Top Ten Places to go for New Year’s Eve

By Nomadic Matt | Published December 29th, 2008

Countries around the world will be ringing in the new year soon with fireworks, festivals, friends, parties, and, of course, kisses. It is an exciting time and a holiday that knows no nationality. Everyone loves ringing in the new year! It’s a fun night that kicks out the old and brings in the new. For those still looking for some place to go and want the best of the best, here are the top ten places to go in the world on New Year’s Eve:

New York City

New York times square
Times Square has been a focal point of New Year’s activity for more than a hundred years. Millions come into the square to watch the famed ball drop. Millions more around the world hold their breath watching Times Square on New Years Eve as the New Year’s Eve Ball drops. If you want to be at Times Square, dress warm and arrive early – people start gathering around 3 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. The festivities continue after midnight with remarkable fireworks around the city and lots of late night drinking at the bars and clubs.

Check out my travel guide to New York City for more information on how to get there, save money, and enjoy the city.

Sydney

Sydney New Years
Sydney is the first major city in the world to greet a new year (sorry New Zealand, you aren’t as big!), and they know how to do it right with the largest firework celebrations in the world. The fireworks end at 12:15, but the celebrations last until dawn. You can witness absolutely stunning fireworks over the famous Sydney Harbor Bridge from many vantage points around the harbor, but the best views come from a boat in the harbor. After the celebrations, the city stays up late.

Check out my travel guide to Sydney for more information on how to get there, save money, and enjoy the city.

London

London New Years
London has astonishing fireworks launched into the sky from the London Eye each year. The fireworks can be seen from rooftops and balconies all across London, but best views are from Westminster Bridge and the north embankment of the River Thames, opposite the London Eye. The show starts after Big Ben chimes at midnight and lasts for 15 minutes. Endless numbers of London pubs, clubs, and restaurants stay open well into New Year’s night, as would be expected since the British love any excuse to have a pint.

Check out my travel guide to London for more information on what to see and do in London.

Paris

Paris New Years
Paris has great festivities – from high class dining to clubbing to fantastic fireworks to Champagne on the Champs-Elysees. The place to be is the Champs-Elysees. Around 9 p.m., people gather at the famous street and start to count down to the New Year. Around midnight here, you can watch the Eiffel Tower’s light show. Montmartre is another fantastic place to ring in the New Year, as its elevated and has spectacular views of the entire Paris skyline. While Paris doesn’t typically have a fireworks show, there are still great parties, and many people light off fireworks from the Champs-Elysees.

Check out my travel guide to Paris for more information on spending New Year’s in Paris.

Ko Phangan, Thailand

Thailand New Years
Over 20,000 young people cram on Haat Rin beach in Thailand to celebrate the New Year. People from around the world dance, paint themselves up, and drink buckets of alcohol until the sun rises. It may not be as large as New York or Sydney or Tokyo, but for those who want to spend their new year on the beach, this place in Thailand is the only destination that should be on your mind.

Check out my travel guide to Ko Phangan for more information including information on the famous Full Moon Party.

Kiribati

Kiribati Sunset
What better way to ring in the New Year than to be the first person to do it? This spot in the Pacific is officially the first place in the world to see the New Year. It’s like going into the future! Tourism here has picked up in recent years as the locals have tried to capitalize on that interesting fact. And regardless of this fact, what better way to spend the new year than on an island in the South Pacific? The next day you can nurse your hangover on a beautiful white sand beach with crystal clear, warm blue water.

Tokyo

Tokyo New Years
If you want to start celebrating early, head to Tokyo, where the celebration starts on the 29th of December. Here, you also have a chance to prolong your New Years celebration up to January 4th. Even though most of the major tourist sites are closed, the streets of Tokyo, as well as all restaurants and clubs, are packed with people. The city is jumping with loads of fireworks, dancing, and singing. On January 1st, the Imperial Palace also opens to the public.

Check out my travel guide to Tokyo for more information on what to do, see, and ways to save money.

Las Vegas

Las Vegas New Years
The city that parties every night throughout the year certainly knows how to throw a New Year’s Eve bash to remember. There are so many clubs, hotels, bars, and casinos to choose from in Las Vegas, Nevada, that it’s almost impossible to not celebrate in style. Outdoors, “The Strip” is closed to traffic so everyone can watch the grand fireworks displays high above the city’s neon lights. If you can wade through the crowds, make your way downtown to the Fremont Street Experience and join the massive block party, complete with confetti, a massive wine toast, concerts by big-name rockers, and a five-block-long illuminated canopy 90 feet overhead, on which state-of-the-art sound and light shows are shown.

Check out my travel guide to Las Vegas for more information on enjoying life in Sin City without spending a sinful amount of money.

Boston

Boston New Years
Boston’s First Night celebrations are very famous for its fireworks and ice sculptures. The fireworks take place around midnight over the river, but festivities begin days before. First Night Boston is the country’s oldest and largest New Year’s arts celebration. From 1 p.m. to midnight, First Night presents a day-long festival of art, music, dance, ice sculpture, and fireworks. First Night is an alcohol-free event that welcomes children, families, and revelers of all ages.

Check out my travel guide to Boston for more information on taking a holiday there.

Anywhere your friends are

New Years with Friends
No matter where you are in the world, this holiday is about celebrating with friends and family. Wherever they are will be the best place to celebrate. Who wants to spend such a great day with strangers? Paris, London, New York, a jungle, the beach, your home – it doesn’t matter. As long as you are with those you like and love, it will be the best New Year’s party in the world.

If you are looking to go to any of these destinations, start planning and saving money on your next trip today!

For other top travel lists and destination ideas, check out these posts:
Great Festivals of the World
Top Ten Historical Sites of the World
Five Destinations Under 30 Dollars Per Day

comments 34 Comments

Ahhh, to be with my fam and peeps from PepyRide in Siem Reap this year for new years. I think ‘Anywhere your friends are’ is rightly the best place to be, helps if it’s a different country though !

Where not to go: Shanghai. Boh-riiinnnng!

Valparaiso, Chile is supposed to be incredible as well. I was there a couple months ago and the word on the street is that the fireworks show over the large bay is the best in the world! Because the city is surrounded by hills, you should be able to get some great views.

Oooh, yes…how about up North in Canada in very expensive Ski Chalet, fully paid for by your friends? Jealous yet? Haha..hope you’re having a blast on your vacation!

Nice Paris shout-out! It’s a great place to celebrate anything.

I’ve done NYC, Paris, and London.

Clearly I need to do the rest.

Happy (almost) New Year!

Another great post. So far London is my favorite city to spend New Year’s Eve, but I really want to experience NYE in New York, Paris, Vegas and Sydney in the future. But I must agree, just like Christmas, celebrating with people you love is more important than where you are.

Tomorrow I am blogging about ringing in the new year in Rome — another fabulous place to be. This year I am in Philly. I have a group of friends who gather every New Years. It is a long-standing tradition, and it doesn’t matter where we are so long as we are together.

Happy New Year! :)

And what about Prague..? ;o)
Happy New Year 2009…

Talia Clare

This is an absolutely fabulous article. I am now inspired to actually make something of New Years, whereas before, I never really celebrated. Christmas was usually enough, but now I want more. Thanks for writing this, and thanks for the incredible pictures.

Hi Matt,

I’ve enjoyed – or endured the freezing cold of – a New Year’s Eve at Times Square a few years back. It was crazy, but incredibly exciting.

Dropped in to wish you a happy New Year and may 2009 bring in peace, joy and life’s best to you. Happy Travels.

Great list, though I’m not impressed at the dig at New Zealand (we have cities of over a million people! Well, we have one.)

I’m surprised you didn’t include Edinburgh – it’s regarded by many as THE place to be at New Year’s (or Hogmanay as they call it in Scotland). There’s a huge party and fantastic fireworks, not to mention heaps of guys wandering around in kilts.

Juan, I think Prague is better for Christmas.

Glad Boston made the list :) Have a happy New Year!

Wonderful list and pictures! I was pleased to see that I have done NYE in 4 of these places so far.

You really MUST include Spain though, NO ONE knows how to party better than Spaniards, even our tiny 15th century village was rocking all night in the main square with spectacular fireworks!

You just have not New Years Eve, if you haven’t heard and danced a little passionate flamenco! ;)

Happy New Year from a hot n’ humid Buenos Aires!

Great list, Matt. I did the Times Square thing this year. Definately a worthwhile experience. It was quite cold, but with thousands of people huddled together it goes well.

~Gennaro

What about Venice?? The fireworks on the Lagoon are spectacular!! Hong Kong on the other side (were I was) was a bit too “calm” but can’t complaint :-)

NomadicMatt

everyone has some great places that I need to put on my list to check out. I’ll have to look at all these places- so many places, so few years….

Happy 2009 everyone!

Carla

So far I’ve done 5 of out the 10 places on your list and by far Paris was my favorite. I look forward to checking out the rest!

Happy (belated) New Year Matt!

I’m longing for the new year in Tokyo, I’ll be there soon someday ^^

I enjoy reading your posts, keep on nomadic will ya, other wise the posting might stop and of course I must wasting my time looking for some cool blog again to read (we dont want that to happen ;p)

‘grab a cable to link’

kelsey

hey another great one…New Orleans! Went there last year and it was awesome! huge party spot!…everywhere!

Definitely agree! Bourbon Street is madness on New Year’s Eve – awesome!

Great list! One of our favorites was a New Year’s Eve we watched the fireworks over the Lake Palace (think Octopussy) in Udaipur – beautiful!

Hope 2010 brings all the best things in life!

KiwiGirl

It doesn’t really surprise me that many would claim their cities and country as the first, funny though that New Zealand has the first major cities in the world that greet the New Year, it may not be as BIG as Australia, since you believe over population to be a criteria for being bestowed this honour, but us Kiwis love our lush open spaces, and striking scenic beauty so feel free to claim the New Year as being your first!, we here in NZ know who get’s to welcome it in first and are happy to stand aside have a beer and laugh at the rest of the wannabes!!!

Kevin

Paris isreally boring with new years eve. This year no fireworks at all at the Champs and the Eiffel Tower. it’s really horrible to be here in Paris ..

Roel

Paris is a great city, but indeed now fireworks this year.
The atmosphere was OK, but I expected more. Anyway I had a great time with my girlfriend.
Next year another city probably.

Antonio

ANYWHERE people are allowed to purchase firecrackers on the streets and light them up themselves! (I’m from the Philippines where its literallly a WAR ZONE during New Year with firecrackers exploding left and right, and up in the air and on the ground!). There is NO better way to do it! And public Fireworks displays are BORING! :D

Lesley

really people, get a grip.

Edinburgh, Scotland

dan

What about taiwan? 2nd worlds tallest building(by like 3 feet) and more fireworks shot off of it that you could ever believe

Berlin and Edinburgh have massive celebrations with huge parties, and would certainly sit in my top 10 of cities to visit for NYE celebrations.

Times Square for New Years Eve would be crazy. I’d like to do it at least once.

Steve Gordon

I am from the U.S. and I’ve been to NYC and L.V. (nice list btw), but I’m suprised the Rio de Janeiro didn’t make the list! If you are into travel, you have got to experience it.

Nidhin

I was wanting to go a different place other than goa(India) for this NYE….

From what I have heard, Sri-Lanka is a great place to party and at the same time it will not pinch your wallets :)

For those of you’ll wanting to try out new places than the aforementioned, my suggestion would strongly be Goa (or) Sri-Lanka.

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