Here are 10 Best Places to Celebrate New Year’s Eve

As the clock ticks down to midnight, a crowd gathers in Times Square, waiting for a glittering ball to descend and launch the New Year. Around the world, locals celebrate the passing of one year to the next in similar ways: fireworks, street parties, dancing, and generous helpings of food and drinks. Still, each destination has its own cultural twists and distinctive setting. Here are 10 Best Places to Celebrate New Year’s Eve.

1. New York City, New York

New Year’s Eve in New York’s Times Square defines the evening for hundreds of millions around the globe who watch on television, wishing they were there. A million revelers squeeze into the city’s neon epicenter where Broadway and Seventh Avenue come together, waiting for the Waterford crystal LED ball to drop from the former New York Times Building, for which the iconic square is named. It’s an American tradition more than 100 years old.

Here are 10 Best Places to Celebrate New Year’s Eve

2. Las Vegas, Nevada

Ring in the New Year casino style in kitschy Las Vegas, where fireworks blast over Paris Las Vegas, the MGM Grand, the Bellagio, and the array of other casino hotels on the famous Strip. The city buzzes with tens of thousands who come in for special concerts and performances with the biggest stars, until the sun comes up over the surrounding desert.

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3. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Réveillon, Rio’s New Year’s celebration, is one of the world’s largest. Dressed in white like Candomblé priestesses, millions of locals and visitors line the city’s miles of beaches, throwing flowers into the waves at midnight for the African sea goddess Yemanjá, whose traditions have become mixed with the Virgin Mary. Afterward, the streets, bars, and restaurants fill with parties, dancing, and music.

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4. London, England

Millions of eager Londoners line the Thames waterfront and gather in Trafalgar Square, waiting for the city to explode in a dazzling display of sparks and color. At midnight, the tower around Big Ben pulses with fiery blasts timed for the 12 strokes of the hour. All eyes then turn to the London Eye as the famous wheel produces a swirling fireworks and light show timed to British rock music echoing through the city.

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5. Paris, France

The City of Light becomes a city of fireworks on New Year’s Eve. Hundreds of thousands line the Champs-Élysées, Champagne bottles in hand, for a view to the Eiffel Tower. At midnight, fireworks burst from the entire length of its iron structure, in one of this evening’s most beautiful displays anywhere. Other gathering spots with great views include the steps of Sacré-Couer church and the Trocadéro.

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6. Madrid, Spain

Madrileños celebrate the New Year by swallowing 12 grapes—one for each stroke of the clock at midnight. Finishing them on time is considered to be a sign of good luck in the upcoming year. Tens of thousands gather in front of the clock in Puerta del Sol plaza for the annual ritual and line Gran Via to watch fireworks.

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7. Beirut, Lebanon

Each New Year’s is a promise that everything will be better in the capital of formerly war-torn Lebanon. Thousands gather to watch the light show on the city’s 1933 art deco clock tower in Nejmeh Square, the heart of central Beirut. At midnight, couples kiss and fireworks burst, shining over a mix of floodlit church steeples and mosque minarets in this eclectic Levantine metropolis.

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8. Tokyo, Japan

On New Year’s Eve in Tokyo, streets and restaurants teem with people, many eating buckwheat noodles to ensure health and happiness in the New Year. Temples ring bells as a countdown to midnight, adding a dreamy quality to the celebration. Stay in town through January 2, one of only two days when the emperor opens the palace grounds to the public.

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9. Christmas Island, South Pacific

Named after another holiday (and famed as the likely location of Amelia Earhart’s missing airplane), Christmas Island, or Kiritimati (in the South Pacific republic of Kiribati), is among the first inhabited places in the world to celebrate the New Year. With only around 5,000 residents, New Year’s Eve is an intimate affair, much of the island being a protected wildlife sanctuary.

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10. Sydney, Australia

Everyone comes to the waterfront in Sydney to celebrate New Year’s Eve. The iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and nearby buildings ignite at midnight with one of the world’s most spectacular fireworks productions.

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