Leave the hats and noisemakers behind: We bring you 11 of the best places to ring in the New Year. Music, drinks, and fireworks are just some of the fun ways to spend New Year’s Eve, but our top picks sure know how to throw a party. Remember to consider early booking bonuses and tripcentral.ca promotions when planning your New Year’s vacations. Book early, because hotel rooms sell out and prices soar. Where will you be when the clock strikes midnight?
Known for its reputation as a party city, Berlin does not disappoint on New Year’s Eve. Their open-air street party is possibly Europe’s largest, and undoubtedly one of the best places to ring in the New Year, with almost one million guests in attendance annually. It extends the 2km stretch from the Brandenburg Gate to the Victory Column referred to as “Party Mile.” All the traditional delicacies like currywurst and beer are in abundance. Food and drink tents, national and international artists and light shows are all part of the spectacle. The remarkable firework display at midnight leads to a DJ dance party that extends into the morning. Cure your hangover on New Year’s Day with the 4km long 40th Berlin New Year’s Eve Run and start your exercise resolutions off right.
While Vegas is known for its celebrations all year long, New Year’s Eve takes the party cake. Gather your craziest friends and head down to Sin City for a celebration full of neon lights, celebrity concerts, and packed nightclubs with 300,000 others. The 6km strip is closed to traffic for the street party. At midnight, casinos launch a choreographed fireworks display from the rooftops (MGM Grand, Aria, Planet Hollywood, and Caesars Palace are some of the participants) before crowds head the clubs to bust a move. Enjoy the chaos from a ritzy restaurant window where you can observe the fireworks or take part in the action outdoors. If your type of party is hitting the nightclubs until the early morning, Vegas is the place for you. If you want a more laid-back evening, opt for a Broadway show or lounging in an elegant hotel room with champagne and your significant other.
If you can’t make it to Las Vegas over New Year’s, Bally’s hotel lets you experience something like it year round. A replica of the New York City ball, the sparkling Swarovski Crystal Starburst is 14-feet in diameter. It drops during a 3-minute light and sound show every single night, showcasing the ball’s 900 crystal spheres.
A party fit for a Queen, London’s New Year’s Eve celebrations centre around the River Thames, where the lightshow and fireworks display start at midnight. Crowds gather at different points of the city for a view: along the Embankment and the London Eye, atop the famous bridges, or around Big Ben to hear its midnight chimes. Afterwards, parties take place on the streets and in pubs. On New Year’s Day, a parade through central London attracts 500,000 spectators to see the marching bands, dancers, acrobats, musicians, and horses along the route.
NEW YORK CITY
New York City is celebrated as one of the best places to ring in the New Year. People start to gather early afternoon for the best spot to see the iconic ball drop in Times Square, the quintessential symbol of New Year’s Eve around the globe. A million people attend the event and over one billion watch the Ball Drop and huge name performances on TV. The ball, covered in over 2,500 crystal triangles, is 12 feet in diameter and weights over 11,000 pounds. The main event is followed by a quick firework display and a shower of colourful confetti released from the rooftops surrounding the square.
What can be even more magical is watching the ball drop from your hotel room in Times Square with the one you love. DoubleTree Suites Times Square, New York Marriott Marquis, and Hyatt Times Square each have guestrooms with direct views of the ball drop. Room service, anyone?
A close second after the Mardi Gras celebration is New Orleans’ version of a New Year’s Eve party. The street party starts off in Jackson Square in the French Quarter where musical performances entertain crowds, followed by the Fleur-De-Lis drop and midnight fireworks over the Mississippi River. Then, people take to Bourbon Street for booze, music, and bar hopping until the early morning. While you’re there, check out some must-see attractions and hidden gems listed in our blog post.
Ring in the New Year at the site of the world-famous waterfall. A renowned roster of musical talent delights approximately 50,000 spectators in Queen Victoria Park for performances and two firework displays. The Winter Festival of Lights is running during this time as well, where over 125 animated light displays and three million tree and ground lights illuminate a 5km route through the Niagara Parks landscape. Niagara Falls hotels near Queen Victoria Park include Comfort Inn Clifton Hill, Sheraton on the Falls, Marriott Gateway on the Falls, Courtyard Niagara Falls, and Crowne Plaza Niagara Falls.
Disney World gets even more magical on New Year’s Eve, with jam-packed theme parks and family friendly celebrations throughout the day and night. Kids get to celebrate with their favourite characters – surely a dream come true – making it top the list of fun ways to spend New Year’s Eve for children. Parks stay open until 1a.m. with DJ dance parties, lightshows, Cirque du Soleil performances, live entertainment and magnificent firework shows (usually once earlier in the evening and again at midnight). Arrive early at your park of choice because they will reach capacity – we wouldn’t recommend park hopping on this busy day. Our picks for the best Orlando resorts for New Year’s Eve celebrations at Disney World include Sheraton Vistana, Nickelodeon Family Suites, Melia Orlando, World Center Marriott, and of course, Disney resorts, which include complimentary shuttle transportation to and from the parks.
There’s no more suitable place to pop champagne than in Paris. The City of Light gets even shinier during the Eiffel Tower lightshow and firework display. People watch from the grassy Champ de Mars area surrounding the Tower or atop Montmartre village. Others take part in the street party on the famous Champs-Elysees or take a romantic dinner cruise on the Seine. At the stroke of midnight, people exchanges kisses and papillottes, traditional chocolate treats.
Touristy celebrations aside, New Year’s Eve is an amazing time to experience the culture and community of Reykjavik. The night typically starts with a home-cooked dinner with family and friends (most restaurants are closed), followed by symbolic community bonfires to rid the troubles of the previous year, accompanied by singing and dancing. Later, most people watch the famous Icelandic comedy show on TV that is one of the highlights of the whole year. At midnight, people all over the city light their own fireworks to create a uniquely beautiful scene.
RIO DE JANEIRO
Over two million people take to the beaches of Copacabana dressed in white for good luck to partake in the Rio de Janeiro carnival. New Year’s Eve celebrations are an incarnation of Brazilian tradition and culture. Live DJs and bands encourage singing and dancing to everything from samba to rock. To celebrate the Ano Novo, people toss flowers into the ocean and await the fireworks at midnight over the water.
The Junkanoo festival takes place all over the country, but is most popular in Nassau where crowds gather to see the elaborate paradise floats and feel the unique Bahamian culture. The parade is an energetic spectacle featuring street performers, colourful costumes, and live music, with the sounds of cowbells, drums, and conch shells echoing through the night. Hotels like Atlantis and Grand Lucayan also throw their own bashes, but for an affordable resort experience in the city, we recommend Breezes Bahamas.