Whether you’re looking for a rocking party or a unique experience, there’s nothing like the energy on New Year’s Eve. Sometimes a New Year’s resolution needs a little outside perspective, or maybe you’ve been putting off completing your previous resolution of traveling to a new place. Either way, we’ll have some great suggestions for the best places to travel for New Year’s Eve!
- Party around the world and find your people in North or South America, Asia, Africa, or Europe; wherever the party takes you!
- Go beyond the usual celebrations and discover new cultures and traditions.
- Experience the world’s most famous cities and skylines at their best.
- Watch the fireworks (or spark your own) with romantic views and experiences.
Best Places To Travel For New Year’s Eve
New York City
Times Square Ball Drop
The Big Apple is known worldwide for its Times Square Ball Drop; there’s just no comparison to this celebration. Broadcast nationally as well as around the world, the countdown at Times Square is known as one of the largest New Year’s Eve celebrations in the United States. With live performances from 6 p.m. until countdown, Times Square offers one of our most famous New Year’s Eve traditions, as well as the most famous place for a midnight kiss.
It is best to get there early to grab a good spot to view the New Year’s Eve Ball, with many in attendance arriving as early as 2 or 3 p.m. The best view of the ball drop is from inside an area known as the “Bowtie” — an intersection of two triangles where Broadway and 7th Avenue meet. Locals know that the absolute best spot is between 42nd and 48th Streets, where you can easily see the New Year’s Eve ball drop as well as the jumbo video screens at 1 Times Square.
A few other tips for a successful night at Times Square: Dress for success! The weather in New York City can be unforgiving, especially around New Year’s Eve, so make sure you bundle up! Times Square participants usually end up standing outside for hours on end, so dress warm to make it through the night. It is also not possible to leave and re-enter the area before the ball drops. It is advisable to bring everything you’ll need to enjoy your evening and night. Also remember that there are no public restrooms in Times Square. Restaurants do not allow non-guests to use their restrooms, so be prepared to pay for a drink or small bite to enter.
If you are unable to get a good view of the ball drop, don’t worry. There are plenty of restaurants in the area that will be showing the festivities live on TV. You’re more than welcome to grab a seat at the bar and celebrate that way… if you can get a seat, that is!
The best seat in the house is up! I prefer to watch the New Year’s fireworks displays from above, preferably with a cocktail in hand. Bar 54 at the Hyatt Centric in Times Square has a bird’s eye view of the festivities. You can watch the live performances and ball drop from 54 stories up with a champagne toast.
For an extra special view of the festivities, an exclusive New Year’s Eve VIP party at St. Cloud — the rooftop bar at Hotel Knickerbocker — is just 150 feet away from the Times Square Ball! Enjoy a DJ duet of the year’s top 40 hits as well as hip-hop stylings while sipping on a complimentary glass of bubbly. Or travel to Our Wicked Lady in East Williamsburg for a more low-key rooftop party, laid-back vibes, and disco music. Whatever your style is, New York City has endless possibilities to party up in the night sky amongst the famous skyline.
Fireworks Over Coney Island
A landmark destination in Brooklyn, the various amusement park structures and historic buildings at Coney Island provide the perfect backdrop for a dazzling fireworks show. Starting with an amazing display of over 8,000 LED lights, the famous Parachute Jump landmark and Ferris wheel will offer a digital burst of color, followed by the first fireworks show of 2024. For more family-friendly events, come early to experience the Abe Stark Skating Rink, Deno’s Wonder Wheel, Thunderbolt roller coaster, and more. Free entertainment will also be available at the Steeplechase Plaza.
After taking in the fireworks spectacular, be sure to head over to Brooklyn Brewery’s Open Bar Dance Party to drink and dance the night away! Or if you’d rather skip the beer but keep the dancing, Parklife in Brooklyn is offering free events leading up to the countdown, as well as a dance party through midnight with DJ SUPES BASS. Admission is free with RSVP but not guaranteed, unless you purchase a $50 drinks package, which includes two house cocktails and a Prosecco toast at midnight.
If you want to spent New Years Eve on some other place in the U.S, there are lots of great places to choose from!
Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Réveillon On The Beach
Want to experience one of the largest New Year’s Eve celebrations in the world? Held on Copacabana Beach and attracting an estimated 2 million people, the largest and wildest New Year’s Eve party can be found in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Copacabana Beach consistently leads the lists of most amazing places in the world, and New Year’s Eve is sure to satisfy! The party starts around sunset with live music from DJs and midnight is marked by a fireworks display set off from cruise ships off the coast.
The party continues through the night at the beaches of Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leme. Exclusive parties can also be found at nightclubs, hotels, and even further up on Sugarloaf Mountain (known as Pão de Açúcar in Brazil). Brazilian New Year’s Eve traditions dictate an all-white dress code (except for your underwear!) so dress to impress.
Nightclubs And Bars
Famous for its nightlife, New Year’s Eve in Rio will not disappoint. Many resorts and hotels will have NYE packages available to reserve a spot for fireworks with cocktails, live music, and exclusive street parties. Hop into one of Rio’s thousands of nightclubs and dance until morning with live entertainment and some of the best dancers in the world. Located in the middle of Copacabana, underground nightclub Fosfobox hosts some of the best local and international musicians and DJs. In Rio, you can take the party straight from the beach to the club.
Party with an unforgettable view atop Sugarloaf Mountain and Morro da Urca. With a panoramic view of the party on the beach, you can take in the whole scene while having a little more elbow room. Watch all the fireworks shows happening at once down on the beach while enjoying an open bar, food, and live entertainment. The main party is held on Morro da Urca Mountain, but those willing to pay more can have access to the higher elevation parties on Sugarloaf Mountain.
Best Views Of The Fireworks
If you’re looking for the best places to view the spectacular midnight fireworks displays around Sydney, your options are plentiful. Sydney’s New Year’s Eve celebrations come with 10 different fireworks shows from barges and buildings around the city. Opt for views of the iconic Sydney Opera House or watch from the many beaches and parks. Just make sure to book your tickets in advance; some venues are selling out!
On The Water
The best views of Sydney are definitely from the water. Enjoy the reflection of the night sky, city lights, and fireworks over the water. There are plenty of family-friendly or all-inclusive cruises setting sail for the New Year’s Eve fireworks display around Sydney. So enjoy fine dining amidst the firework lights or an open bar to raise a midnight champagne toast on a pleasure cruise of the world-famous Sydney Harbour.
Bars And Nightclubs
There certainly is no shortage of bars and nightclubs around Sydney. Whether you choose fine dining and wine pairings or a pub crawl through town, you’re sure to have a great time. Enjoy a luxurious six-course meal with wine pairings and a view of the fireworks display over the harbor at Tayim. You can also party the night away on the Ultimate Pub Crawl 2023, beginning at World Square Sydney. The city offers a curated list of all the ticketed events for New Year’s Eve, so be sure to check it out and book ahead.
Countdown In Tokyo
For a Western-style celebration in Tokyo, there are a few bars and festivals that will be hosting a countdown party. Head to world-famous Shibuya to the Womb Tokyo nightclub for a five-story party with Japanese and International DJs on every floor. Or go to Makuhari Messe outside of Tokyo for an all-out, 4-day extravaganza of Japanese rock and roll with a countdown into the New Year.
For those looking for a more relaxed, family-friendly way to ring in the New Year, try a Tokyo Bay New Year cruise. Enjoy buffets or multiple-course meals complete with a New Year’s champagne toast and amazing views of the fireworks displays over Tokyo Bay.
Traditional Japanese New Year Customs
Japanese New Year is usually a time of quiet reflection with close family members. If you would prefer to experience a new culture to inspire your New Year’s resolutions, try these Japanese New Year’s Eve traditions to shed the old and invite the new.
Crafting Good-Luck Decorations
Some parks, stores, and temples around Tokyo will hold crafting events where you can learn to make traditional ornaments and decorations, such as kadomatsu and shimekazari. Placed at entrances and above doors, these decorations are used to invite good luck and blessings while warding off evil spirits.
Eat And Be Merry
Food is central to New Year’s celebrations in Japan, with special dishes designed to bring good fortune to those who eat them. Noodles are a symbol of long life across many Asian cultures, with toshikoshi soba (“buckwheat noodles”) symbolizing wishes of good luck and long life while breaking off the year’s misfortunes. Ozoni — a delicious stew with mochi, chicken, and vegetables — is a traditional first dish of the year and a staple New Year’s tradition in my household.
Joya No Kane: New Year’s Bells
An especially unique experience for New Year’s in Japan, Buddhist temples will ring their large bells 108 times just a few minutes before midnight. The number 108 in Buddhism represents human desires and the suffering they cause. The bells ring out to purify the minds and souls of those who hear it for the year to come.
One Big Party
Looking for one of the biggest New Year’s Eve parties around? Berlin is known around the world for its nightclubs and festivals, and New Year’s Eve is no exception. Party under the historic Brandenburg Gate in the open air as you ring in the New Year with thousands of other Berliners and tourists. Or celebrate New Year’s Eve in the Kulturbrauerei at the biggest indoor New Year’s party in Germany, which boasts 13 floors, 31 DJs, a huge fireworks display, and a midnight countdown. Either way, make sure to book your tickets ahead of time and bring a good coat.
Alternatively, you can spend the evening enriching yourself in Berlin’s classical music and theater scene. See a production of Romeo and Juliet, enjoy a performance by the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, or attend a gala at the Charlottenburg Palace. Ring in the New Year with style and class.
Cape Town, South Africa
Kiss Me At Midnight Cape Town
Enjoy dancing away under the night sky at one of the country’s biggest outdoor New Year’s Eve parties in one of its best outdoor venues. With two sound stages featuring South Africa’s top artists, international DJs, and world-class production, this electronic festival is a celebration of music, life, and romance.
Experience an art-immersive performance hosted by Cape Town High School. In collaboration with local artists and musicians, enjoy a spectacular show at the foot of Table Mountain in the heart of Cape Town. Immerse yourself in the art and local culture throughout this 12-hour performance based on fairies and other mystical, mythical creatures.
Disco Down In Cape Town
Get your boogie on at the Protea Fire and Ice by Marriott Cape Town. This Disco-themed spectacular is a New Year’s Eve party you won’t forget. With scenic views, a vibrant atmosphere, and multiple top-notch DJs to keep the night soaring, get ready to dance, toast, and party into the New Year. The dress code is “Dress to Impress!”
Party Like An Amsterdammer
From warehouse raves to classy cocktail bars to coffee shops, live it up in one of the most popular party cities in Europe. Although the Christmas markets close after December 26, the city continues to sparkle and glow with the Amsterdam Light Festival and festive holiday lights throughout the city streets. Public squares around Amsterdam will have plenty of activity as beer tents pop up and provide entertainment, drinks, and a cozy atmosphere to enjoy the holiday spirit.
Party in Amsterdam’s famous Red Light District with numerous options for low-key bars and intimate venues. Just a few minutes from the Red Light District, Belushi’s Bar is a lively electric bar popular with tourists for its affordable drinks. On New Year’s Eve, Belushi’s Bar will offer live DJs, dancers, confetti cannons, popular drink deals, and more. Or if bottles at a nightclub are more your style, check out Q-Factory’s New Year’s Eve Party for a night of eclectic music featuring Afro-house beats. Hundreds of options from bars to nightclubs will be available all over. Just make sure to book tickets in advance; the biggest attractions tend to sell out ahead of time.
Fine Dining With A View
Spend New Year’s Eve atop one of Amsterdam’s rooftop bars and restaurants to get a good view of the action in the streets. People often set off their own fireworks right in the middle of the street or on the many canal bridges, so watch from a safe distance and be careful where you walk!
Rated as one of the best rooftops in the city, Zoku hosts a spectacular New Year’s Eve bash with live bands, excellent dining from their living kitchen, and fabulous cocktails at their rooftop terrace. Tickets are available to reserve a seat, a meal, and even bottomless drinks, including a midnight champagne toast — just make sure to book in advance! For other views of the fireworks from above, try the W Hotel for a top-rated rooftop bar with views of the whole city as well as the Dam Square, which is sure to be alight with fireworks and people partying in the street.
Soak in the festive lights, guerilla fireworks, and huge street parties all throughout Amsterdam as soon as the sun sets. The Amsterdam Light Festival runs from November 30 until January 21, so you have plenty of time to catch the dazzling displays! Take a walking tour of the city on the Light Festival route, which includes more than 20 amazing light exhibitions from a collection of Dutch and international artists. This year’s theme is LOADING… Revealing Art, A.I., and Tech. The festival aims to wonder and make viewers think about the intertwining of our lives with technology — for better or for worse. Meet up at the Light Festival’s hub in the Hoftuin to enjoy even more spectacular light displays as well as a hot drink. Admission is free!
New Year’s Swim
Join thousands of Dutch revelers in a nieuwjaarsduik, or a “New Year’s Swim,” for a tradition you won’t forget! Although temperatures are often near freezing, the brave swimmers will strip down and jump or run into the water for an ice-cold bath. Thousands of people gather at the beach, most commonly taking place in the beautiful seaside village of Zandvoort, just half an hour away from Amsterdam by train. Everyone is welcome to join in the swim. There is no fee to participate and those who sign up will receive a certificate and a cup of warm soup after the dip.
Fireworks Over The London Eye
Listen to the historic and ultra-iconic Big Ben clock tower bells ring out at midnight, followed by the UK’s largest fireworks display at Westminster, near the also-iconic London Eye. Immerse yourself in the oh-so-British-queue experience and gather around the London Eye with the excitement and bustle of one of the biggest crowds of the year.
Cruise The Thames
For a more exclusive view of London’s world famous skyline, hop on board one of many cruises that will sail the Thames River. Watch the fireworks from aboard the London Rose, complete with a live DJ set, snacks, and a wide selection of beer, wines, and soft drinks. The affair will be strictly 12 and older, so those with younger children may need to find more family-friendly accommodations. Those looking for a longer pleasure cruise with onboard fine dining, I would recommend the New Year’s Eve Dinner and Thames Cruise aboard the Sarpedon. Enjoy an indulgent three-course meal before setting sail past London’s most iconic landmarks while enjoying live music and entertainment.
Club Nights In London
For those looking to party the night away, London has its own culture of clubs and events that is sure to impress. Promising views of the skyline and fireworks displays, the Madison rooftop bar in St. Paul’s has a complete night of live music, a three-course meal, and a champagne toast at midnight.
If you’re in the mood for more upbeat hip-hop and RnB music, head over to the London Bridge at Brix LDN. Supa Dupa Fly x New Year’s Eve is offering a star-studded lineup of DJs and artists where the party doesn’t stop until after 4 a.m. Otherwise, if you’re looking to dance like nobody’s watching, try the NYE Silent Disco at Banking Hall. Wear connected headsets with multiple channels of classic party anthems and new hits and get into your own groove. There are also some great secluded places for you to celebrate NYE.