The 10 best New Year’s destinations to celebrate around the world
From Times Square to Copacabana Beach, check out our list of the best New Year's destinations help kick off 2016 with a bang.
Looking to celebrate the new year away from home? Hoping to kick-start 2016 by doing something a little different?
We’ve looked into some of the biggest parties, most unique traditions and most fascinating corners of the globe to celebrate the new year.
1. New York City
What better place is there to ring in the new year than in the city that doesn’t sleep? Surrounded by the bright lights of Broadway, the biggest names in music and entertainment and a cool one million people, Times Square in New York City is the place to be on New Year’s Eve.
The line-up for the 2015/2016 event hasn’t been announced yet, but last year’s celebration saw the likes of Taylor Swift, O.A.R. and Magic! wind up the crowd before the ball dropped at midnight.
That famous “ball” is made from 2,699 Waterford crystals and weighs in at about 5,400kg.
Image: Times Square
Broadcast around the world as one of the first places to ring in the New Year, Sydney sets the bar high for New Year’s Eve parties with around $7 million worth of fireworks exploding off barges and the Harbour Bridge for the event each year.
Not only is it one of the first cities in the world to celebrate New Year’s Eve, it’s also one of the largest. Last year, an estimated 1.6 million people lined the parks, streets and pathways along Sydney Harbour for a view. Many people camp out the night before to ensure they get their place, and harbour cruises sell out months in advance.
The event has become so big that there’s now an app that shows you how full each vantage point is.
Image: Sydney New Years Eve
3. Rio de Janeiro
In true Brazilian fashion, New Year’s Eve in Rio de Janeiro is one big party on the beach.
Crowds dress in white to bring good luck to the new year and flock to Copacabana Beach for a massive seaside party celebrating reveillon (New Year’s Eve).
The mid-summer festivities along the 4km stretch of sand are filled with samba music, sprays of champagne and a massive 20-minute fireworks display enjoyed by two-million revellers on the beach and on cruise ships.
Image: Condé Nast Traveller
Never heard of Kiribati? This tiny nation, which consists of 33 atolls and islands, is scattered across 3.5 million square kilometres of the South Pacific and is home to less than 100,000 people. Just west of the International Date Line, the Line Islands and Kiritimati also happen to be the first place in the world to celebrate the new year.
It’s not an easy place to get to, so , don’t arrive expecting big-city parties. You’ll be spending the first day of the new year surrounded by sandy beaches, blue lagoons and swaying palms.
If you’d like somewhere a bit more on the beaten path, Samoa switched to the same time zone as Kiribati in 2011.
Image: National Geographic
5. American Samoa
Had a good year and want to savour every last moment? Then American Samoa is the place.
Not to be confused with Samoa, which sits just 80km away on the other side of the International Date Line, American Samoa is one of the last places in the world to celebrate the new year, 23 hours after Samoa.
American Samoa has roughly half the population of Kiribati, and only about 3,500 living in the capital city, Pago Pago. I’s not somewhere you come expecting a huge party and epic fireworks displays. Instead, start the new year on a peaceful, lush, tropical island.
Image: Lonely Planet
For a splash of fireworks behind some of England’s most notable buildings, London is the place to be. More than half a million people attend the eight-minute fireworks display along the Thames each year.
So many people line the limited space along the Thames for the New Year’s Eve fireworks display, that the city has now made it a ticketed event.
If you’d like access to one of the prime vantage points, you’ll have to fork out £10 for each ticket.
Image: Time Out London
While not necessarily a destination noted for its New Year’s Eve celebrations, its proximity to Australia makes it a popular destination for Australians looking to ring in the new year away from home.
Hotels, restaurants and beach bars host parties, and there’s a good chance fireworks will be going off along the main beaches. Consider keeping it quiet with a beachside dinner at one of Jimbaran’s famous seaside restaurants, or party hard along the coast from Kuta to Seminyak.
If you’re after a big one, check out what’s happening at Potato Head Beach Club, the W Lounge or the Double-Six Rooftop.
Image: Potato Head Beach Club
8. Las Vegas
If you thought Las Vegas already had an anything-goes vibe, just wait until New Year’s Eve.
The Strip is closed to traffic, hundreds of thousands of people party in the streets, and fireworks make the sky shimmer from just about every angle. About half a dozen hotels host the shows that see about 80,000 fireworks light up the sky.
If partying in a club on New Year’s Eve is more your thing, Vegas has plenty of options. Most of the hotels along The Strip have venues that will be pumping all night long, including Planet Hollywood, Caesars Palace and the Palms.
Tokyo isn’t on this list because of its millions of residents, huge party scene and a knack for late nights.
The Japanese do New Year’s Eve a little bit different. Locals partake in hatsumode, which is the first visit of the new year to shrines and temples. Temple bells will be ringing and food stalls will be set up at most of the city’s popular shrines, including Meiji Shrine and Sensoji Temple.
If it’s bright lights and the big city that you’re after, head to the Shibuya crossing for the midnight countdown.
Contrary to its namesake, the City of Lights isn’t known for its firework displays, although you will find those too.
In fact, up until a few years ago, it didn’t have any official New Year’s Eve events, but that hasn’t stopped Paris from being a popular spot for tourists.
The Champs Elysées has recently become the place to ring in the new year, with crowds celebrating on the famous Parisian street near the Arc de Triomphe.
If you’re looking for a bit more glitz, the Eiffel Tower dazzles its lights at the stroke of midnight, which can be watched up close or from vantage points around the city.