworks show. It’s great to watch it from the bridge or at Storsteinen, a mountain peak you can reach by cable car.
Many of the hotels and lodges have special New Year’s Eve dinners, excursions, and private fireworks displays. What better way to ring in the new year than on an exciting adventure through the snow, whether you are snowmobiling, dog sledding, or chasing the magical Aurora Borealis?
Or, if you want a more chill evening, book a cozy place and treat yourself to some relaxing sauna time or champagne while soaking in a hot tub. If you stay at a glass dome hotel, you can enjoy the gorgeous night sky, and possibly the Northern Lights, from the comfort of your own bed!
15. NYE in Vik, Iceland
If you’re looking for a unique place to ring in the New Year, consider Vik, a small town located along Iceland’s wild and beautiful southern coastline.
Spend the day of New Year’s Eve, exploring Vik’s otherworldly scenery. For example, Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach is absolutely jaw-dropping, with jet black sand, jagged sea stacks towering out of the ocean, and dramatic cliffside of columnar basalt. It’s so majestic-looking, in fact, that it was used as a shooting location for Game of Thrones.
After a day of exploring the beach, head to one of the nearby hot springs, like the Seljavallalaug Pool, located just 20 minutes west of Vik. Here, you can soak in the warm waters and take in the views of the surrounding green hills.
Given Iceland’s famously long nights during the winter season, your visit will likely overlap with sunset. Hang around for a while, soaking in the warm water, and wait for the dark of night to fall. If you’re lucky, the Northern Lights may flicker to life overhead- December is one of the best times of year to see the Aurora Borealis!
Icelanders have adopted the Nordic tradition of lighting the cold and long winter nights with enormous community bonfires- come New Years, there’s usually well over 100 fires sprinkled throughout the country. Attend the one in Vik, closing out the year amongst the warm fiery glow and new friends. Just make sure to include some warm layers on your Iceland packing list– it gets quite frigid here in the winter, even with an enormous bonfire to warm up the night!
16. NYE in Niagara Falls, Ontario (Canada)
Niagara Falls, Ontario in Canada. Recommended by Nina of Ottawa Things to Do.
Most people head to Toronto for New Year’s Eve in Canada, but locals know the truly best place to spend NYE is at Niagara Falls.
Every year, Niagara Parks offers a unique midnight celebration. The surrounding snowy parks are filled with the Winter Festival of lights, with sculptures created from hundreds of strands of Christmas lights.
The outdoor convention center hosts the Niagara Falls Music Live, a show of over 75 performers across the week leading up to and including New Year’s Eve. Typically the lineups are Canadian performers only, but in recent years some American artists have crossed the border to celebrate in the true north.
But the best part of New Year’s in Niagara is the fireworks display over the falls. The falls are lit up in an array of lights that make them look like an aurora borealis, while hundreds of fireworks are lit over the banks.
You can start the evening with a bang by visiting a prix fixe dinner with local Niagara region wines (some of the best in Canada!). Table Rock House Restaurant has a very popular option for this, but be sure to make reservations well in advance, as they fill up quickly!
There are road closures during the event, so it’s best to either stay at a hotel close to the falls, or to take a taxi so you don’t have to worry about parking.
17. NYE in Vancouver, BC (Canada)
Most people travel to Vancouver, Canada, in the summer months when the weather is warmest and can enjoy the beaches. However, don’t discount the colder months. If you visit Vancouver in December, you’ll enjoy three ski hills within a 30-minute drive of downtown.
You can enjoy magnificent light displays at the Capilano Suspension Bridge, VanDusen Botanical Gardens, and LaFarge Lake in the evenings.
But New Year’s brings a bizarre tradition practiced by many Canadians – the polar bear swim! As the name suggests, Vancouverites strip down to almost bare bodies and take a dip in the ocean at English Bay.
The average ocean temperature is around 44°F or 7°C. With frigid waters, polar bear swimmers often get intoxicated and dress in ludicrous costumes. In fact, event organizers encourage costumes, which act as a layer to stay warm.
Now, the event doesn’t just take place in the ocean! Communities everywhere participate and often use a lake. If it’s a frigid winter, event organizers may need to break the ice before participants can take the icy plunge. The event started in Vancouver in the 1920s, and it’s still going stronger more than 100 years later. While it sounds crazy, it’s a lasting tradition that has spread across the country!
18. NYE in Quebec City, Quebec (Canada)
Begin the new year in one of North America’s oldest cities. Quebec City is known for its culture, maple syrup, and hockey, among other things. There certainly are lots of fun and exciting activities to try, but celebrating New Year’s Eve here is quite underrated and not overly popular. That’s what makes it an even better place to celebrate the occasion, as you will be able to blend in with the locals and experience it just as they do!
The entire city comes alive with lively bars, pop-up vendors selling snacks and alcohol, and outdoor DJs filling the air with cheerful music. Traffic is blocked all along Grande Allee and you can easily hop from one venue to another for the most epic night of partying and festivities. There are even ice sculptures lining up the streets for a unique and incredible sight!
Those traveling children will absolutely have a great time too. The vast Parc de la Francophonie transforms into a fun festival ground with family-friendly rides like the carousel, snow slide, and Ferris wheel, from which you can view the city as it’s lit up with enchanting light projections.
Not to mention the array of winter sports and activities. Every end of the year, Quebec residents would flock to Battlefields Park for some cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or simply walking around in the snow. Truly a heaven for the adrenaline junkies out there!
19. NYE in New York City, NY (USA)
Looking for one of the best places to visit for New Year’s Eve? If so, then you can’t beat New York City!
And while many people come here to watch the ball drop in Times Square, you may not want to do this in person. Not only is it cold and will Times Square be packed with people, but the area actually closes by noon on New Year’s Eve.
Therefore, you will be forced to stand outside, in the frigid cold, for over twelve hours. Instead, try something different and enjoy one of the many best things to do in NYC after midnight.
So, you could hop on a Circle Line cruise and sail through New York Harbor. Along the way, you’ll enjoy incredible views of the Statue of Liberty while sipping on drinks, gazing out at fireworks, and savoring delicious food.
Alternatively, head to a rooftop restaurant where you can watch the ball drop on TV, marvel at aerial views of the local fireworks, and dig into an incredible meal. And some great spots to do this include The View at Times Square or the Peak NYC at Edge Hudson Yards.
However, if you’re not a fan of crowds and want to avoid Manhattan altogether, then head to Grand Army Plaza in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, and watch the fireworks from there. After all, the views above Long Meadow are exceptional and you’ll be able to enjoy live music as well as food and drinks too.
20. NYE in Key West, FL (USA)
If you’re searching for one of the best places to visit for New Year’s Eve, then consider heading down to Key West, Florida for a little fun in the sun.
Not only is the weather mild, with highs around 75°F or 24°C, but there are a ton of exciting and super quirky new year’s eve festivities that you won’t find anywhere else.
So, feel free to ring in the New Year by heading to 801 Bourbon Bar, which is one of the best bars in Key West for nightlife. It’s a popular gay bar where you can watch the famous female impersonator Sushi in the iconic “Red Shoe Drop”. In fact, this event is so iconic that it is actually covered by CNN annually and has been a staple in the Key West community for the past twenty-four years.
See, right before midnight, an exquisitely dressed Sushi is lowered from the balcony down, toward the crowd below in an enormous red high heel shoe. And in addition to the “Red Shoe Drop,” you can also enjoy Sushi’s humor and other live performances from various local talents.
However, this is not the only “drop” in Key West. So, you could always watch them drop a key lime wedge at Ocean Key House or attend a free concert at Sunset Pier instead.
Additionally, there’s also an enormous Conch Shell that is dropped at Sloppy Joe’s and a pirate wench that is dropped at Schooner Wharf Bar.
21. NYE in Las Vegas, NV (USA)
There’s no better place to spend New Year’s Eve than a place known for its party atmosphere – Las Vegas!
There’s over 100 free things to do in this city, making it the perfect place to visit for solo travelers, couples, and even families. From themed dining, concerts, clubs, and amusement parks to museums, gardens, cultural experiences, and tours, there’s something for everybody in Las Vegas!
The Las Vegas Strip is the best free place to see New Year’s Eve fireworks. Every year the biggest hotels join together to create a free choreographed performance, set to music, with over 80,000 fireworks launched from the rooftops of all the major hotels on Las Vegas Boulevard.
If you’re willing to spend a little more money, Fremont Street hosts its own ticketed party called the Time of Your Life Festival. This yearly event is the official New Year’s Eve party for Las Vegas, featuring live performances by popular bands, pyrotechnics, and the world’s largest video screen which spans four whole blocks long.
During the daytime, there are also plenty of free shows to watch along the Strip. If it’s your first time visiting Vegas, be sure to watch the volcano erupt in front of the Mirage Hotel. You can also attend a free circus at the Circus Circus Hotel or watch a Venetian Opera at the Venetian Hotel.
You’ll never run out of things to do during New Year’s in Vegas, so you definitely should consider this city for your next celebration!
22. NYE in Woodstock, VT (USA)
If you are looking for one of the best places to spend New Year in the USA, you should add Woodstock in Vermont to the top of your list.
Woodstock is a small, quaint town and also one of the most beautiful towns in the United States, for a reason. Considered one of the best things to do in Vermont in winter, there are a lot of great places to check out while visiting Woodstock, with lots of history such as the stunning classic New England architecture, the dreamy covered bridges, plenty of outdoor activities, amazing local shopping and also the opportunity to enjoy the amazing fresh farm-to-table restaurants.
New Year in Woodstock is perfect, as the downtown has plenty of fun options, whether you are into a draft beer, wine, fine dinner, or dancing all night long. Here you will find something for everyone, and all within walking distance.
And if you are looking to celebrate the New Year at a big event, a great option is to book your hotel at the Woodstock Inn & Resort and join the gala celebration, including a large dinner buffet and sparkling wine.
Woodstock is a great place to visit all year long, but it turned into a magic place during wintertime when the town is decorated, making it look like you are inside a movie. Here you can also find local artists, craftspeople, and purveyors that capture the Vermont winter wonderland spirit.
23. NYE in Chicago, IL (USA)
Chicago, Illinois in the USA. Recommended by Alyssa of An Apple A Plane.
Consider spending New Year’s Eve in the third largest city in the United States – Chicago, Illinois! From dazzling fireworks over Chicago’s Skyline to limitless shows, a New Year’s Eve in the windy city is one to remember.
One of the top shows to see is Blue Man Group. This quirky, interactive show annually provides a New Year’s special at midnight. Looking to laugh the night away? Chicago’s many comedy clubs do not let down. If a ballroom event is more your style, Chicago hotels put on a variety of luxurious New Year celebrations annually. Be sure to buy tickets in advance!
Chicago’s incredible New Year’s Fireworks display takes place at Navy Pier and on the Chicago River. Both displays last about 15 minutes and can be watched from a free location. For an alternative view, consider taking a Fireworks Cruise to check out the colorful sky from the water.
Before the clock strikes 12, you can enjoy a variety of daytime adventures. Infamous Millenium Park hosts an ice skating rink each winter, with rental skates available on site. Lines can be long, so plan ahead! Millennium Park also paves the way for iconic Chicago staples like The Bean. Chicago hosts two Christkindlmarkts, located in Daley Plaza and Wrigleyville.
24. NYE in San Francisco, CA (USA)
New Year’s Eve in San Francisco offers some incredible options for your celebratory evening ranging from epic parties to a romantic night with a loved one in a hotel with a view.
There are parties all over the city at high-end clubs and local bars that have crowds that spill out into the streets. One of the best parties is a classy affair at the Top of the Mark on Nob Hill, where you can listen to live jazz and enjoy 360 degrees views of the city.
Fireworks are the big show and how most partygoers in the city choose to ring in the New Year. San Francisco puts on an epic display, which is launched from a barge on the water with the stunning backdrop of the Bay Bridge.
Another way to see the fireworks is to book a cruise where you can sip champagne and dance the night away. A more romantic option is to pack a blanket, head up to Twin Peaks, and watch the firework displays around the whole bay from the best view in the city.
Before you party, you should dine out and enjoy the cuisine in one of the best food cities in the world. Start your New Year’s Eve celebration off right with dinner at one of the city’s Michelin Three Star restaurants like Quince or Atelier Crenn, where you will be treated to a tasting menu that will be the star of your evening.
A New Year’s Eve in San Francisco will make memories that will last a lifetime, from incredible parties to world-class dining.
25. NYE in Honolulu, HI (USA)
Honolulu is great to visit at any time of the year, but New Year’s Eve is extra special with lots of exciting activities!
The main event is a magnificent fireworks show at Waikiki Beach; you won’t want to miss this dazzling show! Many restaurants offer a set menu dining experience on New Year’s Eve, where you can enjoy dinner, drinks, and often live entertainment.
The Hilton Hawaiian Village offers a special New Year’s Eve luau. The rooftop bar and club Sky Waikiki has an exciting and glitzy New Year’s Eve party, which also has a great view of the fireworks.
If you want to be out on the water, check out the Star of Honolulu’s special New Year’s Eve Dinner Cruise and Show, with a fantastic perspective of the Waikiki fireworks!
Many people use the New Year as a time to take a breath and rest from the busy season. What better way to do that than to spend some time in nature? Take a swim, go surfing, kayaking, hiking, or just relax on the beach!
It’s a perfect way to reset for the coming year. If you want to wake up early (or have stayed up all night!), seeing the sunrise on the first day of the new year is always exciting. From Waikiki, you can see it rise over Diamond Head crater, or head to the east side of the island and enjoy a beach sunrise at Lanikai or Sandy Beach.
26. NYE in Jamaica
One of the most vibrant and exciting Caribbean destinations, Jamaica is your go-to destination for New year’s Eve if you want to spice up your celebration with some Reggae and sun.
All the big luxury all-inclusive hotels always go out of their way to organize your New Year’s Eve with a scrumptious meal, music all night long and special shows. Some of them will also have fireworks for sure, in case this is important to you.
If you are staying in a small hotel that doesn’t have entertainment, worry not, because you will find a beach party where to celebrate among locals and other tourists. So much fun!
During the day before and after the New Year celebrations, you will bask on a white sand beach in the tropical weather sipping a margarita or a Red Stripe (local beer) and enjoy exploring some of the most exciting Jamaican attractions!
Among all the things to do in Jamaica, make sure you don’t miss the spectacular Rich falls in Port Antonio, the Mayfield Falls close to Negril, and Bob Marley home town.
If you are looking for the best area to stay and best hotel I would recommend Negril. It’s a laid back town on the west coast of the Island with a chilled atmosphere, the famous 7 miles beach and spectacular sunset.
Among the best all inclusive resorts in Negril and boutique hotels, I would recommend Couples Swept Away for the top luxury stay in an all-inclusive property in the best stretch of Negril beach, or the Idle Away if you prefer a more intimate boutique hotel on the beach.
Jamaica is indeed a special place for its incredible cultural heritage and its beautiful people, and the best place to welcome the new year.
27. NYE in Curacao
The beautiful Caribbean paradise, Curacao, has an amazingly warm climate of around 82°F or 28°C all year round, making it one of the best destinations to spend New Year’s Eve. Not only does it make a perfect place for a vacation, but there are also many ways to celebrate the New Year all night long without getting cold!
Apart from some roaring beach parties that go on all night long, there are many wonderful traditions that you can participate in to celebrate New Years’ Eve in Curacao. During the day, a mile-long string of firecrackers is lit in a ceremony to keep evil spirits away (Pagara).
On both major districts of Curacao’s capital Willemstad, Punda and Otrabanda, there will be plenty of stages and parties set up for you to dance the night away. Make sure to head over to the floating bridge that connects the Otrabanda to the Punda district for a huge firework show at midnight.
What’s more fun about celebrating New Year in Curacao is that many people here celebrate New Year’s Eve twice: once at midnight local time, and another at midnight in the Netherlands (around 7 PM local time). Celebrate the first day of the New Year at the Nieuwjaarsduik party (literally New Years’ jump) at Jan Thiel beach!
People jump into the water wearing knitted orange hats, as a tribute to the Netherlands’ freezing temperatures. All in all, you cannot go wrong with spending New Year’s Eve in Curacao, a colorful, happy tropical paradise!
28. NYE in Cancun, Mexico
What’s more original than spending New Year’s Eve in a warm Mexican Caribbean climate?
Cancun is one of the top Mexican Caribbean destinations where you can enjoy the festive celebration of the new coming year, watching fireworks from the beach or from the oceanfront balcony of your luxury resort in the Hotel Zone.
I think there is nothing more exciting than a Caribbean vacation to celebrate the new coming year. And, although there is no best time to travel to Cancun, December and January are the months with the best climate. In fact, it’s the dry season with warm sun and blue sky, with less humidity level than the summer, and no risk of rains or hurricanes.
It can rain sometimes, but it would be just a passing shower. Also, there is no sargassum issue at this time of the year.
Besides the spectacular fireworks organized by the Cancun government, the high-end hotels in Cancun always have a special program for New Year’s eve, with shows, great food, and whatnot.
And while you are waiting for the celebrations, you can enjoy all the most incredible tours and attractions that Cancun has to offer, from boat tours that include snorkeling, diving and sightseeing, to taking a dip in the mystical cenotes, visiting the ancient archaeological sites and take a day trip to the nearby Isla Mujeres.
If you are into parties, Cancun is not short of popular nightclubs such as Coco Bongo or Mandala, or party cruises and night shows.
There is so much to do in Cancun that you will never get bored, but you can also just enjoy the peaceful beach from your resort or get pampered in the spa, sip a margarita on your luxury beach bed and recharge for the new year.
29. NYE in Cartagena, Colombia
Watching fireworks from atop a colonial-era wall overlooking the Caribbean? You can find that in Cartagena, Colombia, which is without a doubt, one of the best places to visit for New Year’s Eve!
Cartagena was one of the gems of Spain’s New World colonies. You can see that evidence today with the lovely, former colonial-era mansions and fortifications that protected them from foreign invaders. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city wall remains mostly intact today.
There are also great beaches in the nearby Rosario Islands, meaning this is a perfect place to visit for New Year for those that want to escape winter weather at home.
For New Year’s Eve itself, many of the best restaurants and nightclubs in Cartagena have special events that often include dinner, open bars, and live entertainment. Many of them set up tables in the streets of the Walled City. You’ll want to get tickets in advance for one of these events. However, even if you don’t, you’ll be able to find somewhere to dance in the New Year in Cartagena.
And of course, be on the lookout for the fireworks! One of the best spots for watching them is on the wall itself, and you’ll be sure to see tourists and locals standing and sitting along the wall to bring in the New Year. Finally, if you want to participate in a very Colombian New Year’s tradition, eat 12 grapes just after midnight for good luck throughout the year!
30. NYE in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
For fans of fireworks shows, Rio de Janeiro is one of the best destinations to spend New Year’s Eve. Every year, the iconic Copacabana Beach is the stage for all-night concerts and a unique fireworks show overlooking the ocean!
The beach concert is entirely free, but people gather early to make sure they guarantee a good spot as many visitors from different parts of Brazil and abroad come to Rio to experience NYE in the city.
Rio is a large and diverse city that offers a great variety of things to do all year round. Still, the end-of-the-year holidays are a special time to be in the city because Rio becomes fully alive during this festive period. Since it is the middle of summer, there is no shortage of things to do.
Some of the most popular activities among visitors include spending the day at the beach sipping fresh coconut water, visiting the famous Maracanã Stadium, taking a boat tour around Baia de Guanabara, and eating amazing local dishes such as moqueca and feijoada.
When visiting Rio over the holidays, it is a good idea to stay at least three or four full days in town so you have enough time to explore the city, as this is a very busy period for tourism!
31. NYE in Tahiti, French Polynesia
If you’re looking for a relaxing place to ring in the New Year, consider visiting French Polynesia’s largest island, Tahiti.
The island may be remote, but there are still lots of celebrations and parties to be found at various rooftop bars and hotels. In fact, one of the largest public celebrations can be found in the heart of the capital, Papeete, along the Waterfront Esplanade, where all the locals gather to watch the fireworks!
And to complement your New Year’s celebrations, the island has lots of activities to help you start the New Year in the best way possible. For instance, if you’re looking to recenter yourself mentally, head to any one of the island’s many iconic black sand beaches.
Meanwhile, if you want to get your heart rate pumping and have the experience of a lifetime, consider surfing the smooth waves of Tahiti. The island is known to be a popular destination for experienced surfing enthusiasts, but there are even beginner-friendly breaks. So don’t be afraid to take advantage of the perfect opportunity for an exciting water adventure!
Thus, with the picture-perfect beaches and the lush mountainous interior, Tahiti is never a bad choice to start the new year!
After all, what’s a better way to celebrate New Year than traveling to a new place and check it on your bucket list? Whether you travel local or prefer to travel far away from home, spending your New Year’s Eve in a new place can give you an unforgettable moment and new experience.
So, are you ready to celebrate the next New Year’s Eve somewhere new? Do you have any favorite places to spend your New Year? Share in the comment below, and cheerio! 😉
Marya The BeauTraveler
I am the founder and main editor at The BeauTraveler. I spent 4 years working in the aviation industry, but ironically got to travel more right after quitting the industry in 2015. Born and raised in Indonesia, I started working remotely in 2017 and while I stay at home most of the time, I also regularly spend 2-3 months living a semi-digital nomad life elsewhere every year.
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