After taking the year off in 2020, most cities across the world will be closing out 2021 in full force with everything from fireworks cruises and sit down champagne galas to warehouse raves and beach parties. But while it’s easy enough to find a party anywhere, some places just do it better. We asked our social audience of 1.5 million people where they like to celebrate New Years’ Eve and combined the data with ongoing Covid-19 restrictions and new superstar events to work out the best places to toast to a new year. So kiss goodbye to 2021 and ring in the new year at one of the world’s best places to celebrate New Year’s Eve.
Best Places to Celebrate New Year’s Eve 2021
50. Seoul, South Korea
Even though the best celebrations are reserved for the Lunar New Year, Seoul still packs a punch when it comes to December 31st. To ring in the new year in its most literal sense, head to Jongno to the Bosingak Bell Ringing Ceremony. Sixteen people – including the Mayor of Seoul – ring the bell 33 times to bring luck and prosperity to all. Prefer to dance in the new year instead? Head to Kintez Hall for the ‘Countdown Fantasy‘, featuring first-class K-pop acts like Ateez, Dreamcatcher and Surl. The Lotte World Tower will host a spectacular fireworks display from its 123rd storey too.
49. St. Barts, Caribbean
If you’ve got some serious cash to splash, join the jet setters and the world’s elite in St. Barts. Every year on the 31st of December the world’s most beautiful yachts descend onto the tiny Caribbean island for late-night fireworks and music into the early hours.
48. Göhren, Germany
If you’d rather ring in New Year far from thumping parties and city crowds, Gohren could be just the ticket. Every year this sleepy seaside town, located on a small Baltic island, hosts the “Beach Chair New Year’s Eve”. Everyone grabs a wicker chair for a front-row beach seat to the fireworks over the water. There’s usually a Medieval-inspired market, live music and fire dancers too.
47. Tokyo, Japan
Tokyoites have a lot of options when it comes to New Year’s Eve. Shibuya boasts the best nightlife, with dozens of bars and nightclubs to help you keep the party going beyond midnight. For a more unusual countdown, head to AQUA PARK 2022 for ‘The Island of Legend’ – a special water performance replete with dolphin performances and Tahitian dancers.
46. Nassau, Bahamas
Who wouldn’t want to start the new year sipping rum and stretching out in the sun on a sandy Caribbean island? The Bahamas host some of the liveliest New Years’ parties in the Caribbean, but for the biggest, you’ll need to head to Nassau. The annual Junkanoo party parade kicks off after the countdown at around 2am on January 1st. There’s dancing, drums, elaborate costumes, sparkles and horns, so you can start your new year with all the bells and whistles (literally).
45. Marrakesh, Morrocco
For a sophisticated knees up, you can’t do much better than Marrakesh. Spend the day getting lost in the souks shopping for souvenirs, exploring tiled palaces and minarets or taking pictures at the Jardin Majorelle. Then join the party at Jemaa el-Fna for dancers, henna tattoos, magicians, fire performances and expert storytellers. Or head to one of the medina’s many rooftop bars for the best views of the fireworks.
If there’s one destination that can guarantee a magical New Year’s Eve Party year on year, it’s Walt Disney World. The Magic Kingdom has the date down, with parades, mesmerizing fireworks and dance parties. For a dash of Disney magic, you can’t go wrong with the Countdown Fireworks show at EPCOT either.
43. Queenstown, New Zealand
Queenstown usually ranks highly on most people’s NYE bucket list thanks to its annual fireworks and live music performance. Sadly, due to Covid, the official festivities have been cancelled but there will still be plenty of restaurants and bars ramping up the glam factor to ring in 2022 this New Year’s Eve.
42. The Maldives
Over the past few years, the Maldives has developed a reputation for its extra-special New Years’ Eve extravaganzas. Most of the private island resorts host their own gala events, complete with dancers, opera singers and dazzling fireworks displays. Soneva Fushi on the Baa Atoll is giving guests the chance to ring in the new year with a culinary experience inspired by the seven continents and paired with fine wines, cocktails and champagne.
41. Gstaad, Switzerland
Gstaad throws the best posh parties in Europe, with the added bonus of views from some of the continent’s tallest peaks. Most of the Swiss ski resorts host their own festivities with lots of booze, music, dancing and possibly even some fireworks. The Yacht Club Gstaad will host its own classical concert this year too.
40. Accra, Ghana
You can always guarantee you’ll find a good NYE party in Accra, but Afrochella makes it even easier. This inaugural New Years Eve event celebrates Africa’s diverse cultures with live music, performances, fashion and art installations, with plenty of dancing too. As if that wasn’t enough, the event takes place right on the beach at La Palm Royal Beach Hotel.
39. Maputo (Mozambique)
The capital and largest city in Mozambique is also one of the most beautiful cities on the continent. Ring in 2022 in style at one of the many parties taking place at dance clubs, nightclubs, restaurants and resorts around the city. The infamous White Pearl Resorts throws the best beach bash, with as much traditional Tipo Tinto rum as you can stomach along with live music and lots of sparklers.
38. Toronto (Canada)
There are plenty of places to ring in the New Year in Toronto, but this city does sky-high soirées particularly well. Head up the CN Tower to the 360 Restaurant for a four-course Canadian inspired menu with bubbles or over to the Aga Khan Museum for the ‘most magical soirée of the year’. If it’s a good belly laugh you’re after, grab a ticket to New Year’s Eve Comedy Extravanganza which promises a lineup of Canada’s best comics.
37. Valparaíso, Chile
Chile’s ‘party city’ is most popular on New Year, when one million people head to the historic city – five times its population. Head to Valparaiso Harbour for the best views of its legendary fireworks spectacles. Every year the lights are switched off across the city, then fireworks are launched from 15 different locations along the coast at midnight. Revellers head to Plaza Sotomayor or one of the city’s many bustling bars, restaurants and clubs for an afterparty.
36. Hong Kong
For the first time ever, you can toast in the New Year with the thousands at Hong Kong’s first-every Countdown Concert. The concert will feature a star-studded cast, including The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and young stars like AGA, Alfred Hui, Gin Lee and Canto-pop sensation Mirror. Elsewhere, the Victoria Harbour will look as radiant as ever, with a spectacular stage, pyro-musical lights and fireworks.
35. Chicago, Illinois
The windy city throws one heck of a party. This year you can even kiss goodbye to 2021 with a toast at Time Out Markets’ ‘Future Disco’, a femme-centric and queer-powered performance at The Fly Honeys or a glitzy New Years Eve Ball at the Congress Plaza Hotel.
34. Bangkok, Thailand
Thailand’s colourful capital throws an excellent New Years’ Eve party. This year’s biggest countdown parties will take place at CentralWorld, Icon Siam and the Sky Bar State Tower. Bangkok is also home to Asia’s largest gay New Year’s Eve festival. The famous White Party draws thousands of visitors out each year.
33. Mount Takao, Japan
Japan’s showstopping cities – Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka– all host fireworks and festivities galore, but for a breath of fresh air (literally) head to Mount Takao. Dozens of people make the ceremonial hike here every year on New Year’s Eve to watch the sunrise over the mountain’s peak. Local priests hold a special ceremony to ‘welcome the light’ too.
32. Auckland, New Zealand
Head to Auckland this New Year’s Eve and you’ll be one of the first people in the world to toast to the New Year! It’s located in the second time zone, which means hurtling into 2022 before anyone else. Despite ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, plenty of events are still due to take place, from all-night dancing at Waiheke Island to the much-anticipated New Year’s Eve festival, Wondergarden, at Silo Park.
31. Cali, Colombia
The lead up to the New Year is the liveliest and loveliest time to visit Cali. The whole city lights up with fireworks, music and dancing. Make sure you get here a few days before the five day ‘Feria de Cali’. Expect bullfights, beauty pageants, fashion shows, concerts and plenty of salsa dancing festivals through the fiesta.
30. Niagara Falls, Canada
Every year Queen Victoria Park throws one of the most scenic fireworks spectacles in Canada. There are two shows – one at midnight and one at 9 pm for littluns who won’t be able to keep their eyes open for the big moment. The illuminated falls light up like a rainbow while thousands of fireworks dance in the sky. The show runs from December 26 through to January 1 but there’s an extra special display planned for midnight on New Year’s Eve to ring in 2022.
29. Salinas, Ecuador
New Year’s Eve is one of Ecuador‘s favourite events of the year. In Salinas, local communities celebrate in high style, setting off fireworks, wearing yellow underwear for good luck and burning effigies of the past year across the horseshoe bay. Merry revellers spill out almost every restaurant and bar in the city, while street vendors set up along the Malecon. As the countdown begins, everyone heads to the beach for a free concert to mark midnight.
It’s hard to hate Cape Town all year round, but particularly so at New Year when the Mother City comes alive with lights, fireworks and parties. This year, due to Covid-19, the biggest celebration on the V&A Waterfront will change format once more. Instead of fireworks, dancing and dinners, there’ll be an evocative beam to symbolize creativity, hope, love, community, joy, harmony and gratitude on 31 December for one hour.
The capital’s official fireworks might be cancelled again this year, but there’s still plenty of ways to celebrate New Year with a bang. From food festivals in Trafalgar Square to comedy carnivals at Bar Rumba, most of the city’s restaurants, bars, theatres and music venues are ready to go big and bold this year.
26. Honolulu, Hawaii
New Years’ in Honolulu will fulfil all of your tropical island fantasies in one go. While a fair few bars and restaurants will remain closed for the festivities due to the pandemic, some of the island’s best-loved events are still going ahead – including the annual New Year’s ‘Party of the Year‘ at Aloha Tower Marketplace. If that’s not your vibe then there’s the spectacular Waikiki Beach Fireworks. Or how about a starlight luau?
25. San Francisco, United States
San Fran boasts some of the best NYE fireworks in the country. Thousands flock to the waterfront by the Ferry Building and Bay Bridge to see the sky light up. To mark the start of an extra special year, you can hop on a designated fireworks cruise for dinner, dancing and drinking before the display. Or for an arty start to 2022, why not get in line for the much anticipated New Bohemia NYE Party 2022 over at the Old San Francisco Mint.
24. Berlin, Germany
Germany’s capital is renowned for its party scene, and New Year’s Eve is no exception. The mile between Brandenburg Gate and the Victory Column transforms into a long street party, with live bands, DJs and a spectacular fireworks display. While this years’ crowds will be limited due to the pandemic, you’ll still get to catch sight of the spectacle from hundreds of other venues across the city.
23. Taipei, Taiwan
It isn’t hard to see why so many revellers head to the heart of Asia’s party scene for New Year. Taipei launched the first-ever fireworks show from the top of a skyscraper back in 2005 and the spectacle now incorporates eye-popping LED light shows from the bottom to the tippy top of the 90th floor too. Afterwards, you can dance into the early hours at one of the city’s hundreds of pumping parties.
22. Venice, Italy
The entire square packs out early for the chance to count down to these legendary fireworks. St. Marco’s Square is an iconic spot to spend New Year’s Eve but you’ll get the best views from across the lagoon, in Giudecca. The Italians also have lots of New Year’s traditions to take part in, like wearing red underwear for good luck. Do as the locals do and start the year with a chilly dip in the Lido too.
21. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Come New Year’s Eve, the whole of Amsterdam transforms one huge street party. While some of the city’s superstar events like the Awakening Bash have been cancelled due to Covid-19, you’ll still have hundreds of parties and club nights, from black tie events to warehouse raves, to choose from. Take in the lights at Amsterdam Light Festival, tuck into a pile of oliebollen (deep fried dough balls) and wash it all down with several glasses of bubbles to ward off any evil spirits.
20. Paris, France
Possibly the most romantic place to spend New Years’ Eve, the whole of Paris puts on a good show on New Years’ Eve. The city’s blockbuster fireworks spectacle takes place on the Champs Elysee. Every year around 300,000 people gather from around 9 pm for live DJ sets and video projections, culminating in some of the world’s best fireworks at the Arc de Triomphe.
19. Moscow, Russia
In Moscow, you can celebrate New Year twice. As well as marking the date at midnight on January 1st, the Russians also celebrate the Orthodox New Year two weeks later. It’s worth getting there for the first event though when the whole city lights up with fireworks and live music. For a quintessentially Russian experience, join the hordes of revellers in the Red Square.
18. Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Why limit yourself to one night when you can enjoy a whole three-night NYE bonanza? Every year the Jameson Vic Falls Carnival draws an impressive 6,000 out to ring in the new year with fire dancers, stilt walkers and fireworks. As if that wasn’t enough if all takes place in front of the continent’s biggest (and most dramatic) waterfall.
17. San Antonio, United States
San Antonio might not immediately spring to mind when you think about blockbuster New Years’ Eve destinations, but it really should. The city’s annual New Year’s Eve party is back to ring in 2022 after a year off with live music, fireworks and fairground rides. Taking over downtown at Hemisfair and La Villita, it promises to be the perfect wholesome family New Year event.
16. Lisbon, Portugal
Europe’s capital of cool hosts a big NYE blowout every year, and this year it’s due to be bigger and better than ever. Hosted in the main square on the Tagus River, the party starts up at around 10 pm and goes on long into the early hours. Expect fireworks and lots of live music, and don’t forget to bring a bottle of bubbles for the occasion too.
15. Beirut, Lebanon
If you haven’t heard about Beirut’s legendary party scene, where have you been? Head to the Place de l’Eotile for the best bands, DJs and fireworks, as well as a spectacular light show from the Art Deco clocktower. If you’re after a more intimate ‘do’, most restaurants are hosting parties that last well beyond dawn too.
For a traditional knees up, head to Edinburgh for Hogmanay – a three-day festival involving a Viking-style torchlight parade, midnight fireworks at Edinburgh Castle and parties under the stars. In Scotland, most businesses get to enjoy to bank holidays to recover from the street parties too.
13. Goa, India
If ringing in the new year with salty hair and sand between your toes is more your vibe, you can’t do much better than Goa. The coastal city’s beach parties are infamous and the NYE celebrations are even better, with fireworks and music through the night. For DJ beats head to Anjuna to venues like the Kingfisher New Year Beach Party.
12. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio de Janeiro is synonymous with partying, so it’s hardly surprising that they put on such a good NYE spread. It’s also basically midsummer in the city by the time 31 December rolls around, so most people head to the beach to ring in the new year. While there are plenty to choose from, the2.5-mile Copacabana is the place to be – it’s all champagne and samba. This year’s NYE celebrations will still go ahead, though the accompanying concert is yet to be confirmed.
11. Dubai, UAE
New Year’s Eve in Dubai is most people’s bucket list thanks to its spectacular fireworks, beach parties and posh dinners. It’s a city-wide extravaganza. From New Year’s Eve fireworks at Burj Khalifa to parties under the stars at Zero Rooftop Bar & Lounge, there’s a jam for everyone.
Why not say hello to 2022 in true Vegas style? The entire Strip shuts down to traffic and transforms into one giant block party for over 300,000 partiers. Then at midnight, everyone spills out of Sin City’s most famous clubs and bars to see the casinos set off a choreographed fireworks display. If any year deserved an OOT send-off, it’s this one for sure.
9. Vancouver, Canada
It’s all about the New Year’s Eve parties in Vancouver. You don’t really need to have friends in the city, with invites available for everything from Gatsby’s House Party to Vancouver’s famous New Years’ boat parties. Concord’s New Year’s Eve fireworks celebrations will take over the False Creek fireworks, with a dazzling ballet of fireworks launched from barges against the downtown skyline.
8. Prague, Czech Republic
Prague pips other European capitals to the post when it comes to New Years’ Eve celebrations. Champagne corks are popping, parties are pumping and the pub crawls are in full swing. There are hundreds of unofficial fireworks displays across the city, but the city’s official display really steals the show. For something a little different, why not try the Prague Pub Crawl – a legendary New Years’ Crawl, with hundreds of party-goers joining the circuit every year.
The Pacific’s answer to the New York City’s Ball Drop, Sydney hosts an annual fireworks extravaganza attended by more than a million people every year. This year will look slightly different but no less fun, with revellers hiring out boats and bringing their own bubbles (instead of gathering along the foreshore) to make the countdown. If you don’t have sea legs, you can always reserve a table at one of the many restaurants lining Sydney Harbour Bridge to enjoy the spectacle too.
6. Nashville, United States
Nashville’s annual New Year’s Eve celebrations, Music City Midnight, invites thousands of people to celebrate the new year with hours of live music and fireworks. It all culminates with the signature midnight Music Note Drop, featuring some of the best musicians in the city, confetti cannons and a whole lot of fireworks. This year they’re going hard with the Jack Daniel’s New Year’s Eve Live: Nashville’s Big Bash! at the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park.
5. Koh Phangan, Thailand
They’re no strangers to partying on Kohn Phangan. The full moon parties are considered a rite of passage for starry-eyed young backpackers, but the New Years’ Eve parties are the wildest. The best action takes place over at Sunrise Beach in Haad Rin – think alcohol-filled buckets, flaming rings of fire and dancing until mid-morning the next day.
After a year of cancelled parties, Adelaide’s annual NYE celebrations will be going ahead this year with a whole new event format. Spread across the whole city, there’ll be fireworks, songs, dancing, and more. Light Up will transform one of the city’s favourite parks – Rymill Park – from 6 pm with lighting and pyrotechnic shows, live music and South Australia’s favourite festival food vendors for a family-friendly party.
Possibly the world’s most famous NYE party, billions tune in every year to watch the famous New Year’s Eve Ball descend onto One Times Square. If you don’t fancy cuddling up to other revellers as the confetti cannons blast, head to the top of the Renaissance Hotel for front row seats to the ball drop.
2. Reykjavik, Iceland
In Reykjavik, they go big on bonfires, all-night parties and over 500 tonnes of fireworks for a really explosive start to the new year. Don’t leave it too late as partygoers head to the snow-covered streets to burn away their troubles on the bonfire from around 4pm. There’s also a huge display at midnight outside the Hallgrímskirkja Church followed by hours of singing and dancing too.
They’re good at parties all year round in New Orleans, but never more so than on NYE – and this year they’re making up for lost time too. Head down to Jackson Square with the rest of the city’s revellers to see the Fleur de Lis drop and join the biggest party in town. Or head to some of the city’s blockbuster music venues like the Tipitina’s, the House of Blues and The Joy Theatre to ring in 2022 with some seriously good beats too.
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