1. New York City :
It may not be for everyone, but there’s no denying that New Year’s Eve in New York City has an atmosphere that few other cities can rival. Most famous, of course, is the annual gathering of a million people in Times Square to see famous musicians and the ball drop, in which a 12-foot-wide crystal ball weighing nearly 12,000 pounds descends atop One Times Square. For a slightly less chaotic experience, book a reservation at one of the bars or restaurants overlooking Times Square. And for something completely different, consider a nighttime boat ride on New York Harbor, which offers the best views of the midnight fireworks display on Liberty Island.
2. Sydney :
Sydney has two claims to fame for its New Year’s Eve celebrations: first, because of its location, it’s the first major city where the clock strikes midnight; second, Sydney puts on the largest fireworks display in the world, with one at 9 pm and another at midnight, with the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House making for a striking setting. More than a million people attend the waterfront show, which also includes an air and water show featuring aerial acrobatics, an Aboriginal smoking ceremony that is said to cleanse bad spirits, and the Harbour of Light Parade, a flotilla of more than 50 illuminated boats in the harbor.
3. Hong Kong :
One of the world’s most dramatic skylines lights up every year with a display of fireworks that grows more impressive every year, concluding with a dazzling finale: a pyrotechnic dragon that dances across the sky. The events kick off in Hong Kong’s Times Square shopping mall, where a replica ball drop takes place in homage to New York City’s famous festivities. Victoria Harbour is the center of the evening activity, though, so savvy locals party on boats, rooftop terraces, or at the Avenue of Stars in Tsim Shui for the best views of the dazzling lightshow.
4. Cape Town :
New Year’s celebrations span three days in this vibrant South African city. On New Year’s Eve, the Victoria & Albert Waterfront hosts a concert and midnight fireworks display (smart revelers picnic and party on Table Mountain for unobstructed views of the fireworks), and the Victoria Falls New Year’s Carnival includes a carnival-themed train and live music. On New Year’s Day and the day after, thousands head to local beaches, and the Cape Town Minstrel Carnival parades through downtown, with 10,000 performers dancing and singing in the streets, a tradition that dates back to the 19th-century slave trade.
5. Las Vegas :
More than 300,000 revelers descend on this party capital for the big night, when the Las Vegas Strip becomes car-free and transforms into a giant street party with live bands, pyrotechnic displays, and laser shows. The city also hosts a mind-boggling number of concerts, shows, and parties in clubs, hotels, and casinos, meaning there’s no shortage of evening entertainment options. Come midnight, fireworks are launched from seven rooftops along the Strip, so chances are you’ll see them whether you’re on the street or in an over-the-top hotel suite.
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