By Lauren LeBrun, on November 30, 2016

Best places to celebrate New Year’s Eve around the world

Ah, New Year’s Eve. The annual night of countdowns, confetti, and champagne. It’s without a doubt one of the most festive evenings of the year. After all, it’s the only holiday that (almost) the entire world celebrates. My husband and I are backpacking around the globe this year, so I wanted to research the best places to ring in 2017. Here are the New Year’s Eve celebrations around the word that I discovered.

Nashville on New Year's Eve
Nashville on New Year’s Eve

United States

New York City is undoubtedly the most popular and iconic place to celebrate New Year’s Eve. More than one million people flock to Times Square and one billion people watch the broadcast from around the world. That’s crazy! But what about the other cities in the United States? Las Vegas and New Orleans are also two popular spots. Las Vegas celebrates by shutting down the Strip and hosting a massive block party. Around 300,000 people attend and the casinos put on a fantastic fireworks show. New Orleans has live music, a packed party in the French Quarter, and a fireworks display over the Mississippi River. Another top contender is Nashville. The Music City hosts a street party in front of the State Capitol building with a country music concert, fireworks show, and the Music Note Drop. Other honorable mentions are Chicago, Hawaii, Los Angeles, Miami, and Orlando.

The sun over Rio de Janiero
The sun over Rio de Janiero

South America

Rio de Janiero is one of the top places to spend New Year’s Eve in South America. Everyone dresses in white to bring good luck in the new year. Many people also wear red to channel a year filled with romance. Copacabana Beach hosts the city’s biggest party with live concerts for a wide variety of music. Samba, rock, pop, and EDM keep the crowd dancing all night. Partygoers pop champagne bottles and share them anyone nearby. It’s a fun way to meet new people! When the clock strikes midnight, a massive fireworks show is displayed over the sea. But the night isn’t over year. Parties continue well into the morning for those with enough energy. Other fun New Years Eve parties in South America happen in Buenos Aires, Cartagena, Lima, Punta del Este, and Valparaíso.

Edinburgh Castle at night
Edinburgh Castle at night


Edinburgh hosts one of the best New Year’s Eve parties in Europe. The bash is called ‘Hogmanay’ and it’s a three day festival from December 30 to January 1. On December 30, the festivities kicks off with a Torchlight Procession. Thousands of people carry torches through the city centre and it ends with the lighting of the Bonfire and an incredible light, sound, and fireworks shows. On December 31, traditional Scottish music and dancing happens in the Old Town, while a street party with DJs and modern music entertains in the gardens of Edinburgh Castle. There are also four fireworks shows that happen ever hour until the clock strikes midnight. On January 1, there are more concerts, an arts festival, and crowds of people jump into the freezing River Forth. Other fun New Year’s Eve bashes in Europe are hosted in Amsterdam, Berlin, Dubrovnik, London, Paris, Reykjavik, and Vienna.

Hong Kong city skyline
Hong Kong city skyline


Most of the major capitals in Asia host incredible New Year’s Eve festivities, but Hong Kong puts on one of the most impressive ones. Hong Kong has its own Times Square, which celebrates with a ball drop similar to the one in New York City. The glittering city skyline line is beautiful all year around, but it’s especially dazzling on New Years Eve. Luxe parties continue all night long and they are known for their lavish decor and celebrations. They happen on cruises, beaches, and also in clubs and ballrooms. When the clock strikes midnight, a huge musical fireworks show happens right over the water in Victoria Harbour. Other fun New Year’s Eve parties in Asia are in Bangkok, Goa, Kyoto, Phuket, Singapore, and Tokyo.

New Year's Eve in Sydney
New Year’s Eve in Sydney

South Pacific 

Sydney puts on one of the largest (if not the largest) fireworks display in the entire world on New Year’s Eve. It’s one of the first major cities to ring in the new year and it certainly knows how to start things off with a bang. The evening begins with a stunt airplane performing an aerial show and a tug boat spouting a water show in Sydney Harbour. Cultural dance and art shows continue after sunset, while parties around town start to heat up. A family fireworks display happens at 9:00 p.m. for kids to enjoy before their early bed times. Shortly after, ships decorated in colorful lights sail across the harbour in sync to music. At midnight, fireworks shoot off of Sydney Harbour Bridge and barges in the harbour below. Other fun New Year’s Eve parties in the South Pacific happen in Auckland, Byron Bay, Melbourne, and Wellington.

No matter which continent you are on, it’s guaranteed that a fun celebration is happening nearby. In North America, you can find super fun celebrations in Calgary and Mexico City. You can also party on the beach in the Bahamas or the Caribbean. In Africa, extravagant parties happen in Cape Town and Casablanca. There are even New Year’s Eve cruises that go to Antarctica! The options are endless. So what are you waiting for? Treat yourself this year and start planning an epic New Year’s Eve.

Where in the world do you want to celebrate New Year’s Eve?