Regardless of how your year’s gone, December 31st is the day where you put it all behind you, end the year the right way and start your new year the same.
Get crazy. Keep it classy. Enjoy the weather (warm or cold). If there’s ever a day to spend the way you want, NYE is the one, and where you spend it can make or break your experience.
Here are 8 epic places to countdown to new possibilities and let your inner optimist out on NYE:
The Vegas Strip
Las Vegas is cray on a regular day, so can you imagine what it’s like on THE party night of the year? The strip is completely shut down to traffic and transforms into one huge and crazy street party. An epic fireworks show is choreographed all along the strip and the parties are as extravagant and celebrity-filled as they’d be in the Vegas party of your dreams.
And the countdown isn’t where it stops either – you can count on celebrations and shenanigans into the wee hours of the morning. Plus, add in the epic buffets, flashy shows and all of the gambling your heart could desire, and you’ve got all of the ingredients to blissfully and lavishly ring in the New Year like a boss.
NYE parties are definitely not all created equal, and Hogmanay is the perfect example of New Years on steroids. If the fact that it has its own unique name isn’t enough of an indicator, just ask anyone who’s spent December 31st in Scotland and they’ll tell you that Hogmanay is an epic day of tradition and celebration, along with some whisky and shortbread for all.
In addition to the standard NYE celebrations of fireworks, bevvies and music, Hogmanay in Scotland celebrates spending time with new and old friends, warding off evil spirits with bonfires and torchlight processions , and singing Auld Lang Syne in unison until you’re hoarse.
Follow all of this up with two days off for recovery and a costumed Loony Dook polar dip to really sober you up the next morning, and it’s easy to say that the Scots do NYE in their own quirky amazing way that needs to be experienced at least once.
No brainer, right? The infamous ball-drop, the A-list performances and celeb appearances, all of that glorious endless confetti and the biggest crowds anywhere are all elements that make NYC NYE an event of epic proportions every single year.
People all over the world watch the NYC festivities for a reason (they even made an entire star-filled crappy movie about it) and if you love the city in the summer, the energy in New York is only magnified around the holidays.
Romantics gravitate there for a Carrie Bradshaw worthy moment of instant romance, and party animals know that NYC is always where the excitement is.
If you’re a super competitive person, New Zealand is the ideal place to spend your NYE – mostly because you’ll be in one of the very first major areas in the world to ring in the New Year!
Big parties are found in Queenstown, Gisborne, Christchurch, Auckland and Wellington, and the warm summer weather and long days in December make it the perfect time to start AND end a year trying out the multitude of adventure activities and enjoying the beautiful outdoors that NZ is so famous for.
The Eiffel Tower
Romantic? Duh. Picturesque? Obvi. Where else would you wanna celebrate the international day of champagne than in Paris with some real authentic bubbly in the home of bubbly.
Paris is a beautiful place, it doesn’t really even need to be said, but the winter magic of Christmas and New Years in the city takes it to levels of urban beauty that we didn’t even know were possible. The lights of Paris are even more magnificent at New Years, and all of that French cuisine and pastries set the scene for our favourite way to close out an old year and welcome in a new one – pure indulgence.
New Years around the Eiffel is a bit more subdued than the celebrations in other big cities, but that’s exactly why it appeals to so many people. I mean if you’re gonna be cold, you might as well be as winter chic as you can in Paris.
Sydney is a great place to party on a normal day, so NYE just makes us that bit more excited to venture into the big city. The Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of our favourite firework backdrops, and the fact that they have two separate shows during NYE is an even better reason to stick around for the whole evening.
Spend the night on a boat in the harbour for an epic floating party, or spend it ashore with the crowds and shows. There are so many fab restaurants around the harbour to choose from, and for us tourists from north of the equator, the fact that it’s Aussie summer in December means the snow and cold will be the last thing on your mind.
If you’re looking for a real winter-worthy celebration, the heart of Moscow is definitely the winter wonderland of your dreams. Red Square is where both locals and tourists gather on NYE, and the surrounding snow covered buildings are the perfect backdrop for your festivities.
Seeing the fireworks over the Kremlin, gigantic Christmas tree and cathedrals while you skate merrily on the giant ice rink in the square is even better when you follow it up with a cozy trip to the Russian banyas (steam baths) and a nice vodka drink to warm up your insides as well.
Save the best for last, right? If being the first place to ring in the New Year doesn’t matter to you, the option is always there in Hawaii to be one of the last places in the world to join the celebrations. That way you can watch along as everyone else in the world counts down, and end the night with a bang in the island paradise of Hawaii.
All of the traditional activities are available like concerts and fireworks, but when you can enjoy your drink on the beach in Maui with a fab offshore fireworks show, trust us, it just makes the whole night that much better.
Combine that with the awesome food truck culture, lots of evening cruise options and the fact that you’re practically in paradise, and we can’t think of a prettier place to ring in the New Year.